Category Archives: writing

Writing – What’s up?

Here’s the scoop.

beach enjoyment fun leisure

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Recently several people have inquired about my writing. Are you working on another book? Are you writing at all? Any present projects?

“Yes, yes, and yes. I’m busier than ever with several WIP’s, (writing language for – Works In Progress), editing, and doing magazine interviews.”

Just out, is the spring edition of the Downriver Dprofile magazine. It’s available in most businesses in the downriver area. I’ve ricocheted around town doing interviews and writing articles for this outstanding advertising publication. My submissions include a feature for Mans Lumber, Gentle Dental, and two profiles for Applewood Nursing Center. I hope you get the chance to read them and the many other articles that focus on Downriver’s finest businesses and their employees. I have several publications in the upcoming summer issue of Dprofile and one in the Profile Grosse Ile edition regarding  Islandfest information.

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The flip cover, spring edition

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Dprofile has a double cover

 

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I have submitted my metamorphosis picture book to several publishers once again. Still waiting on news of acceptance or rejection. It takes many weeks and sometimes months, and sometimes they don’t respond if they are not interested. But, hey, I’m a patient person and truly believe the best is yet to come. Another WIP is a picture book I’ve titled My Lucky Day. The Irish in me had to come out sometime. I can’t wait to share that with you.

I’ve been putting together a sequel to This Sign Was Mine, Message Received! by Patti Rae Fletcher. It will continue on the subject of divine timing, life’s journey, spiritual signs, and their interpretations. They keep coming and as long as they do, I will continue to share them with you. I sense strongly that this is at least one of the reasons I am here on this earth at this time.

Over the winter I mentored several people in writing and also did some copy editing on two manuscripts requested by other writers.

Last May I joined a writing group called the Shiawassee Area Writers (SAW), and since have become the Vice President. This involves spending time in mentoring and lots of editing as well. I love it all. The group of over twenty plus and growing is enthusiastic to learn and to better their writing skills. They are kind, fun, and dedicated. They have thrown their shoulders back and accepted some heavy criticism and have worked hard not to become discouraged. They will see the results of these challenges soon.

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Our Big News! SAW is scheduled to publish an anthology in the fall, the theme is Winter/Christmas. This book will include stories from some of the groups published authors, including myself and a few debut writers that will proudly announce their first publications. I couldn’t be more impressed with their revisions, rewrites, and stubbornness to make their entries the best they can be.

Being one of the editors, I can say with all honesty, there is a fabulous array of short stories, memoirs, poetry, and some fiction all coming together for you to enjoy over this coming winter. I will, with pride, let you know when this special book becomes available for purchase.

On this day, and every day, I wish you light, love, and peace within.

As always, I’m grateful for you reading and sharing my blog posts.

 

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Inspiration & Surprises

Inspiration

Yesterday someone asked where I find the inspiration for all the writing I do. After a few minutes of thought the answer came easy. I’m inspired to write about the things I see, feel, and experience. If I feel the need to write it down, then to me, that is my inspiration.

When I began my writing courses and going to conferences, they said write what you know and what excites you. I found the first part discouraged me because I thought, what do I know? My mom would often say, “I know a little about a lot of things but I don’t  know much about anything.” The solution – research.

The Big Surprise

It seemed I liked to write about insects and crawly things. Really! Me writing about bugs seemed about as far-fetched as it could get. Regardless, these squirmy inspirations kept coming.

During my  first course I wrote an article about dragonflies. It was inspired by a camping trip shared with a friend and her children along with mine. There was a phenomenal dragonfly hatch. I mean hundreds zigzagged everywhere at different heights, flashing their lovely colors. The air hummed with their vibrations. It was an extremely entertaining and inspiring event, one that none of us will ever forget.  I’ve loved dragonflies ever since this incident and have so far written a picture book and several poems about them.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

 

 

 

 

 

The next bug I was inspired to write about was the Saddleback Caterpillar, the largest slug caterpillar in the nation. I titled the original article, Cowboy Caterpillar, because it  looks like it has a lovely lime green  tattoo of a saddle on its back. This seems so cute, but beware, it also has needle-sharp spines that carry a venom that is quite painful to humans and can cause swelling, rash, and vomiting. My son was stung by one at work while clearing away some brush  by the tracks. This turned into an article because I wanted to share the information with others as a warning.

