Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Archive for January, 2014

Fat and Sassy: Family Picture Day

Welcome to TUESDAY TALES. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘mirror’.

In Fat and Sassy we’ve jumped ahead a few years. Bea is a grandmother now and a quick glance in the mirror reminds her that the years are marching along.

Return to Tuesday Tales for more great story snippets.

 

4 generation photo“Bobby pins … where’d I lay those bobby pins?” Bea asked herself, rummaging around the top of the dresser. She picked up a brush and ran it halfheartedly through her hair. Brushing a lock back, she glanced in the mirror and stopped. She slowly laid the brush down all the while intently peering at her image. When did I get to be so old? I’m going to turn forty-two this year, but I look like an old woman. She leaned closer and examined the lines etched at the corners of her eyes. She ran a finger along the sides of her mouth and pursed her lips. Her hands strayed to the silvery locks framing her face, pulling strands out as if amazed at the changing colors.

“I look like my mother,” she grumbled to herself. “Or more like my granny.” She picked up a brown plastic hair comb, pulled her hair back and stuck the comb in her locks. “I don’t have time for this frumpery,” she mumbled and headed out to the main room, not looking in the mirror again.

Papa sat on the sofa, holding a steaming coffee cup between his hands. “What are ya muttering about, gal?”

“Nuttun important,” Bea replied. “You remember that Mae’s bringing little Patsy over this morning and we’re gonna take a four generation picture, don’t you?”

“Ayep. I recollect. That’s a why I’m wearing my Sunday suspenders, all fancied up for this photograph you’ve got yore mind set on.”

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Fat and Sassy: Fire on the Ridge

Its TUESDAY TALES. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘hill’. Return to TUESDAY TALES for more great story snippets.

Fat and Sassy:

The Jones’ family has finally settled in one place without several moves a year. The newest addition, Alvin, brings the children up to six – three girls and three boys. The spring of 1947 introduces a new threat to the young children – Southern California wildfires.

Spring 1947

glendora forest firePlumes of black smoke billowed over the ridge before lifting off in rolling waves upwards as high as the children could see. One by one they stopped running and playing. They stood mesmerized – heads tipped back, gazing at the advancing monster creeping over the crest of the foothills north of their home.

Little noses wrinkled in response to the acrid smell filling the town, replacing the usual sweet scent of orange blossoms.

Bill propped a hand over his eyes, shielding them from the bright afternoon sun. “What’s that?”

“Fire,” Mae replied. “It’s a forest fire. My teacher told us about them last week.”

“Mine too,” Helen said. “She even put a poster up in front of the room.”

“Mine didn’t,” Bill said.

Mae shook her head. “You probably weren’t paying attention. I’ll bet you were talking to your friends again. The posters are all over the school. You know, the ones with Smokey Bear that say ‘Remember – Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires’.”

glendora old fire engine 2The faint hint of sirens in the air sounded louder. The children gathered on the sidewalk. Their heads turned to the west in time to see the city’s two fire engines racing up Glendora Avenue, lights flashing, horns blaring.

“We’ve got to tell Mama,” Helen yelled. They ran towards the front door, falling inside pell-mell over each other.

“Mama …. Mama … there’s a fire on the hill,” they shouted in unison.

Alvin’s startled cry rose from the crib inside the front bedroom.

Bea sat her mending down on the air of the sofa and pushed a wisp of hair away from her eyes. A soft sigh escaped her lips. “Now see what you’ve done. You’ve waked the baby up.”

My Writing Process

Today is “My Writing Process” blog tour day, when writers answer questions about their writing process. Last week, fellow author Sherry Gloag posted hers. You can check it out at http://sherrygloagtheheartofromance.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-writing-process-blog-hop.html

Sherry writes contemporary and Regency romances. Many thanks for the invitation, Sherry.

What am I working on?

writingWhat am I NOT working on? In true Gemini fashion I am not content to write in one genre. I have too many WIP’s. Remaining focused and seeing a project through to completion is something I keep striving towards.

Adult Fiction: In adult fiction I have two stories underway, each about half done. Fat and Sassy follows the life of Bea Jones from 1942 to the end of her life in 2003. Calico Connections is set in 1934 in a small farming town.

Adult Non-Fiction: An eBook, Memory Gardens, is in progress and should be released in February. Writer’s Zen and Planting Carrots get periodic additions. I’m also interviewing for a future book (definitely not in 2014), Mothers of Angels.

