Tag Archives: writing tips

Love, Joy & Miracles; Day 8

On the 8th day of Christmas: the continuation of the short story, The Miracle Man. (Previous paragraphs can be found in “Past Posts” under “Love, Joy & Miracles.”)

The south corridor is darker than usual, which is no surprise to Wendell: Doors remain shut when someone dies. Some hide. Some mourn. Some—like kids trying to ward off the Boogie-man—hope that wood, varnish, and steel will delay their fate.

Only one door is open. Yellow light spills into the gloomy corridor. He makes his way to Ira’s room and peers in.

The bed is made. A wheelchair sits in the corner. The room is empty.

A middle-aged man emerges from the bathroom holding some toiletries and spots Wendell hovering in the doorway.  

  “May I help you,” he asks as he makes his way to the bed where a duffel bag sits.

 “Ira Rubin. Is it true? He’s gone?”

 The man stashes the toiletries in the bag. “Went in his sleep.” He zips it shut. “Were you a friend?”

“I suppose, although now that I think about it, I wasn’t a very good one.”

The man grabs the bag and heads for the door. He extends his hand to Wendell. “I’m Cliff Rubin, Ira’s son.”

Wendell stares in disbelief at Cliff’s hand and then into his face. Hooked nose, close-set eyes, piercing gaze. Just like Ira.

He throws off his doubts, regains his wit, and shakes Cliff’s hand. “I’m Wendell Bennett. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

Cliff sucks in air and gives a solemn nod. He reaches into his breast pocket and pulls out a white envelope.

“He left this for you.”

“What’s inside,” he asks, fearing the worst news possible.

“No idea; yours is sealed shut, just like mine was.” He taps the pocket holding his letter. “Kinda how he lived: all sealed up, keeping everyone away, all his thoughts secret.” Finger tap, tap, taps. “I sat on his bed for over an hour working up the courage to open it.” He pauses and draws in a deep breath. “Figured it was a suicide note.”

“Suicide…” Wendell staggers against the doorframe.

 “No,” Cliff says as he helps Wendell maintain his balance. “That came out wrong. I thought it was, but it turns out to be an apology.”

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“Hey-I’m Back!”

I love the last scene in “The Color of Money.”

Vincent (Tom Cruise), the up-and-coming pool shark, asks Eddie (Paul Newman) why he thinks he can beat him. Eddie looks up from his pool cue, eyes Vincent, and says: “Hey-I’m back.” And then breaks.

I’m there. I can relate. I want back in the game. Not billiards, but in moving forward as an author.

I just handed Book III of my War of Whispers series to my publisher. Yeah, good feeling! LOVE the whole writing/editing stuff.

But now I’m faced with traversing the Himalayas of marketing, and I’ll be honest–“Hate it!”

Please don’t be offended; I’m just rethinking the “Ya’ Gotta Do THIS!” mumbo-jumbo that’s being sold like snake oil all over the place. If I really hate it, should I do it? After all, won’t you pick up on the fact that I’m not into it, that I’m pitching something that’s not genuine, that’s not me?

So instead, I’m looking for ways to meet people, whether online or at a cafe, that’s more in line with “me.” Organic is a buzz word, so maybe it’s that. I prefer authentic, real & meaningful to organic, which reminds me of a compost heap 🙂 But I digress…

So I’m rolling up my sleeves, grabbing my cue stick, and racking up the balls ala Eddie. And just like that last scene, if I get knocked down, beaten, and taken, I’m going to get back up, brush myself off and try again.

Only hopefully a wee bit smarter!


Three Rules To Writing

If life is a river, then I’m body surfing white rapids!

Work is SO busy that I hardly have time for anything else, but has that ever slowed me down? Of course not. I simply pick up the pace, sleep less and wonder why everyone is so irritable (after all, it ain’t me!)

Crammed into the work week is my training for a 100 mile bike ride to raise $$ for juvenile diabetes (JDRF) I log 150 miles a week which takes a ton-o-time and energy. And yeah, that was a plug to see if you’d consider donating or at least cheer me on.

That would be enough, right? BUT NO! I’m also working on Book III of my War of Whispers series. When? Well, that’s a silly question! Naturally this is done before sunrise. DUH!

So it’s little wonder that blog and Twitter posts have fallen by the wayside.

Nevertheless, I’m squeezing one out this morn and wanted to share a quest post I did for Jill Edmondson’s Blog.

I shared my experience with characterization and referenced Tears of Min Brock. Yeah, it’s a shameless plug for my book, but ‘ya gotta do whatcha gotta do! I hope you check it out and let me know what you think. Kinda bummed she posted the old cover for Tears and not the new one, but those things happen.

That’s it for now. After all, it’s 4AM and I’ve gotta pack my lunch before I bike @ 6 so I can run to work and get to Saturday in order to bike which leads to Monday when it starts all over again and…and…and…


Writing, Tips, and Reality

Today’s post could be filed under ADD Blogging as I’m going to hop from topic to topic like a frog on espresso. Ready? Let’s get hopping!

I’ve befriended a fellow writer, Karen Wooward, who posts really helpful tips for authors.  If you have time, check out her posts like this one, 7 Interesting Links for Writers. She has zeroed in on creating very informative, short posts that I can skim much like a news feed. Great blog model to follow!

I received a flattering review of my book, Tears of Min Brock, from Pure Jonel (a blogging friend) that went along with an e-book giveaway. For what it’s worth, I’ve found the most effective means to gain reader awareness is by connecting with fellow bloggers that do reviews, giveaways and interviews. I’m not saying this translates into sales, but it has increased “likes” on my social media sites. I’m also using Tears as a kind of business card, if you will, and give it away as often (within reason) as I can. The hope being they’ll like it enough to buy the sequels.

