Saturday, February 3, 2018

Must Read!

I really don’t like self-help books.

The last one I read in its entirety was What Color is Your Parachute? back in the, I don’t know, 1980s?

But, recently, a friend loaned me a copy of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – the same author who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. I was skeptical of another self-help book and managed to put off reading it until I had nothing left on my “read now” pile.

I am about half-way through and highly recommend it as a must read for you writers out there who say you will eventually write that book. One of her many messages in the book is, cut it out. Start now!

So many of us complain about a lack of time to do what we love – that life gets in the way. But she points out, “Most individuals have never had enough time, and they’ve never had enough resources, and they’ve never had enough support or patronage or reward…and yet still they persist in creating. They persist because they care. They persist because they are called to be makers, by any means necessary.”
So many inspirational passages in this book. I love it!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In Memory

A sad day in the literary world.

Ursula K. Le Guin died today at the age of 88.

Not only did I absolutely love the way her name rolled off the tongue, but I also loved her way with young adult fantasy fiction. One of her shorts from The Wizard of Earthsea series was a regular in my classroom. Ah, good ol’ Mr. Underhill and his secrets!

If you are a fan of Tolkein, reading at least the first book in this series would be a great nod to Ursula Le Guin’s memory. The New York Times quoted her as saying, "The writer’s 'pleasant duty,' she said, is to ply the reader’s imagination with 'the best and purest nourishment that it can absorb.'"

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Surprises

Happy New Year!

I have to chuckle to myself at the possibilities a new year springs on you!

Just a few days ago, I wrote about how the pieces of my Eye of the Peacock project were pulling together. I am very excited about the cover ideas that will be coming soon.

Or so I thought!

My cover designer, Aaron La Porta, is first and foremost the head designer for the Buffalo Bills football team. Here in Western New York, we don’t get too excited about the Bills’ playoff possibilities. We hope and we cheer, mind you, but, well…. So, as the season neared its end, I was confident that Aaron might have a bit more free time on his hands.

But lo and behold! Not so! The Bills’ have broken 17-year playoff drought!

So as I cheer for the Bills, along with the rest of Western New York, the peacock will just have to wait a bit longer! Here’s to more surprises in 2018!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Bridge to a New Year

This time of year we find ourselves on the cusp of two years.

At the same time, I find myself on the cusp of two projects.

Eye of the Peacock is with my team of beta readers. It is an exciting and anxious time for me. I hope they enjoy it, but at the same time, I know they will have questions and concerns with the plot. Eventually, I will need to return to this project so that it is ready for my anticipated late summer release. My cover designer also has all he needs, except final length, to begin that part of the project.

So while I wait, I have begun my next project, one I am truly excited about. It is a futuristic fantasy with a male protagonist. Both concepts push at my comfort zone, but I am ready for the challenge. The plot is not solidified yet. At this point, I am having fun with my main character and the people who are coming into his life. I am hoping he will be an unsuspecting hero. I hope he meets my expectations!

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Draft is Done!

The draft of “Eye of the Peacock” is now finished. Huzzah!

I’m taking a week to read through one last time to look for silly mistakes before it goes to my team of beta readers. Besides my usual crew, I’ll have three teens on that team, and I’m excited for their input. I’ll be giving them several weeks to read and make their annotations.

Then begins the really tough work: comparing their notes page by page. If they all pin point a problem area, then it’s my job to rework it. Some will also spot some editing mistakes, and I’ll fix those along the way.

The next step is ordering proofs once the cover has been decided. Another team of readers will “red pen” those copies for editing mistakes.

Then it’s off to the publishers!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Have Adventures!

Writing teachers always tell new writers to write what they know. But that’s not exactly true. If it were, we would be so limited. How could you ever write about space travel, if you had never done it? Yet there are science fiction writers out there who have never travelled in space.

As writers, we need to combine what we know with our imagination. But we must also strive for a vast supply of experiences from which to draw. True, research can help fill gaps when writing, but you need to combine the research and imagination with your experiences. To have been there and smelled it and heard it, really helps a writer reach their readers.

My advice: I can’t encourage you enough to go out and have adventures – even if they are close to home. Take photos (your memory will fail you!). Even take notes if you have to – sniff the air, listen as you walk or ride. How would you describe it?
I took this photo on one such adventure this summer and think I will expand the terrain and use it as an environment on a planet in one of my next books!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Crafting the Ending

Crafting the ending of a piece, I believe, is the most challenging. It is not only the part where all the pieces of a story need to come together, but also the part where the writer needs to re-examine the reason for writing the piece. What was the message you were intending to give to your readers? Has that message been made clear?

So I often find myself going back through on the second draft and looking for places to shore up that message, looking for places where I can insert bits of information that I found necessary to include at the end, tweaking wording to cleverly hint at themes.

And that is what Beta Readers will be for as well – helping me find those holes that don’t exist in my head, but haven’t been made clear on paper.

This is the part that is more than just writing!