Beware!

Beware!

 

 

 

 

 

Bedbugs, believe it not was my next article. Yuck and eww! The interest in these little buggers was brought on by chaperoning a sixth grade camp and as we found out later, one of the cabins was infested. Several children complained of bites, itching, and had red swollen dots in a pattern of three. All five boys that complained were bunked in the same cabin. This once again turned into a non-fiction article about what to do if this happens to you.

Ekkkk!

Ekkkk!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My latest project has gotten away from insects but still connects with nature and all the beauty that it shares with us. When we open our eyes, minds, and hearts, and pay attention, I believe it’s possible to find the path to our destiny’s.

My present book is inspired by mere coincidence. Oh, that’s right, there’s no such thing as coincidence and that was something that surprised me and I hope it does you too. (More on this soon)

 

 

 

 

 

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More Than A Tidbit, From One of the Greats!

RESEARCH

There isn’t much else on my mind these days besides research, morning, noon, and night. I’m either reading or writing or running scenes through my mind.

My past weeks work included reading several books on writing essays and reading memoirs by and about a diverse group of people.

Some, well most of these books were dry and unmemorable, except one. I read them with the expectation of how I used to read parenting books. I was always thrilled to take away even one tidbit of an idea to help me somehow in someway through a present struggle. It’s the same with writing books. Since every person is different and every story personal, there can’t be just one book that suits all authors and their individual questions. That must be why I have at least fifty writing books above my desk. You’d think I would be a better writer, but as I say, “I’m an infinite work in progress.”

THE BEST ONE YET ****

The book I finished last night shocked me, inspired me, made me cry, and to my utter surprise made me laugh out loud more than once. And the best part was it made sense to me. Click, the light bulb went on! “YAY!” I love when that happens.

And to think this was the dreaded book I had saved until last, because the author and his gazillion novels scare the bejeebers out of me.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

The book is titled, “Stephen King (a memoir of the craft)On Writing,” Published in the year 2000,

It’s the combination of his personal memoir along with the added bonus of not just one, but a treasure-trove of ideas for the serious writer to try. He says, “Most books about writing are filled with bullshit . .  . I figured the shorter the book, the less bullshit.”  He was point-on and managed to make it a quick read with logical usable information.

I agreed with  many of Stephen King’s writing opinions on the assorted topics and found this book to be an awesome read, (even if you are not a writer). I was only scared a tiny bit.

MY TAKE AWAY-suggestions by Stephen King

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”  I agree with him.

Own “Strunk And White, The Elements of Style,” and use it! (I do)

Set a daily writing goal of at least 1000 words, working your way up.(S.K.’s is 5000)

Write at least six days a week

First draft with the door closed, no phone, no interruptions

Keep an Ideal Reader in mind (I.R.)(S.K.’s is his wife)

Focus on the importance of language

***This book will be returned to the library as soon as my copy of “On Writing,” arrives. The great examples of differences in the first draft and second draft with its edits are something I would like to have on my desk for future reference.

 

Any writers out there want to share their favorite writing books and why? Please email me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Signs on My Mind

This past week has made me realize how much technology has taken over my life.

I’m up at the lake and my Internet Service has had two towers out.  No Internet, No TV, What is a writer to do?

Well, my Word program is still working so, I guess I should write. I had no Internet for three days.

Was it a sign? Hmm! I don’t know, but what I do know is that I got a whole lot of writing done. No interruptions from facebook or emails.

My second book, now has the Introduction draft done, and the last chapter also. All the in-between is still being organized and revised for my critique group.

Going back to last week, the dock is done and gorgeous. I absolutely love Holiday Shores. Here are some recent pictures. Out with old and in the new!

 

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Yep, my husband is a genius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Beginning of Book Number Two

The Beginning of Book Number Two.

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The Beginning of Book Number Two

FOCUS

The fun has begun. My research so far has included reading many diverse books. Some on writing essays, memoirs, and others on specific subject matter. My newest working title is, “This Sign is Mine.” (This may and can change at anytime.)

