Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Celebrations & Memorials

It's nearly May. There are a lot of things going on in the month of May. Birthdays are plentiful. But there are writings in the wind. Being the Senior Living editor at BellaOnline.com, I've been looking for great ideas to "jazz up" the site. I've interviewed a couple of authors. One went live at Senior Living this month. One is scheduled for next month. And I happened to be contacted by someone who works with U.S. military veterans.

Carl posted to me to remove him from the Senior Living list because he's interested in newsletters that help veterans. I jumped on the opportunity, "Well, how can Senior Living help? Would you answer some questions and let me write about what YOU do?" He posted back, "Sure will, and I have someone else I'd like to pull into this and answer your questions."

So, in May I will be writing a number of things. May isn't "just" Memorial Day celebrations to remember those who sacrificed for the rest of us so we could have the rights to our opinions. It's also Older Americans Month and Family Violence Prevention Awareness Month. And probably a gazillion others, too.

My FRC work is done, except to send it on. I'll do that this evening when I know for sure that the rep from Adult Services isn't going to call me today. Eloise was hoping for a quote from those folks. My BellaOnline article and newsletter for this week have been put up and distributed. I'm going to read this material I've just printed out from the Giveahand.com site that Carl referred me to so I can compile a list of questions for him and for the website owner so I can get those posted tonight. I want to work on my senior novel that I plan to make into an e-book to be sold at Bella. AND I want to work on the other novel I've been scribbling for weeks.

Additionally, I finished reading The Giver by Lois Lowry this morning. Futuristic, it is about family, memories and life, very apropo to our times when there is strong agreement from everywhere across the country that the American family needs to be rescued. So, I want to finish reading A Door Near Here by Heather Quarles. It is another story about four children who live with their alcoholic mother. The youngest, a 3rd grader, had a homework assignment: Write a letter to your favorite author. Her letter was to C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. She wrote that she realized he lived in England, but could he tell her where in Washington, D.C. was the door to Narnia because she really needs to get there to rescue someone who is very ill.

In there somewhere I have to wash some more laundry, make supper and clean up the kitchen. I also have to take advantage of the beautiful afternoon to get in my 30-40 minute brisk walk. How else am I going to lose weight?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Storm of a different nature ~ Interview with Joyce A. Anthony

Joyce Anthony and I met through an online writer support group, MomWriters. She and I were writing novels at the same time last year. Joyce has finished hers and published it in March. For me, I'm still writing. And I'll get there. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming Joyce to my blog to talk about her new release, Storm by Joyce A. Anthony.

CB: What message does Storm send to the reader? What is the theme of the book?

JA: We are so quick to judge, both ourselves and others. Yet those we judge are not always as we see them. There is a greater depth we must explore. Everyone has a story, and we must take the time to know that story.

CB: What is the one thing that would/should draw someone to read Storm?

JA: Readers will find within the pages of Storm at least one person they know. It is a story they will find recognition worldwide. The themes, the characters, are universal. Anyone who seeks to understand basic human conditions will find answers within the pages of Storm.

CB: I believe this is a Christian fantasy. What about it would make it appealing to other belief systems?

JA: I write from a Christian perspective, but the spiritual messages portrayed within the pages of Storm are universal--love, pain, understanding, acceptance, and faith. Storm does not preach nor try to convert. It is for anyone who seeks to love and understand his fellow human beings and himself.

CB: Who has influenced your writing style the most? Why?

JA: I think my two favorite authors have found a way into this book. Rod Serling always challenged his readers to see that "reality" as we know it is often not as it appears. Richard Bach challenges a reader to go within himself and examine all he knows or thinks he knows. I believe Storm contains a bit of both these elements.

CB: What inspired this story?

JA: The story developed over tiime, from a brief glimpse of a man years ago, to a dream and a question by another writer. All of the characters deal with things I have seen throughout the years, all togehter, the elements joined and created this book.

CB: You are donating a portion of your royalties to a child abuse prevention website. Does the novel have much to do with that topic?

JA: One character, Jane, is an abused child. Her story is important, but not any more so than all the others. I chose StopItNow because they are a group I feel is doing a necessary task, and approaching the matter in a unique way. I would love to have included a charity from each of these issues, but, having to choose one, I chose the one that is closest to my heart and has been since before Storm was born.

