March 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
Plates shift, earthquakes rumble and oceans roil…all natural events over which we have no control. The human and economic toll in Japan presents us with a shocking example of how we’ve failed to predict and prepare for the effects of natural disasters. The event reminds us, once again, that control is an illusion.
For those of us who write, the concept of control is a common theme and focus of conflict for our characters. Our heroes and heroines struggle for power over their destinies, even as nature, social/government groups, both big and small and individuals throw new challenges in their paths.
In fact, as writers, we ramp up conflict in order to test our characters as well as to build their strengths. Once our stories end, with growth arcs complete and couples bound solidly to one another, we’ve created men and women who are prepared to handle any conflagration, natural or unnatural.
But plate shifts, big earthquakes and tsunamis? I don’t know.
Some are saying that the Sendai earthquake was the worst tragedy to befall Japan since World War II. When we see how Japan pulled itself, phoenix-like, out of the horror of World War II, we have to take heart. They are tougher, smarter and more unified because of the challenges they’ve faced before. Like the fiction characters at our story’s end, the Japanese will handle this crisis and move ahead, stronger than ever.
March 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
In 1980 about 66,000 patents were granted. In 2010, 244,000 inventions got the go ahead. Check out the stats on : http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/us_stat.htm
Nice to see that American are busy entrepreneurs, isn’t it? We novel writers are particularly challenged because we all write books, whether they’re print or e-pubbed, long or short, sweet or raw…we write books. What’s to invent? Some of us are adding pictures and videos to our on-line books, so readers enjoy action scenes along with written words. And it won’t be long before the reader has more say in an interactive kind of novel. What I’m talking about is a collaborative effort…the author providing a story, with you, the reader/watcher manipulating some of the vital elements of the novel in an effort to make the experience deeper and richer. Some will mourn this advance, much like they worried about e-books. They’ll say the writer is the owner of the story…the characters and events should stand as they are. I say, bring on all the new approaches. Want to know why? Evidence shows us that technology might bring more readers to the fold. An example: teenagers are reading more because they like their new e-readers. Check it out on: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/05/books/05ebooks.html
My point is simple. Reading is a thinking, creative activity…we all want people to read a lot and widely…and technology can help rather than hinder this goal. As an author, I’m an entrepreneur, writing stories crafted for hungry readers. It’s a team effort. Without readers, I am a hobbyist, not an author. My job is to find unique ways to reach my readers, engage them, lead them through my book’s journey, then entice them back for yet another ‘read.’
A new invention to help pull in readers? I say, bring it on!
February 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
Don’t be mad when I tell you that my apricot, plum, apple and orange trees are blossoming right now. Here in California, the dormant stage lasts about a nano-second and I must not prune until early February. I can barely beat the blossoms…in fact, I’m cutting off blossoms as I prune! It kills me to cut off potential apricots or plums or apples…pruning is the cruelist cut. We’re told that the fruit will be best if we prune well, but I mourn for the juicy apricot that hasn’t a chance because I cut her/him off at the knee/elbow/wrist. Anyone who prunes knows what I’m talking about. I have to admire the suckers that grow straight to the sky, even as I have to cut them off and throw them in the waste bin.
February 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m learning how to upload a draft of my novel to my critique group…on their e-readers. A whole new set of skills is needed…producing a text that isn’t perfect. My font changes at will and the italics virtually disappear. Oh well, my critiquers will have to insert their own italics, I guess. Point is, my e-reading friends are happy to have a portable version of my book and I saved a lot of paper! I have a new appreciation for how hard my publisher will work to create a perfect version of LAST RESORT on your e-reader.
January 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
The world of e-pubbing is a mystery to me. I was an English major, armed with a list of books I ‘should read.’ Soon I became an English teacher burdened with a list of books my students should read. When I looked for a new novel to read, I browsed through the book stores, I asked my friends, I went in search of authors I liked. Now I’ve got a story I wrote that I want YOU to read, but I don’t know how to find you. In fact, it seems that this Internet way of communication makes it tough for debut authors to reach their readers. I’ll take you through some of my learnings (and false starts) on this blog, about the perils of finding an audience for my suspense novel. If you’ve got ways for me to reach you, for heaven’s sake, let me know!
