As I settled down into my chair to write this blog, I was trying to think of something to write about and a memory snuck up on me.
Back when dirt was new, I dreamed of being a writer. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when this dream took hold, but I remember commandeering the family’s card table, a folding chair, and my parent’s portable manual typewriter. Yep, old school. Not even electric. Just push keys and a return bar you grabbed and hauled back to advance to the next line.
My first opus was a Christmas play. My father was an actor for the local children’s theater and I wanted to write a children’s play about the true meaning of Christmas as told by Santa Claus. I remember assembling my tools – paper and typing eraser – and I had my reference material – our family Bible. Then, focused on my goal, I pounded away on that typewriter until my play was complete. I remember thumbing back and forth through that Bible to find the various aspects of the story, determined to keep the story accurate and factual, but entertaining. I’ve no idea how long it took, but I remember I did finish it and read it to my parents who praised me for my effort. I don’t think they believed I’d finish it; I was young enough to believe that I’d always finish my writing. Ah, the optimism of youth.
Fast forward to today where I’m in the midst of a triple move. Yeah, we sold our house in December and had to move in with my Mom temporarily while we looked for a new house to purchase–Move One. Last month, we bought our dream home and moved everything into it except me–Move Two. Now we’re working to pack Mom’s things so we can move her and me into the house this month–Move Three. Yeah, life has been a little crazy.
Anywho, staying at Mom’s means I don’t have an office, so once more I’m writing on a card table and today it hit me. I’d come full circle to that girl with a dream. Thanks to technology, I don’t need paper OR erasers and any reference material I need is as close as a Google search, but I did it.
I AM A WRITER!
I’m looking forward to the release of my third book, ACES DOWN, courtesy of The Wild Rose Press and I’m old enough to realize that finishing the book isn’t all that easy. But it’s still just as exciting as it was that day I pulled the last sheet of paper from the platen, tapped it into alignment with the other sheets, and carried it in to show to my parents.
Yeah, that moment when I type “The End” is a thrill that will never get old. And every time, I celebrate with as much joy and pride as that little girl seated at the rickety card table in front of that old portable typewriter.
Do you have a full circle type story to share? I’d love to hear it.
Writing a novel takes a L-O-N-G time.
Getting it sold takes however long it takes.
Editing it takes less time, but seems longer.
Finally, you wait for your publisher to slip you into the production stream and then BAM!
You’ve got a Release Date and you’re off to the publicity races!
My latest entrant in that race is ACES DOWN and I’m in the line-up for launch on July 8th.
It’s a hot time at Aces Down when a witch and a shapeshifter square off against a vengeful ghost.
Stay tuned for more celebratory posts and some prize-winning opportunities.
Just popping in to spend a little quality time with my blog. I know it gets kinda lonely out here and wanted to give it a little random love.
Life update – prepping for move to new home – mucho excited, maybe a bit more scared. Even though I’ve done it many times, there’s always that little voice asking am I doing everything necessary? Am I doing it all correctly? Have I missed anything? DH is optimistically planning to empty four FULL Smartboxes–By Himself–in 48 hours. He’s just moving it all from box to garage, but honestly, I think he’s crazy. And he’s scheduled it when I’m not available to help. Yeah, how many kinds of crazy is he? Well, that’s a matter for another post. But ya’ gotta love an optimistic man!
Writing update – cobbling A Matter of Time together. Using components of early incarnation (Tarnished Goods) to fill in gaps of newest version. New title – new plotline – same characters – similar issues – different crises. I feel it’s a true example of the whole being better than the sum of its parts. At the same time, I’m trying to do a short story romance. Yeah, maybe my DH is not the only crazy one in this households, eh?
So, since misery loves company, what’s going on in your life? Do Tell!
Writers are always asking themselves and each other, repeatedly, “when do you know you’re done?” with the draft, the edits, the book! It’s a hard question to answer. Even those far greater than I seem to have struggled with this question – why even Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
I usually make the call when the thought of reading through my current WIP makes me green about the gills. If I’m that tired of it, it’s time to set it free! Hmm, something about that doesn’t quite sound right, but it’s in the ballpark.