Young Adult: The Itty Bit’s is completed, but hasn’t found a home yet. Prissy and Paige is in progress, the story of two 14-year old girls that accidently travel back in time to 1901 and help a fascinating woman, Anna Edson Taylor, with her dilemma.

Children’s Stories: Mischievous Mark, Cartwheel Katie, I Wanna and I Want to be a Sweater … completed and out there searching for homes.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I often joke that I don’t ‘see dead people’, I write about dead people. It’s true. A large portion of my writing projects are about people no longer living. Fat and Sassy and Calico Connections are largely based on women who have died. Anna Edson Taylor finds her way into one of my YA manuscripts. Mittie Ann Medlin, who died in 1850, sneaks into blogs and stories. Mittie Ann’s sister, Sarah Medlin, found her way into a short children’s story, Sarah’s Journey, as did sisters Katherine and Marjorie Stinson, in Sisters with Wings.

Why do I write what I do?

writers pillowFor the longest time I was unable to answer this question. I had no idea why these people from the past would enter the recesses of my brain and refuse to leave until I wrote their story.

Reading Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories, I saw the words penned by Carol LaChapelle, “… that people die twice: when they physically die, and when we stop telling stories about them.”

Then I knew. I write these stories to keep them alive. Why I’m drawn to certain people from the past – I don’t know. I just know that there is a desire within me to honor these women from the past – helping keep their memories alive.

How does my writing process work?

I don’t search for story ideas, they seem to find me. Alas, story ideas flow in quicker than I can get them written. And the newest ideas always seem the shiniest and most exciting. Thus, the partially written stories and older ideas get relegated to the back burner where they languish, sometimes for years.

Hopefully 2014 changes this. My desire for this year is focus and completion. Check back with me in December, and we’ll see how successful I’ve been.

Sometimes a phrase will catch my attention and a whole story develops around it. Sometimes an overheard conversation is the catalyst. Mittie Ann was from a headstone I ran across in Texas. Annie Edson Taylor was discovered in research I was doing in Chase’s Calendar of Events. Calico Connections came from a set of quilt squares I discovered in a yard sale. Photos in a magazine … news articles … inspiration comes from endless sources.

I have a general outline in mind when I start setting the story to paper. I may have some specific scenes in mind. But I definitely run closer to the ‘pantster’ end of the spectrum instead of the ‘plotter’ end.

I generally write from start to finish without much jumping around. Although, I’m in a fun group of talented writers, Tuesday Tales, which writes to a different word prompt every Tuesday. I’ve discovered that when I’m writing to these prompts I jump around in the story a bit, working on different scenes that will accommodate the weeks prompt best.

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I was to find three authors to post next week telling you about their writing process.

Unfortunately, my initial contacts didn’t want to proceed with this post. My ‘pay the bills’ job scheduled their inventory last week, at I ended up with 12-14 hour days and when I dragged my aching legs and tired behind home, I simply didn’t have the energy or mental reserves to sit on the computer and search out three more willing authors. I apologize to Sherry Gloag and the rest of the ‘My Writing Process Blog Tour’ for failing to find three people willing to pick up the pen and continue the quest from my end.

Fat and Sassy: Another baby brother

Tuesday TalesWelcome to TUESDAY TALES. For our first prompt of the new year, we’re writing to the prompt ‘toes’.

When we left Fat & Sassy right before Christmas, Mae had a Christmas program that Bea couldn’t attend, because of the new baby, Evan Lee. For this prompt, we’re jumping ahead a few years. Much to the family dismay, little Evan – who was premature – died at only a few months old. Three years pass before another child joins the family. Join us today for the birth of Alvin Dale, then return to TUESDAY TALES for more stories.

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October 4, 1946

baby toesMae skipped to the corner of Leadora and stopped. She called back to Helen who was lagging behind, “Hurry up slowpoke.”

Helen giggled. “I’m coming, I’m coming.”

“You know we’re supposed to walk together. Where’s Bill?” Mae hollered back.

“I don’t know,” Helen said. “He disappeared with his friends as soon as the school bell rang.”

A few blocks later, Mae still in the lead, stopped and yelled to her sister, “There’s cars at the house. I think one is Dr. Hightower’s car!”

Helen hurried to catch up with her older sister and they ran to the house together. “It’s Uncle Floyd’s car too.”

They jumped up the step and flung the front door open. “Whoa, there. Slow down,” Casey said, sitting on the couch with Uncle Floyd, watching Tom and Ida playing on the floor in the middle of the room. “Where’s the fire?”

The girls came to a screeching halt. “We saw the cars,” Mae said as the girls hurried over to Uncle Floyd and enveloped him in a huge hug. “Why is the doctor here? Where is Aunt Gene?”

