Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Archive for the ‘Insecure Writers Support Group’ Category

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month the OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question is: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

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As If There Were Any Question

Laguna Beach, California is where you’d find me writing if I had my druthers. Scotchman’s Cove, Diver’s Cove or Heisler Park – wherever I could find an empty bench or a sandy spot for my beach towel with the fewest people around.

And why there? Because it’s one of my favorite spots on earth and the sun, the salty air and the pounding of the surf nourishes my soul and heals me. It opens me up to write from my inner being. But although that’s my all-time favorite place, I wouldn’t be adverse to a week nestled along the shoreline at Big Sur either. I’d say any other beach – but that would be a lie. I’m a bit of a beach snob and am fussy about where I spend the little beach time I have. Which, now that I live in Texas, is about nil.

It wouldn’t be Huntington Beach. It wouldn’t be Seal Beach. It’s wouldn’t be…any of the other flat boring expanses of sand that graces so much of the coastline. It has to be rocky and craggy, where the surf can dash itself against the cliffs. Where there are tide pools to explore. I don’t even have to dip my toes in the water. All I need is the sights, the sounds, the scents of the vast ocean in front of me.

But you know – barring no acceptable beach, I could also disappear into the mountains where jays are screeching and the wind rustles through the pine trees that perfume the air with their fresh pungent scent.

Alas, since I’m thousands of miles from a beloved beach, who knows how many miles from a decent mountain forest, and its 95-degrees outside as I write this, I’ll settle for writing at my keyboard, tucked away in my home with the AC blowing full blast and the bit of nature that I’ll revel in right now is the teensy little spider trying to build a web outside in the corner of the window frame.

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Any other historical fiction authors here? In April I started a weekly newsletter – Pages of the Past – celebrating historical fiction. Each week I have an author spotlight on a historical fiction author, along with a Reading Roundup of 1-2 books from different eras. If you’re an author and are interested in being interviewed for an author spotlight, email me at texastrishafaye@yahoo.com. Right now I’m scheduling authors for October and November. Also, if you have any books you’d like featured, email me and let me know and I’ll get it scheduled into the next newsletter for that era.

If you’d like to take a look to see if you’re interested, here’s a link to the May 31st newsletter.

Get Pages of the Past delivered to your inbox every Friday!

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/184527085517941/

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Patience Required #IWSG

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month the OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question is: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?

The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner!

 

Patience Required

calendar flying by

I thought I was prepared for a freelance writing career. Before I gave notice to my employer, I prepared. I’d read about a freelance writing life. I started submitting long before I gave my notice. I had some money in the bank. I was ready. I had a plan. I had patience. I had this!

And then – the realities proved that I didn’t.

Knowing that I wouldn’t work and get a paycheck two weeks later (immediate cash compared to how the writing money trickles in), I had enough cash to get through three months.

And then…the car broke.

I had a plan and I was submitting.

And then…the acceptances didn’t come in fast enough.

And then…

Much to my dismay – and what wasn’t planned – was me taking a part-time job. But, I discovered that I really do like to eat! And the car, now fixed, really likes to eat too. And so do the plethora of cats that fill the house.

Several things caught me by surprise. The first was that even thought I thought I had a well-thought out plan – it wasn’t adequate. The second was that even though I thought I was patient – I wasn’t patient enough.

But a fun surprise down the line was having small checks appear in the mailbox unexpectedly.

When I started out, I sent submitted some devotions to The Secret Place. They only accept three submissions a month, so January, February and March of 2015 I sent in three a month. By then the realities were starting to show themselves and I knew I needed something that paid larger amounts and paid faster. So I stopped.

In May 2015 I got two rejections from them. Crickets on the other seven submissions. By then I was looking at other markets and never submitted anything else.

In October of that year, nine months after I sent the first devotion, I had one acceptance. Four months later I had another acceptance. And then an even louder chorus of crickets.

Two and a half years after sending in the first batch of three submission, I was pulling some weeds in the back yard. By then, thoughts of the other submissions never even crossed my mind. I heard the mailman drive down the street, so wandered out to the mailbox, expecting only a bill or two, possibly a letter from a friend. When I pulled out an envelope from Judson Press, I was confused. The name seemed familiar, but it didn’t match anything that I knew I had out.

I couldn’t wait to get to the letter opener. I tore the envelope open walking back to the house. There was a check for $20! Checking my list of submissions, I found it was to a devotion I’d sent in February 2015 – and a check arrived in June 2017 – two years and five months later!

I didn’t complain. It was just the right amount to buy a new printer cartridge, so I sent up a silent thank you to the heavens. After that, three more checks trickled in, one a quarter.

Now I regret not continuing on with my submissions. In my impatience of not seeing immediate results, I stopped and went to other avenues. I should have kept writing and submitting and I might have had other checks coming in through the next few years. But I stopped. So that pipeline is now dried up.

These periodic checks, while small and not large enough to retire on, showed me that patience is truly a large part of being a writer. That is one of the many things that I’d underestimated when I first stepped onto this writer’s road.

