Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Miscellany--Some Questions About Writing

One thing about being a writer is that you think about words . . .  a lot. You think about what they mean and how they impact you and others. And then there are questions about if the words you choose will convey what you want or if they will have meaning beyond the time you write in.

I loved the post about on Tossing it Out earlier this month. Arlee Bird posed the questions,
"Is your writing mostly in vain? Would you rather make a good living at what you do now and be consigned to the back pages of history?  Or would you prefer the status of struggling artist who gains fame after you are dead and gone?"

In my mind, no writing's in vain, even when you write in a journal or a diary with no thought of sharing with anyone. What you set onto a page is unique and, therefore, worthwhile. It's yours and no one else will express the ideas the way you do.  Unless you "copy, word for word" from another writer, an idea that's similar will be developed differently. Balzac encouraged others to take his ideas and use them. It was his opinion that if writers used his work and incorporated it into their own, he would have another shot at immortality. Now that's an interesting take on things, and it might bear examination, especially when the accusations of plagiarism come up.

As to the choice of making a living now or being forgotten I don't think we have much to say about that. We can write for popular consumption today, and what we write will remain the same while the culture and the readers will evolved into something we may never imagine.

I wonder if Shakespeare considered the long journey his plays and sonnets would make as he wrote them. I believe he would would be surprised at his current status in the world. Elated, yes. But definitely surprised. But let's face it, he had a way of weaving words together that, even though archaic now and somewhat challenging to understand, pulls at our hearts and makes us flock to those Shakespeare in the Park productions each summer. If we learn anything from his example it is to examine that prose of ours and consider the way it sounds as well as what it conveys. Oh yes, and then there's the matter of all those universal themes that he wrote about that still tug at our hearts.

So write, write, write and enjoy the act. If you're lucky, if you're skilled/talented, if the timing is right you'll sell your book to readers. If your stars really line up, in a few hundred years you could be a best selling author. Only time will tell. (Oops! Cliche alert.)

Now I'm off to write something. Hope you'll jump in and add your ideas about Arlee's questions. Coming this December I'll be joining Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Blog Hop. If you want to come on board, just sign up and post about all your insecurity the first Wednesday of each month. See you there, I hope.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Here it is again.  

The day to eat, of course, but also a day to take a moment for reflecting on all of the things we have to be grateful for, and, as we pull out our chairs to sit with family and friends, to remember those who aren't with us at the table anymore. It's a day to give to others who might need something hot to eat. It's a day to appreciate the history of our country and to encourage our children to know what we are celebrating.

There are any number of children's books about this holiday, but here are a few that my family has read and that are on our bookshelves to read again and again.

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern, Anna DiVito (Illustrator)

In lively question-and-answer style, this fact-filled book answers all sorts of questions about the Pilgrims' journey on the Mayflower and their first year in America. Why did the Pilgrims leave England to live in America?  What items did they bring with them on the Mayflower? What were the hardships they endured? What was The Mayflower Compact?

We liked this one because the author shared details about the Pilgrims' everyday life.

Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn : The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols by Edna Barth, Ursula Arndt (Illustrator)

Each of our holidays has its own familiar traditions: Trick-or-treating on Halloween, eating turkey on Thanksgiving, waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas, exchanging cards on Valentine's Day. But where do these customs come from, when did they begin, and why do we continue to observe them?

Edna Barth explores the multicultural origins (something dear to my heart) and evolution of the familiar and not-so-familiar symbols and legends associated with our favorite holiday. This book is full of  historical details and little-known stories, that are shared so that kids enjoy learning about that time in our history.

We also like Laurie Halse Anderson's book, "Thank you Sarah:The Woman who Saved Thanksgiving." It's a story about Sarah Hale an editor who recognized this holiday was in danger of being forgotten. She set out to "show" everyone just how mighty that pen could be, and she saved the day we'll be celebrating on Thursday.

Hope you'll share some of your favorite books about Thanksgiving and tell us what you're thankful for. And may you have a most wonderful day, no matter how you spend it. Now where did I last see that turkey?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Miscellany-Anthologies

Anthologies are hot! 

And I think we're going to see a lot more of them, especially in eBook format. What do you think about them? I mean does a collection of short stories, perhaps thematically linked, appeal to you? Would you be likely to plunk out a few dollars ($1.99-$2.99) to download one of these eBooks? Is it more to your liking to have a paperback than an eBook? I'd love to hear your ideas.

I did a bit of hunting for some and here are a couple I found. The retold fairy tales looked good. . . and SPOOKY!

Amazon Paperback

So did the more global one with international stories. It really fascinated me. 

Amazon Paperback

I guess I'm interested in this because I've signed on to do some short stories for anthologies. My first one is out now and it's called The First Time. I'm really in good company with Jenny Moss, Stacey Jay, Carrie Ryan, Sydney Salter, Kurtis Scaletta, Jon Skovron, Janet Gurtler, Leigh Brescia, Rhonda Stapleton (Ed.), Jessica Verday (Ed.) and many more. Stay tuned because there's more coming. 

Amazon Kindle

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Miscellany-Awards

I love awards. I love to give them and I loveS to get 'em. I recently acquired four. FOUR! How about that? I'm beyond happy and grateful.
Lisa Gail Green, my favorite paranormal writer-blogger-person on planet earth gave me this award a few years ago, so here's another thank you to her.
Susanne Drazic passed on The Versatile Blogger also.  Now my job is to say thank you to her, which I just did, then I have to share seven things about ME and pass these on to 15 recently discovered blogs!

Seven Things About Me

1. Halloween is most favoritest holiday.
2. I can't do NaNoWriMo; it's totally against my nature as a writer.
3. I'm terribly sentimental, but I never tell anyone that.
4. I iron my sheets. I adore smooth, fine cotton to slip into at night.
5. Do not even try to make me think snakes are okay.
6. I change my mind a lot.
7. I love white water rafting.

THERE! That's my seven.

Here are the Newly Discovered Blogs that are about to receive these two awards.

1. Let's Book It
2. Jennifer Groepl-Writer
3. Out on a Limb
4. Lynn Kelly: LynNerd's Random Acts of Writing
5. Writtled
6. Susan Field
7. Ciara Knight
8. Rosewood Pencil Box
9. Talli Roland
10. Milissa Sugar
11. KCarey
12. Meradeth
13. Jennifer Lee Young
14. Dawn M. Hamsher
15. Natalie Zaman

I am now the recipient of two more One Lovely Blog Awards. Very pretty and three of them make it even prettier.

Thank you Rosewood Pencil Box. Thank you Susanne Drazic. Thank you again, Daisy

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In The Throes of Thursday--Go Take a Hike

Go take a hike? 
Absolutely. I've been told to do that by a lot of agents and editors, so I took their advice and did it. And what a fantastic hike it was too! It put a lot of things into perspective and when you see the pictures you'll understand what I mean.

Here's Tree Hugger Me. Well, I tried, but the Sequoia just laughed. 

Here I are, standing in the center of a Sequoia that's been hollowed out by fire. That made quite an impression. These trees thrive with fire--their bark is highly fire resistant and in the heat, their seeds pop and germinate, starting more of their species. 

Think about that, writers, and go into the fire, knowing that you're among the most resilient people on the planet. From the heat you take in rejection and writer self-doubt, ideas are going to pop and grow into wonderful stories.

Okay, that's all the philosophy for this Thursday, but wanted to add that this is going to be my last Throes of Thursday post for a while. I'm going to be posting on Mondays only and trying to get back to working on my next book. I'll hop around to all my followers; I just hope you'll forgive me if I'm slow.