I’ve exercised and eaten my blueberries along with my daily organic raw vegetable juice. I can only hope Blueberry Buckle counts.

My desk has been cleaned, cleared, and re-arranged. One Feng Shui office tip is that your desk should always face the entrance to the room. Since my office is so small and my desk is one with a hutch, this would be almost impossible to do, so I used a mirror on my desk to reflect the doorway. They also suggest an indoor air purifying plant called a Lady Palm. I adore any sort of palm and will be purchasing one soon. A writer must have clear air to concentrate.

Focus Will music is playing a terrific Up Tempo beat to keep my mind flowing and focused.

Ginseng tea is on my desk ready for sipping along with my favorite teak snack bowl loaded with nuts, raisins, and a few added Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips. Those are not necessarily good for focus, but they are definitely fabulous for my taste buds and research says they are good for my heart as well. My rational is, if my heart isn’t working, then what good will focus do me. Ha!

LET THE WRITING BEGIN!

 

Indoor Office

Indoor Home Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Office

Lake House Office

 

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Getting Serious

Getting Serious.

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Getting Serious

As most of  you know, I’m in the process of trying to get my middle grade novel, “Holler’s Pond, A Camping Story” published. I’ve sent the synopsis and first three chapters out to three publishers almost a year ago.

The results presently are:

One – Gourmet Reject – Boyds Mills Press (A reject with suggestions and/or a reason it wouldn’t fit their list)

One – Under Consideration Milkweed Press

One – No Response, after six months this is to be considered a reject also.-Albert Whitman & Co.

campfire

Campfire Fun

Sun Fish

Sun Fish

So while I’m waiting, re-submitting, and doing revisions on “Holler’s Pond,” I’m also contemplating how to format my next book. I know the subject, and the ending. The rest is still whirling around in my head. All the puzzle pieces are there, all the edges are done, now it’s time to twist and turn those center pieces for the perfect fit.

This book will be written for adults based on the subject of a series of considerable crazy coincidences.

Be on the look-out, I’ll share glimpses soon.

Have a Wonderful Week Everyone!

When you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you
that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.
– Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Positive Side of Rejection

It seems I start out confident and excited when I submit my work, but, as the months go by, my confidence dwindles and I begin questioning myself.

It has been over six months since I submitted my first novel Holler’s Pond, to three different publishers. The package included: A cover letter, synopsis, and the first three chapters, all according to their specific guidelines. One was electronically sent, and the other two went by snail-mail.

So, do I even know if any of them received my manuscript?

There were no confirmations and most publishing houses state they won’t respond to, phone calls, emails, or letters concerning in-progress manuscripts. They are busy and if you don’t hear from them in three to six months, they are not interested in your work at this time.  Maybe, this is one reason why so many authors have turned to other methods of publishing.

It made me sad after all the time and work I’d put into the manuscript packages, not counting the years I’ve revised, rewrote, and reworked the story. Holler’s Pond has been through several critique groups, individual friends,  and even was edited by my last Institute of Children’s Literature course instructor. Not that I expected an acceptance on my first try out, but to not hear anything at all had me disheartened, to say the least. I truly had begun thinking, maybe writing fiction is not for me and I should stick with articles. Then something sort of bizarre happened.

Several weeks ago on this very blog I received a strange comment to one of my posts. I wasn’t sure if I should reply or delete. The person said that he had received something to do with my manuscript which had nothing to do with my blog post for that week. After questioning his statement and asking for an explanation, it was clear that he had received a letter, addressed to him meant for me. It was accidentally sent to his address in California, a long way from Michigan. Anyway, I was thrilled at the news, even when he told me it was a rejection letter. He offered to scan and email it to me. Being an author himself, he knew the importance of this particular rejection. That news made my day.

This letter is what authors call a gourmet rejection and that’s why, it’s in a frame on my desk.

I’ve been asked by several people, “Why would you frame a letter of rejection?” My answer is, because out of dozen(s) of past rejection letters, this one is the best . . . it’s personal. It’s for my first novel. It also made me smile to know that editor’s can and do make mistakes too. Something that is never mentioned at conferences. Second, it’s a confirmation that someone actually read my work.