 

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Any other historical fiction authors here? In April I started a weekly newsletter – Pages of the Past – celebrating historical fiction. Each week I have an author spotlight on a historical fiction author, along with a Reading Roundup of 1-2 books from different eras. If you’re an author and are interested in being interviewed for an author spotlight, email me at texastrishafaye@yahoo.com. Right now I’m scheduling authors for October and November. Also, if you have any books you’d like featured, email me and let me know and I’ll get it scheduled into the next newsletter for that era.

If you’d like to take a look to see if you’re interested, here’s a link to the May 31st newsletter.

 

Get Pages of the Past delivered to your inbox every Friday!

 Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/184527085517941/

The Three Cline Children Live On

iwsg

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month the OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question is: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

The awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Natalie Aguirre, Jennifer Lane, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

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The Three Cline Children Live On

Oh, so often my characters end up with my own personal traits. After all, one of the common pieces of advice is ‘to write what we know.’ And what do we know better than our own personal traits – be they flawed, noble, or inaccurately perceived.

The three Cline children – I and my younger brother and sister – from our younger years have come to my aid on my newest work in progress. I want to write a series of three books about a set of 1934 quilt squares that were stitched by real people over eighty years ago – a chapter book, a middle-grade book, and a novel for adults. I initially planned to have one of the real people as the main character in the books. But, knowing there would be descendants of this real person, I didn’t want to write the book from their point of view and then discover that I’d grossly misjudged their character or what they were like in their younger years.

Since the tales will be told in a fictional manner, I created a family that is going to move to town. I needed two younger girls for the chapter book and middle-grade book, and a mother for the adult novel. Let’s put a boy right in the middle of the two girls and voila! There’s my family. The oldest daughter (me) is Faith, my middle name. A brother two years younger is played by Edward, my brother’s middle name. And the littlest sister is played by Elizabeth, my sister’s middle name.

Naturally, Faith, the oldest is a bit of a nerdy book worm. She’s more interested in books and crafts – mostly books. Edward is curious and active and loves to pester his two sisters. And Elizabeth has those huge, brown eyes that she bats furiously when she wants to get her way.

These younger Cline siblings may be older now, the two girls now grandmothers and the brother supervising from the heavenly realm. None of the three of us were even around in 1934. Our parents weren’t even born until 1934 and 1936. But thanks to the wonderful world of fiction, the three Cline kids will have their own Marty McFly vehicle, but instead of flying to the future, we’re stepping back in time to become characters in a tale from long ago.

You’ve got to love being a writer – the magic we can weave with our words!

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Any other historical fiction authors here? In April I started a weekly newsletter – Pages of the Past – celebrating historical fiction. Each week I have an author spotlight on a historical fiction author, along with a Reading Roundup of 2-3 books from different eras. If you’re an author and are interested in being interviewed for an author spotlight, email me at texastrishafaye@yahoo.com. I’m scheduling authors for August and September. Also, if you have any books you’d like featured, email me and let me know and I’ll get it scheduled into the next newsletter for that era.

If you’d like to take a look to see if you’re interested, here’s a link to the May 31st newsletter.

 

Living in the Past

iwsg

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month the OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question is: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

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Living in the Past

In true Gemini eclectic fashion, I read and write in many genres. A little children’s. A little contemporary. I dabbled with some romance that didn’t go too far. I plotted out a mystery – or rather, started plotting out a mystery. Lots of nonfiction and magazine articles get their share of keyboard time. But my all-time favorite genre? The one that sings its siren song, luring me to its shores?

Historical fiction. The days of the past. The eras long gone. Those are the stories that I long to tell.

Sometimes an old vintage photograph kicks off the tale. Many times an old postcard. A name inscribed on the flyleaf of a hundred year old book. Sometimes it’s simply touching an embroidered piece that starts the story unraveling. I touch the threads that an unknown woman touched fifty, eighty, or a hundred years ago. My mind drifts and I wonder…Who made this? What was she like? What were her hopes and dreams? What was her life like?

That’s all it takes. In a flash I’m living in the past. I dropped into 1850, or 1910, or 1934.

Who needs Marty McFly and his time-traveling DeLorean? All I need to teleport me to another time is a dish, a cookbook, a photograph, or some other memorabilia that began its life many years before I drew my first breath.

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Any other historical fiction authors here? In April I started a weekly newsletter – Pages of the Past – celebrating historical fiction. Each week I have an author spotlight on a historical fiction author, along with a Reading Roundup of 2-3 books from different eras. If you’re an author and are interested in being interviewed for an author spotlight, email me at texastrishafaye@yahoo.com. Right now, I’m scheduling authors for July and August. Also, if you have any books you’d like featured, email me and let me know and I’ll get it scheduled into the next newsletter for that era.

If you’d like to take a look to see if you’re interested, here’s a link to the May 31st newsletter.

 

Living in a Peach #IWSG

 

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month the OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question is: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

giant peach

Living in a Peach

At first I was stumped by this question. I couldn’t think of any early experience where I learned that language had power. But then a book leaped to mind, one I’d read in the third grade. James and the Giant Peach. Even though I’ve read voraciously since I learned about how the letters made words, which made a story, in third grade I discovered James and the Giant Peach, Charlotte’s Web, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Fifty years later I still recall the magic of these three books. I was carried to worlds most magnificent. I found out that books can transport us – and that’s a pretty strong argument for language having power.

