Monday, May 31, 2010

"The Yellow Stone" is available at Amazon.com. as part of the SPECULATIVE JOURNEYS anthology.  It is the story about a woman's journey to find her people centuries after the super volcano known to reside beneath Yellow Stone National Park erupted. video

"Giving in to Peer Pressure," or, "Why I must Blog"

I remember when life was simple. Back then, there were few organized sports. A team consisted of the neighborhood kids gathering in the street for a game of kick-ball. Summer evenings were best spent sitting on the front porch talking to neighbors, drinking root beer floats and dreaming about a future filled with technology. There were no remote controls--the TV channel turner was but a few yards from your seat--or cell phones. A manuscript was written on a typewriter, not a computer. Surfing was when you took your board to the beach and "blogging" was a misspelled word.

The world is different now. Faster. Spell check, email ... have changed the writing industry. And yes, I've been told, it is an industry. No longer is having a talent for writing enough. A writer must be marketable. She must have a web site, facebook page, twitter account, and of course a blog.

While attending the Penn Writers' Conference a few weeks ago, David Pomerico, Assistant Editor at Del Rey Spectra, stressed how important it is for writers to blog. A woman in the audience challenged him. Why is a blog necessary when it takes away time a writer should be working on her current story? and why would an editor or agent shun a writer who didn't blog? This opened up a dialog, which, I might add, Mr. Pomerico seemed to welcome. After the conference, this dialog continued in many Penn Writers' members' blogs. YES, I was that woman. So I sit her today, blogging. Why? Because writing is not just an industry, it is a TOUGH industry. Have I given in to peer pressure? Me? Never. I'm a writer. I write any time, any place, and nobody tells me how.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How does a writer measure progress? Is the number of words written in a day? Is it three pages of words, a paragraph, or a single word? Is it a finished story, or the number of publications? How many words need to be written before a writer can sit back and say, "I'm done for the day. I've reached my daily quota of words." Many famous authors have written hundreds of stories only to have them lost. Most writers have filing drawers full of unpublished manuscripts most of which the author may feel unworthy of submitting, but may in fact open the hearts and minds of readers. Were those stories measured on the progress scale? They should be.

To me, the writing is never finished and each word is progress. My computer stays on, and sometimes in the middle of the night when a thought flashes through my mind I get up and write it down, be it a page or a single word. By telling myself, "I'm going to write four pages today," forces the words and decreases the level of creativity that goes into the pages. It doesn't matter how many words are written in a day. What matters most is that the writer is writing.

Of course, a published manuscript is the highest level of progress, and seeing your book in print is the ultimate goal. My congratulations goes out to a fellow cowriter and friend, Jon Sprunk, for the publication of his debut novel, SHADOW'S SON. SHADOW'S SON is a rich, fantasy novel published by Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus books. It is the first in a series and can be found in book stores throughout the country. Jon will be at Barnes & Noble book store at the CampHill shopping center in Pa. on June 16 at 6:00 for his book signing event. I just received Jon's book yesterday, and can't wait to read it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Many years ago I was listening to a radio interview. The interviewer asked the question, "How do you know when you've become a writer?" The interviewee replied, "When you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about is writing." Hmm, I thought. That would put me in that category even though I've only written dozens of short stories at the time and never been published. So, here I sit today with a few short story publications and knee deep into writing novels. The first thing I do when I wake up is open the news paper and scan the obituaries. Once I feel no sense of grief, I head to my computer and start writing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting back into the routine of writing after takings months off because of teaching responsibilities. Penn Writer's conference got the neurons firing again and the creative juices flowing. One thing I've learned from all of this is that life is much too short not to do what you truly love.