Anyway, I was reviewing my galley for ACES DOWN and while I had a definite deadline to turn it around, I was pushing it to get another run through, just in case. So, when I tripped UP the stairs at my office while carrying my galley and a full cup of morning nirvana, i.e. coffee, this is what happened.
Yep, just call me Grace! After the massive clean up, fortunately we did not have to call in professional assistance, I was draping the coffee-soaked pages all over an empty office and I realized it was a sign. Time to set it free.
Writers, crafters, artists, poets, et al – when do you know that it’s time to let go?
I’m thrilled to be able to share the cover for my next book – ACES DOWN! Galley has been returned to my editor at The Wild Rose Press (that’s a topic for another post LOL) and ACES is in the queue for a Release Date.
And in case you’re wondering what ACES DOWN is all about:
Solitary witch, Norah Cartwright, settled in Colorado’s silver country, seeking protection from vengeful werewolves and a place to rebuild her life. When former boyfriend, Tristan Byrnes, shows up at her bar, Aces Down, it seems there’s not enough silver in them hills after all. At least, not for a werewolf determined to win back his mate.
Instead of flowers, Tristan brings irrefutable proof the pack has been called off her trail, but he never guessed his proof was more time-bomb than peace-offering. When her past blows up in her face, is Norah strong enough to trust Tristan and defeat an attack from beyond the grave?
Happy Dancin’ – oh yeah!
Yesterday, I received an amazing photo writing prompt from The Writing Practice. Guest Blogger, Birgitte Rasine reminded us about the upcoming anniversary of one of the world’s worst tsunami’s – The Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004. Almost a quarter of a million people lost their lives. She shared the image below by a photographer named Dan Root. This untouched photographic image is part of an amazing website – http://tsunami.lucita.net/index.html.
People ask me about the photograph.
Tacked to my bulletin board amid notes, ticket stubs, and other scraps of my life, the photo never fails to catch the eye. And each time they ask, I have to stop. Stop to absorb it all again–the beauty, the simplicity, the pain.
“A friend sent it to me back in 2004,” I’d say, the words so simple, but always so difficult to say. “He was working on assignment in Sri Lanka.”
I wait, and sometimes there is a reaction, a blink, a soft indrawn breath, followed by an equally soft, “I’m sorry.”
However, the reaction comes less and less often as time and events push that nightmare December 2004 farther backward in the collective consciousness of my world, half a planet away from the site of that cataclysmic event. A day when the earth shrugged and over 200,000 souls cried out in terror and were lost. One of them, a quiet brown-eyed poet with a camera; a talented photographer whose amazing skill captured that simple majestic moment. For those losses, for that loss, I keep the photo as a reminder, never farther away than an upward glance.
Every day is precious, everyone is magic, and everything is sacred. Live, love, laugh, and remember, always remember.
In remembrance and in hope.
#JRW14 is in the books and an unqualified success based on the comments overheard throughout the weekend. Quality panels, intriguing topics, pleasant venue, and professional management by both conference and hotel staff. I’ve come to expect nothing less from the James River Writers and am delighted to see the event evolve every year.
However, the strongest piece of the conference experience is interacting with other writers. There’s something magical and empowering in the question: What do you write? Being in a place where the response is both tendered and received without hesitation or fear of judgment is liberating. We speak the same language. We share the same experience. Differences in genre are not obstacles, but opportunities. Opportunities to make connections, network.
I won’t attempt a major recap, but I wanted to throw out some fun tidbits I scribbled in my notebook. Here’s a few soundbites from the conference:
Banish the banal from your beginnings.
Net Galley, Scribd, Blockbuster, Better than Free, Terrible Minds
A pitch is like a poem where every word counts
Decide what are your cheese cubes – what you have to offer to attract attention
Delightfully imperfect – description of Jim Henson by Brian Jay Jones and something worth aspiring to be
Oh, the list goes on and on, but I’m too tired to decipher my scrawl. Every experience absorbed and now time to digest.
