Monday, December 14, 2009

Enjoy your Excellent Today, Expect the Beauty of the Future

December 14, 2010

Again, time has taken me from my daily ramblings. I guess it's good, because it means I have lots to do and lots of fun people to do it with.

Had the Bullhead City book signings on the 6th. Only sold one book. It was a slow day, but we met some very interesting people and many took our business cards, so who knows. The Hastings folks were so very nice. In fact, the mother of one of the Hasting's folks won our contest. We had the folks we talked with sign a form that entered them in a contest to win a $20 gift certificate! Had fun driving up there with Cindie and Doug.

Went to a local club meeting on the 7th and was introduced as Havasu's local author. Felt good, now if it just paid good.

Dropped by Jim's place on Tuesday and picked up my copies of 'Offerings from the Oasis - 2010'. It's the anthology put out by my local writer's group. I was lucky to get two of my stories published in the book. They chose 'Pastrami vs Tuna Salad' and 'Exquisite Moments'. I'm so pleased. Gina, the editor did a terrific job! This year the main picture is a native American pottery scene and the border is a bright red/orange. It's a knock out!

Thursday I met with Jude to give her the 3rd book in the Farrell series, 'Deborah's Story'. She is willing to read and do an edit of it. We had a fun lunch talking about lots of things, but especially writing and what we like and don't like. She did such a great job on 'A Meandering Road - Lita's Story', so I'm so grateful that she's willing to do it again. We probably won't meet again until after the 1st of the year.

Then that night was the meeting of the Four Goddesses. I didn't have anything to crit, but I got some good feedback on episodes of 'Stephen's Boys'. We firmed up our plans for our Kingman book signing on Sunday.

Jude had purchased Lois' book, 'Finding Angela' at Hastings and wanted it autographed. I took it to Jude along with two copies of 'After the War, Before the Past'. She was dining with a group of her friends. They treated me so nice and again it was fun being introduced as an 'author'. I'm so pleased that 'Hannah' has stimulated sales for 'After the War,...' I stopped by Hastings today and they had sold 4 copies of 'Hannah' and 3 of 'After the War, ...'. Yahoo!!! I brought their total on hand back up to 5 of each. We local writers are so lucky to have Hastings bookman, Peter, to work with. He's very supportive and makes the process quite simple.

Last Tuesday, I sent some info on all four of us Goddesses to the Kingman Daily Miner about the book signing. I checked each day, but nothing. Then, in the Sunday edition, they gave us a half page. It brought in folks that knew us here in Havasu, but were now living in Kingman. Without the publication, they wouldn't have known we were there! Too bad our Today News Hearald isn't as supportive.

Saturday was the annual Christmas meeting for my book club. Great stories, DELICIOUS treats and lovely Christmas gifts. Some of the older members like Rob, Jilma and Coco weren't there and I missed them. Next month we read the books of Linda Howard.

Sunday was the Kingman book signing. A SUCCESS! I sold 7 copies of 'Hannah' and 3 copies of 'After the War, Before the Peace'. But it was a success in so many other ways. We met lots of interesting people and the Four Goddesses had some time to just sit and talk. Always a fun time with them! Again, the Hastings folks were super! And, Cindie's Doug, he's an angel for toting my stuff around in addition to what he does for Cindie. I told her he's like a Mormon husband. He has two wives to take care of, but he doesn't get all the fringe benefits. Anyway, they are both sweethearts and I'm glad they, Lois and JoAn came into my life!

Today was getting ready for my bi-weekly meeting with Dave for our crits and for the first meeting of my novel club. I'm really looking forward to tonight! I hope it works.

Oh, and I got an email from the agent that I met at the SSA conference who asked to read 'Mama Played for the King'. She wants to see the entire novel! Yahoo!!! It doesn't mean she'll take it, but at least she wants more. Things are definitely looking up.

So, I'm on a high these days and this following quote seems to express how I'm feeling. I hope it works for you, too. 'The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams'. Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, December 04, 2009

This, That & Stuff

Dec. 5, 2009

I've had some crazy, busy times lately. Lots of fun with visits from kids, grandkids and granddogs. But, that's what Thanksgiving is all about - family, love and being grateful. So, it was all a success, but now it's back to the real world.

On Nov. 21, we had out LHCWG meeting. Always interesting. I had submitted an excerpt from my current novel in progress, 'Stephen's Boys'. I didn't think is was one of the better episodes and was a little worried about the feedback, but it all came back good. In fact, it was interesting that when Buck gave his feedback, he commented that he felt that John was the older brother of Stephen. What good feedback. Stephen is older, but he's the weaker of the two, so Buck's comments indicate that I'm managing to get dynamics of their personalities across.

Speaking of 'Stephen's Boys', way too much research is needed. I now know more about the second world war and the activities in the Pacific than I ever wanted to know. Dave is reading the novel for our one-on-one crits. He came across a glaring mistake on my part. I had Josh and his copilot crash after the back of the plane and all the men in that section had been killed. Well, the problem with that is that Josh took off from the U.S.S. Enterprise in a fighter plane, not a bomber per se. He wouldn't have a copilot much less a crew in the back. So, I went on line today and tried to fix that snafu. What I found is that some planes called Douglas SBD Dauntless were, in fact, launched from the Enterprise and they were two seaters, one for the pilot/bombardier and one for the gunner. So, while I'll have to get rid of the crew in the back of the plane, I'll be able to keep the scene with copilot, Ed, only I'll have to call him a gunner. Yahoo! Great catch, Dave!

The kids arrived early the week of Nov. 23rd for our annual Thanksgiving reunion and dinner. Had a great time with everyone, but not much time for writing. Everyone left for home on the 28th, so I was able to get back to my daily schedule of writing for 20 or 30 minutes. It's become second nature to me and I really miss my characters when I don't visit them.

Went to my WNEA meeting on Dec. 3rd and got some good feedback on 'Hannah'. Also, gave a copy of 'Hannah' away in the gift exchange.

On Dec. 4th, Dave and I drove down to Parker to see Cindie's high school drama class in their annual Christmas performance. They wrote, directed and acted out all the parts for a drama called 'Troubles With Chewing Bubble Gum'. Again this year, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their work. It must be the leadership of Cindie, their Drama teacher.

Today was the LHCWG meeting. The chairman, Jim, deserves a medal. He is doing a great job pulling together a lot of cantankerous members of the group. After some discussion of possible changes to procedures and by-laws, Vern commented that perhaps we are trying to fix something that ain't broke. I tend to agree. One of the subs today, named me as a 'literary figure'. It was a cute story by Grace Painter about a reporter that ends up killing her interviewee. But, I got a little upset today at the caliber of crit I received for my last submission. My allotted time lasted all of just short of 60 seconds. And, the comments on the pages handed back to me were just as terse and bland, if any. It's very discouraging when one tries to give feedback to fellow members, then gets little or nothing in return. One of the suggestions for our crit sessions was to eliminate discussion of punctuation. I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that. I definitely expressed my lack of support for that change. Punctuation is one of the most important parts of writing. Try to get an editor to read your work if you abuse a comma versus a colon or a semi-colon. Or worse, use sentence fragments like I'm prone to do. I hope this group never stops questioning punctuation.

I talked with three of the folks in my novel group today. I want this group to be self-governing without rules and by-laws, but I hope each member understands that they will be expected to crit with detail. A 'that was nice' will not work. They all agreed. Also, it is going to be limited to a six member group.

Enough grousing. I went to see quite a few movies recently. 2012 Excellent visuals. Especially the freeway collapsing scenes. The story was good, but very politically correct. Blind Side Good, but a bit sappy and the focus on the kid getting a scholarship seemed wrong. This rich family treated this stray kid like a son, but wouldn't pay his tuition. A focus on grades to quality for a college ed. would have worked better for me. Old Dogs Funny in places, but not near as good as the biker movie about old guys. Everythings Fine Good acting by DiNero, but I think it would have made a better read. Although, I did like the way the father saw his children. They were all adults, but he still saw them as children and that's kind of the way I see mine. Interesting.

So, this is way too long. I've got to get ready for a book signing in Bullhead City tomorrow. It was supposed to be the Four Goddesses, but Lois and JoAn aren't feeling well. Cindie's husband Doug will be handing out a flyer that offers a chance to win a $20 gift certificate. Hope it works to draw folks to our table to talk with us and maybe sell a couple of books. I'll think positive!

I'll close tonight with a quote that really speaks to my feelings these days about my writing and about my life in general these days. “To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?” Katharine Graham

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reader's Options

Nov. 21, 2009

Met with Jude on Nov. 12th for feedback on 'A Meandering Road - Lita's Story'. Lots of good catches of typos, some really good questions about the story flow and names/situations that don't match. She did a great job and her upgrades will really improve the final product. Now, she's willing to do the same for 'Deborah's Story'. I'm a lucky writer to have such great support.

Later that same day, we had our Four Goddesses meeting. JoAn is dropping out for awhile and Lois is pulling back for a month or two. I'm glad Cindie still wants to meet. The feed back on the excerpt from 'Stephen's Boys' was sparse, but insightful.

Had our book club meeting on Nov. 14 to discuss the books of Raymond Chandler. Poor Mr. Chandler was not well received. In fact, this was the first time the reader's all voted that they would not read him again. The main complaint was way too much description.

Nov. 15 I went to Cindie Miller's book signing for 'Ask Me No Questions'. Lots of folks showed up and we had a good time. She has some beautiful flyers, postcards and a giant poster. Very professional.

Met with an accountant on the 16th to discuss whether my writing is a hobby or a business. She gave me a lot of information and it looks good for going business.

Nov. 19th was our writer's club monthly reading at Denny's. Nine folks showed up. I believe it was some of the best readings we've ever had. I think the place worked well. There was some noise with other customers and some dish clattering, but the music wasn't too loud and the service was excellent.

