Friday, January 30, 2009

Author Friends and Social Media

There was a song I learned (YEARS ago) as a Brownie that went like this, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold."

That's certainly true. One of the greatest blessing of my writing journey is meeting wonderful, talented writers, both published and yet-to-be published.

I recently "met" Julie Carobini on Twitter, and we've become friends. We traded novels, and I can't wait to read hers. I've heard wonderful things about her talent, and I'm excited to dive into what looks like an absolutely delicious book.

I've joined all the "latest" social media when the buzz urged me. I'm happy to report it's been an unexpected pleasure. I've connected with so many folks and have reconnected with friends from the past. One gal I had been wondering about for 32 years was a college friend. I found her on Facebook! She lives in Houston and is a photographer. Now, anyone who knows me knows how discriminating I am about portrait photographers, so I was delighted to check out Mary's site and see that Click Photography looks like a great studio. If any of my author friends in the Houston area need to get a headhot, check out Mary & Tom Scheible's studio.

How about you? What unexpected pleasures have you discovered lately?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Advice for Writers

Today it was my turn to blog on the Words For The Journey blog, and I want to share this post with my readers too. The following is wisdom and encouragement for writers and would-be writers.
Question: From where does our writing ability come? Is it inborn? Learned?
Answer: As Mother Teresa said, "We are all pencils in the hand of God."

Question: When is the best time to begin a writing career"
Answer: "Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way." ~Dr. Seuss

Question: Is it difficult to learn the craft of writing?
Answer: "Yes, it's hard to write, but it's harder not to."
~Carl Van Doren
And here's more advice on writing from other authors:
"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go."
~ E.L. Doctorow
"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."
~Barbara Kingsolver

Question: How much time should a writer commit to his/her craft?
Answer: "The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything."
~John Irving
And as author Ray Bradbury said, "Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed."
Another thought to ponder is, "Either marry your work - take it seriously and do it every day - or date it - write only when you feel like it - but know which you are doing and the repercussions of both."

Question: Is writing all about sitting at a computer and pounding out a story?
Answer: Not necessarily so. As Victor Hugo said, “A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labour and there is invisible labour.”

Question: What about word count? Is there any advice on pacing yourself?
Answer: "The faster I write, the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I"m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them."
~Raymond Chandler
Also, "If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster."
~Isaac Asimov

Question: Must you have all the answers when you sit down to write your story?
Answer: "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
~E. L. Doctorow

Question: How do you know you've reached a level of success?
Answer: "Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed."
~P.G. Wodehouse

Question: Is there a secret to becoming a successful author?
Answer: "The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write, and keep on writing."
~Ken MacLeod

And I leave you with a final thought: " May I never grow too old to treasure 'once upon a time.'"

By the way, if you haven't checked out the WFTJ blog, you're really missing out. It's a great site for writers.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Interview!

I had the pleasure of speaking with Judith Norman of the Virtue Radio Network for an interview on the Words of Faith program. During the 12-minute interview we talked about Out of Her Hands, food (this seems to be a theme with me!), parenting, and faith.

Words of Faith, a Christian Book Show, is a fantastic program (and no, I'm not saying that because I was a guest!). I had a blast listening to the author interviews in previous episodes.

The Virtue Radio Network is an Internet community for Christian women. If you haven't checked it out, do yourself a favor and hurry over there!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Live interview on Friday

On Friday I was a guest on Church Insider Talk Radio. The interview was live (yikes!) from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. It couldn't have gone better.

Host Shamielle Alston is wonderful. She put me right at ease, and led us in a lively discussion.
I've you're interested, my interview is archived on the left side of the webpage. Click here to access the show.

Monday, January 19, 2009

1st or 3rd Person?

I need your thoughts.

I'm playing around with my wip, writing some chapters 1st person present tense, 1st person past tense, and 3rd person past tense.

Which do you prefer?

1st person past tense:
I saw a ghost in my kitchen this morning, and now I can’t stop crying.
He appeared out of the ether, full of life and love. If I could have touched him, I bet he’d be warm.
The sight caught me unaware, and I sat at the breakfast table with my cup of coffee poised before my face while I gazed through the fragrant steam. He stood with his eyes closed, head tilted back, and ticked off the beats to an old Louis Armstrong classic with his big, bony shoulders moving up and down, one at a time.

