Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Magical Storytelling

I was a reader long before I ever became a writer.  I had my favourite writers.  The ones who wrote books I could never put down.  The ones I would never give away but re-read at least once a year.

I've always been in love with 'magical storytelling'.  This is a phrase I use to describe a novel or short story that whisks me away from myself, takes me to another place, a place where I lose myself in the story.  A place that evokes strong emotions.  A place where I shut out family and friends as much as I love them. 

When I've discovered a new writer who has this gift, I am thrilled, pleased beyond reason.  I squirrel the treasure away until I am able to crack it open and read without interruptions.  And I'm selfish with it, I don't share it (other than verbally or e-mail  with the writer if possible, with my friends, and other writers, but I never, never part with it. 

Over the years, there have been surprises.  I never had read any Stephen King as I do not care for the genre however I did begin his new book, 11/22/63, on the weekend and I was instantly hooked.  The man can write; he's up there with those magical storytellers.  This is probably no surprise to most of you but it was a delightful one to me.  He has fun, he plays fair with the writer, he is a master of plotting, his characters are real.  And on, and on, and on. 

So to those genuis's of writing, I say:  keeping on writing, please.  And for those writers like myself, who love the craft and are committed to developing their talent, I say:  keeping on writing, please and who knows, someday, we, like them, may enter the realm of magical storytelling.

Who is your favourite writer, who do you believe reaches the magical summit?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Choosing Your Poison

Whether you're a reader or a writer, I think we can agree on this.  It's darn difficult these days to find those books that make our hearts pump, keep us reading late at night even though we have an important breakfast meeting (or whatever) keeps us chatting about its merits to whoever will listen, and posting our accolades on Twitter, FaceBook, Goodreads, and e-mail.  And we do all these things in good faith.  We are thrilled to discover a new author, or the new chapter in an ongoing series, or a genre we never thought would ever appeal to us.

Its not becuase we don't have writers today who are capable of shaking our reading cores. The authors are out there.  The problem is finding them in the gazillions books on offer.  Now my favourite poisons are murder mysteries, historical mysteries, biographies, thriller chillers, Sci Fi, Fantasy - you get the idea - I love stories, well told stories, no matter the genre.  And I will follow an author who can write these stories to the ends of the earth.

Now if we google the newest releases, or go to Kindle, Smashwords, or browse our favourite bookstore, our reader senses become quickly overwhelmed.  Yes, we read the blurbs, the synopsis, the first page and we buy with one click, our Visa, or old fashioned bills and coins.  Most times we hit paydirt; the other times not.

So my question this morning to all you readers and writers out there:  how do you discover your favourite poison among all the deadly offerings out there?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Tweeting the Bluebird

It's confession time; I have an addiction.  It started out innocently enough.  A friend recommended I try twitter and always being open to new things, I signed up.

I still remember the writer who gave me my first follow; I was hooked, clicking the follow button until my tweet finger ached.  And I wasn't choosy, oh no, I just kept on clicking.  Then one day, Twitter advised I had reached my follow limit - something about a balance between followers and following.  What a crash.  Still wanting all those tweets but having no say in the matter, I began my withdrawal, slowly but surely hitting the unfollow button. 

My sadness didn't last long however because, lo and behold, pruning and weeding led to an abundance of  much more informative, helpful and entertaining tweets!  Hooked again, but in a different way, I now chose with more discretion.   I withdrew from the numbers game of following and followers despite what people have said about building more and more contacts.

I have learned to limit myself and check in on twitter twice a day but once in awhile, I throw all caution to the wind and indulge my tweet hungry finger until it can't take any more.

How about you?  What's your social media game of choice? 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Free Books on Kindle - good marketing or not?

Good morning everyone:

There's a controversy going round now among writers about free books.  Some claim a free give away is an excellent marketing tool, other writers say it devalues their work.

If you are published on Kindle/Amazon, you have the option of taking part in the KDP select program.  The upside of this program is the free library lending.  I've a huge supporter of libraries and shudder to think what my life would now be like without all those books I read from a very young age that taught me about life. 