Yesterday, Lois, JoAn and I drove to the Hasting's stores in Kingman and Bullhead City to give them books and flyers for our book signings in Dec. We had a ball. the Hasting reps were very accommodating. They like our idea of a flyer offering a drawing for a chance to win a Hastings gift certificate to anyone dropping by the store on the day of our signing and taking the time to talk with each author for a few seconds. It will be interesting.

Today was the writer's meeting. I really thought that the feedback on my sub for last time would be badly received due to the fact that the reader wouldn't have all the facts, but the crits were positive. In fact, Buck felt that Stephen was the younger brother. That's good, because I'm trying to portray him as the weak brother. For my sub for today, I cut a 450 word story down to 247 to meet the prompt of 'a conversation with a literary person'. Some of the group have read the original piece and liked it. But, we have a lot of new folks, so it will be interesting to see if the word cut took away the gist of the piece.

Only another day until the kids arrive for Thanksgiving. My writing will probably be sparse, but the important thing is that I'll be with family.

My quote for today has to do with feedback. A writer's intent, as to plot and character development, may not be what his/her reader catches. And, that is a good thing. I do it all the time when I crit my fellow writer's work. So, here's the quote. "Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it." - David Sedaris.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Opinions - Listen, Evaluate & Decide

Nov. 11, 2009

Not much in the way of writing on this busy day. But, did move 'Stephen's Boys' forward a few hundred more words. Today was fun. No research. It was mostly guy dialog. Hope it works. Josh and Ed both said they really didn't want to do something, then did it. Their action is a good thing, but they don't know that yet.

Received some good feedback on 'Hannah' from friends who bought the book last Sunday. And, Jerry, a male friend of mine who hardly ever reads books is actually reading it. He really likes Hannah's spirit. Also, all the ladies are loving Liam.

Tomorrow, I meet with Jude who is reading 'A Meandering Road - Lita's Story'. She said it made her cry and she just loved Lita and Michael. She'll be sharing what worked and what didn't work with me over lunch.

Just a brief blog tonight, but the meeting with Jude tomorrow brings to mind this quote from Virginia Woolf as to getting opinions/reactions to our fiction. They are invaluable to have, but knowing your characters and your own writer's voice should never be ignored. "Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pluck & Luck

Nov. 10, 2009

Saturday was the local writer's meeting. Lots of the winter folks are back, so the room was jam packed. Plus three new possible members showed up - I met Karen thru Pattie at Jake's and I think she writes sci-fi, Matt is a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard and I'm not sure what he writes and Kelly is a young poet. All three seemed highly motivated. Again, the crits were a waste of time for me. I think we spent all of 60 seconds on my submission and that includes the time to pass them back. I talked with some of the folks at our after meeting at Denny's and suggested that we reinforce the need to say what works in a sub as well as what's wrong. Knowing how and why something works would help the newbies.

One good thing did come out of the meeting. Due to Slotchkey's closing at nine and the dearth of parking on McCullouch on Thurs. night due to the car shows the group agreed to give Denny's a try. We had talked about it last spring, but

After Denny's Cindie, Doug, Penny and I went to the Golden Horseshoe for dinner. Yummy. Then Penny and I went to see 'Men Who Stare at Goats'. I must admit that there were laugh out loud funny parts, but the last 20 minutes or so was disgusting and inappropriate for so many reasons. Typical George Clooney rot. His movies just aren't worth viewing. If he weren't so handsome, I don't think he'd have much of a following.

Sunday was book signing day! It was fabulous. More than I could have imagined. I sold 41 'Hannah' books and 5 'After the War, Before the Peace' books. Peter, at Hastings said it was some sort of a record. I sure do have some wonderful friends. And, there were several folks who came in saying that their friends had sent them to buy both books because they had enjoyed 'After the War, Before the Peace' so much. Word of mouth is the best. To get a following is every writer's dream! Now, I need to set up signings in Bullhead and Kingman.

Monday I met with Dave. I gave him his feedback on his short stories and he gave me his crits on the segment of 'Stephen's Boys' he reviewed. He said it was consistent and had some good observations and dialog. He suggested some cutting on the military jargon. I think he's right.

Then Cindie, Kelley and Ted joined us for the first meeting of the fiction novel group we are trying to form. We talked about our objectives and the process and I think we are off to a good start. We'll meet once a month.

Then today, I set up a book signing in Kingman on Dec. 13th, right before Christmas. It will be for the four of us - Cindie, JoAn, Lois and me. The Hastings book rep in Kingman thought it sounded like a good idea.

I've been trying to move 'Stephen's Boys' forward each day. I'm about to save Josh from his plight in the Pacific Ocean, but it is taking so much time for research. Today I need to search out emergency pouches, flare guns and flare cartridges that were used during WWII. Yuck, I hate research. After this book, it's back to the 1880s for me!

Oh, almost forgot. I got my rejection for 'Deborah's Story' from that Barrett agency. She said she couldn't get excited about it enough to sell it. Then tonight I got a call from Dave. He received an almost identically worded rejection from Barrett, too. Oh, well, their loss.

And my quote for tonight addresses my tendency to enjoy the good times way too much. So, after the wonderful book signing event, I would like to sit back for awhile and avoid the cold, stranger-laden signings in Bullhead and Kingman where I'll be lucky to sell even one book. Then, I stumbled on this quote by James A Garfield, "A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck".

Friday, November 06, 2009

Creativity in Prose & Publicity

Nov. 6, 2009

What a busy week and so much of it about writing! My kind of week.

Worked on 'Stephen's Boy's' every day this week. Not too much research required in this segment. Mostly it's brother to brother dialog laced with a lot of distrust and accusation. I do love dialog. So much can be revealed to the reader without the long sentences and paragraphs of telling, when the reader responds so much better to showing.

Got an email from Jude who is reading 'A Meandering Road - Lita's Story'. She said she has finally stopped crying and is ready to discuss the book. We set a date for Thu. 11/12 at Denny's. She said the crying was for Lita and Michael. Seems those characters worked for her. Had a friend who said that it's been about five years since she read 'After the War, Before the Peace', but she still remembers Deborah, the bad girl and wonders what ever happened to her. Funny, how the 'bad' characters always seem to bring out emotion in the reader.

Then, Thurs. nite was the WNEA Sales Extravaganza. Cindie showed up with her book, so we had three choices on our table - 'ATW,BTP, Hannah and her Ask Me No Questions.' I sold three books, she sold two. The folks who bought them weren't strangers so I don't think I picked up any new fans, although several said they'd come by Hastings for my book signing on Sunday. Hope someone shows up!

Today I talked with Kelly about the requirements for 'novel group'. Right now we have about five folks interested. Kelly is an interesting person to talk to. She seems to have the instincts of a novelist. We talked about writing what it selling versus what our 'characters' whisper in our ears and about sex in our novels. We agreed. No doubt about it. Sex sells. Then, it was the reading of the subs for tomorrow's writer's meeting. I still need to get something ready to turn in.

Oh, nearly forgot, the local newspaper finally put an article in the paper about Hastings on Sunday. Nice blurb about 'Hannah', a picture of the book and a picture of me. Peter, the book liaison at Hastings, is an easy guy to work with. He said there are so many folks requesting book signings that he's had to turn some down. I guess it's true, everyone has a book in their head and wants to start writing.

Oh, Cindie is going to be on blog radio with Newoka tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., just as our writer's meeting starts. Good thing she tapes it and I can hear it later tomorrow night.

So, this week seems to be about a lot of creativity. Working with 'Stephen's Boys', thinking of ways to attract readers at the book signings and deciding what to turn in for the writer's group tomorrow. So, I must go with these words of Carl Jung to close out this update. "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Delay - Ah, Delay

Nov. 2, 2009

Yahoo! Worked on 'Stephen's Boys' today. John and Stephen are into a pissing match on past sins. What fun.

Then, a bit of bad news. Got an email from Awe-Struck Publishing and they are running a little behind on launch dates for their scheduled releases. They are moving 'Finding More Than Gold' out to 2nd quarter of 2010. Oh well, at least it's still on the schedule. Still no word on 'A Meandering Road - Lita's Story". I would soooooo like to get it and all the sequels to 'After the War, Before the Peace' out to my following.

Went to a meeting tonight and got promises from three or four folks that they would be at the book signing on Sunday. I'm hoping for as good a crowd as last time. Got my fingers crossed!

So, with the move from January 2010 to second quarter of 2010, more waiting is in my future. But, I guess I'll take a deep breath and take some advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson. “The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.” Yep! Couldn't agree more.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Good & Evil - A Divine Purpose

Nov. 1, 2009

Not a bit of writing done today, so sad. But did some promoting of my book signings coming up next Thurs. and Sun. Looks like I'll have a couple of folks there.

Then talked with Cindie. She listened to my entire interview with Newoka. She has an interview scheduled for next Saturday. Unfortunately, it starts at the same time as our LHCWG meeting. Good thing the interviews are recorded for playback at a later time.

During my interview, Newoka talked about how much work goes in to writing a novel. Well, for me, the writing is easy. But, all the extras that go along with it makes it sometimes laborious. Like having a good handle on grammar and knowing when the rules can, or should, be broken. Knowing what constitutes a full story, be it a short story or a full novel. Then, I won't even go into the 'joys' of submission and marketing of your work. I guess that's why I haven't made it any further along with my writing 'career'. For me, the story telling is all fun and joy, but .... Anyone out there want a job? I'll give half the earnings of my first best seller to anyone who will give me an hour a day to do the administrative part of this writing/publishing gig.

So, looking at writing from a good (the actual writing) and evil (all the administrative stuff) I must agree with Melva, a participant in a discussion led by J.J. Dewey. "Both good and evil serve as part of divine purpose."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Waiting-Waiting-And More Waiting

Oct. 31, 2009

Very slow day for writing. About the only thing I did that had anything to do with my writing was my trip to the Bullhead City Smart & Final store to pick up some candy and peanuts for my book signings on 11/5 and 11/8. I think having treats may bring some folks over to at least look and then when they take the peanuts, they get a sticker with a promo for me and my books.

