Jun 27, 2009

6 of one.....

Oh the irony! The humbling recognition that writing a story is the same task as cleaning the garage. The garage that is filled with a Moose Beer plaque and favorites gismos left by Chris, with Great Books of the Western World, with 1000 alphabetized Science Fiction paperbacks nobody will buy, with four coffee tables from Rosie's apartments, three bedframes, two student desks, and one beautiful wooden marimba that only Adrian can play, all sprinkled with the debris of my mother's ins and outs and dying dreams.

Writing a story, no matter how long demands that we (a) begin and (b) finish.

I haven't finished dividing the inhabitants of my garage into trash and treasures, really finished, for the last 21 years. We moved in with no one but three 8th graders to carry for us over a Thanksgiving that rained without ceasing. Everything was damp, so most boxes and trash bags of last minutes items were left in the garage while we scuttled in with mattresses that went onto the floors, with dishes cramped into whichever cabinet was open, and clothes that went right into closets. Then we closed the big double door and didn't open it until summer. So in 1986, I cleaned the garage, created a shady place for a little girl to play, a safe haven for a daschund and a couple of cats. When winter came and icy rains slithered in from the north, we closed the big door again. Everytime it opened after that, something new was added, older residents were slid this way and that, stacked and restacked. Garage sale after garage sale only skimmed the immediate surface. In 2002 I closed the big door for the last time.

Today I need to write.........today I am cleaning the garage instead. It consumes me, the decision to select the protagonists who will remain and the antagonists who will be defeated, thrown away, or sold. I can only pray at the end there is a car-sized path when the story is revealed.

Jun 25, 2009

perhaps, growing old

Today Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson both passed away. Surely other writers, actors, composers, singers, illustrators, musicians.......artists of all genres, of all talents, have also been lost, whether or not I know of them. My mother, quiet and cheerful, lived to 92. I'm not at all sure what that will take in the way of clean living, dynamic planning, or healthy behaviors.
What makes one person seek longer survival and the next person succumb? I've always heard that mean agressive women outlive the meek. Hmmm. I am becoming more determined to finish what I start, this second novel for example--I find that telling the story is not satisfying me. I want to explore Suzzanne's being, how she came to be that girl with so much anger and so little street sense. Well, I'm writing and certainly this will keep me healthy for another year or two!

Writer's Rule: The more layers you weave, the healthier the story.

Jun 19, 2009

Writing Camp

Just spent two wonderful days with ESOL kids in the Springdale Writing Camp. Short stories about sports and family and career dreams. Poetry about the Marshall Islands and hungers and loneliness. Brave words, common themes, no fear. What a terrific group of students are coming to my junior high next year. I can hardly wait!

Jun 13, 2009

Writing - a little like marriage!

Yesterday was a real eye-opener. I suppose we all think we have a "new" story. But last night I read Elaine Marie Alphin's Counterfeit Son and found another boy battling a predator. Thank goodness for cheery critique groups. They reminded me that we share something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue--in marriage, in business, among friends, and in the world of storytelling!

Now, on to Resurrection where Suzzanne is suspected of murdering a highschool rival. More as she appears on the small screen, one page at a time.

Jun 12, 2009


Kristin Gray, besides being an expert of Fiona the Flamingo, is a first-class web trawler. She's found a new book with the same title! Haven, Beverly Patt. Just being released.

http://www.classof2k9.com/ You'll find it mentioned, but they haven't filled in the jacket cover yet. I've read her bio and she has more energy than a chihuahua. Congratulations to her!!

*%*#*@*^*** That's my little grey cells thinking of a new Title!

I'm open to suggestions!

Jun 11, 2009


The WRITE TIL YOU'RE HUNGRY Day went very very well. We met at Panera's at 10:00, fortified w/ beverage of choice, shared writing news and family news for 30 minutes flat (just came back from Hawk Pub. conf and another writer just back from 10 yr anniv trip to London and Paris)and then we set up laptops and went to work. Stopped at 1:00 for lunch, joined by a new writer wanting to join the group, said goodbye to her at 2:00 and wrote until 3:30. Whew! Worth every minute. 6 good pages for me, 2 Fiona the Flamingo PB stories for one and mucho action pages involving a wicked witch, a troll, and a warlock teenager for our third writer.
KIDSTUFF is a wonderful writing group! Thanks Mandy, Kristin.....welcome to Karen.

Jun 10, 2009

Getting Published

I love stumbling over concurrent advice. The authors and editors at Hawk Publishing all had the advice I posted last time. Today I found this at Insomniac Press:
Get published somewhere else. We love new authors, but some sort of track record helps a lot. If you've finished a brilliant novel and have never been published anywhere else, keep your shirt on and start sending short stories or excerpts to literary magazines; most of them accept unpublished authors, and we'll look a lot more closely at authors who have been in print before. (If you have a truly stunning non-fiction proposal, however, you might be able to bypass this step.)
So I compiled a long list of publications that pay for articles, stories, essays, opinions, reviews, etc. Sign up as a follower and I'll send you a copy if you're interested. Remember being published is better than not!
Have a great day!

Jun 9, 2009

Hawk Publishing Conf

Some gems from the Hawk Publishing conference.
*Publishing is better than not publishing.
*You can't believe how long it's taken some major authors to land a contract.
*There are no guarantees in the book market. One contract does not guarantee another.
*Marketing is more successful if you get in the car and drive.
*Sales are higher if you know your bookstore sales staff - in every town you ever visited.
*Critique or reading groups trump trying to reinvent the quill pen.

Excellent weekend. Bill Bernhardt: master mind, host, motivational speaker
Speakers from Science Fiction to Scriptwriting, from legal drama to historical fiction, agent to authors to legal advice.