Thursday, November 04, 2010
Finally, today, I got back into the writing world, at least talking about it. Cindie, Dave and I met at Hastings Books today to talk about our sales event coming up this Saturday at the Hampton Inn. We'll have a table amid a variety of home based businesses. Should be interesting. The coordinator of the event has done a lot of advertising and it's kind of fun to see my name on the flyers as if I were some important author.
I've had some experiences the past couple of days that has me wondering about what makes people tick. Friends have made some negative comments that I would never say to them and they seem to think it's funny as they laugh and try to soften their remarks. One said 'You look terrible'. That was the morning after my 16 hour day at working at the voting polls. Another loudly commented on my current lack of a love life. Then as I was asking another friend if she wanted to join me and another friend for a movie, I was told I have terrible taste when it comes to movies. Finally, after giving my opinion on a restaurant, I was told that I was too rigid. These are all good friends and I know they didn't mean to hurt, but none of them mentioned one good thing about me or comment on the good things going on in my life. None of these remarks came with suggestions as to what I should do, just what was wrong with me. Funny. Well, at least, my hairdresser said some nice things about enjoying my company and my choice to let my hair be natural. I know I pay her, but we've been friends for around 15 years, so her opinion means a lot to me. Phew, I really have ranted. Perhaps I'm just being too sensitive, but again, I have to wonder what makes people tick.
So, I guess I'll close today with this bit of sarcasm from Honore de Balzac - 'Nothing so fortifies a friendship as a belief on the part of one friend that he is superior to the other.'
Monday, November 01, 2010
Had an email today from a fellow LHCWG member. She is looking for info on how to start/maintain a blog. I gave her this blogger site, but told her I'm not all that great at blogging so I didn't feel I had much to offer her. As we talked, we discussed the future of writing and the impact that the ebook world is making and how it won't be a choice, but a necessity, to know about blogging, e-marketing, twittering and facebooking. It's definitely a new world out there as to publishing.
I watched Nim's Island today and it was so much fun watching Jodie Foster portray an author who lives through her dashing and daring adventure hero only to have to take on her hero's attributes in order to save a little girl left alone on an island. Jodie was so believable as the writer and how she related, or lived vicariously, through her character.
So, with all this chatter about characters, I will sign off with this thought - " A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's." - Jean Paul Richter
Friday, October 29, 2010
Made the final arrangements for the WNEA Shopping Extravaganza slated for Nov. 12th. Cindie and I will share a table for the sales of our books. I'll have copies of After the War, Before the Peace and Hannah, but I'll have to have bookmarks ready for Abby-Finding More Than Gold. I've created a flyer with a picture of the book cover, a synopsis of the story and how to buy it. Feedback on it has been positive. This ebook marketing is sure a learning experience.
Went to see the movie Life As We Know It today with Pattie S. It was a fun movie. A very predictable plot, but the dialog was excellent and of course the delivery by the main characters sold the movie.
Tonight was our monthly reading at Denny's only three writers showed up - Cindie, Karen and me. The stories were good and the conversation was lively. Karen has a new computer program that polices her writing. It actually tells her if she's using too many passive words or negative sentences. Sounds like a good investment.
So, thinking about marketing again, I'm reminded of a quote by John Wanamaker as quoted in David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man - "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is, I don't know which half."
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I'm getting good feed back on the 'Abby' flyer I created, as well as the business cards with the pictures of my three novels. This marking ebooks is a whole new ballgame for me, so I'm open to trying anything.
Got a call from Dave today. He had a speaking engagement in the L.A. area and sold 25 books!! Hurray for him. Pales my 5 sold yesterday, but I'm soooooo happy for him.
Also got a call from Kathy who came to one of our novel meetings. She has gone with Author House to publish her Christian romance novel. She seems very pleased with their procedure and pricing. I hope all works out well for her. Self-publishing is wonderful in that a writer can finally control the publishing of his/her book. I'm glad I did it with my first one, but I won't do it again. Virtual Tales Publishing has been a dream to work with. The release delays I've experienced with Awe-Struck Publish, along with no print book, has left with a wait and see attitude on working with them. I'm hoping things will turn out well.
In thinking about my quote of the day, it's marketing that is one of my concerns, so these words of wisdom from Winston Churchill seem to fit my mood. "Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an an amusement. Then is becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public."
