Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Opinions Pleaaaaaase!!!!!

Hello All,

I recently began a new WIP.  Although I'm happy with my outline, I've struggled with the beginning. This said, I wrote two opening paragraphs. Both lead to the same place, but they take a very different paths to get there. I just can't decide which one I like better.  If you have a minute or two, I'd  appreciate it if you'd give your opinion. Which paragraph would keep you reading?  Also, please be mindful that these are very raw first drafts.  I'd be happy to return the favor anytime.  Thanks in advance for your help.

Opening #1  A cold chill broke across my arms when he entered the room. It happened every time I saw him. By now you'd think I'd be used to him Yet, here I sat, dreading his very presence. You see, to everyone else he was a man of flesh and blood. A man who devoted his life to treating the sick.  To me, he was Doom—bringing false hope to the incurable—deliverer of tragedy, ready to do his worst.  My dad and I had been confronted by him many times, and for the last seven years, we'd stood our ground. I hoped that today, the fight would end.   Dad must have noticed my discomfort, because he pulled out the old give her a pat on the knee card.  Like it miraculously made everything all right. If only he knew that after sixteen years of watching him, I'd learned to read his tells. A gentle pat was the way he masked his concern.  

Opening #2  Mirrors were taboo last summer. I'm sure dad thought it was a classic case of avoidance—that I didn't want to watch my long black hair fall out or my eye brows disappear.  What he didn't know, was every time the sutures tickled my fingertips, I pictured a pale, bald freak with stitches across her scalp. No doubt that image was probably ten times worse than anything I'd see in the mirror.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

From The Dust Marinade to a Gourmet Work of Fiction

Hello all, it's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  To learn more about this wonderful membership please click on the preceding link.

After several weeks of juggling family and nursing school, I finally get a much needed break. Specifically, Spring Break. Woo hoo!!!! Unlike some students who go wild during this time and head to the beach for fun in the sun, I plan to hunker down at my desk and catch up on my writing. It's been a month since I've written anything, and I'm jonesing to escape into my world of fiction.

My short story is about two-thirds complete. If all goes according to plan, I hope to have it done by the end of next week. Then I intend to pull my first novel from its dust marinade,  and return it to the writing kitchen, where I hope to create a gourmet work of fiction.  If I can find the time.

Once school resumes, every second of every day is consumed by my studies. I truly feel like a fish out of water without my writing, so I need to figure out some way to work it into my day. Guess I could experiment with rising early, like 4 a.m early.  I've tried writing at night, but my brain is fried.    Any suggestions on ways to find time to accomplish my goal? I'd truly appreciate the help. Until next time, my friends.  Happy writing.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Flexing My Writing Muscles

Hello all, it's time for another installment of the ISWG hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. For more information about this group, please click on the following link: Insecure Writer's Support Group

First of all, I want to wish each and everyone of you a happy New Year. In my experience people reserve their first post for NY resolutions, etc, but I've decided not to bore you with promises.  What I will say is I'm looking forward to a fresh start--New Year, New Me.

Due to all the stress that comes with returning to nursing school, I haven't written at all. However,  I did make it to my writer's group last month.  After missing three months of meetings, I felt a little out of sorts.  The sense of familiarity and comradery I usually encountered with the members was somehow off   I didn't let it get me down.  Instead, in the spirit of the New Year, New Me thing, I endeavored not to miss anymore meetings.  I've also come up with an idea for a short story.  It's controversial as hell, but the upside is it hasn't been done (at least far as I can tell).  I've decided to try and write it during my break, in between studying for the TEAS exam and juggling family matters.  Please wish me luck because it's been about five months since I've flexed my writing muscles, LOL. There's no telling how the prose will turn out.  Until next time my friends, happy writing.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Counting the Days

It's time for another installment of the ISWG hosted by the wonderfully supportive Alex J. Cavanaugh. To learn more about this group click on the host's name.

Well, not much has changed from last month.  I'm still overwhelmed by nursing classes, studying all the time, etc.  I often find myself day dreaming about my current WIP that's steadily collecting dust in the archives of my computer.  I've tried to write late at night (the only time I'm free) but by that time, exhaustion has set in, leaving my brain so crispy fried from studying, I can hardly articulate a sentence, much less progress a story line.

But all is not lost, sometimes the sun does shine through the grayness. I took a lot of last month's advice  to heart, and I've been jotting down ideas as they come to mind, etc.  Thanksgiving break is coming soon and I plan to write, rewrite and write again.  I'm counting the days till I can dive back into my story.  It's been too long. Hope the rest of you are having a great month.  Until next time, happy writing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What's A Writer To Do????

It's time for another installment of the ISWG hosted by the wonderfully supportive Alex J.Cavanaugh.  If you'd like to learn more about this group just click on Alex name.

The topic of this month's post is how do we find the time to write? Well, at this point in my life, I'm learning there isn't any, which, btw, is the reason I'm reaching out to you all.  

You see, recently I decided to return to the workforce.  However, I quickly learned this was easier said than done.  Despite the fact  I hold a BSW and an MPA, I haven't been able to find good job. When I say good, I mean rewarding and challenging, a position that  makes a difference.

