WILD AND FUN WEEKEND

WheeeeeeLabor Day weekend filled Atlanta with many activities. Dragon Con had its convention in downtown Atlanta. Costumes captured all of the characters and the parade down Peachtree Street gave kids and adults the sights they were waiting to come to life.

Then, we had the 10th Annual Decatur Book Festival. This opened with the keynote speaker, Erica Jong, and another author, Roxane Gay at Emory’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. A new stage opened and is part of the Georgia Grown Culinary Village with cooking demonstrations and authors of cookbooks giving out their secrets and food. There were stages for authors in many genres–The Atlanta History Center, Science Track, Romance, Poetry, Mystery and Thriller, Art, and characters mingling with the people, and the Children’s & Teen Stages.

Venues were set up all around the city of Decatur. The Old Court House opened for different authors to share their work. Decatur is just the town for this event and opportunity to meet neighbors and make new friends. Decatur is home to history–Emory and Agnes Scott Universities. A vibrant city with an appreciation for the arts and books.

The Atlanta History Center offers author programs during the months of September, October, and through November. These are award-winning authors, best-selling authors of fiction and non-fiction, and even authors of cookbooks sharing seasonal recipes. This gives people a chance for discussions and meeting other enthusiastic readers who share the love of books.

What a way to celebrate Labor Day and then back to business, but not in the usual way. I find myself energized with new ideas, meeting other writers from all over Georgia and other areas and states.

The difficulty of my publishers’ bankruptcy announcement is still fresh in my mind. All of the authors of Secret Cravings Publishing are pulling for each other. Our Authors Only site is filled with tears and new beginnings. I keep writing and, in time, will republish Breaking Point and other books. Just not certain in which format. I’ll keep writing new stories and using the words from my head fill the screen.

The day this happened, I glanced at my horoscope, which I never read, but guess the ‘gods’ were trying to guide me.  “This morning you’ll open your eyes with a fresh perspective on life. Then, you’ll figure out what really makes you happy and prioritize your life based on that realization. It is truly a great day.”

Writing and I’ll keep writing until words cease to float through my head and my fingers are too stiff to move over the keys.

HAPPY YOU.  HAPPY DAY. HAPPY WRITING.

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SATURDAY SITCOM

What did you sayThis is me today–full of questions and no answers. Some days are like this–I call them sitcom days. I could be in the middle of a sentence and forget what I said or asked. I wait and wait for someone else to prod me or point me in another direction. When you live alone, this never happens.

So, I invent people to help me hang out on Saturdays. Today is a clean-up Saturday. Yeah, all the chores of the week have piled up in a heap at my front door.: Either I get the chores done, or sit and read a book. OOPS . . . see what I mean. Which would you do?

I hear the voice of my mother from eons ago..”Never leave this house without clean underwear.” Okay, but why, no one is going to see anything? Then my dear, old dad pops in, “Do you have enough nickles to get a ride home?” Nickels? Are they still around? And back then, to whom would I give them?  I can’t remember ever seeing a taxi.

FASHIONATA arrives on the scene. “What are you doing with all this laundry? Where is your maid?”

“I am my maid, and at this moment, unavailable for any duties. I’ve checked out.”

“Honey, you need help.”

“Any offers?” Silence greets me.

Then I look at my kitchen. I did not put the dirty dishes in their laundry hole, after dinner last night. Well, look at it from another prospective….I did eat. No store-bought stuff or take-out. I cooked, and darn well too. So what’s the problem?

HEALTH PATROL jumps over the laundry and heads straight for the kitchen . “

“What is going on in here? Don’t you know bacteria is having their hey-day?”

“So that’s the problem. I did not get invited and neither did you.”

With that episode out-of-the-way, I feel great. Has my Saturday changed? Can I enjoy the whole day without other interruptions?

The smooth sounds of soft jazz, coming from my television, stops. The loud, loud voice of a FITNESS announcer shakes  the whole room.

“Why are you not exercising, stretching, and getting your heart-rate up?”

“Listen, if you are such a GURU, you’d know I taught fitness five days this week. I’ve stretched to put the laundry in the washer. I lifted dishes into the dishwasher, and I even turned on the vacuum cleaner.”

“But, you are just sitting there doing nothing.”

“So, what? This is my Saturday and I’m gonna enjoy it with words.”

“Words? What kind of exercise is this?”

“Mine.” I shut the television off.

There is no noise, except the hungry noises the two lovers make between the pages of my book.

HAPPY WEEKEND. HAPPY WRITING.

 

A SILENT WORKOUT FOR YOUR WRITING

images_028Yes, you read WRITE. Have some fun with your work and sharpen your skills at the same time. Sound intriguing? Let’s get started.

First you need to use your current WIP or one you just put up because nothing seemed right – or both, but separately. It might help to print out the first five chapters.Why? You are going to critique your own work and you need to be comfortable and have a red, yes red, pen ready for action.

When we write, we use our words to paint pictures. Sometimes, the pictures are cloudy, or we use the wrong color, or stick our fingers in where we shouldn’t. Maybe your reader cannot feel the painted words, or the color does not set well with the them. Whatever, the reason, we have not given our reader a true picture with our words. We can see them, but we need THE READER TO FEEL THEM.

Now, go to your video and pull out a movie. Your choice, but try to get one in the same genre as your work. All set, ready to go? Not quite, until you turn off the sound. I hear groans and why’s all over the place. Because, this is one way to see what you need to write to get the picture over to your reader.