I listened to the full hour of my interview with Newoka. She really does a nice job of leading her interviewees along. She used my website and led me along so I could discuss most aspects of my writing like the books and the classes. My voice didn't sound as bad as I thought it would, a little hoarse, but not bad.

Not a word from any of the contacts I made at the SSA conference, except for Ellen at Champagne acknowledging receipt of 'Regardless'. Still no word on how 'Finding More Than Gold' is moving along. I'm getting a little nervous.

Watched 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' tonight. It's still funny and very clever. I love that actress Zooey Deschanel. She has beautiful eyes.

I guess my theme for the day is waiting, waiting to hear about my submissions, waiting and hoping my new supply of books arrive before my book signings. Waiting-not my strong suit. So, I find I have to agree with Harvard Business Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter who said, "To stay ahead, you must have your next idea waiting in the wings."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Blog Talk Radio - Newoka LaShelle

Oct. 30, 2009

More research! More WWII! Things have changed so much in just a half century in so many way - phones, planes, news media. 'Stephen's Boys' is moving along as to people and places, but I'm anxious to get back to feelings.

Had dinner last night with Dave and Cindie. Cindie gave Dave feed back on his novel 'Popcorn Skies'. She made some good points. We also talked a little about our publicity strategies. She is going to a library conference in Phoenix in December. She said her husband Doug liked my approach to potential customers when we were at Lois' book signing, so they would like me to go to the conference with them. That's good to hear, but it's always easier talking about someone else's work than your own.

Today was really exciting. I had another blog talk radio interview with Newoka LaShelle on Web Mistress Radio. It was an hour and she is a great host who researches the work of the person she is going to interview and asks great questions that help to keep the chatter pertinent and ongoing. I spoke about my three books, my classes, the importance of grammar, the value of critiquing, electronic reading devices and the possibility of audio books. I didn't get any call ins, but Neoka said she could see folks logged in and listening. Virtual Tales was very kind to me when they heard about the radio interview. They are offering 4 chapters of 'Hannah' for free and 40% off on the price of the whole book. That was super of them.

Talking with Newoka always motivates me and makes me feel good about myself. So, here's my quote for today. "Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent." Sophia Loren

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Research and Assuming

Oct. 28, 2009

Been a busy couple of days. Sunday was a total day of relaxation. Got up late, read the paper and moved 'Stephen's Boys' forward (still soooooo much research about WWII in the Pacific). Around noon I went with a friend to visit a mutual friend who had just gotten out of an assisted living facility after having some surgery. She's doing fine, but she insisted on showing us her scar with its 'buttons'. Not a pretty picture. Then it was off to the movies.

Saw 'Law Abiding Citizen' staring Gerard Butler, my new favorite actor. The premise was good and you wanted to see him get his justice, but the character he played went overboard with violence and actually became what he was fighting. Way too violent for me.

Then went to the casino, not profitable, and finished off the day with some friends at a karaoke bar. All in all, a relaxing day.

Monday was my bi-weekly crit session with Dave. His fiction based on fact short stories about the San Bernardino area were well written this time. He developed some quirky characters that seem to be unique to the area. He needs to gather them together for an anthology of the area. He had some trouble with the male reactions in the segment of 'Stephen's Boys' he reviewed. His biggest problem was with the mother, on her deathbed, trying to make her adopted son come to terms with the fact that his birth father gave him to his adopted parents because he loved the boy and wanted him to have familial love and security, not because he didn't love him. Dave couldn't see a mother doing this. Of course, I disagree, but I'll have others review it, just in case he's right.

On Tuesday, I started the day by moving 'Stephen's Boys' forward (more research than writing). The coordinator for the WNEA book signing I have set for 11/5 called and asked if I would donate a copy of 'After the War, Before the Peace' to their silent auction. I was flattered and of course gave them one and also a copy of 'Hannah'. I told her to make it a package deal. Now, I can only hope they sell!

Talked with Denise Casino who is working on publicity for me. She gave me some great hints about placement at Amazon and about getting involved in more on-line groups. Hope it works.

I got an email from the publisher I met at the SSA conference in Tucson that had asked for a copy of 'Regardless'. She remembered our conversation at the luncheon and felt that my story was unique. She wanted me to know that she received the book and has forwarded it onto the submission team for review. My concern is that if it goes to print, will my followers who love my westerns be receptive to a gay sci-fi novel. A couple of friends feels that there is a call for that sort of material here in town and that I might be able to snag some new readers. Wouldn't that be nice. Guess one shouldn't assume things, but be receptive and daring enough to push the envelope.

Didn't get to work on 'Stephen's Boys' today and right now my brain isn't in 'creative' mode. Guess Josh will have to tread water for another couple of days.

So, I'll leave you with this quote about assuming things. "Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also." Marcus Aurelius

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Writer Friends

Oct. 24, 2009

Yesterday was a blast. Started out with breakfast with Mike, the moderator of my on-line writer's group FlashXer. He had been doing a photo shoot up in Laughlin and stopped here in Havasu on his way home. His is enjoying being the moderator and being able to inspire and encourage the newbies on the site.

Then it was off to lunch with Jude. She is a friend of a friend and has agreed to 'edit' my first sequel to 'After the War, Before the Peace'. She found ATW,BTP to be a page turner and I liked hearing that. Turns out we are very much alike in our past and in the things we like. I told her that I'm just looking for obvious typos and general impression of the believability of the plot.

Then it was supper with Cindie where we shared our posters. Hers is so professional looking. I also told her about the Nov. 15th book fair in Phoenix. I hope she's interested enough to go. I think it would be a great opportunity for her to get some speaking engagements, which helps to sell books.

Today was my TelecomPioneers bunco day. Had a good turnout and I shamelessly promoted my book and the book signing date of 11/8 at Hastings.

I moved 'Stephen's Boys' forward yesterday, but I'm too mentally exhausted to work on it today. Still talking lots of research time for medical conditions, clothing and ocean conditions. I don't want to get too technical, but I want my reader to feel the scene with accuracy.

Tired tonight, so this is going to be brief. My quote tonight has to do with promoting yourself and your work. "The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication." Cecil B. DeMille

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Parties & Publishing

Oct. 22, 2009

Lots going on today. Moved 'Stephen's boys' ahead. Still had to lots of research on serious leg wounds. Talked with Lois, a nurse, and Dave, a former cop, who talked about the seriousness of an aortal leg wounds. They suggested making it a muscle wound. I haven't mentioned a specific part of the leg as yet, so I'll have to ponder my options.

Had our writer's group Halloween party over at my clubhouse. It was fun. Lots of food, lots of great stories and a funny skit performed by Donna, Vivien, Gaby, Beverly and Vern. Lots of work on all their parts. Margaret made it back to town for the party. She came in disguised and almost no one recognized her.

Talked with Denise tonight about publicizing my work. She gave me lots of advice about how to work She also introduced me to a new network that gives you access to lots of socializing networks. I'm now an official Tweeter! At least I have an account. Now, if I just knew how to use it. Denise updated my website. Looks good, but I need to do more.

So it's the dang marketing again. I guess Demosthenes said it best. "Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

Oct. 21, 2009

Slow day for writing. But, I did move 'Stephen's Boys' along. One of the main characters is in the process of losing his leg and it makes me sad. It is necessary to the story line, still I feel bad for Josh.

No word on my submissions or any status on the book due out in Jan. I guess no news is good news. I would really love for them to accept 'A Meandering Tale' as so many of my fans of 'After the War, Before the Peace' ask for a continuation of the Farrell family. Also no word from the folks I met at the SSA conference. Good thing I write for pleasure and not for publication. Well, I do write for publication, but my real love is just getting the words on paper, moving the characters along.

Got word from Mike, the moderator on one of my on-line writer's group. He is in Laughlin and will be coming thru Havasu this Friday, so we''re going to have lunch. He's an interesting man and we always have a good time visiting and talking about writing.

Got my Raymond Chandler book 'The Lady in the Lake'. I'm looking forward to reading this old master of mystery. I wasn't crazy about Parker, Spillane or Gardner, but I'm keeping an open mind and have high hopes.

So today I leave you with some thoughts on waiting, "There is no great achievement that is not the result of patient working and waiting." J.G. Holland

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Free Editing & Critique Values

Oct. 20, 2009

I have a fan who has loaned my book to several friends. One of her friends offered to read my sequels to 'After the War, Before the Peace' to check for character treatment and believable plot twists. She contacted me yesterday via my webpage. We are meeting on Friday. I told her I can't pay her anything for editorial suggestions right now, but she is still more than willing. Am I lucky or what!

I visited with Alex my computer repair tech yesterday. He now has a photography business. My four Goddesses crit group is thinking of doing some publicity by using pictures of the persona of characters in our books. Cindie will be a spy, JOan a biker, Lois a cop/Indian and me a cowgirl. I got prices and next time we get together we'll make a decision.

Moved 'Stephen's Boys' along again today. Still doing a lot of research as to terms and technology that would be used in 1945. Also how salt water affects a severe open wound.

I've been getting feedback on the messages I left with my writing groups about leaving them. Of course I'm flattered at their nice comments, but what surprises me is their remarks about the value of my crits. I don't consider myself good at critiquing. I just know what I like and what sounds good. Also, I need a hook, conflict and a believable resolution. If that's valuable, I'm glad. I'll sure miss those writers, too. Their crits certainly helped me to to fine tune my writing.

Had dinner with Cindie tonight. She has some good news as to how well her books are being accepted. One school librarian is putting several of her books in her library. That is certainly good news.

Today, I leave you with some words on criticism. "Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs." Christopher Hampton

Monday, October 19, 2009

Research, Support and website updating.

