Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First published article

Giggle, my first freelance article appeared in the Laker Weekly on Jul. 24. A double-truck article, two photos, center spread. Giggle again. I'm now a paid writer! Giggle, giggle, giggle

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Entering writing contests and waiting

Okay, today was filled with sending out essays, a short story and a poem to various contests. I felt like I was sitting still and my work was flying out to all parts of the U.S. by e- and snail-mail. I had put off several entries and realized that deadlines were approaching. In other cases, I entered early so that I didn't have to remember to check the dates.

And now once again, I wait.

In the meantime, I sent an essay to a glossy magazine to see if it would buy my work. Ditto with a poem to a different glossy.

And now, I wait.

Again in the meantime, query letters go forth to agents for Mad Max 1.

And I wait. And I wait. And I wait.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shout Out to Sally Roseveare

My fellow Lake Writer, Sally Roseveare, is publishing her second Smith Mountain Lake Mystery next week!!! I was at her house two weeks ago when the last proof copy came in. Imagine two mature (all right, immature) women fairly dancing around her living room.

The book, SECRETS AT SWEETWATER COVE, is fantastic. It includes the same characters as her first book, SECRETS AT SPAWNING RUN. For those of us who live at Smith Mountain Lake, it's like a tour of local places with a whole lot of mystery and danger thrown in. Aurora Harris, the protagonist of the first book, once again has to solve a mystery and save innocent people. But she doesn't do it alone. She has King, her resourceful black Lab, and Little Guy, a neighbor's intrepid Jack Russell terrier, to help.

If you are looking for something wonderful to read on the dock this summer, I strongly recommend both. I was honored to read the advanced copy and will definitely be at Sally's first public reading.

Again, shameless promotion. Buy the book. You'll get hooked on the characters.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Wisdom of Confucius

Which piece of wisdom, you ask. "Be careful what you ask for. You may get it."

I have completed a whydunit called UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. At least three times.

Two years ago, I thought I was done. I had written the best book I could and was ready for input. I gave copies to 10 friends, many of whom are published writers. And I gave 5 copies to one of my critique groups. I asked for honest feedback. And I got it.

Of course, I reacted as any calm, rational person would. I got pissed off!

Then, I sat back, thought about what I had requested, and read all of the comments without emotion. 15 people had 20 opinions. I sorted through the ones that worked for me and began a year-long rewrite. I also read about writing, contributed to two critique groups, and paid very careful attention to every piece of fiction I read.

Then I let the book sit for a couple of months while I wrote down the bones of a second book.

Finally I was ready to have my work reviewed again. Once more, more opinions, more suggestions, and more people trying to transform my style into theirs. I took all advice and considered every comment.

And then rewrote sections. At last, I was done. Until one person in a critique group asked to read the first 50 pages. To be polite, I agreed. Stupid me!

I got back 50 pages of totally marked up content. Many of the comments don't work. Some do. I never expected this particular group member to have much to offer. Turns out, she does.

I'm considering a few of the comments that will not result in a complete rewrite. I plan to finish the current set of tweaks this month, begin the query process next month and see what happens.

Another Confucian bit of wisdom sits on my desk: "Know where you are going. You are likely to get there." It's right between my Japanese sign for tranquility and a stuffed anteater.

Sigh! Off to do some more editing.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Shout-Out to Sheri Wright

This is the first in an occasional series of shout-outs (shouts-out???) to writers of slim volumes, which may pass in the night without much acclaim, but which are very, very good. (Now that is a tortured sentence if I ever wrote one.)

Let me set the scene. In May my husband and I were visiting friends in southern IN. The local steamboat museum what having a chautaugua and I cannot pass up a chautaugua. In the writers' area were several local Louisville and southern IN writers, publishers and poets. I browsed locally published novels, talked with a delightful man who had his own fledgling print-on-demand publishing house, and stopped dead still at one table.

My eyes spotted a chapbook of poetry with the most outlandish title and cover design. NUNS SHOOTING GUNS. What's not to like with the title? It's outrageous, over the top, and sassy. I talked with the poet, Sheri Wright, for quite a while. She took her title from a 1957 photo of The Sisters of Divine Providence who were in habits and held guns. I bought the book for its title and cover art. (Who says cover art doesn't sell books??)

I kept the book for the fine poetry inside. Several poems made me laugh, some made me cry, some did both. My favorite is "Cut Flowers" on breast cancer. The subject is a woman who underwent a double mastectomy and then had flowers tattooed where her breasts had been. And then went topless at the beach!

So, buy Sheri's book. Yup, shameless promotion. You can reach her at kasperfriend@yahoo.com. She gave me permission to publish her e-mail, so please, please buy her book!

Sheri, don't stop writing. I love your work and my two critique groups did too.