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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sunday Mornings

It’s Sunday.
I made waffles,
did a little writing,
took my daily 2-mile walk,
washed a load of clothes.
 
Every Sunday morning
for thirty-six years
I called my mother
at ten o'clock.
We’d talk for an hour or more.

“It’s Sunday,”
she would remind me.
“I can hear you doing something.”
“I know, Mom,” I’d answer
as I unloaded the dishwasher.

Every Sunday morning
I chalk off my chores  
until ten o’clock.
Then there’s a hole in my day
because she’s gone.

Ginger Dehlinger
March 8, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ten Tips for Self-publishers

My mother passed away this week, so I'm posting another author's advice for writers who choose to self-publish. The author's name is Liz Lazarus. Below are her top ten suggestions.

While writing Free of Malice was a labor of love, as a first time self-published author, I have learned that writing the book is just the beginning. Taking the manuscript to final product, distribution and promotion are just as important. Hopefully my Top 10 tips will make the journey a little easier for others who are just starting out.
1. Create and pay for your own ISBN so you stay in control of distribution.
2. Have a few honest friends give you early feedback---it’s hard to judge your own work. You know the old saying, “It’s hard to tell if your baby’s ugly.”
3. Print on demand so you can make early tweaks. There are always more typos than you think are humanly possible! CreateSpace is a great option.
4. Don’t go to layout until you are sure you have no more changes. I mean absolutely, positively, 100%, no more changes sure.
5. Find the right PR firm. The best way to test them is to see who can produce a good media kit and how many current media contacts they have.
6. Learn the world of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Understanding these platforms as platforms for growing your brand is critical.
7. Do spend the money on a proper website. It’s your home base and your identity.
8. Have other projects or work that balance your focus on your book and allow for a fresh perspective.
9. For reviews, Foreward/Clarion and Midwest Book Review seem to be the most Indie friendly, in my experience.
10. And most importantly, remember that some of the most famous authors have a pile of early rejection letters. Don’t let it discourage you!
Fellow authors, what tips would you add to the list?
About the Author:
In her previous career, Liz LazarusLiz grew up in Valdosta, Georgia, known for its high school football and as the last watering hole on highway I-75 before entering Florida. She was editor of her high school newspaper and salutatorian of her class. Liz graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree and went on to a successful career at General Electric before joining a consulting firm.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cats and Commas



What’s the difference between a cat and a comma?

One has claws at the end of its paws, and the other is a pause at the end of a clause.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Writing About Death

Writing is a challenge. Writing about death is just plain hard.

As I near the end of my novel-in-progress I must, due to key elements in my story, write about death--not one death but several. I don't want to turn my novel into a sob story, yet I want to accurately depict grief (and to some degree the dying process) differently for each death I describe.

I find myself wondering if other writers, especially well-known authors, have as much difficulty writing about death as I do. Do they rewrite death scenes more times than they do others? How long does it take them to attain that balance of emotions I strive for--one that evokes sympathy without being maudlin?

To me, it's easier to write about an accidental death than one that's prolonged. I liken it to the difference between removing a band-aid in one quick rip VS peeling it off slowly. I'd also rather write about the death of an old person than I would a child. The death of any loved one is a shock; however the shock following an expected death dissipates sooner. Most parents never stop grieving over a child who dies. As Mitch Albom wrote in Tuesdays With Morrie, "Death ends life, not a relationship."

Today I've taken time away from a novel in which several deaths occur to write about writing about death. I don't think this is going to help me finish my novel, so I need to get back to work.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Eye Color

Why is it writers often mention eye color when describing their characters? I'm guilty of it, too. Do we humans associate certain behaviors with eye color? Is a character with blue eyes always true? Must green eyes signify jealousy?

Barbie's eyes are blue. So are those of "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi," Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie, and countless other notables. I have brown eyes, more specifically--light brown or golden brown, possibly hazel brown. Growing up with so many blue-eyed heroines, I always considered brown to be boring, possibly inferior even after listening to songs like "Beautiful Brown Eyes" or "Brown-Eyed Girl."

Then I saw something on Facebook that I think describes me to a T. Realistically, it doesn't describe all brown-eyed people, but it prompted me to write this post.


How about you? Do you associate eye color with specific character traits? I haven't mastered it; however I'm working on eliminating eye color from my writing. With only a handful of colors to pick from, it is far more helpful to the reader to describe what eyes are doing, be it peek, peer, or scrutinize; stare, glare, or hypnotize.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fun With Spelling



WHY ENGLISH IS SO HARD

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be a beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one would be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
And though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim.
Anonymous

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Too Old to Publish?

Am I too old to be an author? Have others (maybe even well-known authors) published noteworthy books after they were, let's call it, "mature?" I enjoyed writing from an early age, but didn't feel confident I could make it a career. It wasn't until I retired that I began writing in earnest, publishing Brute Heart in 2010 when I was sixty-seven.

I did a bit of research on this subject and found several well-known authors who published their most successful works while they were not one of those whippersnappers courted by today's agents and publishers. Note: books listed are not necessarily the first ones they wrote.


Author
Best-known Book
Age When Published
Norman Maclean
A River Runs Through It
73
Bram Stoker
Dracula
50
Raymond Chandler
The Big Sleep
51
Anna Sewell
Black Beauty
57
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie
65
Frank McCourt
Angela’s Ashes
66
Richard Adams
Watership Down
67
Mary Wesley
Jumping the Queue
71