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Then, I had a call from a gal named Shirley from the London Bridge Women's Club. She asked me to speak to her group on Jan. 12th. I'll have about 25 minutes for a presentation and a Q and A session. I'm so looking forward to it. Maybe, 'Lita - A Meandering Story' will be in print by then.
This evening, I had a speaking engagement to speak to one of the Lake Havasu City chapters of Beta Sigma Phi. I only had about 15 minutes to speak. I tried to cover my background and credentials. Then I gave a quick presentation of Journaling. They were a great crowd and provided a lot of interaction with their comments about their experiences. Sold a few books, too! I am really grateful to Sandee Honisch, an old Simi Valley, Cal. friend, who set up the engagement for me.
I continue to get nice emails from the email blitz I sent out regarding the release of 'Abby- ...' . I'm hearing from old friends who are sharing what is going on in their lives. I'm truly blessed in the friendship and support of writers from such a broad band of genres and countries. This Internet world is a wondrous thing!
So, all in all, it was a productive day for this writer. Tonight I leave you with the thoughts of Ben Jonson - "For a man(woman) to write well, there are required three necessaries: to read the best authors, observe the best speakers and much exercise of his(her) own style."
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Awe-Struck Publishing has done a nice job with the cover and the editing. I hope they do as well with some marketing on their end. I've got some speaking engagements on the books and a tentative book signing at Hastings.
I'm now working on novel six of the Farrell saga. I have the 1950s generation of Farrell boys in a rock and roll band. Part of the family is now living in Hawaii. Gosh I sure hope some of these get published. I think they are an interesting and likable clan.
I've been kind of in a funk lately as to the meaning of life and what the hell I've done, or haven't done, with mine. Good friends are helping me get some answers.
So, I'll leave you with this quote - "Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgement difficult." - Hippocrates, Aphorisms
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Yesterday was devoted to writing/reading. A perfect day! Moved 'Stephen's Boys' along. I worked with Andy yesterday and today. He's about to hit bottom and I hope the scene I created of him on the streets of N. Hotel St in Honolulu engages the reader in his misery. I received some good feed back from my local writer's group today on a scene between Josh and Andy in the hospital. Jim said he feels this probably one of my best novels. I hope he's right.
Denise has posted the upgrades to my website and she has added a guest book and put the cover for 'Abby - Finding More Than Gold' on the opening page. It looks great. Also, she upgraded the wording on the question section to feature it as a contest. Nice!
Today was the Lake Havasu City Writers Group meeting. Big turnout. Our young writers continue to attend. Matt had submitted a sci-fi piece that was quite elegant. He has a nice grasp of grammar and seems to have an enate feel for pacing. Kelly submitted something at today's meeting, so we'll get to see her work. Having the young POV will certainly help keep our group timely. Two real issues came up. One, should the word 'bible' be capitalized? I say unless it refers to a specific bible (Duey-Rheims/King James) it shouldn't be capital, but most said it should. I can't find a specific rule anywhere on it. Then, Gina, pointed out something called 'parallel structures'. She gave me an example. I read up on the matter, but still don't quite get it. Think I'll give Gina a call and talk to her about it.
After the meeting, it was over to Denny's for the 'real' meeting. Lots of fun, good conversation and movie reviews.
Didn't submit anything to publisher/agent again today. Dang! LHCWG member, Gina, said something today that really has nothing to do with writing, but it certainly hits a sad, unfair truth. It is sticking with me, so I'll share it here. "Men age like wine; women age like milk." Anonymous
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Another slow week for the writing in my life. Although, I am moving 'Stephen's Boys' forward a little each day. Yesterday, as I reviewed/edited some events each brother was experiencing, I realized I hadn't kept to an easy-to-follow time line regarding their actions. I have it all down, but it was a choppy read. I moved some things around and everything fell into place. I'm almost to 'The End'. I've got the two older brothers together and now their sons/nephews will soon be together. I believe that since they are on Maui, I'm going to incorporate the 'Seven Pools' area into the closure. It's a beautiful place and I think it will work well with the healing between these four souls.
Got a call from Dave on Monday. He finally went to Publish America and is getting 'Tude' published. He sounded so excited. I'm really happy for him. Like I told him, getting that first book into your hands is akin to giving birth. It's a thrill only a parent, of a child or book, can truly experience.
I was the speaker for my Pioneer group this month. I gave my workshop on Journaling. I think it went over well. I almost didn't bring any of my books to sell because I thought everyone in the Pioneers who wanted a book had already bought it, but I brought some and sold two of 'Hannah'. Yahoo.
