This weekend I had the enormous pleasure of having a table at the local Diamond Valley Writer’s Guild (of which I am a member) book fair. There was a decent turnout, I sold some books, and I had a wonderful time getting to know other authors. Bonus, it took place in a local artists gallery, and I got to see some amazing art from local painters. Great stuff!
Two of my favorite authors were also there (not that I am biased or anything) and I got some pics of them being awesome.
This is the lovely poet, Judie Mare. She has four books now, all available on Amazon.com.
This is the very talented and funny Mr. John Hoddy. His little minxy protagonist is a wonderfully engaging character, and I highly recommend his first book, The Bandit Little Red. His second book in that series is coming soon(ish).
Okay, so here I was chugging along, getting an impressive word count each day, patting myself on the back for sticking to my goals.
I spent two weeks in the hospital, and the past week dealing with the fallout of being in the hospital. don’t worry, I didn’t die.
But a great big ‘ol wrench got thrown in the middle of my beautifully laid plans. and it was something grand, let me tell you!
I’ve decided however, that just because life forced me to skip out of Nanowrimo, I don’t have to skip out on the project I was working on. So Go Bite Yourself continues. My word count updates will be posted here. You know, sporadically, because underneath all this bluster I’m still the same ‘ol me.
Cheers and happy writing all!!
OH! And a belated happy Turkey Day. Hope you have things to be thankful for. if not, buy a book. Those things are magic portals to cheer even the coldest of hearts.
Just to touch base, I am chugging away at Go Bite Yourself. Im not really able to keep you up to date on my work count at this point, because most of my writing is being done in a notebook by hand while I’m on my daily commute. I will type it and imputed it to the nanowrimo.org page before the month is through. hopefully several times, but let’s keep our expectations realistic here people.
In the mean time, enjoy this sample cover I made while procrastinating. Interested in reading it yet?
Yup, its that time again. Nanowrimo 2016. I’ve follow along and encourage friends to do this in previous years, and enjoy hearing people completed their work. This year, I’m taking up the challenge myself.
For this 50,000 word endevor, I am writing a new book titled Go Bite Yourself.
Here is the blurb based on my starting concept:
Hamlin T. Barrow wakes up dead. not, you know, DEAD dead, but UNdead. Without any kind of guidance, he blunders through keeping in touch with family, trying not to eat every delicious smelling jogger he passes, and figuring out how to cure his vampiric infection.
Here is a small taste of the opening chapter:
Dead people stink. I mean, the living don’t always smell like sunshine and daisies either, but the dead smell particularly pungent. Especially the undead. The breath of a hungry vampire can peel automotive paint. So when one gets close enough to, say, unleash a roar of uncontrolled rage directly into your face, you nose mouth and eyes get hit with a wave of sulfur-infused-tooth-rot-halitosis of the otherworldly variety.
I should probably be afraid for my life. This guy is stronger, faster, and deader than me. Age seems to matter to these guys a lot. But the thing is, I already died once, and that worked out pretty much okay. When you get up and walk away from what I did, death threats really just don’t carry the weight they used to.
Wish me luck, reader!!! I’m going to go make some tea….
I’ve been pretty hard on myself lately about how much I haven’t been writing. I take being my own worst critic to award-winning levels. I read all sorts of articles and blogs about writing, how to get published, etc. I try to immerse myself in all things literary to try and stay focused; admittedly not my best talent. Many of the things I’ve read say that if you are not feeling inspired to “just write”. Doesn’t matter if it’s crap or gold. The act of trying will produce something, and you can always work with something rather than nothing. Seems pretty sage to me, so I tried it.
To get back into the swing of things, I reared my novel start to (un)finish. As I read, I tweaked a word here or there, which developed into a sentence, which by the end became a rhythmic tapping on the keys. Huh. Go figure. It helped me feel a small sense of pride as I realized my storytelling skills have been improving while I wasn’t paying attention. I’m starting to like what I read.
So I’m sitting there typing away, and I glance up and three hours have gone by. I should have been asleep two hours ago, and I don’t want to stop, so I reset my clock and start calculating how much time I can shave off my morning routine if I skip the non-essentials, like straitening my hair or ironing my uniform. I’ll let you sort out how well that worked out.
I swear I am waking up from some sort of anti-writing spell. I’m feeling motivated, and I just might get around to finishing what I started.
I know I haven’t been on much. I apologize for the silence. If you have been following along, then you know my move to Chicago could only be permanent if I found a job. I am very pleased to announce I have found said job, and internet service (and my life) has been restored. I celebrated my 30th birthday last week, and I have decided the universe gets credit for my birthday job (I got the call for my interview on my actual birthday). The first step in finding my happy place in the world has been taken. Let us hope more leaps forward are forthcoming.
As for my books, I wish I could say I have been writing up a storm. Unfortunately, I seem to be completely out of synch with my creative inner voice. Perhaps it is that I am preoccupied with the enormity of how my life has changed in the last month- or perhaps that is what I am telling myself to let myself off the hook. Either way, my mind is in a different place than I would like it to be right now.
Recently, a writer friend of mine passed away. She was elderly, and she knew it was coming. Still, at my age is comes as a shock when someone leaves your world. More so when you learn about it via e-mail. Since I am not feeling particularly creative, and since my friend is on my mind, I will tell you the parts about her that left a mark on my life.
The woman who I will miss was named Evelyn McGraw. When I met her, she was already 90 years old. She attended the first writing group I was a part of, a group focused on indie writers that are new to the world of serious writing.
