Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Fan, A Friend

I met Doty after Tom Deady's author event at Blue Umbrella a couple of months ago. We'd both parked in the lot behind the shop and she stopped to talk to me as we were walking to our cars. I gave her a copy of Miss Peculiar's Ghost Stories, and maybe a copy of Out. We chatted about books and authors a bit then she gave me her phone number after we agreed to get together for coffee one day.

Since then, Doty and I have met for coffee several times and have gotten to know one another better. She likes horror, which is a genre I don't usually write in. I am more supernatural/paranormal. She came to the ArtWorks sponsored Artist & Author event during Pumpkinfest, met Kelly and bought a copy of our co-authored anthology Disturbing. She came to Shop Small Saturday at Blue Umbrella and bought a Christmas book. She doesn't like everything I write, but she is supportive of me as an author. During NaNo month she asked about my Nano novel, the werewolf novel, and offered me some advice which I took. She gave me a couple of ideas. She may like what I'm writing at any given moment, but she gives me things to think about that I don't get from my family and closest friends. She has a different outlook, novel ideas. I value our Sunday get togethers over coffee because of the fresh perspective I get.

She surprised me by gifting me a book last Sunday. She had gone to an author book fair in CT where Shawn Flynn had been with his The Kitty book. She bought me a copy of One of Windsor The Untold Story of America's First Witch Hanging by Beth M. Caruso. It's a book right up my alley. Her gifting me the book reminded me that I have a 2/3 finished novel about witches in New Hampshire waiting to be finished. Sometimes I put things aside and forget about them until something sparks a memory. Now I have the werewolf novel to polish up and the witch novel to finish.

I'm happy to have a follower who has become a friend. I feel local authors should be more accessible than big brand name authors. They have publicists. We, for the most part, do not. They earn decent money. We do not. We have to work hard to make book sales because we're basically unknown. We don't have a publishing house backing us and blowing their trumpets to call attention to our work. We have to do it all ourselves and it can be an overwhelming chore. The perks are meeting people like Doty.

Of course with every acquaintance one makes as an author we should be cautious. I would not invite someone to my home. I meet people in public places. I would not go to someone's home. I do not reveal much personal information. Books, authors, and general info is fine. I ask for her opinions and thoughts on books and what she likes and why. It's an opportunity to get into the mind of a reader and fan. And she gets to probe the psyche of a writer/author and maybe satisfy her curiosity about what makes a writer tick.

A lot can be learned from one on one meet and greets. So, if a fan/follower bravely asks if you'd like to have coffee one day, don't summarily dismiss the invitation. Consider it. It you get no bad vibes from the person, chance a meeting over coffee in a public place. Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone has an ear into which to pour that story. Doty makes me laugh, makes me see myself and my work in a different light, makes me cry (we both got a little teary eyed the last time we met, but we also laughed)...she opens a window into her world, and I give her glimpses through my own window into my world. She's bought some of my books...she's a part of my circle.

I probably will not ever write a horror novel, will just stick to ghost stories, but she likes some of those stories that she's read. She likes Stephen King, Tom Deady, Joe Hill, and other masters of the horror genre. I'm not in their league. I'm not in their genre. I dabble on the periphery of horror sometimes, but am squeamish about sticking my toe into it. I like what I write, and she accepts that.

So- a fan, a follower can become a friend at times. I pick and choose carefully from those who approach me. Sometimes you find a treasure.

Beta Reading

Hey Mike, things are going to quiet down after Ghost Stories LIVE! on the 16th, so I will get around to reading what you've sent. Andrew has also sent me something he's been working on to read. November was all about NaNo, but I will most likely wait to start proofreading and editing my NaNo novel until January- I'm not all that thrilled with it. I need to develop things a little more deeply. I also need to get my annual holiday story written. This month is already slipping by too quickly!! But, I will happily read what you're working on!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I have a new story that I have been working with. It is called The Staff of Death. I wanted to know if anyone might be interested in being a beta reader for it and give me some feedback on it. I would appreciate any feedback you can give me on it.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Kelly go to utube type in: Magic Stripper deck" you will find multiple video showing you how to use these most versitle cards

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Notes from November Meeting

There were many of you unable to attend due to other obligations, health issues, etc, but six of us met at Blue Umbrella. We were joined by Mike Veto who has been NaNo-writing on Friday nights at Blue Umbrella Books with Kelly, other area NaNoWriMo's, and me. I met Mike, who told his first real life ghost story this past October during Ghost Stories LIVE! Also joining us was Eileen Chapman, a librarian at the West Springfield Library who also writes. Both Mike and Eileen were made members of the WhipCity Wordsmiths during the meeting. Kelly, Lynnmarie, Lindsay, Geri, Joyce Collins, and I were present with a call-in from Mike Walsh from VT.