Oct. 19, 2009

So sad. I resigned from two of my writing groups today, FlashXer and DeskDrawer. The moderators said that I would always be welcomed back, so I haven't burnt bridges. I know I'll miss both the prompts and the often clever and intriguing subs from the talented array of writers on both sites.

Moved 'Stephen's Boys' forward. Lots of research about the bombing in the Pacific in 1945. Thank goodness for the Internet.

Talked with Lois today and she said she sold quite a few copies of her book at her Sunday booksigning. Several folks from the local writer's group showed up after I left for lunch with Cindie and Doug.

Still no change on my website. Guess I'll drop Denise a line tomorrow. Also no word from the agents/publishers who requested segments of my unpublished novels when we met at the SSA conference in Tucson. And, so I wait.

I leave you now, with some words that seems to say it all, from the heart of all us Pulizer Prize winners. "Calendars are for careful people, not passionate ones." Chuck Sigars

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crits, Motivation & Blog Radio

Oct. 17, 2009

Today was one of my favorite days of the month, my local writer's club met today. Always a pleasure to sit among such a talented group of people. And today, I got a good crit on my last submission. Comments were made about how good I am at getting into the mind of young people and making the situations and dialog believable. One of our new members commented that even tho she didn't see my name as the author, by the end of the first page she knew it was my work because of my unique style and easy flowing dialogue. Nice to hear. I also received some good nits as to ways the piece could be improved. Things like using too many 'she' vs using a proper name. A little too much show and not enough tell in some places. All valid points.

Then it was off to Denny's for the 'real' meeting. Nine of us showed up and as always the conversations were varied and interesting. Anne commented that she is glad to be back in town because the group motivates her to write. I agree. We seem to feed off each other. And, the young waiter Jeffreez and waitress Shawna treat us so very good. When I hit the NY Times best seller list, I'm going to do something special for them.

Oh, heard from Newoka LaShelle who moderates a blog radio show. I did her show last spring and she has asked me to do another one. Of course, I said yes. So, I'm scheduled for Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. EST. She asked great questions last time that allowed me to promote my book quite well, So, I'm really looking forward to round two. I think blog radio is getting more popular. When I had my interview with the gal in England, we actually had folks call in to ask questions. I hope this happen on Oct. 30th.

Tomorrow I'm going to help my friend Lois at her book signing for 'Finding Angela' at Hastings Books & Music Store. I'm so excited for her. I hope she sells a bunch. It's a dang good story. And, it's PG rated!

Time for Law & Order, so I'll sign off with this bit of advice for all writers who love to write, but balk at the administrative part of the process, like submitting our work to publishers and then marketing our books when they make it to print. "Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly." Thomas H. Huxley

Friday, October 16, 2009

Recognizing 'The End' Of Your Story

October 16, 2009

Worked on 'Stephen's Boys' this am and I'm enjoying both the research necessary for the 1945 time frame and the new plot twist. It's so nice to enjoy getting together with the Farrell family.

Had my critique session with Dave today. I had three of his short stories to crit. The first one was about an old cowboy who falls in love with a married woman. It was nicely done with effective character sketches, scene setting and believable dialog. He just didn't realize when he 'ended' the piece and went on to tell the reader all about what happened to folks who were only very peripheral to the story. I hope he changes it, because its a great story and he could probably get it published. The second one was a thinly disguised story of my infatuation with a younger man. I told him that if he gets it published, he owes me royalties. The last one was about a pedophile priest. Well done and probably marketable, but I got a different take on the main character. Dave thought he wrote about an arrogant character, but I found him sad and conflicted. I always think it's interesting to see how my readers interpret my stories. Frequently, they see something that I never intended.

Dave's crit of the 20 pages of 'Stephen's Boys' provided some great opportunities for improvement, but overall he doesn't like the story. The men are too soft and the women too strong and my death scenes seem unreal to him. He did say that he thinks women will like it.

I think it's so beneficial to both of us in reading something that ordinarily we'd never read. We come at the critiquing from different angles. What we decided today that men, for the most part, relate to woman through physical stimulation whereas women use their brain to relate to men. It's an over simplification, but probably true.

Still no word on my submissions, so more wait, wait, wait.

I leave you with this quote from Billy Crystal who succinctly summed up what Dave and I were discussing today. "Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waiting, Marketing and Belief in Self

Oct. 15, 2009

I'm really enjoying the new plot line of 'Stephen's Boys'. Worked on it again today. Doing some research on telegrams sent during the second world war, I came upon an actual copy of a telegram that was sent to notify a family that their son had been killed in action. It was quite moving, very sad. At the end of the telegram the family was asked to not mention the ship their son was assigned to or what base he was posted to as that info could be beneficial to the enemy. I can't even imagine the pain a telegram like that could bring.

I sent a query to one of the publishers that is evaluating one of my novels. They said I should hear from them within 90 days. Oct. 8 was 90 days. They sent me a reply saying it could be up to 120 days. So more waiting.

Had a meeting tonight with three of my Four Goddesses critique group. We are trying to come up with some marketing plans for our books. So far, we've decided we are going to create a poster with outlines of the four of us, a booth at the swap and a web site. It's exciting! On the poster we'll have pictures of the four of us dressed like characters in our novels. Cindie as a spy, JOan as a biker, Lois as a cop/Indian and me as a cowgirl. We'll make the NY Times best seller list yet!!!

So, my quote for today has to do with believing in yourself. "The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen." - Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waiting, Marketing & Attitude

October 14, 2009

Another slow day for writing. But, I did move 'Stephen's Boys' forward, so I can sleep tonight.

Haven't heard a word from the agents and publishers I met at the SSA conference. Don't know if that's good or bad news. Also, Haven't heard from Awe-Struck about 'Finding More than Gold". I have no appointments tomorrow until evening so I think I'll be sending out some query letters.

Cindie posted info on her book 'Ask Me No Questions' to the Lake Havasu City Writer's group. She's sold a dozen already. Yahoo! I went to Amazon to check it out and see about writing a review, but it still isn't there. But, I did find Lois' "Finding Angela", so I'll write some reviews tomorrow. It's so exciting to have all this publishing going on with my friends. Tomorrow night the Four Goddesses are meeting to discuss some joint marketing strategies. I think it's a good thing because we each try to motivate each other.

So, my quote for tonight has to do with attitude. An can do attitude can make all the difference between success and failure. Patricia Neal said it best when she was recovering from her stroke. "A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Oct. 13, 2009

Not much in the way of writing info today. I did bring my 'Stephen's Boys' forward. The new plot is working well.

I need to start reading my Raymond Chandler book for the next book club. I do not like crime/mystery stories so I'm not looking forward to it. But, the book club steered me onto Evanovich or Braun and I do enjoy them.

I received a call from Xlibris today. They gave me another offer to market my book. Of course, it would only cost me about $500. I told the rep that they need to rethink what they offer their authors. My other publishers do some marketing, but don't charge me for it. Like I told the rep, the marketing is primarily the author's responsibility, but help from the publisher would really help. I made my standard offer of "Give me the opportunity of presentation at a conference and I would give them 75% of any sales I make." He agreed it sounded good, but of course he could not make such an offer.

Marketing - The bane of this writing profession and so I leave you with this. "If you don't risk anything you risk even more." Erica Jong

Monday, October 12, 2009

Plots, Research and a Success Story

Oct. 12, 2009

Worked on my latest novel this morning. Unfortunately, it was very little writing and a lot of research about WWII, especially what the army and the army air corp was doing in early 1945. Also, had a brilliant, well I think it was brilliant, plot shift as to the survival of one of the main characters. I believe it's going to make a better ending. I'm excited about the book again. I knew my old plot movement wasn't really working when I was having trouble making things happen. That's what makes writing so much fun!

I finally finished 'Dream Country' by Luanne Rice. If she had one more unimportant character in her story, I believe I would have screamed. I did finish it, but I certainly don't recommend it. She is a good technical writer and the book had possibilities, but there was too much cliche and preaching for my taste.

Went to a Republican Women's meeting today and ended up with an offer to speak before a local civic group. They want me to talk about the entrance into the world of writing and how it takes more than the memory of a high school English teacher that said you had some writing talent. They want to know about what a writer owes a reader and how much grammar expertise is enough. Should be fun and it's another opportunity to sell my books.

Got a call from a friend who went to the SSA conference in Tucson with me. He said his brother-in-law Don sent his sci-fi manuscript to a publisher, at their request. He got word today that they will publish his book. Yahoo!!! I sent my sci-fi novel 'Regardless' to them, too. Because of the gay issue, I not sure it's there cup of tea. They are primarily a CD book producer, but they do provide print books, too. I'm happy for Don. Getting that first book published is a great thrill.

So, night I want to share these words from George Orwell regarding getting started in this crazy world of fiction writing.

"A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shakespeare and Publicity

Oct. 11, 2009

Shakespeare day! The AZ Shakespeare troupe of four actors put on 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The actors played multiple roles through various changes in headgear and facial props. It was delightful. The actors had a lot of enthusiasm and because the performance was right on the grass over at Rotary Park here in Lake Havasu City. The audience was frequently in the scenes as the actors wandered amidst us. The facial expressions on the actors said as much as their words, so even if you didn't quite understand the verbiage, you knew exactly what was going on. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Didn't get much writing done today. But I did do some research and found out that U.S. planes attacked Japan in Feb. 1945 and that there were many soldiers involved in the invasion of Luzon. So, I now know how Josh and Andy will meet their fates. I like the writing better than the research, but I know it needs to be done.

Talked with Cindie today and she and Doug have come up with some great ideas about publicity by using the '4 Goddesses' theme. I think they're on to something. I still need to get down to see Peter at Hastings about a book signing.

