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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Confession of a Journal-er

I have a confession to make–I am a daily journal-er.

Some years back a copy of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way came into my life. I devoured it and took her advise to write what she referred to as 'Morning Pages.' It's an exercise designed to develop the ability to write anytime your hand grips a pen. I determined to set aside a specific time in my busy life to sit at my desk, every day, and fill three pages of a notebook in handwriting.

Did you know hands lose the memory of writing when they become accustomed to typewriting? Writing those 'Morning Pages' not only trained my brain to associate a pen-in-hand with writing, but helped my brain to slow down and capture the flood of ideas.

The real art of writing lies in commitment. Writing is an exercise in repetition. If you don't set aside time to write, life soon gets in the way. The more times you show up, the better your chances the story will show up also. Over the years, this has proven true for me.

As a writer of historical fiction, I find myself spending eons on the internet, snatching from here, there, and anywhere, those tidbits of details that lend authenticity to my stories. Later, as I sort through the barrage of information I've accumulated, writing out the descriptive passages by hand helps me mentally envision the scene I'm describing.


I wouldn't encourage anyone to read my journals—filled as they are with mostly a record of daily life. But, occasionally inspiration will attack and I freely write my thoughts and wonderings about the story-in-progress or perhaps some future project. Those words are permanently inscribed on the page, waiting for me to come back at a later time and incorporate a sentence or two that is just exactly what needed saying.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Always On My Mind


For those who are not aware, (and if you're a Facebook friend, you already know) My husband died on March 30th, the occasion of our 59th wedding anniversary. It was an extended illness that eventually wore out his heart and he stopped breathing.

I'll bet you are curious as to why I've posted a picture of Willie Nelson. Well, Paul prepared for his end, including specifying what songs would be played at his memorial service. At the top of the list was Willie's famous song, You Are Always On My Mind. I lost count of how many times he reminded me of that.

As with most marriages, ours was a mixture of trials and blessings, but we were always certain of each others love. Rest in peace, Paul. As I told him in my last goodbye, "You done good, Charlie Brown."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Questions That Arise


 Most people think that a book is a simple, commonplace object — words on a page, one page after another until you reach the end. What’s complicated about that? 

 But then, when you decide to publish yourself, the picture becomes murkier. You begin to realize there are many decisions that go into making a book. The questions start, and never seem to stop: 
• Hardcover, paperback, ebook? 
• How big a book? 
• Where to sell, and for how much? 

 Then it gets even more confusing: 
• What should I do first? 
• How long will it take? 
• How do I stay on track? 

If you are considering self-publishing, each one of these questions needs to be addressed and answered. There is no one correct answer. It is you, as the publisher, who must do the research, learn the options, and make the decision. 

With the help of the internet, there are gobs of resources you can go to that will help you make the right decisions. Here are a couple sites to get you started in the right direction. Disclaimer: these are the top sites that popped up when I googled ‘self-publishing tips.’ 

 http://goinswriter.com/self-publishing/ Jeff Goins even offers a free e-book on how to build an online audience;  Jane Friedman at https://janefriedman.com/self-publish-your-book/ provides a How to Self-Publish Your Book website. At  http://www.cnet.com/news/self-publishing-a-book-25-things-you-need-to-know/ , David Carnoy talks about 25 things you need to know about self-publishing.

In this day and age, just writing the end on your manuscript doesn’t mean the author’s work is finished.  



Monday, March 13, 2017

It's All About Networking

Writing has always been a lonely occupation. I learned a lot in the past reading books written by accomplished teachers. In fact, over the years I amassed an impressive library dedicated to the craft of writing. In recent years there's been a deluge of informative stuff available, mostly free, on the world wide web.

But, the act of writing is a lonely occupation. There comes a time when you just need another friendly face to talk over your gains and losses. I've come to the conclusion that networking should be a necessary part of the writing lifestyle.

For example, here are just a few nuggets I acquired this past week through networking. I learned of a free workshop in my area as a result of a friend's Facebook posting. (https://www.wordwriters.org/events/)

A writers' group I belong to presented a program, with live demonstrations, on fight jargon. (You never know when one of your characters will need to express themselves in Tai Kwon Do jargon.)

Another writer friend shared the advise she received considering the future of her book published by the now-defunct Tate Publishing. When she queried them their response was, “... to go ahead and republish through Createspace. When ready for it to go live, send Author Central the old ISBN number and the new one, and they would phase the old one out.”