Lastly, my deepest thanks and proudest moment was receiving the Emyl Jenkins award. I couldn’t be prouder nor feel more humble.
Writing is a solitary pursuit. The enduring cliche of a writer crouched over their papers or keyboard exists because it is a truth. That’s why it’s so wonderful when a writer, such as yours truly, can find a person or group who not only understands their experience, but shares their obsession. Such a group is the James River Writers.
This organization, established in 2002, offers writers of all genres and levels of experience a place to gather with like-minded souls to learn, share, and enjoy the craft of writing. The monthly Writing Shows and annual JRW Annual Conference are truly watershed events for the RVA writing community. I count my membership in this organization as one of the keys to my progress as a writer, and cannot say enough in praise of everyone who has worked to make James River Writers a valuable resource for writers. My involvement with the group evolved from member attendee to volunteer to hostess for the monthly soiree known as Capital Ale House Writers Wednesday, where writers gather to imbibe and converse. JRW has been a part of my writing experience for years now.
And this year, I have the thrill and honor of being named the James River Writers’ 2014 Emyl Jenkins Award recipient.
The Emyl Jenkins Award is to honor “an organization or person who, as Emyl did, inspires a love of writing and writing education in Virginia.” Emyl Jenkins was a lovely woman with a ready smile and a tremendous gift for encouraging others to reach their writing goals. You can learn more about this delightful lady through one remembrance from the Times Dispatch.
To my regret, I only knew Emyl briefly. She passed not long after I joined the James River Writers community, an event that was both sudden and devastating to those who knew and loved her, as well as to the writing community as a whole. She always had a smile and a friendly welcome, even to a newbie like myself.
The Emyl Jenkins Award was begun in 2011 and past recipients are:
- 2011 – Jean Anderson/Richmond NaNoWriMo Liaison and WriterHouse/Charlottesville
- 2012 – Ed Lull/Richmond Poet and Virginia Screenwriters Forum
- 2013 – Sophia Volpi & Louise Ball/Charlottesville NaNoWriMo Liaisons and Hampton Roads Writers
Thank you, James River Writers, for this amazing honor! It’s shameful for a writer to admit, but I don’t have enough words to express my deep feelings about this award. Suffice it to say, I am certain I will still be pinching myself on Sunday, October 19th, when I’m called to accept the Award at this year’s Conference. A conference where I will once more be surrounded by the fantastic community of RVA writers.
When all else seems to fail, smile for today and just love someone.
SNARKY RESPONSE: Yeah, until someone slaps a Restraining Order on you.
That and reality is so depressingly…REAL. Especially when you’ve just been socializing with Klingons, Victorian Adventuresses, and Stormtroopers. I mean, how can you compare the trek to the office copier to rounding a hall corner and colliding with an Arrest Party for the Klingon charity jail, shackled prisoner cowering in their midst? Or noshing in the food court with watching Klingons chowing down during a break in guard duty. Or eavesdropping on ladies comparing coupons to listening in on ladies in tip-tilted hats, corsets, and skirts of varying lengths comparing notes over an array of dazzling jewelry?
The usual crowd at the water cooler feels a little drab by comparison (no insult intended, guys, but hey, what can I say?)
What in the F)^% am I talking about? RAVENCON, of course! This past weekend I attended Richmond’s sci/fi convention extraordinaire. Held at the DoubleTree Inn off Midlothian Tnpk, it was three days of madcaps, mayhem, and merriment.
Sadly, I’m not a cosplayer or costumer, but I hope to come up with something for the next convention. I’ll be posting another bit about my side of the convention – the writers’ track, bur for this week, let me share a couple of cool costumes. There were SO MANY I didn’t capture, but I was under the weather, so not capable of multi-tasking.
However, enjoy a few that I did have enough coherent brain cells to capture!