In movies, we always see what is happening. In writing, we need to let the reader see what is happening with words. Watch certain movie scenes and, if any can match some of your scenes, hit the “STOP” button at any time and shuffle through your printed pages. Do you find yourself telling the reader what is happening? If so, grab your red pen  and mark NEED TO SHOW. Then go back to your movie and see if you can put into words what is happening on the video.

This may take several rounds, but once you get a handle on the movie scenes and your work scenes, you can have lots of fun, put new phrases together, and learn the art of showing by painting word pictures.

Now, when you get stuck in a scene or on a scene, grab a video. When you go to the movies, enjoy each scene with the recognition of ‘oh, that’s how they do that.’ And come home and see what you can do to your writing. Even movies have to have a written script, but it is the director and the actors who make the film come alive.

You are now the director, and all the actors of your novel. Make your words jump off the page right in front of the reader, or pull the reader into your novel with your picture words. You can do it.

Happy Directing. Happy Acting. Happy Writing.

WEDNESDAY. WEDNESDAY. DO I HEAR AN ECHO?

images_080After a “Mad” Monday, everything got unsettled and confused. I’m tired of dark dreary skies, droplets of water, outside, and did I mention dreary skies?

How many times in our writings do we hear echos? We find a phrase or a couple of words and repeat them all over the page, or chapter, or chapters, or throughout the whole book.  “Well, this is the way to recognize my character.” But on every page? “My character speaks like this all the time.” Then silence your character(s) for a few pages.

Echos equal repetition and as writers, we are capable of creating such a vast entity of settings, words, descriptions, and conversations. We do not need ECHOS. Or do we?

If done in a subtle way, this can create a reference to a crime. Then the reader gets shivers knowing about the echo. Or you have a vicious love circle and the same phrase, “I’ll be late.” comes out quite often. Still not in every scene.

When we write, we need to get our ideas out, kinda like a free-write. These ideas are fresh to the writer. We can’t take the chance of forgetting one twist or turn. So we write, write, and write. Word fill up the pages and echos reverberate. Not loud enough we hear them, until revision time comes. Then, we shake our heads and start to worry how many of them did we put in?

A simple “Search and Find” can do the trick. If at any time you think you have echos or overused a certain word, hit the find and then the next, and next, and next. I’m always surprised and shocked. I don’t remember writing the same word that many times, but there it is right in front of me.

A gentle reminder to all of us, don’t forget about “Echos.” Your readers will remember.

Happy Writing. Happy Writing. “Oops.”

See you back on Friday.

 

 

AN OFF DAY

The OtherlifeDo any of you wake up and know the events of the day will not be smooth?

When I opened my eyes , this cold morning, an OFF DAY greeted me. My head tried to list everything from top to bottom before I could get in a good stretch. Slinging my feet out of warm covers to the cold floor hurt. My toes could not find their slippers. One good thing: SUNSHINE poured into my room.

The coffee process started, I knew this would put a little ‘umph’ into my day. Turning around I choke. All the household chores done the day before showed dust particles on every surface. Dark, dreary days hide the magic of dust and dust bunnies. Then, the sun brightens the windows and dust magic stares back at me over the furniture, floors, and all surfaces.

I blow across the desk, moving some of the sprinkles away from my computer. With the lid open, I hit the ‘on’ key. The screen is filled with sparkles. I continue without bothering about the wipe cloth. At least my brain has strength to write a few pages.

A few paragraphs later, I try to print out the work. I can edit online, but prefer paper and pen to get every mistake, well, most of them. Printer hums, paper goes through, no print. The ink cartridge shows ’empty.’ I check the desk drawer, no make that drawers, for more ink. Nada. Positive I bought two cartridges, I run through some receipts. Only one shows up.

Okay, forget about the printed page until later. It is too cold to jump up and head to the closest office supply store. Besides my robe and slippers are keeping me warm. More coffee. I need more coffee. Back in the kitchen, my stomach growls. Breakfast. I check the cupboards and spot some Brown-Maple oatmeal. This sounds good. A small amount of time passes and I smell a funny order. My fingers are on the keyboard and my oatmeal is scorching in the pan. Good bye, breakfast.

Words are pounding in my head, “Let me out. Let me out.” I comply with no oatmeal but another cup of coffee would help. I watch the words fall from my head to my fingertips. I continue plugging away at the keys, and ignore the ringing phone. I keep writing and the phone keeps ringing. Not to worry. Voice mail will pick up. I am too far away to hear the words, but they will be there later.

I sneak a peek at the clock. Yee! whiskers. I need to get ready to teach my class. If I hurry, I can make it with time to spare. But, no. A tennis shoe has dirty laces and the one stretch top I wanted to wear is in the dirty clothes. Thank heavens, the toothpaste tube is full.

Dressed,  I head to my car knowing there is plenty of gas. I can stop at the store for ink. Time tells me, NO. My brunch will be a couple of bananas. Not a good way to start the day, but work with what you have.

Class is great. Maybe the bananas turned the OFF, off, and I can have a neat day after all. I smile. Then it hits me. Why didn’t I hit the early morning with a bigger smile, a better attitude , and a few shrugs of the shoulders.

I believe, we all need an OFF DAY to bring our lives into the sunshine. Stress fills each day and the smile, the laughter, and the lightness of spirit gets pushed back. Today, let all the brightness you can into your life. If you aimed for 50 pages and got 20 done; hey, you worked. Now, go play. You’ll have company when you get home….dust bunnies.

ENJOY YOUR DAY.