Monday, June 29, 2015

It's Always Something Jan 29 Update

This past week started off to be a winner. On Wednesday, I got my hair cut. Okay, so I'd been letting my hair grow out over the winter because I thought I'd like to have longer hair. But I changed my mind because I didn't like the hassle of drying it and it looked droopy to me. So I got a new short layered style that is terrific. I was really happy. I'd done all my errands and got the haircut that day. Then the "it's always something" strikes. I had a tooth break apart. It just happened and I'm like thinking it'll have to be capped. $$$ And it does have to be capped. I've already been to the dentist and my mouth is still sore and so is my pocketbook. 

But along with "It's always something" comes "It could be worse." I always tell myself that, and although it never seems to completely alleviate the situation, it is one way of looking at misfortune with a positive view. I think "It could be worse" is a way of accepting what happened and knowing you can deal with it. 

WIP: I have made past 35,000 words on the first draft. Yay! I haven't worked on TO LOSE A LADY this weekend as I had to get the writing cave cleaned up and reorganized. I even found some stuff in old files that will be helpful from a research perspective. This week I finished up a "getting to know you" scene with Rafe and Simone. 

In all my cleaning and digging this weekend, I actually found some old storyboards and synopsis on some book ideas I'd had a long time ago. I was like: "Wow, not bad" when I looked at them. So I'm thinking I may develop them into books eventually. 

It doesn't seem possible that it is July already! I have no plans other than to be writing and staying inside where it is cool during July Fourth. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday weekend. Remember to use sunscreen if you are out and about!!! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

It's Only A Book

Recently, I went to a book sale at our local library. The customers were given a shopping bag and you could fill it with as many books as it would hold for one dollar. A great deal for shoppers and a way for the library to get rid of discarded and donated books.

As a writer, I saw all those books as a block of time taken from a writer’s life and, maybe, a little bit of their soul.  That brings me to the motto, “It’s Only A Book” and why I think it’s important for writers to remember it.

When you have been stabbed in the heart by a rejection letter or a bad review, remember that's part of being a writer. Every writer has to face the cold reality that their baby will not be loved by everyone. But it will be loved by someone.  Either way, it is only a book. Angst is a waste of time. And there’s always the next book.You need to get started on it now.

When you don’t make time to write, regardless of your circumstances, and when you sacrifice writing time to do other things, then “It’s only a book” is a great mantra.  But, it’s only a book does not apply in this situation because writing is not your priority.  For you, it’s only a dream. One you will never realize unless you sit down and do it.

Don’t revise continuously. Critiques serve their purpose, but you have to be confident enough in your own abilities to keep going forward, instead of in revision circles.  Climb out of the revision trap and remember it’s only a book.  God knows where it will eventually end up.  Maybe a dollar-a-bag sale?

When you’ve spent three months trying to perfect chapter one, remember it’s only a book. It will never be perfect and it doesn’t have to be. 

That leads me to “lack of effort” publishing. I know it’s only a book, but always consider your customer, who may have had to work an hour at a lousy job to buy your book. Especially if it is a print book. Make your book, which is your product with your name on it, the best it can be. This applies to both indie and traditional authors. 

In the end, it’s only a book. You are not going to die if your book flops, and you are not going to bask in a continuous glow if it doesn’t. That’s not how a writer’s life works.

And in closing, if you ever need affirmation of the above, go to your library's book sale. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

Life Is How You Live It: June 22nd Update

Here's this week's update on my life and how I'm living it! How's yours? 

Current Work-In-Progress: TO LOSE A LADY

This is book two of my French Quarter Brides series. I started the first draft around May 28th. I currently have about 33,000 words written. It is going to be around 75, 000 words, at least. I just love this story. It is so emotional and I wonder if I will be able to convey that on paper. Rafe and Simone are great characters to write. When I was writing TO SAVE A LADY, I thought the next book would be Bonnard’s book. Then toward the end, everything shifted toward Rafe and Simone. Especially Rafe, who just appeared out of nowhere when I was writing a scene with Jesse in Book One. When he came on stage, I knew I had to write his story.

Compared to the first book, TO LOSE A LADY, which begins on the same night Book One ends, has few true historical events taking place and they don’t shape the plot like they did in the first book. There was a victory pageant held on Jackson Square (Place d’Armes in 1815) that I incorporated into a scene with Rafe and Simone.  

Now for other stuff:

Summer has arrived and the humidity in Mississippi will cause you to break out in a sweat once you step outside. All in all, I love summer even with the sweat!

I’m cleaning carpets. You know, for a while, I’m lost in romantic old New Orleans and townhouses with weeping ferns and courtyards. Then I have to get up and drag out the steam cleaner. A writer’s life. Well, it is exercise.

Song discovery for this week:  Blank Space by the Brooklyn Duo.  I love music, especially instrumental music. This was a song I heard on Pandora, so I added it to my Rhapsody playlist for TLAL.

Reading LOST CITIES, 50 Discoveries in World Archaeology.

Can’t say I’ve seen any stellar movies lately. I did win a copy of American Sniper on a blog contest. It was a good movie. I mean I was thinking Clint Eastwood made this movie and how old is he? Like almost a 100? We all have hope!



Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday Music: Road to Glory





I love Epic Music and decided to share some of my favorites on Monday. Epic Music is my go-to music when I'm writing historicals. Audiomachine is one of my favorites for Epic Music. I love their album, Chronicles. "Road to Glory" is one of my favorites.

Now back to writing on Book 2 of my French Quarter Brides Series. I love Rafe! He's about to duel beneath the oaks....

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Southern Tradition: Decoration Day #FreeFunnyStory

Some say that Memorial Day was actually born in the South when a group of Southern ladies decided to decorate the graves of soldiers fallen during the Civil War. At that time, it was known by the name, Decoration Day, which was a name commonly applied to the day chosen at rural churchyard for the cleaning and decorating of graves in the church cemetery.

This event began in the 1800's and usually the church chose a Sunday in May or early June for their Decoration Day. During that era, the month of May was usually chosen because flowers were in bloom and could be cut to decorate the graves. Also the weather was mild and the spring planting was finished. The long hot days of work in the fields had yet to arrive.

Traditionally, Decoration Day involved more than just decorating the graves of loved ones. The event included a church service followed by dinner on the ground (picnic) and sometimes a singing. Attendance brought about reunions of families who had loved ones buried in the cemetery. They all came dressed in their Sunday best, walked along the cemetery paths to admire the flowers on graves of their ancestors, and enjoyed the home-made dishes served buffet style on wooden tables. 

My family went to Decoration Day at a country church in Tennessee where my great-grandparents and grandparents were buried, along with many other family members. One my earliest memories, believe or not, is one of the outhouses behind the church, which had been built in mid-1800's. I had never seen an outhouse or used one. I don't remember ever seeing a real outhouse anywhere else. The outhouses and the old church are gone now, replaced by a new church. And the tables are gone, too. Once, they made tables for dinner on the ground by nailing a piece of wood vertical on two tree trunks, and then laid planks horizontal on top the vertical supports to make a table. 

Although Decoration Day is no longer the social event it was a hundred years ago, it still observed as a day to bring flowers to the cemetery and remember your loved ones. 


If you'd like to learn more about the tradition of Decoration Day, check out the book by folklorist, Alan Jabbour. Published by the University of North Carolina Press http://bit.ly/1A69cID


And be sure to grab a FREE copy of my humorous short story, "Decoration Day" this weekend on Amazon. You'll love Melanie Sue and Annie Lou! http://amzn.to/1DIAuVU