This editor recognized some of my writing strengths from the first three chapters and also made her suggestions for the relevant weak areas. To me, this means there is still hope for Holler’s Pond and because of this rejection letter, it gives me the will and the motivation to carry on.

I’m overwhelmed with gratefulness that the gentleman, a fellow author, from California went through the time and trouble to locate me on the Internet.  After he scanned and emailed me the letter, I noticed that my name and address had a typo in it as well. It never would have gotten to me if he would have tried to mail it through the post office.

So once again folks, I believe the Universe lines things up perfectly and I am now convinced that Holler’s Pond is meant to be. I will add a few more ingredients and make sure it is baked to perfection before I send it back out into the world for sharing.

Special Blurb . . . for the kind, considerate, author who made my day.

If you are a Star Trek fan or have a thing for zombies,  you will want to check out this children’s author’s website by clicking on his name. Kevin Anderson .

He is the author of Night of the Living Trekkies and many other books.

It makes me wonder if anyone else, a non-author would have bothered finding me to share a rejection letter. I have my doubts.

My appreciation goes to you, Kevin. You may have saved my novel from the deep, dark, horrific shredder.

Framed Rejection

Rejection of Hope

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PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Today, I’m focusing on the future.

Last week while at the library, I ran across a book titled, “77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected”{and how to be sure it won’t happen again!} I had an epiphany ah, if I read this before submitting my nano novel, maybe, just maybe I’ll learn something...and avoid rejection.

This book is written by a successful author, editor, and agent with many years of experience in all listed areas.

One of my personal beliefs is. . . . if you complain about something, you should always offer a solution…Well, Mike Nappa does just that in this book.

Here’s my review, even though it was difficult to digest and quite the reality check (even after nine years of writing and being published) I highly recommend it to anyone who has a passion or dream to become a published book author through a traditional publishing house.

77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected

{and how to be sure it won’t happen again!}

By Mike Nappa (founder and chief literary agent of Nappaland Literary)

Five Stars *****

Okay, to be honest…yes I threw the book on the floor (more than once) and then fantasized about an ambitious puppy giving it a sniff, snarling, and ripping it to shreds, (me smiling) then taking the remains and lining the bottom of a kitty litter box. (me smiling again) Nothing personal Mike.

I borrowed 77 Reasons Why from the library, which by the way, in my opinion should be titled, “Brutally Honest” or at least have a warning inscribed on the cover. I curled up on the sofa with my cup of tea ready to read and relax. My sticky tabs nearby in case I find a page or two worth copying for my personal reference file. This definitely is not a book you read to relax by. You read this book to grow and transform as a writer. Unfortunately, almost always, there is fear, pain, and struggle in change, but the end result is your treasured work/novel not being REJECTED and that is a beautiful thing.

Mike Nappa has thoroughly covered the other 75 reasons for rejection (that you don’t hear about at conferences) and has been kind enough to include short sections on what you can do about it. I’ve only heard about format, queries, cover pages, accurate research and grammar at such events. But, I get it. People like me pay good money, and travel long distances to listen to successful authors, agents and editors and to be encouraged and we as attendees are. I always go home energized and inspired to write something new or revise works in progress; send it in with high expectations only to get maybe a kinder or gourmet reject. (hand written word or two, instead of a check mark on a form reject letter). I’m told, this is supposed to make me happy.

77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected {and how to be sure it won’t happen again!} has given me more inspiration than I could imagine. By the time I finished reading this book, I had so many tabs on so many pages to copy that I added the book to my Christmas list. Mike Nappa has given me a tool chest containing the quality tools I need to complete the job, in this case my first children’s novel. Now, after putting into practice some of his suggestions, I have more confidence and a sense of true hope submitting my manuscripts. If you are serious about finding an agent to represent you or want to be published traditionally, this book is a must have.

I finished revising chapter ten of my novel Hollar’s Pond last night. It’s coming along slowly, I still have so much more to do. But nothing worthwhile is easy.

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