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Archive for the ‘Prose from the Pros’ Category

Keeping Historical Figures Real by Mary Sheeran

A Writer of History

When people learn that I’m an author, they often ask about my writing process, the characters I create, and how I come up with ideas for stories.Today, author Mary Sheeran talks about creating characters for her novels.Interesting stuff! When she isn’t writing, Mary is singing or performing in some way and has played leads in Brigadoon, Stop the World, and Cabaret.

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Keeping Historical Figures Real – by Mary Sheeran

Novels deal with real people. Just because the people are creations of our imagination does not make them unreal. If you’re like me, you live with your characters, and they live with you. And I try to remember: every character in my novel is mine, made from my imagination and my knowledge.

In historical novels, however, some of those people may have walked the earth. Readers may even know their names and have opinions about…

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Photograph Inspired Tales #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’s question is:

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the February 5 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson!

dear arlie_3 friends

Snapshots from the Past

I’m laughing as I re-read this month’s question, posted to us from the awesome Insecure Writer’s Support Group. You’re asking me – the self-proclaimed Queen of the Antique Stores? The one who can’t always afford to buy the coveted treasures she sees displayed on the shelves and counters?

Ah, but never feat…I can afford to buy photographs and postcards, and thus have filled up my own coffers with these wondrous paper delights. Some of these photographs, and many of the postcards, have been making their way into my Vintage Daze Short Stories. Although many tales are still in the ‘In Progress’ status, and some in the done–but-editing-phase, one short story is completed and published.

Dear Arlie began with some postcards I inherited from Pauline, an elderly woman that I grew up next door to. The postcards she sent to a friend from 1907-1911 kicked off the story, but then I added vintage photographs from her companion, Bea’s, scrapbook to embellish Dear Arlie.

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Another postcard that I discovered in an antique store on one of my jaunts inspired the beginning of a story, The Grotto. The Grotto is a magnificent creation in Iowa that is still in existence.  On this story, I had many snippets of Iowa history that I wanted to include, but they were from a wide range of time. Wanting to stay within a short story length and not have a full saga, on this story I have a current day woman visiting her grandmother that suffers from dementia. This way the different periods of time come out in varying memories through their visits. This story is only about halfway completed. It got pushed aside last year so I could start working on some Christmas short stories and I haven’t returned to it yet.

I have a feeling that many authors reading this will be nodding their heads in agreement about the ‘never returned to it yet’ phrase.

Now, thanks to this delightful prompt from my IWSG friends, I feel inspired to blow the dust off of the sitting stories and finish a few of them up in this brand new year and brand new decade. Thanks IWSG!

 

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Four Simple Ways to Promote Your Book Long After Its Release

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Sweta S Vikram_BrevityBy Sweta Vikram

Remember the joy and pain of writing your novel or memoir or poetry book or short story collection or set of essays? Remember the pride, the emotional exhaustion, the enthrallment, and the physical pain of bringing your book in this world? The rush, the celebrations, the book events, the sleepless nights, the book tour, burning the midnight oil, the reviews, the media bytes, the interviews, the social media attention and all of that? But a few weeks or months later, everything begins to grow quiet. Initially, there might be gratitude for the breather but slowly the realization hits: the big day is over and there is an emptiness that envelops the author. Not everyone has a book come out every year, so how do you channel the creative energy in that moment of winding down?

My novel, Louisiana Catch was published by Modern History Press in April…

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A Visit with Cari Resnick

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Welcome to Writers Zen, Cari! Today, we’d like to chat with you a little bit about your new book of poetry and reflections, The Lord is Good, and talk to you about your writing journey. This is not your first publication, you’ve been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, several anthologies, and have co-authored a book. What was your first published piece, and how did it change your world?

My first published piece of work ever was actually when I was in elementary school, sometime between 4th and 6th grade. A writer came to our class and talked to us about poetry. I don’t remember all the little details but I do remember writing a very short poem about a strawberry describing human emotions. The writer was surprised with my finished poem and ended up submitting it to one of those huge poetry anthologies and I was published in it. I wish I still had that book. I had loved writing short stories before that, but that experience with the visiting writer and then getting published really sparked my love for poetry and grew my passion for writing even more.

