It is Friday and time to enjoy VikLit ‘s blog hop that highlights small celebrations, the things that we tend to ignore unless something or someone joggles our elbows and says, LOOK!
Today I am celebrating not only the end of the work week (though the fact that I have work during these difficult times is a celebration in itself) but also the fact that Ye Olde Wizzardes Who Thinke They Hath Ye Means To Foretell Ye Weather are predicting a cooler weekend.
My dog won’t sit around and pant so much, I can pull a blanket up to my shoulder, and I can even wear a bathrobe, which for me is a necessity, whether or not I will roast in it.
I hope they are right.
What are you celebrating? Why don’t you join us? The link is below!
Today I am happy to participate in the Cover Reveal of Effigy, M. J. Fifield’s debut novel. Danger, excitement, beauty, sacrifice and love figure in the story of Haleine, queen of a once-great kingdom that is crumbling into ruin under her husband’s cruel, evil reign.
Welcome to Friday and VikLit ‘s blog hop. We’re celebrating the small things that make our lives richer.
The information on the hop is below. Why don’t you join? Or, at least, visit the various posts and smile.
It is true, I think, mulling things over. I have men who are good fathers, characters who were blessed with good fathers, characters who had men step in and serve as fathers to them…
It is not surprising. I was blessed with the finest father anyone could hope for. He was a very good man, and one of those rare people who remembered how it was to be a child. We would go for drives on Sunday afternoons, and he would tell us kids to look for bears. Once he bought some Native American arrowheads and ‘salted’ them in a place where he planned to take us. We were too oblivious to notice them.
He would tuck us in to bed (Mom did, too) and tell us ‘Make up stories’, which were the absolute best.
He was unflinching in his honesty. The ‘Right Thing To Do’ was what had to be done. And he did not blink it, even as he understood and sympathized with his children when we found it hard. I never in my life doubted that he and Mom were on my side, that I could always go to them when I was in trouble, and that while they would speak their mind, they would never stop loving me.
Years ago, Dad discovered computers. He was a very bright man, but computers were mysterious and fascinating. Maybe this was because he was in the first wave of radar officers in the U.S. Navy in WW II. His talk of them bored me to death…for a while.
I remember he phoned me once to go on and on (and on) about Ram and Megabytes and such, and I sat back, phone to ear, and rolled my eyes.
I listened to the voice, and it was right.
Dad died two years ago this August. He went quickly, and his passing was guided by his own instructions, written and notarized. No difficult decision was left to us. No lingering doubts or regrets. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery (for those non-US readers, it is the cemetery for veterans – and Dad was one).
Not a day goes by that does not bring with it some reason to remember him and thank God that he was my father. He is in good part a reason that I took the path I did.
As he was, so are other fathers, and I salute them this day. It is a tough job but a crucial one. I wish all can be as blessed as I was, and can bless their children as Dad did his.
Happy Father’s day!
Welcome to Friday! This post is part of the blog hop that Vikki at VikLit thought of well over a year ago.
Here we pause to celebrate the small things that together make our lives richer.
The hop is still open if you want to join, and it has drawn a wonderful group that posts, remembers, celebrates and just generally supports and cheers you on.
Today I am celebrating one of summer’s perennial surprises. You know: the sort of joy that you forget from year to year, making each new encounter seem as though it is the first. This always comes as a surprise to me, and it sifts down in several ways to make it memorable each time I encounter it.
I am speaking of what we call ‘fireflies’.
They are modest little things, sober-colored insects with that splash of red. There always comes a point in late spring when I step outside, gaze up a hill in the deepening twilight, and see, like a handful of stars thrown on the hillside, flickering points of golden light, drifting in the light breeze, rising up into the tree tops.
When visiting my grandmother in Vermont (far northeast United States for those who are not from North America) I can remember driving back from getting ice cream and watching, enthralled, as the forests seemed to flicker with light.
Just two nights ago, one of them was perched on my window screen. I fell asleep to the gentle, flickering glow.
This weekend, the sporadic showers and the mosquitoes willing, I will be sitting on my porch and watching them against the stars.
How about you? What are you celebrating?
The information on the hop is below. Why don’t you join and tell us?
…I received quite a blast from the past.
This was lying demurely folded in a box of photographs. It is not the first manuscript I copyrighted. That honor goes to a Heroic Fantasy Trilogy that is so utterly silly, it will never see print. Besides, I’d have to retype it.
This one has some sentimental and ‘lessons learned’ associations. It was the first manuscript I sent around for representation, and I worked for a year with one agent (a very good one) polishing it. Ultimately, he turned it down and I went with another agent who wanted to represent me. www.pred-ed.com did not exist then.
|Amazing what you find in boxes.|
The first copyrighted manuscript that I published was A Killing Among the Dead . That one came out in 2011. this one (part I) was published last year.
25 years ago for the copyright on this. And boy was it bad!
It’s pretty good now, and Book II is coming along very well. Book III is nearly ready to go this very moment.
I have the three covers designed.
Welcome to Friday and the weekly blog that Vikki at VikLit thought of well over a year ago. It is a way we pause to celebrate the small things that together make our lives richer. Reading the posts over the months will open your eyes to the many, many ways we touch delight and celebrate it. The hop is still open if you want to join, and it has drawn a wonderful group that posts, remembers, celebrates and just generally supports and cheers you on.
.here are lovely people involved in posting, remembering, celebrating and being just generally awesome – rather like yourself, don’t you think?