Today, we did clean up of the books over at our community center. Some new shelving was built last year and the books got all out of order. Two members of the book club, two friends and I alphabetized all the fiction novels and got them set up on the shelves. Took about two hours, but it looks nice and makes a specific book easy to find.
I still haven't submitted anything lately. I think I have a touch of spring fever. I'm operating on a 'have-to' modus operendi. Oh, well, I guess everyone needs to chill now and then. So tonight I'm trying to concentrate on the wisdom of this quote by Will Rogers. "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Unfortunately, it's been a slow week for anything regarding my writing. I've been managing to work on 'Stephen's Boys', but that's about it. I'm persistent with the writing each day, but I need to be more aggressive with my submissions.
Had our Four Goddesses meeting on Thurs. and all four of us were there. Didn't get too much feedback, but they do seem to like the way I'm expanding 'Mama Played for the King'. Henri's crazy story about how he lost his leg that he told to his little niece and nephews was well received. So maybe I can find a couple more spots of capsulized info that I can expand on.
I volunteered for a Valentine's Day recognition dinner for a couple of current students attending Mohave Community College. Spent Thursday afternoon doing prep things, then Friday night making sure everything went well with the guests. Got to talk with folks about my books and why I write. It was fun. They had the current Phi Theta Kappa students doing clean-up work. Since I'm a PTK myself, it was nice to talk with some of the young folks. It was a fun time of my life and I hope those kids are having just as much fun.
Saturday was our book club meeting to discuss the books of James Patterson. He certainly is diverse in the types of books he puts out. And, I believe he is the first author that all members voted that we would read again. I read 'I, Alex Cross'. I do love his Cross crime stories, but this one started off with a bang, then just fizzled. Too much time spent with Nana that didn't add to the movement of the plot. Then, I felt he gave me a Grisham ending. He gave me some great characters, dialog and conflict, but his ending was too abrupt and too cliched. Oh, well, I should be making that much money!
Had a slow day today, so went over to the casino. As usual, it was fun, but not profitable.
I've been having talks with various writers lately about the value of pointing in our crit sessions as to why a story/essay/memoir/novel is good, along with explaining what needs fixing. Too often the better writers in the group have to be happy with 'It was good', but no discussion as to why it was good. Now that we are getting new members, especially the young ones, I think it would benefit them to hear why a piece worked. Like, the hook was effective, the pacing kept the reader's interest, the character expo clearly delineated their traits, or good show vs tell techniques were used. All these things, when they are pointed out, help the new writer see techniques that make their writing pop. Just a thought!
So, due to my lack of aggressiveness in submitting my work, I'm going to try to think more about this quote from Joseph Addison, an English essayist. "If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius."
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
So much has happened since my last blog that I scarcely know where to begin. I guess I should start with my computer problems. I think they are totally behind me. Alex came out on Feb. 2 and we declared both of my printers dead, so had to buy a new one. After a week of use, I must admit that I like it a lot. It's another HP. But the best thing Alex did was to get my Word 2000 to work on Windows 7. It's been a week and no problems. Yahoo!!
On Thurs., Feb. 4th, I had my Spring Frenzy classes again. Had around 20 folks in each class. Vern and Vivian, from my local writer's group, showed up for the classes. It was so nice to have their support. The attendees were great and I managed to sell a few books.
After class, Vern and I went out for lunch. He's such an interesting man. He did try to get me riled about politics, tho. He ranted on and on about how bad Republicans are and was especially critical of Sara Palin. But, it's like I keep trying to tell him. He has his views/beliefs and I have mine. I think we are both intelligent people and we came to our beliefs over many years and experiences. There's no way we'll change each other's mind. But, I don't view that as a bad thing. It's kind of like when one political party has the white house and the other party has congress. It creates a healthy checks and balances. So it is with us voters. We need the folks with Vern's POV and we need folks with my POV. Creates stimulation and a watch dog society that keeps the general population on watch for a leader who would like to be 'king'.
Went to my Women's network meeting and was able to talk about my books. I'm beginning to know a lot of the gals so it's getting more enjoyable. Also, got some good feedback from those reading my book.
Went to the Spring Frenzy dinner show. I met some nice folks from Canada who had attended my class. They said they enjoyed it and will probably use some of the techniques I shared. Also, ran into Maggie who was my hostess for the Thurs. classes. She is thinking about writing a children's book and had some questions. I told her to keep at it, but she needs to know it's a tough market and she needs to really research the techniques the publishers are looking for. She gave me a great review of the classes. The entertainment was a quartet called the Alley Cats. They sang with no music. Lots of 50s type rock and roll. Very easy to watch and listen to them.