The Lord is Good consists of poems about your faith, and your works in the anthologies are poems, but the book you co-authored, Loving You, A Journey Through Forever, is written in journal entry form. Which is your favorite writing style, and why?

My favorite form of writing is poetry. I love all writing and I definitely dabble in a bit of everything. I can get lost in the world of a story, but poetry has just always come easy to me and has flowed pretty naturally.

How was co-authoring a book different from writing poems?

Co-authoring Loving You, A Journey Through Forever with my sister was a big labor of love on both of our parts and I love that we did it together. Since it was in journal entry form and we each had a character we were responsible for, we depended on one another, she couldn’t write her entry until I finished mine and vice versa.  Writing my poems is totally different.  When inspiration strikes I can get out my journal and pen and write until I can’t write anymore and I’m only accountable to myself for what I get done, which is a blessing and a curse.

As with other authors, writing is not your whole life. You’re the wife of a fireman, and the mother of three young boys – 23 months apart! I remember when I had two young boys, four years apart, and I went back to college and tried to fit in classes and homework around my mothering and how difficult that was. How do you fit writing and poetry into your life while keeping a handle on your sanity?

How do I fit writing into my life while keeping a handle on my sanity? Good question. First off I am not at all sane.  My house is a circus and I’m not sure if I’m the ringmaster or one of the monkeys most days. I have really struggled with finding the time to write or even making the time to write. When my kids were little I thought I would do it during nap time. As my kids got older I thought I would do it while they are at school. And the truth is that at this point, I don’t have a routine or schedule unless I am doing a project that has a deadline. As a writer I have to write when the ideas come to me, which can be so inconvenient. I wish I were more creative during the day, but typically I am most creative in the evening after my people are in bed. Some weeks see more creativity than others. Sometimes I have dry spells for months at a time when all I write are text messages. My mind and my soul craves writing though, and I do have so many thoughts and ideas that need to be let out, often times the two big things holding me back are the laundry and the dishes!

Your poetry in The Lord is Good is an expression of your faith and your love for God. Did your poetry come out of wanting to express your thoughts of living a faith-based life, or were you a poet first and naturally ended up writing about the things in life you were passionate about? Or is that like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg?

I didn’t grow up with any kind of faith in anything. My parents were both non practicing Jews. I first became curious about God in high school after attending my sisters church, but it wasn’t until our oldest was born in 2007 that it struck me hard that I wanted to give my kids more. So my husband and I found a local church that we liked and started attending regularly and it was there that I really learned who God is and His great love for me.  So living a life of faith has inspired my poetry, but my love of poetry came first.

Thank you for joining us today, Cari, and sharing pieces of your life and your writing journey with us. We excited to see you grow – in your love for God, in your role as a wife and mother, and as a writer. Kudos to you for weaving all these aspect together into a life that you’re enjoying living. We wish you all the best in this New Year and new decade!

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Here is one of Cari’s poems from The Lord is Good.

You can find her book on Amazon.

Created For More

By Cari Resnick

You were not created for a 9-5

Or to be a million-dollar woman or man.

Your purpose isn’t in your job,

You are so much more than that.

You were created for God’s love,

To carry out a purpose in His plan.

He has loved you every second since the

Moment you were born.

He didn’t make you to help Him you see,

He made you because He loves.

On days when you’re feeling empty and lost,

Remember, you were created for more.

You were created with gifts and talents,

To be God’s hands and feet on this earth.

You were created to worship,

Created to love,

Created to be loved by God.

So let the God of the universe love you.

Let the creator of the universe use you.

You were created for more.

A Long, Meandering Path #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 we were asked – What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just “know” suddenly you wanted to write?

The awesome co-hosts for the January 8 posting of the IWSG are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!

My real life world is a rich source of material for my stories.

A Long, Meandering Path

Often authors are asked what started them on their writing journey. Their answers (from this side of the print) always seem so self-assured and definite. “Oh, I’ve always written.” “From the time I was a little girl I was scribbling stories.” Or, they always had a precise moment in time they can point back to that directed them down the path of authorship.