CB: Is there a question you hoped would be asked and wasn't?

JA: I think you covered quite a bit, Cathy. These were great questions. What I'd like to do is invite your readers to visit my website to learn more about Storm. Thank you for having me here today.

You can read more about Joyce and her book, Storm, at http://joyceanthony.tripod.com.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just write a good story

I had to wait for prescriptions to be filled. It would be a little while. AI strolled through Rite Aid, and ended up in the same place that I always end up: the writing supply aisle. I found a top spiral notebook about the size of a steno pad, but the paper is like a legal pad. It cost over $3 and I didn't want to spend that much on a notebook! But I really liked it. It was the perfect size to carry around with me.

I resisted...walked away. It was the perfect size for the firwst draft of a novel. I had to have it. I paid the price. I went to wait at the pharmacy and began to write.

I had decided to begin yet another novel, not because I wanted another novel, but to put into practice some of the things I had learned through discussions at my online writer groups. The beauty of this particular novel is that I carry it with me and write longhand every spare minute. When the action slows I do as author Carolyn Garriott suggested. Stop...and think about where the story needs to go next. Garriott, author of Shadow of the Cross, set out to "just tell a good story.

My good friend, travel writer and fiction writer, Maureen Creager, has always been an encourager. I went to great lengths to chart out one of my novels in an effort to try and get control of it. I couldn't wait to show her. She said it was impressive. But when I got home, there was an e-mail waiting for me. Maureen advised, "Very nice. Now, put the chart away and just write a good story."

So I carry this yellow, top spiral notebook everywhere I go. I'm letting Isabella, Daniel and Micah tell the story. When the action slows I do what romance author Shirley Jump does: Throw another elephant into the middle of the room.

I like to write longhand so I bought a lap desk. I carry it with me all over the place. My goal is a novel in 2007. If I'm going to write 100 novels before I die, I have to get busy making tracks.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Meet other authors

In the past month I've had opportunity to interview two published authors. And I've learned something I always knew but maybe didn't quite put into concrete thought. It goes back to a mom-ism that I remember from my youth: "You're judged by the people you run around with."

Well, I'm looking at it from a theme perspective. If I want to write well, get published, I need to commune with other writers who know more than I do. The flip side of that is that I owe it to those who follow in my footsteps to do the same for them. That's just the right thing to do...Propagate it...pass it on, as a friend...perhaps a soul mate...once told me. The pay back is not that I will see the end result, but that I was responsible and passed on what was passed to me.

I spoke to Anita Bloom Ornoff several weeks ago and wrote a book review that can be found at www.bellaonline.com/articles/art40029.asp and an interview, www.bellaonline.com/articles/art50069.asp. Anita published an autobiography, Beyond Dancing, at age 83...and believe me, she is now a feisty and young 85, ready to begin work on the next book, her life before she became paraplegic.

Recently I received a request to review Carolyn Garriott's first release, Shadow of the Cross, which I will post at www.bellaonline.com/seniorliving on May 1. We just seemed to click the minute I posted to her about a review copy of her book. At age 70, Carolyn (also feisty and young) didn't just publish a book. She established a publishing house because her publisher was not working with her as she wanted.

I enjoy getting to know women like Nita and Carolyn because they don't let being a "woman" get in the way of achieving what they want to do. It's not about gender. It's about persistence. It's about self-fulfilling prophecy. It's about knowing who they are and what they want and forming their plan of how to get there, how to make things happen for them.

Having a supportive husband makes a difference, too. Hal Ornoff has been his wife's supporter and encourager. You need to read the interview to understand their relationship. And to understand Nita, you need to read her book. The goal of her book was for young people to read it and understand that they shouldn't give up easily on the things that they want. Hard work and persistence pay off.

Carolyn survived two bad marriages. Well, she thought the first marriage was a happy one until her husband came home and advised that a young women's libber had advised him that their marriage was not a happy one. He divorced Carolyn, married the younger woman who abandoned him later. All Carolyn ever wanted was to be a homemaker and mother. Life pushed her to other things. Somehow, though, she and her high school heart throb found each other at age 65 and life has been filled with joy ever since. Check in at Senior Living at Bella Online on May 1 to get the story and the encouragement you might, as a writer or a wife, be looking for. And for the review of Shadow of the Cross.

Now, it's time for me to be working. What are you writing today? Go! Go!