Catalogs of a Vintage Nature

iwsg       AtoZ2019tenthAnn

Catalogs of a Vintage Nature

Today’s post is a double-duty missive. We’ve just gotten started with April’s A to Z Blog Challenge, but it’s also the first Wednesday of the month when I post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group has an optional question each month. April’s question is:

If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

I usually write to the question put before us, but this month, since the A to Z theme for Writer’s Zen is historical fiction, I’m going to forego the ISWG prompt. Unless…I could use this granted wish to help me in a historical scene…

But, pending that possibility, I’m going to jump into C is for Catalogs – Catalogs of a Vintage Nature.

Not usually a person that spends much time perusing the latest catalog of retail delights, it amazes me how many hours I can lose browsing through old catalogs – old as in 70-80-100 years ago.

Amazingly, catalogs in the US began earlier than the well-known Sears & Roebuck vintage editions. Collectors Weekly reports that “Benjamin Franklin is thought to have produced the first catalog in colonial America. His 1744 publication listed 600 academic books available for purchase. Over 100 years later, luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. published the first mail-order catalog in the United States, known as the “Blue Book.”

Collectors Weekly goes on to tell about Aaron Montgomery Ward, who was a traveling salesman in the late 1860’s. After traveling the rural areas for many years, hawking wares for various Chicago-based dry-goods companies and seeing how much the small rural stores marked up the merchandise to the detriment of the customer, he had the innovative idea about establishing a mail-order general-goods business. In 1872 he started Montgomery Ward & Company, launching with a single sheet he published himself that described 163 available items. Customers would order what they desired and pick up the items at the nearest railroad depot.

It would be many years later before Sears got into the action. In 1888, Richard Warren Sears, a railroad station agent, purchased a discarded shipment of watches. He started his mail-order business selling the watches through a catalog. The next year, Alvah C. Roebuck joined him. In 1893, they renamed their venture Sears, Roebuck & Company and in 1894 they produced a 322-page catalog. Richard Sears illustrated the cover. According to Sears Archives, on the cover he proudly proclaimed: “Book of Bargains: A Money Saver for Everyone,” and the “Cheapest Supply House on Earth,” claiming that “Our trade reaches around the World.”

The first catalog included products such as sewing machines, sporting goods, musical instruments, saddles, firearms, buggies, bicycles, baby carriages, and men’s and children’s clothing. The 1895 catalog offered groceries, stoves dolls, and eyeglasses.

By 1905, the Sears & Roebuck catalog also featured full color and texture wallpaper samples, along with a swatch of material used in their men’s suits. The next year they added paint samples and by 1904 through 1940 you could even purchase read-to-build kit homes through the mail order catalog.

You can read Collectors Weekly report about catalogs here.

The Sears Archives ‘History of the Sears Catalog’ is here.

For some great shots of old catalogs and pages from old catalogs, check out the Flickr Historical Catalogs group.

Thanks for stopping by and checking in on vintage catalogs. If you have any information to add on this fascinating subject, please feel free to share.

vintage seeds

Words are Another Medium

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month the OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question is: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

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Words are Another Medium

Creativity has been part of my life for as long as I remember. Well, at least as early as sixth grade, when my mom taught me to knit and crochet. Then came sewing – on an old treadle sewing machine that my dad bought at an auction in Indiana for just a few dollars. Home Ec classes refined my sewing techniques and were followed with embroidery and some novice attempts at quilting.

iswg1.jpgThese early creative attempts with fabrics and yarns are probably why my favorite pursuits are in the fiber arts area. Several years of weaving classes plunged me further into the field of fibers and weaving soon turned to spinning, dyeing, and felting.

But, I’m a Gemini and I can’t do just one thing. So there’s also papermaking and altered books. These are even more fun with I can combine yarns and weavings into completed projects.

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But…behind Door C is glass! One glass fusing class was all it took and I had to get my own small kiln. What to make, what to make? Pendants? Buttons? Tiles? So much glass – so little time. And if I don’t feel like firing up the kiln, cold glass projects – like mosaic work – are satisfying too.

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And then there was the ‘Polymer Clay Phase’. More earrings to make. Pens to cover. Journal covers to create. Jars and tins to embellish. So many ideas and ways to play with this versatile medium.

But lately, I haven’t been spending much time in these creative avenues. I’ve been too busy crafting with another medium – words.

Writing seems more cerebral. It doesn’t seem to qualify as a creative pursuit. But it is. Writing is creativity expressed in another vein. Instead of acrylic paints, I’m using words to paint the canvas. The techniques are much the same – learning, crafting, and perfecting the skills. The editing is like sculpting with clay. Trim a little here. Pinch off this. Smooth this out. And soon, a completed project is ready and done. Only this one doesn’t hang on a wall, or sit on a mantle. This one is a stack of printed papers or a bound book. All the work of the same muse – Artistic Imagination.

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