Needless to say, I concluded that I'd have to return to school in order to qualify for such a job. So I did just that. It's been a challenge.  The curriculum is tough, fast paced and requires a lot of memorization, etc., which, combined with family stuff, leaves little to no time for writing (my first love).  I can't express how much I truly miss it.  I think about my characters and run plot twists through my mind on a daily basis. Then each evening, I end up feeling frustrated because I just don't have the energy to add them to the story.

 I'm insecure that if I don't get back on the writing saddle soon, I won't get back on at all.  I'm just not sure how to proceed anymore.  I need this nursing degree if I want to return to work, but in the absence of my writing, I'm floundering and lost. What's a Writer To Do?

 Have any of you experienced the same challenges? If so, how did you overcome them?  Any and all advice would be appreciated.  Until next time, happy writing my friends. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

ISWG: A Case of The Hum Drums

It's time for the monthly installment of the ISWG hosted by the illustrious Alex J. Cavanaugh 
Click on the link if you'd like to learn more about this fabulous group.

Well, it's been slow going but I'm on chapter six of my new novel and I'm not very excited about it. Seriously, I'm unsure if it's the sunshine or the long days, but I haven't felt much like writing lately.  The mere thought of it seems hum drum.   In fact, I've had to force myself to peck away at my novel.  The results of this are similar to going to the gym--after a dreaded work out I feel like a million bucks. Yet, each day I still struggle to make myself write.

 I'm insecure that if I continue down this road, I might give up writing all together.  Has anyone else felt this way?  If so, I'd welcome any and all advice about how you overcame the writing hum drum's.  Until next time my friends.  Happy writing.  

This month's theme was to post the best compliment I've received on my work.  Short and sweet of it, posted below is a rejection letter from an editor at a small publishing house who read my book PAWN OF THE GODS.  Although the company didn't pick me up, the editor's words inspired me to write-on.  We'll see how the second novel turns out, LOL.

Dear Andrea,
We thank you for considering SkyAzure Publishing for your book. We are very sorry for the delay in responding, this does happen occasionally when we receive high numbers of submissions. We have thoroughly reviewed your work and, although it was very interesting and enjoyable, we feel we are not able to take it any further. As a small independent publishing house, we can only commit to a very small list every year. Due to the demanding level of production we feel is deserved by each and every author we take on, we think it would be inappropriate to accept submissions just because the work is good. Quite often we are already working on similar books, do not have enough expertise in the subject area, or the most suitable editor has already filled their quota. There are a whole host of reasons for rejection and quite often rejection is no indication of quality or talent. We at SkyAzure regret that we are unable to accept this piece on this occasion. We wish you well in placing your work.

On a personal note, I have to say I came close on this one. I am disappointed I am unable to work with you. I do believe some stories should be told and some books have something special to say, this is one of them. Unfortunately, however, this is a very subjective business and quite often we editors make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the company and the goals it has set. Please do not take this rejection as an indication that the quality of your work was not respected. I hope you find an editor who is in a position to offer you the passion you deserve in bringing your book to publication. I would urge you to keep writing and, although we cannot and do not endorse any other company, there are many options available should you not find a traditional publishing house able to commit:

Editorial services are available, these can easily be found by doing a quick internet search. Finding a good editor/agent will help to improve your work and overall proposal, although I’m not really sure that is needed in this case. There are also self-publishing routes like Amazon etc. Also, there are some pay to publish services, such as Copyhouse Press (copyhousepress.co.uk), who seem to offer a very jargon free, cost effective, publishing route which will reach far more prospective buyers/readers than that of self-publishing through Amazon. Again, always do your research.
Best of luck in placing your book.
Jack Kraster
SkyAure Publishing
Submissions Team

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

To Write a Story That May Be Offensive, or Not To Write It: That Is The Question.

It's time for another installment for the Insecure Writer's Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavannaugh.  If you'd like to learn more about this fantastic group, please click on the aforementioned link.

The controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling's depiction of marginalized cultures in her latest book made me nervous.  I haven't read the story, so I can't say whether the contents are offensive to Native Americans. However, given her reputation as a writer, I doubt she'd purposely insult an entire culture. Unfortunately, in this case, her intentions don't matter. At the end of the day,  her works do--works that had an unintended effect.

This brings me to the reason I'm feeling nervous. I'm in the throws of writing a YA Fantasy, set on the Indian reservation in Lame Deer, Montana.  My MC is Native American, as are 99-percent of the characters. After living in Oklahoma for several years (a state with strong Native American ties), I always wanted to write a story based on the culture. I'm also a big fan of the Longmire series, which only fueled my fire to write the book.

Now, I wonder if I should abandon the project and go to something else. I'm insecure that no matter how respectful I am toward the culture, how much I try to promote awareness about issues confronting many Native Americans today, it may still offend someone.

Maybe I'm putting the horse before the carriage, because my novel may never be published. On the small chance it is, I'm feeling wary.  A friend of mine advised me to write the story I want to write and let the chips fall where they may. I shouldn't hold back out of fear of offending someone. Ultimately, that could happen regardless of what I write. I mostly agree with that advice, but on the other hand, I'd hate to be known (if I was published) as "That writer who used folklore from a marginalized culture to progress her career."   I'm just not sure what to do.  Any suggestions?  Until next time my friends, happy writing.

P.S.  Sorry the writing in this post isn't my best.  I composed it from my IPhone.