I’ve always been jealous when I read those answers.

I haven’t always written. I can’t think of a single moment in time that pointed me in this direction. In fact, I still have my moments of feeling like an imposter. It feels as if I’ve stepped into someone’s ‘author’ shoes that they left lying on the floor and nobody’s noticed that their not my shoes yet.

Now, I’ve always read. Since I was able to start deciphering the cryptic letters on a page and realize they created words which told stories, my nose has not been out of a book since. But writing the stories? Why, that was for the ‘real’ authors; Madeleine, L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time), Hugh Lofting (Dr. Doolittle books), or E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web).

There was that period during senior year when I filled pages with teenage angst filled poetry – but that was work that earned its place in the rubbish bin. It doesn’t count.

I might have dipped a toe in the world of writing sooner – but a room full of peers in a creative writing class in college delayed that action for many, many years. I don’t even recall the first story that I penned that I took to class for critique. Oh, lordy, I still remember the soul-crushing reception my words received. It would be many, many (many) years before I’d attempt writing again.

I was talking about writing with a long-time friend one day. “But you’ve always written,” she said.

“No. I haven’t.”

“Yes, you have. Look at all the newsletters you’ve done over the years. And the small cookbooks you made for the herb store you had.”

But…that wasn’t real writing. One was a cooking newsletter which was a Christmas present in the days when I had to deliver Christmas to family, friends, and one young child on less than $100. The herbal newsletter was when I was trying to get my small herb and garden store up and going and desperately needed a few extra dollars. The little cookbooks to sell in the store? Another cash generating idea. But…you see, typing recipes and relaying herbal information about how to grow and craft with different herbs doesn’t count as ‘real writing’.

And then, after all the years, the boys grew up and moved out. I moved. Finally, I grew up. And it seemed that suddenly there were stories spilling out of my heart and onto the page, and the faster I try to tell them, the more the tide flows in bringing more tales with it. Okay, and a pushy Grandma from heaven who wanted her story told helped me along the path a little sooner than my dragging feet were ready for.

And the critics looming in the background? The cousins to the other students in the college creative writing class from so long ago? Oh, they still make a peep now and then. But the difference is that now I keep going, despite criticism and negative remarks. I know I’m not perfect yet. I’m not where I’d like to be as a writer…yet. But I keep tapping away at the keyboard. And now, the peers I hang out with are much more supportive and we applaud each other’s progress as we journey down this writing road together.

I’d tell you more…but I’ve got ghosts from the past whispering in my ear wanting their story told next. Must. Get. Writing.

Guest: Author Chrystyna K. Lucyk-Berger

Four Foxes, One Hound

How much I LOVE Facebook! I get to meet so many people I would never even knew existed, let alone get to virtually-literally travel the world. Chrystyna K.  Lucyk-Berger is an accomplished woman, who is another friend through mutual friends on Facebook.

Welcome, Chrystyna!

Tonette, thanks so much for the invitation. Like you, I marvel at the networking possibilities open to us over social media. I, too, love interviewing fellow authors. I really enjoy learning about how their works develop as well as how they build writing and creativity into their lives.

(Let me add that Chrystyna is recovering from foot surgery done just this week. I offered to postpone the interview, but she’s a trooper , and got it to me yesterday!)

I have the feeling that your life is a good story in itself.  Will you give us a quick sketch of it so far?

I am a…

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LeeAnne James

Pages of the Past

From the June 7, 2019 issue of Pages of the Past

Fortunately for me, I have a dear friend that’s a voracious reader. She also loves to support new authors, local authors, and her favorite authors. So when Cindy met a new to her author at a book signing at her local bookstore, she shared LeeAnne’s new book with me too, and I too learned about LeeAnne James.

Murder at Gatewood is LeeAnne’s debut historical mystery. She joins us today to chat a little about her writing journey and her new book. Welcome, LeeAnne!

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Hi LeeAnne. Murder at Gatewood is your first novel – a mystery set in the late 1800s. What drew you to write in this era?

I had actually had the idea for the book for quite a few years but didn’t know what era to place it in. I also didn’t want to make it…

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