Glen wanted me to pass the word that his Contemporary Women Mystery Writers program was rescheduled to Saturday, December 2nd at 1PM at Blue Umbrella Books. If you have a chance, attend! This will be the third of his author events that I will be attending. Glen also has 4 new books out. I've read three of them so far, The Accident, The Open Window, and The Eye of Mumbai. I have the fourth in my chair-side pile of to-reads- A Body in My Office, the first Charles Bentley Mystery. Glen's author events are always packed full of information and insight. Always an A-plus presentation!

Sandy Sessler's author event for The Legacy of Aidan McManus at the Agawam Public Library on the 20th at 7PM was also announced.

I'm using a book Kelly received as a gift from Bethany- 52 Pep Talks for Writer's by the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month, Grant Faulkner. We touched on creativity, daily writing, where ideas come from, and making your writing the best it can be by using a variety of tools. I had with me my Oxford Dictionary/Thesaurus and my small, quick to grab Oxford Thesaurus that I use when writing. I also had my Character Naming Book that also is well-used. I got that from the Writer's Digest store years ago. Despite its bright pink and dark blue cover, it is the book that is most frequently lost in our house because both Kelly and I use it and never remember where we left it last! I also brought The Emotions Thesaurus which helps a writer find better ways of expressing a character's emotional state. I also had The Nightmare Dictionary, Self-Editing for Writer's, Grammar 101, and a few other writing resource books with me. Lindsay uses various internet sites to find names for her characters, and the right words to use in her work.

We talked about where story ideas come from. A lot of ideas come to Mike Veto in dreams. Geri draws on real life experiences and shared the story of an heirloom cooking spoon and how she and her mother and grandmother all have their own interpretations of kosher and religion. My head is always full of voices- characters wanting to tell their stories through me. I also mentioned how the clock tower at the end of the sister bridges inspired my current NaNo novel.

Ideas can come from hearing a snippet of conversation while waiting in line at the grocery store, or between people passing by on the we interpret these things, how they spark ideas in our brains...these are the seeds that stories grow from.

The basic message was, be the best writer you can be. Utilize the tools available to writer's. Ask for a beta reader because every writer needs an unbiased pair of eyes to catch mistakes we are blind to in our own work. Find inspiration everywhere. Look. Listen. Feel. Taste. Touch. Write as often as you can to hone your skill. And always have a good support network you can share your highs and lows with!

I had a pile of my books with me as giveaways- these were proof copies, and original versions and some one of a kind cover versions. Christmases Past originally had a red cover with the tree, but the back cover text was too difficult to read, so I changed it to the current blue. Everyone took some books home to enjoy during the holidays and coming winter months. I may bring others to the January meeting. I have an accumulation since doing all the revisions earlier this year.

The meeting ended with an agreement that we would see one another again in January, weather and clear roads permitting! A January date has not been chosen yet- I have to look at the calendar and plan a date when those who work and have been unable to make a meeting are able to attend.

So, Happy Thanksgiving Wordsmiths- I'm thankful to have so many wonderful members in this group!

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah! And a Joyful, Healthy, and Productive New Year to you all!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hi guys hope you all have a great meeting. Im at home with some kind of bug! Feeling yucky and wanting to sleep. All is well with my wife shes feeling better than me right now. Hope to make the next meeting. Scribner away today

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lean in!

Lean in! Sheryl Sandberg popularized this expression as the title of her 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, encouraging women to embrace challenge and risk in the workplace. Lean into it, she advised. It has become a business buzz phrase, challenging the ever popular “thinking outside the box” mantra as the most quoted business motto. Who hasn’t been challenged to think outside the box?

What if you have never explored the inside of the box? Suppose leaning in meant leaning inward, exploring inner self and traveling avenues of self-care? These questions represent my version of leaning in … introspection, rumination and self –examination.

I have been missing in action from the WhipCity Wordsmiths for some time now because I have let life run me ragged. I have over extended myself to serve others, which I love to do, but I’ve forgotten to serve myself too! I have allowed my physical, emotional and psychological foundation to crumble at the edges, obscuring my outlook on the world. So, I’ve taken some time to lean in, to self-access and closely examine my priorities and goals in life, an immersion in self-care.

This immersion inside the box has yielded some remarkable insights and opportunities. I have decided to step away from my role as President and board member of the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum. The Friends group is a great organization that supports a wonderful institution but took up an inordinate amount of my personal time.

I have decided to deepen my yoga practice, expand my immersion into the arts and culture in Westfield, express myself more freely and openly through writing and explore more engaging, inspiring and rewarding employment. I will seek ways to improve my health through more consistent exercise and life style changes in my relationship with food and nutrition. I will spend more time in nature and explore all she has to offer.
I will breathe. I will observe my thinking rather than react to it … thoughts are not facts after all! Thoughts are a river of emotions and feelings best observed rather than a source of inspiration for evocative reaction.

I will allow myself to be inspired. I will allow my inner child to express himself more often, to inspire a playfulness that is often lost in the hectic pace of a demanding, encroaching and suffocating digital world. I will explore self-confidence and self-awareness. I will consider what is most important to me. I will not be selfish, egocentric or self-obsessed but I will give my needs equal consideration.
I will lean in.