A smile filled Casey’s face. “They’re both with your Mother right now. You have another little brother.”

A baby’s cry sounded from the bedroom, as if on cue.

“Can we go see him?” the girls asked in unison.

“Not yet. Soon. Why don’t you fill up our coffee cups while we’re waiting?”

The girls hurried to their room and dropped their school books on the bed. Returning to the living room, Mae and Helen picked up the men’s empty coffee cups and headed towards the kitchen, heads swiveling towards their parents closed bedroom door. By the time they returned with steaming cups of coffee for their father and uncle, Aunt Gene appeared in the doorway holding a bundled, bawling little boy.

She walked across the room, turning to show off the newborn she carried so carefully.

“Alvin Dale,” Casey proclaimed. “He’s Alvin Dale Jones.”

The children gathered around, examining the tiny little boy. Dr. Hightower appeared in the doorway, clasping the top of the of his well-worn black leather case. “What do you think of your new baby brother, youngins?”

“He’s so tiny.”

“He’s so loud.”

“Another boy?”

A worried look flitted across Mae’s face. “Is he going to be all right? He’s not going to die like Evan Lee, is he?”

Dr. Hightower crouched down next to Mae. “No child, he is going to be fine. Evan Lee was too early and didn’t have a chance. This baby is fit and healthy. He’s going to be just fine. He’s got all his fingers and all his toes. He’ll be following you around the house before you know it.”

He stood up and patted the top of her brown tousled head. “Go see for yourself. Go meet your little brother.” As the family gathered around Aunt Gene and the baby, they never noticed Dr. Hightower taking his quiet leave.

The Jones family was back to even numbers – three girls and three boys. Glendora would never be the same once the Jones’ girls and Jones’ boys grew up, but no one in the house realized it at that moment, all thoughts were centered around the red, wrinkled little Alvin, the newcomer to the family.

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Prose from the Pros – Writing Success in 2014

Start out the new year with writing advice from ‘The Pros’.  See what they have to say, what helpful advice they have to share. Then, check out their links, their webpages, Facebook books, and other links they’ve listed.

Happy 2014!

2014

LINDSAY DOWNS
Writing into the New Year
Well, one year has ended and another begins. As authors what does that mean?

We continue what we love doing, creating worlds through words to take our readers to times and places they otherwise never could have gone.

For me that means writing two Jessica Sales books which will finish the series. Also, starting at least one, maybe two, new regency series.

So, yes I’m looking forward to 2014 and new, along with the older, books for my readers.

About Lindsay Downs:
What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.
In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.
More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.
Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.
After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.
For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.
I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA).

Follow Lindsay here:
Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/lindsay.downs.7
Facebook Pages-         https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lindsay-Downs-Author/325132754200597?ref=hl
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Regency-by-Lindsay-Downs/421654731286944
Lindsay
Downs-Romance Author- http://lindsaydowns-romanceauthor.weebly.com/

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SHERRY GLOAG
Is it possible for a panster writer to offer advice on how to go about writing as a career? Are they not the kind of people for whom organization is an anathema? In my case, pretty much. At least it seems like it when writing. But…

There is a point in writing a story when most, if not all writers hit a buffer. While it may not be a big buffer, it may seem huge.  If you can’t write over or round it then don’t write anything about it at all. Open a new page and start writing. Don’t think about what’s going on to the page, just write.

Sometimes, and it’s happened to me, I’ve been gifted with a wonderful, stand-alone scene that offers the reader a ‘side step’ of information. It may end up leading you into or through the block, or it may slot into another part of your story. Enhancing it; adding another layer to that particular bit of scene or plot. When that happens it’s totally satisfying. If it doesn’t, then it likely to redirect your brain, remove the strain of anxiety that may be building because of that wretched block.

It’s not called ‘Freewriting’ for nothing.

It sets your mind free to explore, to grow and to adventure. Make the most of the gift of a block and enjoy the unexpected routes it may take you down.

It could even be the start of a new book!

About Sherry:
When best-selling author Sherry Gloag is not writing you may find her knee deep in dust. Selenite dust. The crystal she handcrafts unique items and ideal, personalized gifts from… or walking or gardening. All are occupations that allow her mind to cogitate on her plots, plans and characters of her next book.

