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."