The downside of the KDP Select program is that if you opt to join, you agree to your books being given away for five days during a three month period.  If you want to know more about how this program works, please check out Amazon's website as I'm only providing a rough sketch of how it works.

My question is for those writers who have opted to join this program, what's your experience?  Is it a good marketing tool or do you believe it devalues your work?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

My First Interview

Good morning everyone: 

I haven't been able to post on blog for awhile (see 'A Life') but I'm very happy and honoured to share with you my first interview.  A wonderfully talented Canadian writer (sassy, funny, brilliant crime writer) Jill Edmondson was kind enough to ask me about writing. 

Please take a moment and check it out at her blog site:  jilledmondson.blogspot.com/2012/02/interv…


Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Life

This is my first post since the passing of my sister, a woman who will be missed by many.

She left this life from her own bed, in the farmhouse she had lived in for the last 30 years, surrounded by her loved ones.  As I sat by her bedside on that last day, I reflected on the life she had lived.  She gave of herself and the more she gave, the more she grew, the more she loved.

She and her husband were married at a very young age and according to stats, the chances of staying together were slim.  They were married for 44 years.  Her life wasn't always easy but she never gave up on others or herself.  She was a strong woman, no pushover, who set goals and worked diligently to accomplish them.  She loved her children, adored her grandchildren, supported her widowed mother, and reached out quietly, behind the scenes to others in need.

She had fun - loved to go to yard sales and browse for bargains she didn't need - for together with her husbandd, their hard work had won a financially stable life.  She travelled, made friends in the Carolinas who stayed in contact with her until the day she passed.  Her laughter was contagious. 

I could go on but I won't.  I needed to write this so I can continue on with my blog. 

Love you forever, sister of mine. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Getting Started

I am new to writing and I hope I'm not be too presumptious to tackle the nasties that accompany writing.  Anyway, having one book up on Amazon, I'm no longer a newbie and will take the plunge.  We writers have to pay our dues. 

What I mean by that is we have to go through the nasties and take our tumbles into the various traps all writers tumble into at one time or another, the chief of which, in my own experience, is self-doubt.  The talk runs something like this:  will the plot hold water?  are the characters real?  what will the readers think if I do this or that?  Have I done enough research? 

You get the picture.  So, I circumvent my way around the first hurtle by ignorning the self-doubt and pushing on.  Then comes the second one - this has been done before, it's not original enough, it will put readers to sleep which is fine if they happen to be insomoniacs.  This is the point where I test the waters with writer friends and my trusted readers.  What do you think, I ask, will it hold water?  And, trust is the ultimate word here, they always come back with the truth whether it hurts or not.  If its okay, I push on, if not I begin to re-twig. 

I believe I am not alone in this.  I've read enough blogs to know other writers go through the same thing - a few variations, no doubt, but you get the picture.  So, if you are a new writer (I'm on my second book) I feel for you.  There's a lot of work to be done.  But knowing it is half the battle so, go on, go for it, for one thing I know, many people attempt to write and the majority (believe it or not) start but don't finish. 

Perserve new writers and you will get there.  I tell myself this every time I sit in front of the blank page.  Good luck with your project. 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Hopes for the New Year

As always, the New Year has found us.  According to some, it won't next year as everything comes to an end in December - good news though, it's on a Friday so we all get the weekend off!

Now, on to more serious matters - our hopes for the New Year.  Hope is mysterious.  She (I don't know why I want to assign the feminine, feel free to choose the masculine) hides well, buries herself under the cares and worries that each one of us carries every day.  And it seems, when everything closes in on us, she buries herself deeper and won't come out with any amount of coaxing.

However, when we turn our back on her, get busy with facing what we don't want to face but need to face, up she comes from those hidden depths.  She fills us with visions of glorious sunrises, meaningful encounters with those we love and who love us, leads us to others we don't yet know.  Compassion joins with her and our eyes our opened to those less fortunate than us, who bear greater burdens and yet deep in their hearts, hope struggles to free itself.

Our hopes, like ourselves, are unique but I suspect we do have a lot of common hopes as we journey into 2012.  May all our buried dreams, hopes and loves surface this New Year.  And, if you are so moved, weigh in with your hopes on the blog.

Happy New Year!!!