Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wine vs Milk

Feb. 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

Right Track - Delayed Departure

Feb. 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

Crits - What Was Done Right!

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

Another Week! Already???

Feb. 9, 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

Spring Frenzy

February 1, 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."