Evelyn wrote lovely, old fashioned poetry. She often wrote about growing up on a farm, the novelty of her grandmother’s home when she was a child, or observations of the beauty in nature all around us. She had a great fondness for than changing of the seasons. Every piece she wrote was a lovely, positive reflection on the world. Her writing really made you appreciate the world through her eyes, though she never gave herself a single ounce of credit for the craftsmanship of her words.
I often sat next to Evelyn in class. She was hard of hearing, and so I would repeat the advice and critiques that her peers offered up for her from out of hearing range. She always took advice and criticism gracefully, and applied that advice to her works. Some of those works can be found in A Tapestry of Verse, published by The Word Weavers Guild- edited by our fearless leader John Kelly. I was told they put out a second book this summer. I have yet to get my copy, so I am uncertain if Evelynn’s work will be in that book.
Sitting and talking with Evelyn helped me to get to know her. I found out she got her pilots license in the 1930’s, when women rarely did such things. She never made a big deal of it, but when she spoke of flying it was always with fondness.
One of my favorite things about Evelyn was that she seemed to get me. I’m a bit weird, and I write bizarre poems and stories (which you know if you have read my work). It’s always made me feel like I don’t quite fit in, especially with a traditional writers, like memoirists and historical writers-which is the predominant style of writer in the town where I am from. Evelyn never once made me feel anything but appreciated. She always smiled and said she was glad to see me every time we came to class, and I often got a hug as if she were a favorite aunt or grandmother. She praised my work, and more than once wrote on the top of my submissions not to change a word.
I adored Evelyn, but it never occurred to me that I mattered to her too, until last April.
Evelyn told the class she wasn’t going to be attending anymore, because it was getting too hard to make the trip. She wanted to have a “Christmas rehearsal” party, because she said she did not think she would live to see another Christmas. I wish she had been wrong, but I’m glad she had the foresight to plan it.
John asked everyone in the group to write a piece in their own style for Evelyn, and I was asked to made a cover image for a notebook we gave her to keep all of our gift works in. Most people wrote really touching letters to her about all the reasons we thought she was awesome. It was like a birthday party, where she was the guest of honor. She was happy, and you could tell she was very touched by how much we all cared about her.
I, as I so often do, deviated from what everyone else did. I was asked to write a piece in my style for her, and that is exactly what I did. I thought about all the things Evelyn talked about in the couple years I knew her, and I recalled a poem she wrote based on an experience she had playing with old antiques in her grandmother’s attic. And so, I invented a story and set it to poetry about a little girl named Evelyn pearl (a play on the old fashioned term of endearment for someone you love or treasure) who goes up to play in her grandmother’s attic. I have posted it on my blog before, but I have included it at the bottom of this post so you can reared it in context of you would like.
After we all read our contributions to her, and she tucked each page safely in her notebook, Evelyn brought out presents she had gotten for everyone. She gave me a beautiful figurine of a fairy dancing around a rose branch. While people were eating, Evelyn walked up to me and said, “Do you know why I got that for you?”
I smiled and said, “Because it’s a fairy?”
“Because it’s a fairy, just like you. Every time I see a fairy I think of you. And when I saw that, I knew I had to give it to you, because she looks like she came from one of your stories.”
My eyes watered, and I gave her a huge hug.
That’s the last time I saw her, and it is a beautiful memory to me.
I love that fairy, and I still have her. She is all wrapped in bubble wrap back in California, soon to be sent to me here in Chicago.
It’s funny how much a single person can impact your life, and how you don’t even realize it’s happened.
So here is the message I want to share this week, reader:
Cherish the memories; even the small ones. Even if you are young. They always matter.
This quote was posted on The Writer’s Circle, a group that posts about writing stuff on Facebook (click the picture to go to their page). It inspired a conversation among my writer friends, in which one friend told me about a “what if?” writer’s conference she attended. The speaker gave them the following writing prompt:
In 12 words or less, starting with “what if” , charismatically describe your book so everyone will want to buy and and read it.
Sounds simple enough. But here’s the funny bit-it’s not.
Here is what I came up with for The Gatestone Chronicles: Fayling
What if you were the only person who could fix magic?
It isn’t a bad sentence, but would it sell my book? It doesn’t really hit at the real story, does it?
Okay, let’s try again.
What if a human could save the universe from fairies?
Hmm. I like that one better. Closer to what the book is about, but it vilifies the fay a bit too much.
One more time.
What if saving one life could magically alter the course of fate?
Okay, well it isn’t perfect, but to be fair I have to keep it to twelve words, so it will do.
What about you reader? Tell me what you came up with in the comments below. Happy Writing!
I know, I know, it is really late in the day and I should have posted much sooner. But wait until you hear about what I spent my day doing (then you might forgive my flakeyness). Since it is summertime, my good pal Kristin Swartfager is out of school (she works at a preschool), at which point she switches hats from teaching young-ins to illustrating and arting up the place.
I knew you would be. Here is a taste:
Yup. It’s a ball of yarn. This is one of many adorably irresistible images that will appear in our first collaboration, Timmy Tommy Tum. It is a picture book with a rhyming story about a human-like kitten who refuses to go to sleep. Yes, it is for children.
The reason (and my excuse) for being so un-bloggy today is because Kristin and I spent the day refining our work. You will see the results of our cooperation very soon. Until then, bask in the cuteness of the characters she drew to represent us in all of the books (yes, there will be several more to come) we do together specifically for kids.
In other news, my webpage got an update. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here: authoralsant.com
I will give you updates as our happy partnership produces more awesomeness. Until then, Happy reading!