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