Friday I received an email from Peggy, a woman who attended my Spring Frenzy class on short story writing. She was concerned about copywrite. I referred her to some websites. She sent me a return email thank you for the info and for the class. She said she learned a lot. I'm so glad so many folks found it worthwhile. I sure enjoy it.
Got invited to play Bunco on Friday night at the home of an old Simi Valley friend. Sandee told all her friends about my book. Hope I get some sales out it. But, no matter, they were a fun crowd and I enjoyed the evening.
After breakfast at the Desert Hills Vol. Fire Dept. on Saturday morning, I attended the Lake Havasu City Writers Group meeting. Small crowd. And as always, the meeting at Denny's was the best part. We did miss some of old standbys like Jim, Anne, Cindie, Penny and Lois. Oh, got two young folks coming to the meetings - Matt and Kelley. He writes mainly sci-fi and she does poetry. I'm so glad to see young folks, with new ideas and enthusiasm wanting to join our group.
Sunday it was off to Quartzsite with Cindie and Joan for a booksigning at The Readers Oasis Book Store. It was lots of fun visiting with the other local authors and I did sell four books, so that was good. Dave and Nancy came down and he and Debbie did some poetry reading. We closed up around 3 p.m. and we joined the local authors and Silly Al's for pizza. We laughed a lot and had some great conversation. Debbie, her husband and her mother are so very nice and fun to be with.
Monday was a crazy day. Went to the Lake Havasu Republican Women's luncheon. Had a local speaker, but it was fun and the food was good. Then Dave and I met for our one on one crits. He really liked this last episode. Felt is was quite authentic, especially the part where Andy's wardmates think he's a jerk, but because of what he went through on Mt. Suribachi, they cut him a lot of slack. Glad it's working for him.
Then later in the evening, was our monthly Novel Group meeting. Dave made good on his decision to quit the group, so we are down to five. Overall the feedback on my 'Lita's Story - A Meandering Road' was good. The biggest negatives were too much dialog and that Joe and Michael are too good all the time making them flat characters. I'll have to think on that. Michael gets very angry in the episode I gave them to review for next month's meeting. It will be interesting to see if they see a change and if they like it.
Afterward Dave and I went to Denny's for supper. More talk about how and what we write. Always interesting to talk with Dave.
Today I went to another Bunco group and won most games! The gals are a lot of fun. Once back home early this afternoon, I worked on 'Stephen's Boys'. Andy is in a lot of trouble and Josh is about to leave the hospital to look for him. I was going to let Andy run loose for a few weeks, but I changed my mind and decided that Josh will find him soon and take him home to Maui and out of reach of the morphine and booze.
It's been a busy week. So busy, in fact, that I thought about a quote by William Faulkner. "An artist is a creature driven by demons. He doesn't know why they choose him and he's usually too busy to wonder why."
Monday, February 01, 2010
Day one of Spring Frenzy has come and gone and it was a BLAST! Had around 35 folks in each class, Journaling and So You Want to Write Short Stories. Extending the class to an hour and a half worked out well. No one felt rushed. Lots of time for questions and answers. But what was really special were the nice folks I met. And, a couple of repeat attendees. A lovely lady named Gladys, who loves my writing, purchased a number of copies of 'After the War, Before the Peace' a few years ago to give as gifts. Today, she bought two copies of 'Hannah'. She's over 90 in age, but mentally and physically she's a vibrant, active young woman. I can only hope I do as well at her age. Debbie, Ceil, Joe and Darlene, all writers from the Quartzite area, drove up to attend the classes. After the classes were over, those four writers and I were joined by two local writers, Dave & Cindie, for dinner at the Black Bear Restaurant. All days should be that good!!! I'm so looking forward to the classes on Thursday.
After dinner, I went to my Republican Woman's meeting. I was asked to donate 'Hannah' for their Lincoln Day Dinner silent auction. Sure hope someone bids on it. Then, had a couple ladies ask for my book, so sold two more copies of 'Hannah'!!! Then my friend Virginia came over to my table and wanted me to meet her husband, who read and enjoyed ATW,BTP. Virginia also wanted me to meet her friend, Dot. It was so much fun being introduced as 'the author'. Don't know if I'll ever sell a million books, but I'm sure have fun listening to the folks who've read and enjoyed my books.