3rd person past tense:
Libby saw a ghost in her kitchen this morning, and now she can’t stop crying.
He appeared out of the ether, full of life and love. If she could have touched him, she’s bet he’d be warm.
The sight caught her unaware, and she sat at the breakfast table with her cup of coffee poised before her face while she gazed through the fragrant steam. He stood with his eyes closed, head tilted back, and ticked off the beats to an old Louis Armstrong classic with his big, bony shoulders moving up and down, one at a time.

Well, which one draws you in more?

In other news: The photo below is so darned cute, but it's unacceptable to have my (sweet) puppy on my sofa cushion. Bayle thinks she's a princess. She's spoiled enough, see the toy basket on the right? She plays with each toy on a daily basis.

I took Bayle's photo and then scooted her off.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunshine, Tea, and Plotting

I tried to keep my nose to the grindstone today, but the temperature in Colorado rose to 63 degrees where I live.

Jan twisted my arm to join her for tea at Starbucks. Yes, tea. They've got some kind of new tea specialty. It was okay.Anyway, we took the opportunity to bounce around plot/scene ideas for our novels. The people nearby were only nervous when we talked about killing our characters.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My New Writing Partner

Writing is a solitary business. You’re in your head (and the head’s of your characters) so much of the time that you can lose track of reality.

I always had my old dog, Belle, to keep me in the moment. She was such a part of my writing life that she appeared in both of my novels. I like that she’s always going to live in my books, now that she’s not with us any more.

Well, I’ve got a new writing partner now. Bayle hangs by me when I write. Today I’m working at my dining room table, and she’s right beneath me. Sweet little thing, we take a breather together every couple of hours and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

I’m working on another novel, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Libby’s husband will have to get her a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. And she’s going to name her Bayle.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Congratulations Us!

If it’s Saturday, then my sweetheart and I are away for the weekend celebrating our anniversary. Our 30th Anniversary!
I hate to sound like an old person, but where have all the years gone? Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It’s been an amazing three decades. So wonderful!

The actual date of our anniversary is Tuesday. We’ll celebrate by taking our three children out to dinner. A few years ago we decided that our solid marriage is a part of their heritage, and they should celebrate as well.

Thank God for marriage. Ahhh . . .

Friday, January 09, 2009

Defining Moments

I’ve been thinking about defining moments lately. As an author, they populate my books. As a human being, they have shaped my character and my choices.

I’ve often heard good fiction characterized as real life without the boring parts. That’s very true, and both fiction and real life have defining moments.

Defining moments can be good as well as bad. The good -- the day you know you've found "the one," or the birth of a child. Some defining moments are obvious, like the death of a parent or when a loved one gets in a car accident. But there are some defining moments that come to you quietly in a crystallized realization while you're simply taking a walk or else they can seep into your bones when you overhear a conversation not intended for your ears.

The funny thing about defining moments is that they may not be honest interpretations. What if someone perceives a situation differently than it is? What if a misunderstanding causes someone to have a defining moment? It’s easy to see that happening in a child’s life: I didn’t pick up my room, so mommy and daddy are divorcing. That kind of thing.

A friend told me of a defining moment that occurred at the birth of her first child: “Oh, my goodness. I can’t die for at least 20 years.” The realization that flooded her brain shocked her, but then she knew it was because her dad died while she was a very young woman.

Libby, my character in my current wip (work in progress), is about to experience a defining moment. I’m having fun playing with the way she reacts to it. After all, fiction is real life without the boring parts.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

I hope you're starting the New Year off well.

I did. I spent last night with loved ones, and we prayed for the coming year at midnight.

Earlier in the evening we went out to dinner, downtown in our little town. If you've read my books, we ate at the restaurant called the Gray Pony Inn (AKA The Warhorse).

What a cool place we live (literally at times). The downtown merchants sponsored ice sculptures on Mainstreet. The pink one was outside the Warhorse, and the blue one was across the street at the wine bar and bistro.

The town park across the street from the Warhorse looked lovely.

Above is the gazebo where my characters in Out of Her Hands had some important discussions.

This is one of the big trees in the park, strung with lights.

Happy New Year! Have a blessed 2009!