January 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
My New Sachet: The Scent of a Book
I admit I used to be a little nervous about e-pubbed literature and e-readers. I grew up with books and bookstores and like my friends, I could get a little emotional when I thought about the disappearance of hardback and paperback books going the way of LP’s. But my shelves are chock full of books that I can’t make myself throw away, leaving no space for new ones. What’s more, when my husband and I go boating for months at a time, we don’t have room or the weight allowance to bring enough books along. Call me fickle, but I transferred my allegiance to a Kindle with scarcely a look backward.
My friends haven’t adjusted so quickly. They’re still in shock that a population could turn their backs on printed books. So I asked them how I might help them transition to e-readers. Their response? They say it’s the smell of a book they’ll miss the most. So, while I market my first novel, LAST RESORT (soon to be available e-pubbed OR printed-on-demand), I’ve decided to make some extra money by developing and selling a sachet that smells like a book. My concoction will emit the odor of ink-on-paper, woodsy with a hint of chemicals…that marvelous bouquet that blasts you when you thumb through a paperback, priming it for a reading.
I’ve already applied for the patent and I’m contracting with some nice folks in L.A. who make stink bombs. They’re convinced my invention will be a big seller to any readers over 25.
Naming my fragrance comes next. Odour d’ Libre? Book Tang? Heaven Scent? I’m still open to possibilities. But how to use the sachets is a given. We’ll affix the potpourri’s to our e-readers, sit back in our chairs, beds or beach towels, and read to our heart’s content, the aroma of a
‘real’ book blending with the words we read. Nice way to transition from print to e-pub, don’t you think?
January 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
Last night, I sent my revised galley to my editor, complete with acknowledgements, dedication and short bio. Through the process of working with an editor on my first novel, I’ve learned that my MAC and her PC don’t play nicely together, making a ton more work for me. Example: The galleys came through without italics, so I had to insert every ding-dang one by hand. Yesterday I bought Microsoft Office for Mac…editing is about to get a whole lot easier! For now, my novel is ‘finished.’ The galleys are gone!
December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
Is a novel ever finished? What if I reframed the first scene or reworded the last lines? Why don’t I re-vision the wording of the this or that dialogue? Does my reader need more description of this place or that place, of this or that character?
On and on go the questions in an author’s mind. Couldn’t I improve the story here, there…everywhere? How many revisions can/should/would a novel undergo?
I like my editor’s view: “Let’s revise the story so it’s as perfect as it can be.” So we did. After three iterations…my changes, her changes, my changes, her changes and my changes, we’re calling the novel ready to publish. Sure, it’s hard to let it go. Remember how J.D. Salinger said CATCHER IN THE RYE wasn’t good enough, and virtually went in to seclusion, a frustrated author. Not me. Nope. I’m perfecting my next novel as we speak. I’ve got stories to tell and readers to entertain. I’ll work hard on each novel with the help of my editors, but eventually I have to let my books go. Like the 18 year-olds we send off to college, we HAVE to let them go. Maybe they aren’t perfect, but they’re out there, taking on a life of their own!
December 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
In this, my first blog entry, you get to watch me awkwardly take yet another risk. It’s one thing to sit at my computer and make up stories day after day, wondering if any person besides me will think my product is worthy. Now that I’ve gotten the call and a publishing company wants to stand behind LAST RESORT, I’m closer to the big reward. But the risks don’t diminish. Will anyone buy my novel? Will they enjoy it and tell me so. Will they be excited to read the next book I’ve written? More than anything I want to please you with my stories, but if I can’t get them into your hands, our rewards won’t come.
You can see, the demand to risk never ends. And now, this blog. Here I don’t write stories. Here I stick my neck out, telling you truths instead of fiction, struggling with this technology and searching for ways to mate you with my books. I’m going to stumble; I’ll probably get a bit cranky, too, about the long delay between risk and reward. Through all this, let’s encourage each other, offering ideas, good humor and hope. Okay, deep breath taken. WELCOME TO MY BLOG!