Saturday, January 11, 2014

INSOMNIAC




No Sleep by Milosaur
 

It’s 11:11 p.m. Sometimes, it’s 12:12. And other times it’s 3:33 or, maybe, it’s 4:56.  These clock times engage my imagination. They happen mostly the dark hours, when I wake up, check the time, shake my head and either stagger off to the bathroom, let the cat in or out, or wander around the house for a half an hour until my old joints unkink sufficiently so I can go back to sleep.

I suppose I shouldn’t waste time thinking about whether this means anything, but the problem is that during the '60’s I dabbled in numerology, and that years earlier, sitting on the floor to the off-stage right of a Barbadian bar, this little girl read books about aliens visiting earth in ancient times, which accounts for most of our mythology, or about prehistoric collisions of the earth with Venus, or about contemporary African tribes who somehow or other know all about the invisible-to-the-naked-eye-red-dwarf companion of the blue giant star, Sirius. I’ve been soaking in this other-worldly, one-brick-shy-of-a-load content since I was a post war precocious child, with predictable results.

Whenever I wake up at night, I always look at the clock, and because there is usually some variation of what I take to be a “meaningful” configuration, I’ve begun to imagine these are messages—from somewhere about something. Don’t ask me what, although I’ve spent plenty of 2-4 a.m. hours wondering.

Are these omens, messages from a hitherto uncommunicative universe? 

Is the TARDIS land going to appear in my bedroom? (Cool!)

Is some Nightmarish Being from an occult Lovecraftian dimension with three toes and a long snaky snout lurking just behind the bedroom door?

Is my ship—so long awaited—about to come in?

Or is it all simply a series of unrelated events, just “random chaos ”(as one of my friends has it), business as usual on this particular plane?

 ~~

Juliet Waldron
Author of Mozart's Wife, Roan Rose, Nightingale
and other historical novels. 
http://www.julietwaldron.com
http://www.amazon.com/author/julietwaldron
 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's All About Blogging

Following is a post I shared in 2007 on my own site.  I love to go back and read how much I've grown as an author and what sort of things I've added to my schedule.  Of course, I see a ton here I no longer do, and friends I've lost contact with.  Sad, but I've made a hundred new ones since then, so I can't be unhappy with the outcome.  The bottom line:  Blogging has brought me joy.  My most current comments are in ( ) below each paragraph.


 How long have you been blogging?
 Not long at all. Only since the very end of September (2006). I began in 2004 with a monthly newsletter and my membership grew to over 550. Although I enjoyed producing a monthly rag, I hated the bounced emails, the constant changing of them, and just the general headaches. So, when blogging became all the rage, I decided to give it shot. The downside was losing all my subscribers, but I found a way to add a subscription link and I actually forced everyone to sign up. Not really, I thought I could import my addresses but found I couldn't, so I spent three nights typing in addys complete with those stupid spam guard letters and numbers. When I went to bed last night, I swore they were tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. I'm happy to say that most of the people I subscribed, confirmed and have signed on for another round of torture. (I have since invited Rita Karnopp to join me, and I benefit from the wisdom in articles she shares on her days.)

 What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors? 
 As an author, you have to establish a fan base and I like to know mine. I love interacting with people, and blogging makes that easier. The newsletter was fun while it lasted, but this allows people to comment back to me and let me know what they think. I can also invite other friends to come and share information on days when I'm just too lazy to blog myself. Mentors? I didn't know many people who blogged until I started myself, so I guess I'm my own mentor.
 (I must credit Jude Pittman with getting me started.  I was through her BWL group that I gained my followers…her interactive comment section  allowed me to interact with people who had stopped by, and I believe most of the people who continue to follow me have been with me for a long time. Thank you Jude…not only for being a forward-thinker before you started Publishing, but for helping a new author establish herself.)

 Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun? 
 You can make money doing this? Since I had no idea, I suppose I should be truthful and say I do this for the fun of it. I also write because that's what I love to do. If I was in it for the money, I'd have hung up my keyboard a long time ago. Despite all the promotion I do, my last royalty check barely covered a Happy Meal.  (Things have definitely changed for me since then.  I moved up to Burger King and Whoppers. *lol*)

 What 3 things do you struggle with online? 
 a) The biggest struggle for me the lack of tone in email. There is none and it's hard to keep from adding my own. You know we all have those days when we're pissy and it's very easy to beat myself up with my own attitude. I think I'm insecure and I need my Mommy!  (Still struggle with this and forget that people use their own moods to inflict tone in what you write…I'm a people too, so I have to question myself many times before I respond with a biting tone.)

 b) The next hardest thing for me is saying no when people need help. I'm not a computer geek by any means, but I seem to have a tad more expertise than some, and I find myself fixing boo boos, moderating, doing videos, and tons of other things that take time away from my writing.  (I only say no when it's physically impossible.  I truly believe that being a successful author depends on those with whom you surround yourself.  I will always help promote others, and do what I can to keep us all moving upward.)

 c) The final struggle for me is finding time to visit all the networking sites and being able to keep my own pages current. We have BEBO, BOOKFACE, BOOKPLACE, MYSPACE, SHELFARI...just to name a very few. It's almost impossible to be visible on all of them if I want to keep up with my blogging. I've yet to find a happy medium and I'm driving myself nuts. Good thing it's a short jaunt.