So, I'll leave you tonight with this thought from William Shakespeare. "Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Characters/Plots Are Only Part of the Process

Oct. 10, 2009

Book club day. Small turnout. Only six folks showed up to discuss Luanne Rice. Overall it was agreed she is a plot and character driven author. Edna loved her book Beach Girls so much so that she ordered 3 more from her audio store and enjoyed them too. I read Dream County. It's about 500 pages and I'm only on page 260, but she hasn't really engaged me yet. I don't like any of the characters. I find them stilted and stereotyped. It seems that she opens many of her books with a killed/dying/lost child. Still, when the vote was taken, half said they'd read her again and half said no. Now, it's on to Raymond Chandler for next month.

Cindie Miller brought me a signed copy of her hot off the press new book Ask Me No Questions. It's available from Amazon. Check it out. It's a fiction based on fact story or spousal abuse. It's a page turner.

Cindie and I went to lunch and discussed the marketing of our books. She feels strongly about doing something with The Four Goddesses title that we've given our Denny's Thursday night critique group. We all had a book released this year and are looking for ways to market them. She's coming up with some great ideas and I for one am all in favor of it.

She invited me to dinner tonight for some abalone. Never having tasted it before, I jumped at the chance. It was delicious. Had a nice visit with her and her husband, Doug. He is so very supportive of her. You can see how much they adore each other just by looking in their eyes. Oh, I embarrassed myself by thinking abalone was tuna. Later, I remembered I was thinking about albacore. Duhhhh! Anyway, it was fun experiencing another first!

Need to check with Awe-Struck publishing about the schedule for Finding More Than Gold. It's supposed to come out in Jan. and I haven't seen the final galley yet. Also, it's been three months since I submitted A Meandering Road to them for consideration. I haven't received a rejection so that in itself is a good thing, I guess.

Tomorrow, Cindie and I are going to see Shakespeare in the Park. An Arizona theatrical group are going to perform Much Ado About Nothing. I've seen it several times at various places, so I'm anxious to see how they are going to cover it.

So, guess I'll leave you with a Shakespearean quote today. It is something that all of us who are serious about our writing, should remind ourselves of from time to time.

"We know what we are, but not what we may be." William Shakespeare

Friday, October 09, 2009

Some Possibilities and a Loss

Oct. 9, 2009

Just sent off an inquiry to a publisher I met at the SSA conference in Tucson last month. Earlier in the week, I sent inquiries to two agents I also met at the conference. Now it's sit and wait. I still haven't heard from another publisher regarding a proposal I sent to them in July. One of their editors who has a very vocal Facebook presence has been talking about the many rejections her company has been sending out and I haven't heard back. So, is no news good news? One can only hope!

Still working on 'Stephen's Boys'. Had the plot take a wild turn and I'm not sure how to connect it with the ending. A friend suggested I write the end, then blend it backwards to match the wild turn. She made me remember that I did that with one of my first novels and it worked beautifully, so I'll give it a try.

Went to the SSA Wrangling With Writing Conference in Tucson last month. Two fellow writers, Dave and Penny, attended it with me. There were a couple of good workshops and I did get to sell some books. The SSA members worked hard at bringing off an effective, worthwhile conference, but having attended some great ones in the past, this one was mild. I didn't come away with the wild enthusiasm or renewed motivation that I've experienced in the past. One of the main workshop moderators at past conferences was missing and his presence was sorely felt. I did have three requests for samples of my work from agents/publisher and have already sent them off. Now it's a matter of waiting.

I ran into some friends at the post office yesterday. One of them, Jim, was on the committee that organized the first book that found my writing worthy of publication. I told him about my published novels and the one due in Jan. He smiled and said he knew I'd make good. He said of all the submissions for that first anthology, he told the other members of the selection committee that no matter who else they chose, my was definitely going to be in the book. Made my day. Made me smile. One gets so many rejections that those little moments/comments can really warm the heart.

I'm on the schedule for the 2010 Lake Havasu Spring Frenzy week. They have me slated for classes in Short Story Writing and Journaling. It's always fun. And this year, they are giving me an hour and a half for each class. Yahoo!

Heard some sad news this week. I belong to an on-line writer's group called FlashXer. It has been moderated for many years by an author named Irv Pliskin. He has been in ill health for some time and he passed away Oct. 6. He had served on a bomber plane in WWII and was a POW in Germany for awhile. He wrote many stories about his time in the war and in the prison camp. Years ago, when I needed to know about the flash fiction genre, for a class I'd been asked to conduct at the local community college, Irv welcomed me to the FlashXer group and under his tutelage of prompts and critiques, he helped me refine my writing techniques. I owe 'Hannah' and its opening 'with a cloud of dust in the distance' to one of his prompts. I will surely miss him.

Tomorrow is my book club and the author of the month is Luanne Rice. I'm reading her 'Dream Country'. I'm on page 130 and she has yet to engage me in the story nor do I like/relate to any of her characters. I'm looking forward to hearing what the folks in the club have to say about this author.

I was given the opportunity to list my books in a Christmas catalog that is to be mailed out to a million plus readers. I included 'After the War, Before the Peace' and 'Hannah'. I also included 'Finding More Than Gold' that is due out in January. Cost was $69. Oh well, nothing ventured nothing gained.

Got to sign off now and go back to reading the book. I'll leave you with this author quote. I think it is excellent advice for all of us writers who are prone to edit, then edit, then edit and yet edit our work again and again.

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could." -
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Penning Phone Conversations

July 5, 2009

Busy time for me up here in Pleasanton, Ca. Great fun being with the kids, grandkids and even finding time to write a little bit each day.

Still working on Stephen's boys. Had a fun time writing a one sided phone call. Don't think I've ever done that before. I sent that episode out to one of my on-line writing groups and have gotten two feedbacks, so far. One had a problem with one portion of the conversation and, as a matter of fact, I had trouble with the same phrasing. So needs a change, I reckon. The plot is taking a twist I wasn't expecting and may result in a title change. I've moved the Farrell family from horseback to airplane and I'm already missing the wild west.

I'm still trying to get a supply of my book 'Hannah'. I'd like to get a book signing while I'm up here in Pleasanton. I brought some extra copies of 'After the War, Before the Peace', as I think I could sell a few and maybe attract some readers.

My calendar shows that I have a blog radio interview at 6 a.m. tomorrow, but I haven't heard from anyone, so I guess it fell through. I do enjoy the interviews, don't know if they sell books or not, but it can't hurt. Marketing is a tough thing for me to arrange.

Awe-Struck Publishing has a forum for it's authors and they had a discussion recently about how things have improved with their merge with Mundania Press. Since I'm new to both, I don't have an opinion. But, I do like what Mundania's publisher Dan Reitz had to say about what they are now doing and what is planned. Sounds great. I'm so looking forward to having my book 'Finding More Than Gold' published by them.

Went to the fair last Wednesday to see Charlie Daniels who put on a great show. I don't believe I've ever been to a concert where the star led the audience in the U. S. Pledge of Allegiance. It was an awesome moment. I was surprised to see some folks refused to stand and place their hands over their hear. There were only a few, but they stood out like sore thumbs.

Went to see the movie 'Public Enemies'. I enjoyed it, my son sort of liked it, but my daughter-in-law didn't like it. I think the director tried to do too much. Too many characters and it was assumed that the folks in the audience would know all about J. Edgar Hoover, the Mafia's move to electronic gambling, how certain bank robbers were considered heroes during the depression and the growth of power of the FBI. I thought the acting was good and believable, also the cars and dress of the era were fun to view. I was disappointed in the flat performance of Christian Bale.

Spent the 4th of July evening at my step-children's place. Good food, good company and good fire works. Although it did get cold sitting out in the back yard, but we had a beautiful full moon to gaze upon!

I will leave you with this thought, "The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane." - Mark Twain (As are agents/publishers who reject our efforts) - Me

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hannah In Hand!!!!

Yahoo! I received my FIRST print copy of 'Hannah' today!!!! It looks great. But, wouldn't you know, I've already spotted some typos we missed. Jeez, so many of us looked at it and still the little devils get through. Still, it was so exciting to see my words in print. Folks are being great about posting reviews! I wish more would, but those that did make me blush.

Getting some nice comments on my latest post to my FlashXer writer's group. Not with with the one I posted to Flasher's Dozen. But both sites gave me good reasons as to why my story worked or why it didn't. It all helps me toward being a better writer.

I've been doing a lot of blog radio interviews over the last few months. Some better than others depending on the interviewer. One interview was with a Newoka LaShelle of Dream Play Productions, LLC out of Atlanta, GA. After our first interview, she invited me back to discuss the writing of a novel process. They were great interviews in that she let me talk about the FUN of writing. Check out my website if you'd like to listen to some of the interviews, or search for Sharon Poppen at .

I just finished reading 'Apple' by JOan Hobernicht. One of the most fast paced novels I've ever read. It is definitely a page turn. Do yourself a favor and check it out at, then buy it. You won't be sorry. Before 'Apple', I read 'Private Eyes' by Jonathon Kellerman. My only comment is to do yourself another favor. Avoid this boring read at all costs! Right now I'm reading 'Ida' by Carol Crawford McManus. I'm only into the first few pages, but it seems to be a fiction-based-on-fact telling of the story of one of McManus' ancestors. It was recommended to me by my dear friend Ann. She has recommended several books to me and they've all been excellent reads, so I'm looking forward to this one. Oh, and I just finished reading an on-line only collection of short stores, 'Revealing Moments' by Wayne Scheer at . Here's the review I wrote for the piece. 'A wonderfully bittersweet read that can be appreciated by all ages - children relating to parents, aging spouses and survivors. The detail this author displays in his ability to show versus tell a story brings the reader right into the scene. He'll make you laugh, giggle and cry along with his rich, vivid characters. Do yourself a favor. Get a glass of wine and a box of tissues and settle in for a trip through family and self experiences.'

I'll leave you tonight with this, "My first book was rejected nine times. It turned out to be a best seller in 1953, Battle Cry" Leon Uris

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Busy! Busy! Busy!

Lots going on! Where do I start??? First of all good news about some things getting published.