Follow Sherry here:
Website: http://authorsherrygloagtheheartofroman.weebly.com/
Facebook
: https://www.facebook.com/SherryGloagAuthor

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MORGAN WYATT
As a newly published writer, I’ve discovered I have to be bold about my books as if they are a favorite child. My husband calls it winning one fan at a time. Meeting people in a person or being a more rounded on social media helps. I never say buy my book, but instead comment on the weather, my dog, the holidays and when my book is coming out or the great cover art. Pictures on Twitter make the tweet earn more retweets too.

The best advice on social media was to keep it light. Never make comments about religion, gun control, politics, anything that causes conflict. I’ve unfriended people because of their objectionable content too.

About Morgan:
Morgan K Wyatt, raised on a steady diet of superheroes, believed she could fly at a very young age. After using trees, barn lofts, sliding boards, and even a second story window as launch pads, she found her flying skills were limited to fast and downward. By the age of nine, her dreams to be a superhero needed some modifications, which caused her to turn to writing and horseback riding as alternatives to flying.

At the age of twenty, she had another chance at superhero greatness as being one of the few female soldiers trained for combat. The fact that women will be able to serve in combat soon indicates that all the witnesses to the grenade incident have retired. The grenade incident didn’t prevent her two sons or daughter-in-law from enlisting in the service. Having different last names probably helped.

Morgan recently retired from teaching special needs students to write fulltime, instead of in the wee hours of the night. With the help of her helpful husband and loyal hound, she creates characters who often grab plot lines and run with them. As for flying, she prefers the airlines now.

Follow Morgan here
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/morgankwyatt
Blogs: www.writerwonderland.weebly.comwww.datingafterfortyeight.blogspot.comwww.frugaldivatellsall.blogspot.com
Perfect
Stranger/SCP Publishing http://bit.ly/1cttsFv

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V.L. LOCEY
Before I get chatting let me give Trisha a huge thanks for having me here today. Thank you so much, Trisha. I hope my tip for writing success in 2014 can help someone realize and live their dream of being a writer.

My tip is a simple but darned difficult one.  It is to plant your butt in your chair daily and write. Even if it`s for an hour, or a half hour, put the backside in the seat. Every. Single. Day.

Discipline is one of the most critical things a prospective author needs to learn. I`ve had so many people ask me how I`m so prolific. I reply that it comes from having my rump in a chair and a keyboard in front of me. Once you make writing a priority, and carve out that niche of time for yourself and your craft, the words will start to add up on that Word page, I promise!

I know it is incredibly hard when we have jobs, husbands, wives, children, pets, family, and a thousand other things keeping us from our stories. But if you wish to find success as a writer you must write. Saying you plan to write won`t get your novel started.

So, buttocks in chair every day! Coffee and yellow writing cat at hand are optional but highly recommended.

About V.L. Locey:
Hi there! My name is V. L. Locey. I`m a romantica writer of M/M and M/ F books who loves worn jeans, belly laughs, anything romantic, ice hockey (Go Rangers!), Greek mythology, comic books and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a steer named Mooka, and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

Follow V.L. Locey here:
I love to meet new friends! You can contact me at my blog: http://thoughtsfromayodelinggoatherder.blogspot.com/

As well as Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/VL-Locey/124405447678452

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C. HOPE CLARK
Set Three Goals
The best writing advice I can offer for 2014 is to establish three goals – very specific goals – and post them over your computer. Not “I’m going to write more” or “I’m going to improve my platform.” But more exact goals, which if you study goal-setting, are the goals more likely to be achieved.

For instance, my three goals are:

  1. Write the second book in my new mystery series.
  2. Draft the third book in my mystery series.
  3. Perform at least 50 guest blog posts in 2014.

That means that when I sit at my keyboard each day, those are first and foremost my responsibility. I’ll still answer emails and produce my weekly newsletter FundsforWriters. I’ll maintain my social media following on Facebook and Twitter. But, I will not tackle these tasks without having contributed to the top three first.

Any efficiency expert will tell you that benchmarks make your goals measureable, so set measures to let you know when you’re ahead or behind schedule. Each month revisit where you stand. Intangible goals often dissipate before a month goes by. Buy a 2014 desk calendar and record what is expected of you, so you can hit the ground running . . . and understand the direction you must go. It’s exciting seeing where you’re headed, and ticking off the accomplishments as the horizon gets closer and closer in your journey.

About C. Hope Clark:
C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com, chosen by Writer’s Digest Magazine for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 13 years. She is also author of the award-winning Carolina Slade Mystery Series, published by Bell Bridge Books. Book three, Palmetto Poison, releases February 2014.

Follow C. Hope Clark:
www.fundsforwriters.com / www.chopeclark.com

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