"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

5 Myths About Published Authors

1. Writers make a lot of money - yes, it's happened for a special few...Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Nora Roberts... However, the average writer may only make enough for a nice meal or two when they get paid for a single piece.

2. You can only write what you know - If we all only wrote what we knew, then there would be no fiction.

3. You can only write in one genre - hogwash! Many authors have published in various genres. However, you will more than likely discover your strengths, or appeal to readers, may be greater in one genre than others. Never be afraid to try something new. R.L. Stine started out writing comedy!

4. Don't read other writers' work - many believe you'll end up copying them, and lose your own voice. This may happen to some degree for a time, especially when first beginning or fighting the dreaded writers block. However, reading widely is essential to expanding your skills. Studying the craft in a multitude of formats and styles actually aids in honing your skills and finding your TRUE voice.

5. Once you publish, it's easier in the future - it's not unusual for published authors to receive multiple, if not many, rejections between publications. Writing one good piece does not guarantee all future work will be good. Even when you have created a wonderful piece, it's not always easy to find the right publisher for that piece.

My first publication came while I was still in high school. Some manuscripts get published upon first submission - my record for acceptance so far is a matter of minutes after hitting submit. Some pieces receive multiple rejections and/or sit in a drawer for many years before finding a home - my record for this one is 20 YEARS later.

The truth is - nothing is certain. You can't control anything other than your willingness to create. So find your joy, embrace the ride, and learn to be happy regardless of the amount of publication and pay received along the way.

Are there any myths that you want to debunk? Any of them absolutely drive you crazy?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: Writing Surprise

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

AUGUST QUESTION: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

MY ANSWER:  My writing has taken me by surprise several times when I almost felt like someone else (my muse) took over and shared a tale so perfectly that I needed very little revision later. This has only happened a few times and I'm still in awe of those experiences. I think that is why I connected so deeply to Elizabeth Gilbert's BIG MAGIC (see my previous post). She addresses those experiences and how to deal with their lack of frequency. I highly recommend this book!

I've also been surprised by a few of my readers who contacted me to share their own reactions to my writing. To realize you've created something so powerful to not only yourself, but to others as well, is a truly humbling and magnificent experience. It reminds me how connected we all are, even when caught up in the idea of our own life.

How about you? Have you ever been surprised by your own writing, or someones response to it?

Friday, August 2, 2019

Big Magic and Book Clubs

I've fallen so far behind on my TBR pile. Luckily, this read was definitely worth my time. The "Insecure Writers Support Group" Book Club recommended this one months ago, but the Spring was unbearably hectic for me and I just got to it this summer. I highly recommend it to anyone practicing, thinking about, or struggling with their craft.

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of
 
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.


"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

I'm so thankful to the IWSG Book Club for recommending this one. To learn more about them, or to join this amazing and supportive book club, see here.

Are you a fan of Gilbert? Have you read this one? Are you a member of a book club?

Saturday, July 27, 2019

July Scribbler Box

I just received my fourth box from Scribbler. You can learn about previous boxes, and why I subscribed by clicking the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

At first glance, this box seems to have less items than the previous three I received. As before, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a writing exercise postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice.


The "Curated Writerly Gifts" this month included a koozie claiming It's a Writer Thing, a Dot Grid Notebook, a red and tan tote bag with the word "Write" appearing five subsequent times on it, and a button pin with the command "Save a Writer, Buy a Book."

This months new release novel is THE TWO LILA BENNETTS by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke - the bestselling authors of THE GOOD WIDOW. For some reason there was no autograph plate(s) with this book as there had been with the previous publications.

However, as usual, there was an inside look at the publishing process for this months authors, an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional (Danielle Marshall, Ediorial Director of Lake Union Publishing), and the collectible 'Writing Passport' with the authors discussing this months theme of COLLABORATION.

While I'm enjoying this subscription service, I haven't yet decided if I'll continue it past the next two months. 

This months book description:

“One fateful decision. Two unexpected endings. A perfect summer read!” —Wendy Walker, bestselling author of The Night Before
Lila Bennett’s bad choices have finally caught up with her. And one of those decisions has split her life in two. Literally.
In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.
Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.



To learn more about this monthly box service: https://www.goscribbler.com/

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Monday, July 22, 2019

6 Authors and Their Literary Stops in Southern California

Known for its abundance of sunshine and movie stars, Southern California has also offered many writers inspiration with its unique environments and colorful array of people.

1) F. Scott Fitzgerald - there are two distinct places that bear his presence. The first is his West Hollywood home at 1443 N. Hayworth Avenue in West Hollywood. More than a decade after publishing The Great Gatsby, "The Great American Novel," Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood hoping a career in screenwriting would bring him the continued success and lavish lifestyle he and Zelda so loved. Unfortunately, he died broke just a couple of years later following another heart attack. The second is Gatsby Books at 5535 E Spring St. in Long Beach. Inspired by Fitzgeralds legacy, this new and used bookstore offers complimentary coffee, a generous selection of Fitzgerald work, frequents readings, and other literary events.

2) Ray Bradbury -  this Los Angeles resident got his start at age 14 writing for George Burns. As if that wasn't impressive enough this scifi author went on to bring the public some of the most memorable tales of the genre. If you're in the area and want to feel close to this beloved author, spend some time in Clifton's Cafeteria at 648 S Broadway in Los Angeles, CA. Bradbury ate many lunches and dinners here. In the 1930s, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society held meetings in their Brown Room, indulging in soul food and discussing weird science. Bradbury continued to visit Clifton's over the years, even celebrated his 89th birthday here. Today, you can visit his booth on the third floor and admire memorabilia that Bradbury's family donated.