My ebook 'Hannah' is now available in print. Check it out either at or at Folks have posted some great reviews!

Then my Irish tale, 'Finding More Than Gold', about a young lass going to find her gold in Alaska was picked up for publication by Awe-Struck Publishing. They have it on schedule for Jan. 2010! I've already had a preview of the potential book cover and they have done a great job of zeroing in on the two main characters, Abby and Tommy.

My local writer's group, Lake Havasu City Writers Group, puts out an anthology every two years. The next one is due out in 2010. I'm on the committee to make it happen. Jim, our new president, has set up a great website where all the submissions have been posted. Each member is allowed and encouraged to submit three pieces. We, on the committee, will read them and rank them as 1, 2 or 3, with #1 being the one we liked best. Every member will get at least one of their submissions published. Every year the anthology is a wonderful combination of fiction, memoirs, essays and poetry and every year the quality gets better and better!

I've been very lax with my on-line writing groups, but managed to crit and sub some pieces on each group over the last couple of days. Some amazing writers out there!!!

I hope to stay current with these blogs, but I'm in Calif. right now for the summer taking care of grandkids while they are on school break. I miss my desert hot weather, but being so far away from them most of the year, I really cherish these two months we spend together.

My quote for my life these days is "Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life." Dr. David M. Burns

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Contract & Profanity

March 22, 2009

Had an eye opening meeting the other day with several members of my Four Goddesses crit. group. JOan is publishing her second book with Publish America (PA), while Lois and Cindie have just received their first contracts from them. I'm considering it for my gay/sci-fi epic. Joining us were Dave, who is considering publication of his anthropomorphic desert tale or a book of poetry, and Anne, who has a dramatic novel centered around Australia.

We discussed copyright in detail. Who applies for it and do we get/need a copy of it in our files? Who gets the rights to the submitted piece and for how long? What about foreign rights? What about distribution to the author and on-line sellers like Amazon and such? What about the cover art? Cost? Willingness to use the author's own artwork? Author cost for each book and of course the royalty percentage. What are the writer's expectations as to editing and marketing? Advantages/disadvantages of companies that charge for publishing like Xlibris versus no upfront charges as offered by PA.

Depending on trust levels, reality levels and frustration levels with going through traditional agents/publishers, many concerns were put to rest or highlighted. JOan's information and experience with PA certainly convinced me that they were a respectable venue for me to consider. Damn! I do so hate the administrative part of the writing process. Anyone out there willing to give me an hour or hour and half five days a week to do my submitting for me? I'll pay all postage and printing. Granted while I write and they submit our income is zilch, but should we 'hit' it. I'd be willing to give that person 50% of all earnings from the book they get sold to a traditional 'big time' publisher.

Anyway, it was a great meeting with such an enthusiastic and supportive bunch of friends.

Saturday was the bi-monthly meeting of the Lake Havasu City Writers Group LHCWG. Big turnout. Jim took over as chairperson. I was supposed to get outgoing presents for those leaving office, but I had a senior moment or two and let him down. He finessed it beautifully. He got the members to agree to pay for the gifts! I had submitted an excerpt from my novel 'The Woman Between'. Overall, I got good feedback. Did have one person who is having trouble with my use of four letter words in the dialog as spoken by cowboys around the turn of the century. They didn't sign their name, but if I could talk with them, I would explain like this. I try to stay with the technology/dress of the period. Like I'd never have my cowboys mount a Ford Bronco in 1901 and ride off into the sunset. Obviously, he mount his horse. Also, my citified brother would not be wearing a Brooks Brothers suit. He sports a frock coat. But, when it comes to language, I want the current day reader to get into the moment, the temper, the mood of the speakers. I checked and found the word f--- has been used since the 16th century. Did the western cowboy use this word? I don't know, for sure. But, I do know that my reader needs to get put into the scene by dialog that they understand. Look at Shakespeare. I used to hate it because the words made no sense to me. I took a class and a professor helped clarify meanings until I had studied it enough to see the meanings for myself. I don't write at the Shakespeare level, nor do I attract that reader. My reader lives and thinks in the 21st century and I need to use words of the 21st century. So, I'm sorry if my dialog offends some, I will continue to use it as necessary. Besides, as a woman, I have enough trouble trying to create believable male dialog for my characters, so as to limit myself to the propriety or the 1930s writings of Gray or L'Amour. Enough said.

After the meeting we gathered at Denny's. Fun and Informative. Oh, had a fun moment when Donna, a new LHCWG member, showed us her Kindle. While we talked over our coffee, she bought 'Hannah', my western novel, and downloaded it for all to see. EXCITING!!! It may not be the NY Times list, but it was such a kick to see Hannah on her electronic reader!

On Friday, after the contract meeting, Cindie and I went to see 'Duplicity'. We left the theatre dizzy. Talk about plot twists. The actors were good, the dialog snappy and overall it was the type of movie you need to see twice to pick up all the twists and turns you missed the first time around.

Today, I'm heading over to Laughlin, NV. The country group Confederate Railroad is going to be at the Edgewater Casino on April 4th. Love that group, so we are going to get some tickets. Darn casino won't let you order them. Guess they want you to have to walk past all those slot machines to get to the order booth. Good marketing on their part, pain in the neck for the customer.

So, hope your Sunday is going well. In line with my discussion about contracts, I leave you with this bit of advice from Frank Crane. "You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fiction verson Non-Fiction

March 19, 2009

Lots going on around here. Keeping me busy, but providing lots of fun. There was a problem with this blog feeding into my website for awhile, but I believe that's been fixed, so we're all back on board for now. But, with these computers, one never know.

So, what's been happening since the end of Feb. Lots! On the 28th, I made a trip up to Laughlin with friends. We stopped on the way to visit my mother's grave. Her birthday was the 29th. The visit got me to thinking about writing fiction versus non-fiction. Non-fiction is so darn hard for me. Over eleven years ago, I started a memoir about the women in my family. Because I knew my great grandmother quite well, I thought it would be interesting for my newly born granddaughter to learn about the women in her ancestry from a first person point of view. It's pretty much completed and contains stats and memories of great grandma, grandma, mom, me, my daughter and my granddaughter. But, it was a labor. Not fun. Oh, the women are all great and writing about them brought good memories, but dealing with truth is not near as much fun as my fiction characters. I've made a goal for myself to get it done and have to them for Christmas. Well, at least it's a goal.

On March 10th I did another blog radio interview. This time is was with Destiny Debbie who originates in England. It was great! It started at 6:00 a.m. Ariz. time and lasted two hours. And, we had call ins! One in Florida, one in Pennsylvania and a guy from Canada who only wanted to know if we believed in Jesus. But, the others all had interesting questions regarding copyright and publishing. It went by so fast! And, I've been invited to do it again in July.

On the 12th, the local college had a short program on Irish songs and humor. Prof. Dr. Montbriand, who teaches English/Shakespeare at the college played the ukulele, guitar and sang. Quite a few of my local writer's group attended.

Then, that night my Four Goddesses book club met for our monthly crit session. I had submitted an excerpt from my novel in progress 'The Woman Between'. Got some great positives and some very helpful negatives on it. By the way, I wrote 'The End' to the novel on Sunday.

'The End'. For me, it's the hardest part of the whole process. Does it settle everything? Or, do I leave the reader hanging. I had intended to have a reunion of the two main characters after a number of years had passed, but when the heroine accepts a certain responsibility and then is given blessing by those who had held back any friendship, warmth or acceptance, it seemed the perfect place to stop. I also ended it so that the first word of the novel has her saying 'yes' and the last word of the novel is 'yes'. Dave is critting it, so I'll know if it worked or not in a couple of days.

But, now with 'The End' written, I'm left feeling at odds. I love novels/sagas, so I need to start again. Soon. I did manage to write a short story 'Pastrami versus Tuna Salad' for my on-line groups and I'm getting great feedback. One man said he was reading Robert B. Parker and he thought mine writing was a good. I liked hearing that.

Coincidentally, on the 14th, my book club met and we discussed Robert B. Parker. It was lively. The biggest complaint was his over tell of descriptions of how people were dressed. Also, his relationships with women made his seem sleazy to me. The dialog was top notch. One of the last questions I ask is whether they would read him again. The yes votes outnumbered the no votes by only one.

On the personal side, I've been having dinner out a lot. Went to see 'Slumdog Millionaire'. It was alright, but didn't measure up to 'Gran Torino' in any way. Then we went to see 'The Reader'. Very deep, very good. I agree that Kate Winslet deserved an oscar. Still it didn't measure up to 'Gran Torino', in my opinion. Saw 'Taken' with Liam Neeson. Other than enjoying his looks, the picture was a bore of over killing and unbelievable plot. Although, the one scene where he's talking to his daughter on a cell phone when she's abducted, brought a chilling memory of the time my daughter Kim called me from a phone booth in London. It was like four in the a.m. there and dark outside. A man tried to break into the booth. She was screaming and I had visions of hearing my daughter killed 5000 miles away from me. That part of the movie was pretty effective. Although, he was far more focused than I was.

Adios for now with my opening remarks on memoirs, I'll leave you with this quote that is so true of my of my feelings about my female ancestors. "The secret of a good memory is attention, and attention to a subject depends upon our interest in it. We rarely forget that which has made a deep impression on our minds." Tyron Edward

Friday, February 27, 2009

Blog Radio-Readings-UFOs

February 27, 2009

Yesterday was my blog radio interview with DJ Knightman who broadcasts out of Shepherdsville, Kentucky. You can listen to it at . It was a blast. He is primarily a music DJ and usually showcases musicians and music writers, but occasionally he invites authors. He allowed me to talk in-depth about my books and classes. We touched a little on my personal life and how I got started with this writing thing. I thought it was going to be an hour, but it ran almost an hour and a half. He played some great country music to break up the dialog, but overall it was talk about my books. I'm sending him a copy of After the War, Before the Peace.