The information on the hop is below. Why don’t you join? Or, at least, visit the various posts and smile.
(I wouldn’t have done it anyhow. I like the thing. The cutlass, that is). I will say that my review and corrections are being done, preliminarily, on my uploaded MS using the Fire.
But books have a feel, a sense of completeness. If I hold my volume of Treasure Island (Stevenson) in my hands, I have a sense of holding the entire adventure between my two palms. Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver (one of the most chilling villains I’ve encountered – and you never suspect him till the end), the parrot, Captain Flint, Captain Alexander Smollet, and the plague-ridden island.
You can hold a book, linger over it. If you’re in the right place you can nearly bathe in it:
My library, such as it is, is not quite as palatial as this one, but the idea is the same. I do have to dust it. At least it is not as chaotic as this one:
Actually, that one might have a few too many books, and I’d be afraid that the shelves might come down.
Books are tangible in a way the electronic readers are not. You can hold them, smell them… Though I suppose that if an e-reader exploded there would certainly be a smell…
You can mark them up. (My ms is marked up. Little yellow squares with little blue boxes. If I click on them successfully, up come my notes. they *are* handy, but oh so unromantic. Rather like emails instead of handwritten letters. Written in fountain pen. I am told, though, that my letters are eternal because they are hard to read.
But I digress. I do like the fact that I can indulge my terror of being left without something to read but not wanting to do damage to my spine by trundling along a suitcase full of books simply by bringing my e-reader. They have their uses…
This poem expresses it well:
|The parking garage for the Kansas City public library|
Welcome to the first Wednesday of June, IWSG day. This is the once-a-month blog hop started by Alec Cavanaugh . IWSG = Insecure Writers’ Support Group . We share our insecurities and support each other with empathy, sympathy or practical suggestions.
|Pulled in Different Directions|
There is a saying in academic circles: publish or perish. In other words, if you are a professor and you wish to be taken seriously and have your career blossom, you had jolly well better write something that is published and met with acclaim. So (in academic circles, or at least the ones I am familiar with) you see a lot of scrambling and panic and despair if the proposed publication does not somehow make the grade.
I have heard time and again that in order to be read, a writer must write. This is not as simple as it sounds, at least to me. It is taken to mean that a writer must present his or her reading public with a steady stream of writings so that, one book being devoured, another is ready to be savored.
People have contacted me recently and asked when the second and third books of a trilogy will be published. This is a tremendous compliment, and very gratifying, but it introduces a sense of urgency, a sense of ‘time’s a-wasting’.
(‘I’m in a hurry to get things done, so I rush and rush until life’s no fun. All I’ve ever got to do is live and die, but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why’ [Alabama])
So what do you do?
In my case, faced with the thought that my last work was published in October of 2013, I scrambled to get book II of the trilogy ready. It was blocked out, it had some good flow to it. Book III was better, longer established. I had realized that the story had a center part between Volume I and what had originally been Volume II, and it needed to be developed. I started it in earnest six months ago, working on an old timeline. I set a December publication date. I plotted and pantsed and typed and went over and over what I had, and then I sat back and took stock. The story was there…and it wasn’t very good. It was exhausted, stale. The words were there, the thoughts were there, but writing that book was like trying to run up the side of a sand dune. Forget the thought of dancing.
I know my own (current) capabilities. I knew I could bring it in by December. But at what cost? My own exhaustion, certainly. Worse, that stretched, dry, rushed endeavor would be a waste of my readers’ time.
|The projected work, elegant in its concept…|
They wanted to know what happened to a specific character. Book III brings a very satisfying resolution, with a lot of adventure, suspense and laughter along the way (he’s that kind of kid). But people would have to slog through Book II before they hit that resolution. And that was where the problem was: If a reader was opening Book II and expecting something like this:
How could I possibly even think of producing something like this?
|Finished in a hurry… Sort of. Happy author? Uh, no…|
The fact is that I couldn’t.
And that led to a revelation that should not have surprised me. I can’t put out something that is consciously hurried. It is an insult to the story and to the reader to withhold my best effort. And – let’s admit this – it is disrespectful to our own talents and abilities not to endeavor to produce our very best.
Yes, the passing years will (I hope) bring improvement. Something I wrote twenty years ago, that made me happy, may not be satisfactory now that I have lived and practiced and grown those twenty years. But at that time it was my best.
So what is going on with Book II?
I contacted my editor and told him that it would be badly rushed if I pushed for a December release. (He agreed.) I took down any mention of the projected December date. I took a deep breath, uploaded a mobi version of the working manuscript onto my Kindle and started adjusting it. Tweaking wordings, contemplating the possible plot passages… Opening myself to the luxury of writing an excellent story, fit to follow the first and lead to the third.
I have something small and fun that I can polish in my spare time and put out in December. A fable that children and happy adults might enjoy.
And I can savor creating something beautiful. That is, after all, what we writers live to do. Isn’t it?
Check out the hop. There are some fabulous, unhurried posts to savor:
I did not know this when I started writing The Orphan’s Tale. I solved the problem by making it Alternate History (from a geographical standpoint).
|Avenue de l’Opera, Evening|
Since I was arrogant enough then to think I knew the area very well from reviewing maps, I knew that I could cut out a dog-leg by following a street that connected those two major thoroughfares.
|The Fontaine St-Michel, Paris|
I mentioned my near-mishap to a friend, who said “You do know that Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of Police, don’t you?”