3) Steve Martin - his first job was at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Located just two miles from his house Martin started out selling guidebooks, keeping $.02 for every book he sold. He graduated to the Magic Shop on Main Street, where he got his first taste of the gags that would later make his career. He also learned the rope tricks you see in ¡Three Amigos! from a rope wrangler over in Frontierland. Martin later landed his first writing gig for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He began rubbing elbows with and learning from a number of other well known writers including a brief relationship with Hollywood IT girl Eve Babitz.

4) Eve Babitz - notorious for indulging in drugs and romantic conquests (including Jim Morrison, Steve Martin, and Harrison Ford to name just a few) Babitz still resides in Hollywood. Ports (now called Jones)7205 Santa Monica Blvd.; Los Angeles, CA was a favorite hangout for the author who was said to have come in around noon on most days to have food, trade pills with others, and continue on to enjoy the evenings. The Beverly Hills Hotel 9641 Sunset Blvd.; Beverly Hills, CA 90210 was also frequently visited by Babitz with her variety of lovers.

5) Charles Bukowski - born in Germany, Bukowski was about as "L.A." as a writer could get. He's most known as an alcoholic, a misogynist, and a reckless gambling man. However, his work reveals a tenderness, love, and pain not always expressed in his daily life. De Longpre Apartment at 5124 De Longrpre Ave.; Los Angeles, CA is where he lived from 1964 to 1973 "somewhere between alcoholism and madness." It's also wheret he completed seven novels, including Factotum. The Santa Anita Racetrack at 285 Huntington Dr.; Arcadia, CA. Bukowski loved his horses. He was a gambling man, and life at the tracks was a common theme throughout his career. He spent many drunken afternoons at the Santa Anita Park, betting on the horses. His ex-wife Linda has hinted that this may be the reason why the nearby Huntington Library displays some of his original work. The King Eddy at 131 E 5th St.; Los Angeles, CA - he was a regular at countless watering holes reaching beyond L.A.'s city limits. Some of his old haunts included Cole's and the Frolic Room. (He even had a delivery system set up at the Pink Elephant Liquor Storewhen he lived in Los Feliz.) However, Bukowski wasn't always an admired poet who was welcome in bars. It was here, in Skid Row, that he'd plant himself and wash down his troubles with countless beers.

6) Joan Didion - While Didion was raised in Sacramento, she made L.A. her home after kicking her career off at Vogue magazine in New York. From personal essays to novels to political journalism, her writing is as eclectic and extensive as Southern California itself. At the age of 84, she continues to produce noteworthy works while looking back at her success and loss itself. House in Hollywood at 7406 Franklin Ave.; Los Angeles, CA 90046. A friend of Didion's described this area of Hollywood as a "senseless killing neighborhood;" perhaps this was an omen for the nearby Manson murders that were to come. Didion lived here with her late husband, John Dunne, and their daughter while penning The White Album. She lived in a constant state of horror, as reflected in her writing, until she moved up the coast with her family in 1971. The Freeway - seriously. When you live in Southern California, you learn to live with the freeway, to accept your time on it, and it becomes part of your daily landscape. As Carolyn Kellogg stated, "Writers who know Los Angeles... have done some of their best writing about freeways. Think Joan Didion in her novel Play It as It Lays... The rhythm of Los Angeles's roads has seeped into its decentralized heart, into the minds of writers for decades, and you, too, will hear it as your wheels spin and spin and spin." Try driving down the 405 to San Diego, or head northbound on the 101. You'll see that the freeway becomes a character in and of itself.

7) Bonus - interested in a few more modern authors and reads from Southern California? Check out: 
5 Powerful Books by 5 Powerful Southern California Women 
The 10 Contemporary L.A. Writers You Should Know
10 Contemporary Californian Writers to Know
27 Books to Read If You're California Dreamin'

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Apollo 11 Anniversary and the Lunar Library

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first man on the moon. 

What was once an interesting federally funded space race followed by a couple of decades of amazing explorations and discoveries seemed to lag over the last generation. Federal funding minimized and American astronauts have been forced seek a ride with China or Russia to get into space. 

While NASA has never ceased its missions entirely, its focus has been with an eye towards the exploration of Mars. The Orion projects have been slated for crews in the 2020's. 

Privately funded missions to orbit our planet have become more frequent in this century. Great strides have been made both by scientists and businessmen to learn more about what lies beyond our orbit.

In February, Elon Musk launched a Tesla Roadster with a dummy payload for the Falcon Heavy test flight and became an artificial satellite of the sun. 

More recently, this spring a black hole was discovered at the center of Galaxy M87. Scientists and students worldwide are still reeling from the newest images and seeking to understand the resulting implications.

Yet, with all of these new discoveries, man has not forgotten the first steps to the moon. In fact, new missions to the moon are being planned. 

Perhaps even as a precursor to manned missions to mars, and as a guide for any possible visitors from elsewhere, SpaceIL  Beresheet Lander carried an "Arch Lunar Library". This is the first in a planned series of lunar archives prepared and maintained by the Arch Mission Foundation, a non-profit organization that tasks itself with maintaining a billion-year history of Planet Earth.

The records include millions of images of pages of books. For more details, read the overview of the Lunar LibraryThe article is a bit long, but it’s an interesting read.

In the meantime, you might consider visiting several areas this week in celebration of the 50th anniversary: a NASA location, a Smithsonian, or other history/science museum.

So, if you were going to include a book for the Lunar Library what would it be? Anything that you feel should NOT be included? Are you doing anything to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG: Writing Personal Traits

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

JULY QUESTION: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

MY ANSWER: I've included fears, dreams, desires, and struggles I was experiencing at the time. Writing is the best form of catharsis after all.

What personal traits have you included in your writing?