He had some interesting ideas about reading our books on line, like audio books. One could log onto their computer and 'listen' to a novel, a chapter at a time, over a period of a couple of days. He also talked about having all his authors back on line at the end of the year for a recap of the type of year we've had. He also mentioned booksignings in his area. It's definitely something to think about.

Then, after the interview, it was off to our local Hastings Book Store for our local writer's club night of readings. About a dozen folks showed up. The stories/poems were top quality. One even brought the reader/author to tears with a story about the loss of his dog. I did a St. Patrick's story about drinking and leprechauns. Of course, half of us stayed on after the readings for some good chit chat. Then, Dave and I went to Denny's for a late night supper. He is just on the edge of self-publishing either his desert tortoise story or a collection of his poems. Either way, they're good, but I keep stressing that he do it for himself, not the money. That might come, but the satisfaction of seeing your work in print is the real advantage of self-publishing.

Today, Dave and I met for our regular crit session of my The Woman Between and his poetry. He says he's getting into my story and now likes the women and can accept the fact that Stephen's first and second wives are developing a friendship. The healing of bad blood between the brothers still eludes him, but he feels it will make sense and satisfy my type of reader. I hope he's right. As to his poetry, it is hard for me to be honest because his work is all so personal. I have trouble with him using foreign phrases and terms. It takes me out of the mood of the poem. I tell him that when I read poetry, or fiction for that matter, I don't want education, I want feeling. If I want to know about the terms of castes or religious persons in India, I'll read a non-fiction book. When I come upon a foreign word, I'm out of the scene/mood and it ruins the read for me. I hope I don't hurt his feelings.

I received my copy of the movie God's Little Acre. It kept to the book fairly close. Lots of well-known actors and actresses. It was depressing and funny all at the same time.

Tomorrow, I'm off to visit my mom's grave over in Needles. Her birthday is Feb. 29th. I bring flowers to her grave on Christmas and her birthday each year. I have three friends going with me, so after the visit we'll travel to the casinos for grub and gold, don't I wish!

I love Sci-Fi and especially, Arthur C. Clarke. So, when I came upon this quote it made me laugh with its probability to be true. Enjoy and ponder. "Perhaps, as some wit remarked, the best proof that there is Intelligent Life in Outer Space is the fact it hasn't come here. Well, it can't hide forever - one day we will overhear it."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Characters - Gaining Control

February 25, 2009

Again, another week gone by. It was a fun busy week of friends, clubs and best of all writing.

Managed to move The Woman Between forward every day. I'm so close to the end, but the characters are still giving me trouble. It's almost like having kids with minds of their own. And, the problem is that sometimes when they fight me on how I think they should act, they turn out to be right. I'll miss them when I write The End.

Also, I finished all the editing and printing on Deborah's Story. I gave the book to Bobbi, a gal who had just finished After the War, Before the Peace. She really hates Deborah, so I wanted her to read this and see if it's a believable turn in Deborah's character. Bobbi says she just reads for content and won't see any typos, but I feel she'll still do me a favor if she gives me her take on the plot and character evolution. Then, she said she'd give it to another friend, Wanda. Wanda is good at catching typos. Once I get it back, I'll send it to that publisher recommended by Anne.

The TelecomPioneer garage sale went well. We were busy, had a good turn out and made over $700 dollars. The folks were great with donating goods to sell and with all the work involved in set-up, sell and clean up. I had a writer's meeting on Saturday, so we closed shop at 11:10 a.m. and by 11:40 the group had boxed up our left overs and loaded them into a truck for a guy who came to haul off our stuff for a garage sale of his own. I'm just glad it's over for another year!

Saturday was the Lake Havasu City Writer's Group meeting. BIG attendance. Almost too many folks. We got bogged down in procedure again, but overall it went well. I got good feedback on my Freedom submission. This time we were to submit our 250 word assignment for the prompt 'A Stranger in a Foreign Land'. I revamped my old story The Move about a woman with macular degeneration being put in an assisted living home by her son. Looking forward to their comments.

Sunday, Karen and I went to see Taken with Liam Neeson. Too much shoot 'em up and not enough plot. I know with those types of movies, you often have to let things pass that seem obviously over done, but this was so extreme in some scenes that I found it hard to swallow. I really like Neeson, but this wasn't one of his best. Can't compare to his role in Michael Collins.

Monday, I had lunch with Donna. We like that we've set up the last Monday of the month as our lunch date. Otherwise, we let too much time go by.

Tuesday, the TelecomPioneers met to choose what Lake Havasu City high schoolers would be receiving our scholarships. We picked a girl and a boy. Nice kids. Seem like they have their heads on straight. We got into a discussion on writing recommendations because so many of the teachers used plastic phrases over and over again, like 'excellent student', 'star of my class', 'outstanding', 'extraordinary' and such. The recommendations became useless because of the pat phrases that really said nothing. Specifics would have helped. So, looks to me like the rules of fiction would have helped these teachers help their students more effectively with things like - John is a pleasure to have in my class (hook). He is first to raise his hand to start discussions and always listens to an opposing opinion with respect before debating the issue (conflict/action). As a result, his peers value his opinions and look to him for leadership (conclusion).

This morning was a TelecomPioneer Hug-A-Bear assembling session. Made some cute St. Patrick ones. I could just see some little kid afraid and crying in an emergency room and he's handed one of the little bears to hug. I just know it will help him through his trauma.

Lunch today with fellow writer, Gina, down by the London Bridge Village. Good food and good company. We talked about writing, of course. She was an English teacher and gives such good feedback at our meetings.

Guess I'm caught up now. Oh, got a rejection from Bewildering Stories ezine on my Careful What You Feed submission. The editor said it was strong writing, but the plot had holes that made it unbelievable. Really nice crit instead of a form letter rejection. They did say they'd like to see more of my writing, so I take that as a good sign.

So my quote for today, is from Leon Uris. It capsulizes why he is probably one of my favorite writers. "Writing, basically breaks down to relationships between people and that is what you write about."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Respect for the Reader

February 18, 2009

A busy day getting ready for our Telephone Pioneers garage sale this week-end, but managed to make the afternoon mine as to writing. So, was able to move The Woman Between forward. It's getting harder everyday. As 'The End' draws closer, I'm seeing different endings and the characters are being stubborn as to how they are being portrayed. Their actions must ring true and make sense to a reader who has invested time in reading the book. Authors need to be true to their writer's voice, but I feel we owe our readers respect in what we expect them to buy in the way of story line and character resolution.

Also, worked on Deborah's Story. Only two chapters left to go, then I can turn it over to a couple of folks for editing opinions, then it's off to some publishers.

Managed to send a short story Be Careful What You Feed off to an ezine. I used a made-up word 'phot' to describe an alien life form from the planet Mars that feeds on humans. Their guidelines say no gratuitous violence, but I think this the violence in this one really completes the story. Time will tell if the ezine agrees. They promise to respond in three days and have an accept/reject back within five weeks.

That's it for today except for this quote from Dorothy Fields that is so true of what I'm experiencing right now with my ending to The Woman Between.

"I don't care how good a song is - if it holds back the storyline, stalls the plot, your audience will reject it."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feb. 17, 2009

Moved The Woman Between along today. Actually, I'm rather sad as it is coming to a conclusion and in order to keep all the characters likable, I'm having some closure problems. Lots of scenarios rolling around in my head as this could go so many ways. What fun.

Then, I worked for awhile in getting Deborah's Story cleaned up for a final edit by a couple of friends. I want to send it out to a publishing company over in Australia that Anne Connors recommended to me.

I'm getting some good feedback on my interview with Rebekkah White. I listened to it again and I didn't like it as much this time. I guess I'll just chalk it up to a learning experience and try to do better with the interview on the 26th.

One of my on-line writing groups is going through a dilemma right now as to whether political based stories, essays or poems are appropriate to this particular writing group. Lots of good arguments both for and against. The moderator referred the group to the overall rules for participation which state that any topic can be addressed, but the subject line must include a warning as to political, sexual or religious content, so reader beware. I think it's a good policy. I'd hate to think any form of writing in almost any venue being limited. That's the beauty of freedom. And, the way things are going, freedoms are eroding far too fast. I think back to the freedoms I grew up with that are no longer available - you could ride your bike without a helmet, parents could spank their children, seat belts were optional, prayers were acceptable in schools, Christmas creches could be displayed in public buildings, guns weren't registered with government and your backyard was your own and you could smoke there if you wanted to. These are just a few of the freedoms lost during my lifetime. I hate to think what my grandchildren will yet lose. So, lets don't limit opinions be they yours or someone else. Just agree to disagree in some cases, but don't turn it over to the 'wisdom' of government.

Okay, I'm stepping down from the soap box now, but let me leave you with some good advise from Ray Bradbury.

"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." Juan Ramon Jimenez, quoted at the start of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rain? Again?

Feb. 16, 2009

A quiet day around here. Moved my 'Between Two Women' forward. I'm nearly to the conclusion and I find that it one of the hardest part of the book to write. Hopefully, I've hooked the reader with the premise and have engaged them in the characters. Now, I owe them a reasonable conclusion that justifies their time in reading the book. My goal with this book is to take my reader through the emotional ties of brotherhood and the importance of finding and keeping someone who brings the same kind of deep ties as does brotherhood, but at an even more intimate level. I will miss these characters when its over.

I reviewed the most clever piece from Anne Connors. It was a tongue in cheek story about the yearly clashes of our Havasu locals with the visiting snowbirds. Very well written and a joy to review.

Cindie Miller has sent me the opening pages of her book to review. It's a sad story. I'm looking forward to the read as Cindie gets into the depth of her characters quite nicely and I know that the plot/message of this piece is timely and interesting.

I feel bad that I'm slighting my on-line writing groups, but what with the book fair and all the book signings, I'm not able to devote the time to the crits that their subs deserve. Oh, well, there's always tomorrow.