Worked on 'Stephen's Boys' for a short time this am. Andy is on the run, trying to get some distance between his war memories, the booze and the morphine he is hooked on. But, Hilo isn't that big a city. It will be challenging to have him stay hidden from the folks wanting to help him.
I hope to get my computer problems behind me tomorrow. A really great computer repairman, Alex, is coming over to see if he can solve my Word and printer problems. I've got my fingers crossed.
So, I reckon the best way for me to sign off tonight is to think about enjoying all the good stuff in my life and let the problems take a back seat. I keep reminding myself that some very dear friends, Sharon and Sharolyn, both who died way too young would be happy to be here on Earth suffering car and computer problems. So, when I hear that country western song that says "I can sleep when I'm dead.", I have to smile and agree! Here's my final thought for the day from H. T. Leslie - "The game of life is not so much in holding a good hand as playing a poor hand well."
Sunday, January 31, 2010
If my computers were working properly, today would have been a perfect day! Nothing to do, aside from a quick shopping trip for groceries and office products for tomorrows Spring Frenzy classes.
I'm all set for the classes. Packets for the attendees are ready and I've reviewed my notes on what to say/show to make the classes come alive. As I reviewed the material, I was reminded of the very basics of writing and a refresher course in the basics is always a good thing. It's always fun and I get to meet new folks. Thru my classes, we picked up Jim and Rusty for our local writer's group. Good writers and most welcome additions to our writer's group.
Wrote more on 'Steve's Boys'. I introduced the problems Josh has been having with his amputation that he has been hiding from his wife. I've changed my mind about the ending, but I do want to leave the reader wondering at the end of this saga of the Farrell family.
Didn't get time to work on 'Mama Played for the King' for that agent. Hopefully, after this week of classes is over, I'll have time to work on it. I'm so excited that she asked for the whole book after reading 80 pages.
Oh, my kids presented me with a Kindle for Christmas. I love it!!! Of course, I downloaded 'Hannah' and 'Mota 8 - Addiction' that has my short story 'The Gift'. I downloaded the new Patterson book, 'I, Alex Cross'. We are reading Patterson's books for my book club this month. I'm really enjoying it. I down loaded about 10 books and I carry them around in my purse now on my Kindle and it takes up less space than my checkbook. It's amazing.
Debbie, her mom and a couple of other authors are coming up from Quartzite tomorrow for my short story class. Then, a couple of Havasu writers are going to join us and we going out to dinner. I sure wish she lived closer. She's such a positive person.
Got to go to bed now so I'll be alert for my classes. Creativity, learning and persisting - the jewels in a writer's work box. So I'll leave you with a quote by Isaac Asimov - "You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist."
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Life has been keeping me busy this past month and I've been remiss in keeping up with my daily posts on my life in the writing world. But, today was so special that I had to drop back in.
My local writer's group, Lake Havasu City Writer's Group, had a book signing for their 2010 'Offerings from the Oasis' anthology. We flocked over to Hasting Books and Music to sell and sign books. Off and on their were about a dozen of us and we managed to sell a fair number of books. I was so pleased that they included two of my stories - 'Pastrami vs Tuna Salad' and 'Exquisite Moments'. I hope the readers enjoy them. All in all the presentation and the content is probably one of the best 'Oasis' yet. I guess we're all getting better and better!
Since I last blogged, I had another book signing down in Quartzite. Sold 4 Hannah books and 1 After the War, Before the Peace. Got a fan email from a lady in Utah saying she enjoyed Hannah so much, she has ordered After the War, .... Yahoo! Always nice to hear. We're going back down there on Feb. 7th.
Also, I've been working on the final edits for 'Abby-Finding More Than Gold'. It is due out in March from Awe-Struck Publishing. I had a great editor and I think the final product will sell nicely. The editor liked it so much, she suggests a sequel. Maybe, someday.
Still working on 'Stephen's Boys'. Poor Josh lost a leg when his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean and Andy has gone mental from all the killing and wounding he saw on Suribachi. They are both in a hospital in Hawaii.
Having lots of computer problems! That's all I'll say, because I want to keep this blog 'G' rated!
Tomorrow, I need to practice how I'm going to moderate my Journaling and Short Story Writing classes scheduled for Mon. and Thurs or next week.
So, got to run, but let me leave you with this little quote about time and how fleeting it is these days. "Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of." Benjamin Franklin