Writing. I dove back in to re-writing Book III. The reason this is news worthy is that I needed to get back to basics, which is the joy of storytelling, and set aside the sadomasochistic treadmill I was on trying to sell, sell, sell, sell…. Always a good thing to remember why we do what we do. Satisfies the soul!

Next week, I’ll be with my family for a beach vacation (yeah, I know, rub it in!) Aside from logging some serious beach time and dunking my grandson a time or two, I look forward to writing with the only interruption being “time to tan.” Sorry, I couldn’t help but rub it in, much like suntan lotion! Ouch, there I go again!

Thanks for joining me today. I truly appreciate you taking time to read what I write. Honest.

But now I’ve gotta run. Need to find my beach chair 🙂


When Crap is Crème Brûlée

Creme_BruleeWARNING!  I’m going to vent. In fact, you can file this under Marketing Sucks or Twitter Twitter Little Star! or I Like You, Will You Like Me?

I hate selling stuff. I just do. Oh, I’m passionate about my books and I know I’m the best person to sell them, but I’m an artist through and through and prefer being creative over sharing my elevator speech to another soccer mom.

I know I’m not alone in this quandary. Check out SC Harrison’s Blog  for her tongue-in-cheek insights.

Before you post witty, pithy comments to try and encourage me to sell or to remind me that it’s a necessary part of the job, let me say that I learned as much when I was a musician here in Nashville. More on that later.

So what has me shaking my fist at the Marketing Monster this morning?

Purchased Reviews!

I befriended a new Twitter author and checked out their book. 4 stars. Impressive. I scrolled through the gushing reviews to learn that many had given the book only 1 star. Curious, I read their comments.

Harsh! One even quipped that they purchased the book based upon the 4 stars but found the book to be poorly written with a weak storyline. They pressed through anyway in hope that it would get better.

It didn’t.

I know not everyone will like our books, but these reviews were polar opposite in comparison to the other comments. My gut tells me this author hired reviewers to get their 4 STARS so they could shoot to the top of Amazon.

As a retired music pro, I know what it’s like to swim with sharks, do business with squirrels and perform with snakes. Back in the day, I competed against musicians who were great at selling themselves and rocketed past me to better gigs. But as time unfolded, and they had to deliver the goods, they showed their true talent.

Amateurish.

As quickly as they were the top dog, they were dropped, forgotten and faded into oblivion. I continued to improve/persevere and found myself with better jobs and notoriety.

What’s my point?

Well, let’s get back to this author I have tied to the whipping post. It doesn’t matter how many blasted stars they have or how many Tweets they send or how AWESOME reviewers say their book about “Amish vampire finds true love with a gypsy-alien” really is (not the real title!) In fact, go ahead and label your crap as crème brûlée! Eventually readers will notice that foul taste is in their mouth and run for the toilet to heave.

But what has me really irked is that readers are the ones being bamboozled by the this shell game of “let’s hide the crap.” That is SO wrong!

As for me, I know I have a LONG way to go as a writer. I’ll continue to hone my craft and let my work (hopefully!) cut through the sword rattling that’s being done in cyber space.

Yes, I’ll continue to pound the pavement and keep my head above water in the social media frenzy, but I won’t succumb to paying for reviews.

EVER!

My readers deserve my best.

So do yours.


You Don’t Need More Crayons

With sharpener!!

Back when I was a kid, Mom would drag me along with her to get school supplies. Most of the stuff I didn’t care about. Crayons, however, were a different matter.

I wanted the big box, the 64 count. The one with the gold and silver crayons, and the sharpener on the back.

Mom smiled and told me we could only afford the small pack.

I fussed. I pouted. But I still didn’t get my mega-crayons. So I resigned myself to failure as a creative, and at so early an age, too!

School came, and when it was time to color, we pulled out our Crayolas. I remember how we looked this way and that to see who, if anyone, held the Holy Grail of Crayons. Most clutched the small size like mine. Except for the girl in the front row. We stared goo-goo eyed at her box with the silver and gold ones…with the built-in sharper…with colors we couldn’t even pronounce!!

“That’s NOT FAIR!”

“How come she gets it and we don’t?”

“Why is she special?”

No, we didn’t really say those things, but I know we all thought them. Instead, we shook our heads–discontent with our lot–while Little Miss 64 flashed a smug smile.

The next day, we walked into class and marveled at our drawings taped to the wall. Even as a kid, I learned a valuable lesson that morning. Those of us with just the basic colors had been forced to be more creative, while the girl with the countless colors wasn’t creative at all.

As an adult, I still have moments when I get jealous of other creative’s artistic or financial success. I become that kid who whines about not having so-and-so’s proverbial Box of Crayons,  convinced, like so many of us, that it is the secret to success. I sometimes even think I deserve it more than they do. Boy, that sure sounds nasty when out in the open, doesn’t it, but it’s the truth!

So today, I’m going to use the crayons I’ve been given, even the broken ones. I’m going to smile, keep my eyes on my own paper, and let adversity spark my creativity.


Still Alive

I blinked.  At least that’s what it feels like.

Life this summer has been crazy which is why I haven’t posted in some time now.

The primary reason is that I’m focused on the notes from my publisher per Tears of Min Brock.

Say good-bye adverbs.  Say hello “show don’t tell.”  Add some back story here.  Toss in character depth there.  New cover to ponder, proof, tweak…

I hope you’ll be patient as we remodel; it’s taking a wee bit longer than anticipated.  I’m biased, but I think it will be well worth the wait!

Gotta go…characters are calling!


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