It's raining right now. For God's sake, don't the Gods know it isn't supposed to rain in the desert. This is the third or fourth rain storm since the first of the year. What gives? And it is the coldest winter I can remember in the 15 years I've lived here. Thank goodness for global warming or I'd be freezing to death. :-) This dreariness needs to pass and allow sushine and blue skies to fill the desert landscape and allow a creative warmth to cheer up my darkened mood. I'm reminded of a quote by D. H. Lawrence.

"And what's romance? Usually, a nice little tale where you have everything as you like It, where rain never wets your jacket and gnats never bite your nose and it's always daisy-time. " D. H. Lawrence

Sunday, February 15, 2009


February 15, 2009

Time, time, time! Where does it go? I remember distinctly when time moved along like a snail, now it roars on like a greyhound. So much has happened since the first of February that I scarcely know where to begin.

I guess it's best to begin with my Spring Frenzy classes. They were wonderful again this year. I'm so glad they see fit to ask me back year after year. I've had a spurt in book sales these past couple of weeks and I think it has to do with getting out to meet the public more. My Journaling class was well received, more than 30 attendees and many of them had attended my Short Story class the day before. On Thursday I attended Pat Agnew's class on 'How to Talk to Your Doctor'. She drew a nice crowd and they received some great info. JOan and Vivien were there, too.

Friday, I met with Dave for our exchange of crits. He is having a problem liking Stephen and I'm not happy to hear about that. My goal is to make the reader like all three main characters. Also, he didn't care for the new woman in Stephen's life. I'll really have to review his notes. In order for the conclusion to work, they have to be likable characters. I'm glad to get his take on them. The story is not his cup of tea, so I feel like I'm getting honest feedback.

Had our local writer's group meeting on the 7th and got feed back on my 'Reunion' piece. Mostly good, but some punctuation and dangling participle problems, but overall they liked the characters. Who could ask for more.

Two of the gals in my morning exercise class just got through reading my 'After the War, Before the Peace.' They really liked the characters. One wants more info on the family and is willing to read one of the sequels. I'm trying to get it ready for her. Oh, I heard from the publisher I sent 'Regardless' to. They turned it down. No feedback, just a form letter. Grrrrrr. I'm going to send it out again, and again, and again. It's a darn good book!

On Feb. 10th, authors, Joan Hobernicht and Tom Novak, drove down to Quartzsite with me for another booksigning. They both sold one copy of their books, but I only sold two to the bookstore owner who likes to keep some books of anyone who signs books at his place. He says folks often come back later and want to buy a book they talked to the author about, but didn't buy it right then. Oh well, it was a nice day. Visited with Debbie Hilbish again. She's a sweetie. Her husband brought me a cup of coffee and I ended up spilling it all over my table and ruining three books.

When I got home from Quartzsite, I found a letter from Triple Tree Publishing in my mailbox and they have accepted my short story 'The Gift' for publication in their MOTA 9 anthology. I get a complimentary copy of the book and they are paying me .05 a word and it's around a 5,000 word story. Yahoo!!!

On Wednesday, I had an appointment with my hair dresser Liz. She has been encouraging me to read 'The Shack'. I did not like it at all. In fact, there was a line where 'God' told the bereft man that he had been with the man's six year old daughter the whole time she was abused and murdered and that she had been so brave. It made me sick to my stomach. And what I didn't understand was how the readers could accept and like a 'God' who could not stop the brutal murder of a child, but can spend a week-end with a man to absolve his 'great sadness' over the loss of the child. Well, Liz said that she had seen some seminars by the author and the book was all symbolism and that the shack was actually his soul. I told her he missed the point, badly. I've spoken to several folks who've read the book and didn't like it at all. Yet, it has sold millions. Several of us writers have decided that we need to write a book about 'God' and will make millions. People are searching, so if you can offer a limb that promised the tree of eternity, they'll grab for it. Oh, and by the way, Liz didn't take my dismissal of the book personal. I got a great color and cut, like always!

Thursday was an exciting day! I had a Blog Talk Radio interview with Rebekkah White. I was a little nervous about it, but it went well. She gave me a great intro for both me and for 'After the War, Before the Peace'. We discussed the strong women in my book and how it is often the women who hold families together. She let me advertise my class on Long Story Short and 'Hannah'. It turned out to be a lot of fun! I listened to it later and actually liked it.

Then that night was our Four Goddesses regular Denny's meeting. Got feedback on 'Connections'. All agreed it was creepy and a good reversal of the old getting ahead in entertainment via the couch story.

Friday, we had our book club and reviewed the works of Erskine Caldwell. Overall, most wouldn't read him again. But several of us liked his work. He was able to combine great sadness with some smart humor and that it is hard to do. I read 'God's Little Acre' and really enjoyed it, despite it's sad message. I tried to rent the video, but Blockbuster didn't have it. I found it on Ebay and bought it for $1.00. The actor Aldo Ray is in it and I do like him.

Then yesterday was the Lake Havasu City Writers Group Book Fair. It was fun! Met lots of really nice folks and sold all but two of my books, including the coffee stained ones! I didn't get to attend the workshops, but I did get to talk about my books and introduce Peter Brookhousen of Hastings Books, Music and Videos. He's so good to us local authors! Debbie Hilbish was there and sat right next to me. She and her mom are huggers, warm and friendly folks. Debbie's husband seems like a real good guy and they obviously adore each other. After the fair ended, a bunch of us headed to Denny's for another hour. I do enjoy their company!

Today was a take it easy day. I stayed in my sweats all day. Wrote some more on 'The Woman Between', answered email and just vegged out. I watched two movies. 'The Happening' - I love Mark Wahlberg, but the movie was a big dud, too bloody and too illusive. 'Finding Forester' - just okay, very cliched story only in reverse. Underprivileged, young, black saves privileged, old, white recluse.

Now, I think I'll watch a Law & Order episode and maybe do some more writing. And, in the future, I'll try to remember and adhere to the advise of the following quote.

"Nothing is as far away as one minute ago." Jim Bishop

Monday, February 02, 2009

February 2, 2009

Other than my daily doses of 'The Woman Between', not much writing going on between Monday and Thursday. Lots of time spent with friends outside my writer's world, except for one lunch with Vern. Always an interesting person to chat with. He has had a varied life with his hand in many pies. He's an excellent writer, but hasn't been doing much writing lately. I hope that changes, and soon. He and I disagree totally when it comes to politics. He frequently tells me, 'You are one of the most intelligent women I know, so how can you be a Republican?' I always laugh and return the comment except to ask how he cannot be a Republican. He claims to have read and enjoyed 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand. Just goes to show how complicated a mind can be!

On Friday, Pat Agnew, Vern and I drove to Quartzsite, AZ for a booksigning. It was held at the Reader's Oasis Bookstore. The Quartzsite annual gem show is in progress, so the town is packed. If you've never been to their gem show, you have missed an 'experience'. Well, back to the booksigning. The owner of the bookstore is Paul Winer. Here is a picture of him in his store.

He is a poet, a former dancer and a very interesting conversationalist. Operates a well stocked, varied store, too. He draws a big crowd, but they are most Looky Lous. Didn't sell any books, but met several other writers and some interesting visitors to Quartzsite.

The week-end was spent getting ready for my classes for Spring Frenzy. Today I had 37 attendees at my 'So You Want to Write Short Stories' class. They were a very attentive class, with great comments and questions. Tomorrow is my 'Journaling' class. It's always a fun one and now I include blogging.

I finally finished my Alan Dean Foster book, 'Cachalot'. I do love his books, usually. But, this one left me cold. I'm glad it's over. Talking whales was too much of a stretch for me and his characters lacked the depth I've come to expect in his books. I have to reread 'God's Little Acre' for my Feb. 13 book club, but the next book I'll be reading is 'The Shack' by Wm. Paul Young. My hairdresser has recommended it to me. She was raised by missionaries and we often talk about my concerns about the existence of a God and if there is one, what should we expect from such a God. I hope this book answers my concerns, but I have my doubts.

Time to get some rest so I'll be bright and erudite for my journaling class for tomorrow, so adios.

"This is pretty much what journals are all about, at least to me. I knew as I wrote them that even though they provided an excellent place for brain and heart and psyche dump, they were mainly a map of me." Colleen Wainwright

Monday, January 26, 2009

To Detail or Not To Detail

January 26, 2009

Had a quiet week-end with no meetings. I spent Saturday working with my on-line writing groups playing catch-up. I reworked an old story to meet the prompt of one group and using the new prompt actually made the story better. Then, I combined the prompts from two others and wrote a new story about an abused wife who has had enough and puts a permanent stop to it. The feedback has been interesting. The story focuses on what she does. Only hints of the why are given - black eyes, cheating, on-going treatment and an abusive father. One of the groups liked it very much and felt it hit the mark without getting caught up in maudlin details. The other group felt it was almost an outline. They didn't feel her pain or understand what got her to that point. I just love it when my stories can be read so many different ways.

Last Thursday night was our monthly Hastings meeting. Good crowd showed up. The readings were good, as always, and the conversation very stimulating. Got lots of good reviews of 'The Shack'. I must start reading it so I can discuss it with Liz when I see her in the next few weeks.

Friday I met with Dave for our crits. He's giving me good feedback on 'The Woman Between'. I try to give him good feedback on his poetry, but I have two problems. One, his work is so good that it's hard to find fault and second, I don't know poetry rules, so I can only tell him how it makes me feel. I suppose that's helpful, but he really needs to work with another poet.

Speaking of my 'The Woman Between', the brothers rumble worked out well. The stronger brother actually ended up with a broken nose. Now I'm heading into the end of the story and it is sad for one brother and a new start for the other brother. I just hope it's working. Dave tells me he is liking the wild brother better, which is probably a good thing.

Half the time when brothers wrestle, it's just an excuse to hug each other." James Patterson

slan agat (goodbye)