None of this information would have been available to me if I'd confined myself to camping out in my little house and ignoring the rest of the world.


So, break out of your shell; join a writers' group, find a Facebook group page and become a member, go to that conference or workshop, meet other writers, and continue to grow your craft by sharing with other lonely writers.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Other Side of Writing


So a copy of my latest efforts is in the mail from my publisher. Now comes the more demanding part which I dread but have learned is a very necessary activity - the promoting and marketing.

I have no reluctance when it comes to plunking myself in a chair, fingers on keyboard, and letting the words flow. Its this other half of what makes a book a success that twists my stomach into knots.

For now I need to spend my time creating a concentrated blitz of email announcements and press releases, flood twitter and deluge my Facebook friends - all for the purpose of calling everyone's attention to the new book. 

Promoting and marketing a book means calling attention to yourself. It means speaking out in every situation, announcing who you are and what you've done. All this self-promoting is to get people interested enough in you and your latest work so they'll shell out some dough and buy a copy or two.


So, what's an author to do? If we want our new book to be read, we do everything necessary to get this latest production noticed. And isn't that part of the reason I continue to write? To share my thoughts, my imaginations with others?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Considering What Keeps Me Writing


What is it that keeps me plunking down words, fingers tapping keys, clenched hand pushing a pen across a page? 

Certainly my accumulation of rejections -- especially the ones resembling nothing more than a mass produced product – do more to feed my disappointment than inspire me to keep on writing.

Success in getting published may come along, sometimes with months of famine in between. Yet, even as I savor a sense of accomplishment and brandish the flag of recognition, those instances aren’t what drives me to my writing pad.

The magic happens each time I set aside time to create words; each time the tip of my pen, or fingertips pounding a keyboard, produces squiggles and curves that morph into understandable language. That’s when I find myself connected to a force beyond myself.


As I witness words accumulate on paper or my computer screen, it’s a reminder that I am connecting to the Source of creativity. It is this awareness of being part of something beyond my ken that keeps me going. 

Every time something newly created flows out of the deep center of my being, feeding my flickering flame of inspiration into life, I'm filled with a sense of fulfillment for being alive.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

One Lovely Blog Award

What a lovely tribute from a long-time author friend, Patty Wiseman. She writes The Velvet Shoe Collection, An Unlikely Arrangement, An Unlikely Beginning, A Unlikely Conclusion, and An Unlikely Deception, set in 1920's Detroit. Here's her link address so you can go learn more about her and her series https://www.facebook.com/Patty-Wiseman-Fan-Page-122326897827176/


Want to be nominated? All is takes is being a blogger. Here are the rules:
  • Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award emblem to your post.
  • Share seven things about yourself not found in your bio.
  • Pass this award on to as many people as you like, up to 15.
  • Include these rules
  • Inform your nominees.


Now, on to those seven never-been-disclosed-before tidbits about me.

1.  I'm the mother of a terrific son, a grandmother of two awesome young ladies, and the great-grandmother of two precious cuties. We lost an older son, David, a few years back when he died in his sleep at the young age of fifty.

2.  I wish I were as physically active as I was twenty years ago. (Well,who doesn't?) Back then I cared for huge gardens--growing food and herbs--helped maintain our acreage by trimming shrubs and helped my husband cut, split, and haul the mountains of firewood needed to keep our home warm.


3.  Continuing to look back, I raised chickens, ducks, turkeys and rabbits at one time or another. And yes, I did the butchering and cleaning of all as well as the preserving and cooking.



4.  I still consider myself a transplanted Yankee even though I've lived in Texas for almost sixty years. 

5.  I met my husband-to-be at a Saturday night dance sponsored by the VFW. Dallas-born and in the Coast Guard at the time, he was attending Engineering school in Connecticut. Believe it or not, it was love at first sight for the both of us.


6. I recently picked up my paint brushes and began dabbling with oil paints after a hiatus of over forty years. If interested, you can see results of my efforts on my Pinterest page (https://www.pinterest.com/gayingram/my-creative-efforts/.)
7. I've never been much interested in sports although I do enjoy watching the Olympic competition in swimming and gymnastics. In fact, my recent novel, Not Bound By Blood, was inspired by the first American woman to win gold in track. 

Nominees:
Author Jim Callan (http://www.jamesrcallan.com/blog/) A terrific mystery writer