 What 3 things do you love about being online?
 a) It takes away my feelings of solitude. Since I retired from my academic counseling job, I'm a stay-at-home "Nee Nee" to a five-year-old grandson. I hunger for adult conversation, and email and my networking sites is how I get my fix these days.  (Nothing changed here.  The majority of my best friends are people I've never met.)

 b) I'm a closet comedienne and I love to make people laugh. I have a serious side to my blog, but I also like to blend in a lot of humor. Everyone needs a chuckle now and then, and if I can brighten someone's day, I do. Blogging gives me a chance to laugh at the world and myself.  (I love to infuse humor in almost everything I write.  It's hard being serious all the time, so when I get a chance, I like to make people laugh…it's the best medicine, if you haven't heard.)

 c) One of greatest thing about being online is learning new things. Of course then this takes me back to one the struggles of being on line...saying no to people. I've learned to do video trailers, even started a little side business called, TrailMix, Videos. Setting up a Myspace page wasn't a daunting task, but you'd be surprised how many people can't figure it out. I've mastered moderating yahoo groups and setting up my own, and it seems that either people are playing dumb or they really find it a challenge. Nonetheless, I guess I'm destined to be a patsy for anyone in need. There's a lot of satisfaction in it. Makes an old gal feel smarter than she really is. :) I guess now, what I need to do is tag three more people for you to meet. Hmmm, let me see: Yvonne Perry is is a wonder. She's one of the busiest people I know but manages to organize and involve people in great blog chains that connect one to another. I've met some great people and drifted to spaces I would never have found on my own. Vicki Gaia is a good friend and fellow author I met on a critique group. I admire her positive attitude and spirit, and she's been a tremendous help in honing my work for submission to publishers. Anne Whitfield is another good friend and fellow author who started a Historical Fiction critique group and invited me to participate. I've made great progress, good friends, and turned out some pretty decent books thanks to Anne and her group. I owe her a lot. So there you go. This was fun. Thanks to Helen Ginger for recognizing my site and awarding me the 'meme'. I titled this "All About Blogging" but it really was all about ME! Hope you enjoy visiting the other sites and learning about how other people blog. Probably not as crazily as I do, but as entertaining I'll bet.
 (Sadly, the people I've mentioned are ones with whom I've lost contact with, but like I said…I've made many more friends than I ever imagined.  They may not know my face, but they know my name.  I no longer do videos for other people, it's been ages since I've been to MySpace, preferring FB instead, and I've also let go of lots of "time sucks" such as Yahoo groups that provided nothing more than endless excerpts which I doubt many people took time to read and reading reviews from trolls who take delight in desecrating the work of others.  I've also relinquished many networking sites in favor of those I know are frequented by those who love to read.)

So, now you realize why I'm monopolizing this blog. All the reasons above, plus people will only follow a blog that has frequent entries and interesting content.  Jamie put effort into creating this blog for BWL authors, and that's me.  I'm doing my part because I owe BWL a great deal of gratitude…and I love Jude and Jamie.  Next time, I'm going to share one of Rita's interesting posts.  She's a wise woman with tons of good reads.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Always Learning By Ginger Simpson




Writing is always a learning experience. And a confusing one. I thought creating a novel would be the hard part, but I was wrong. It's deciding which helpful critiques of your work make the most sense.

It's a known fact, if you solicit an opinion, you'll get one...and you may not always like it or agree. This aptly describes being in a critique group. Although, it's often a task to glean the most helpful suggestions from the stack, I encourage every new author to find a group and join. You may receive some negative comments, but you get tons of positive ones that help keep you focused. You have to remember the reason you joined is to help hone your story into it's very best, and everyone has an opinion on how to do that. *lol* The secret is to select suggestions that don't change your voice or alter your story-telling ability, but improve the flow and correct the flaws.

Receiving critiques is like going through an editorial process. You must keep an open mind and consider each possibility. If I like a suggestion, I follow it, but if I don't, I hold firm to what I've written. Sometimes, it's my voice coming through, and what separates my story from any other. Every critique or editing provides an opportunity to learn something new.

Herein lies a problem. When I post excerpts, I always notice something I know now that I wish I'd known then. *lol* But, one of these days, I'm bound to write that award-winning novel with all these facts floating around in my head. At least, as I write now, I stop and remember to replace was with a more active word, or remove the could, would and should to keep my story in the present tense and remove the passive voice. I don't need all those necessary instances of that. I stop and re-read the sentence with and without it, and frequently hit the delete button.

I now look for and delete prepositional phrases (to him, at her) at the end of sentences. A reader is usually smart enough to know what is implied. And certainly, if there are only two people in the room, most tags aren't needed. Nothing is more annoying than every sentence identifying the speaker when I can figure it out on my own. Don't treat your readers like they're dummies. *lol*

I've been told that phrases like 'seemed to," "tried to," and "began to," actually weaken a sentence. It's better to stay in the active mode. Example: The aroma of apple pie seemed to fill the room. Why not say: The aroma of apple pie filled the room and made his stomach rumble.

And hardest of all for me to remember: Cause & Effect. Something has to happen BEFORE some has a reaction. Example: She jumped when the door slammed might be considered okay, but it's better if The door slammed and she jumped. So much to remember!
See what I mean? If not for my critique friends and my wonderful editors, I'd still be just a story-teller. There is a distinct difference between that and being a novelist. The secret is in drawing the reader in, making them experience the smells, feel the emotions, and believe they can see and feel along with the characters. It's not an easy task, but the more I learn, the better I become.

Brides of Banff Springs by Victoria Chatham

AVAILABLE HERE   VICTORIA CHATHAM is a young-at-heart senior who has written short stories, newspaper and magazine articles on a...