Sedona Book & Arts Festival

Come and join the fun in Arizona!

I will be selling & signing books.

 

Sedona Book & Arts Festival September 9-11, 2016

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Choosing a subject to write about

Where I’m at Wednesday April 2, 2014

Over the last two weeks, I traveled from Phoenix to Albuquerque. Even though I enjoyed visiting  with family and seeing different areas away from my normal circumference, I’m glad to be home. Now, I must focus on finishing The Omphalos of Delphi.
Currently, I am almost done with chapter 21. I like the turns of events, but I’m anxious for the story to progress near the climax. The action gets my blood flowing! Still, there is a lot to accomplish and conflict to write. The Omphalos has three seperate, building stories; however, they won’t come together until the third book.
Some days, I absolutely love writing, but then again on other days, it makes me feel like I’m at a job.

Books

 

Choosing a subject to write about.

 

I am not the kind of writer who sticks to the same subject matter. As it appears, I randomly conceive ideas that I have no formal education on the topic. Then I exhaust myself with countless days of research. But, the cool thing is—I learn alongside the reader(s).

 

PICK:

 

1. Subject matter you’re knowledgeable on

. . .or at least you have some idea about it (unlike me…geesh!).

 

2. Themes you’re passionate about

 

3. Issues and characters your audience will love

 

 

Happy writing! 🙂
Take care my friends.

 

 

 

Criticism

Where I’m at Wednesday

I hope you had a great night bringing in the New Year. I surely did.

Always with the new comes uncertainty. I am guilty of over romanticizing or having high expectations each New Year, but by the  end, I am just grateful to survive.

When reflecting on the past year, I try to remember the good times, but I cannot ignore the bad. Everything is a lesson. Even though it is easier to recall bad situations than the good, I must try to stay positive—think positively.

Someone sent me an idea. For every good, positive thing that happens throughout the year, write it in on a piece of paper, and place it in a jar. Then at the end of the year, open and read each note. This may be the first New Year’s resolution that I can make into a tradition.

Okay, down to business. Where I’m at on the Omphalos: finishing chapter 17, and in the process of rewriting chapter 18. I started writing them simultaneously—taking breaks in between each sentence or paragraph to work on the other. I don’t think I can keep it up, but it’s coming along nicely.

Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and followers!

Take care.

*New year

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Criticism

Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” –Aristotle  

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Criticism isn’t easy to hear or read. It feels like a reflection of failure. But is that always the case? I don’t think so. As a writer, you must grow tougher skin—especially if you have sent out query letters and gotten rejection letters in return. When negative reviews come in, it isn’t easy to bear.

I can imagine how long you’ve worked on your manuscript—writing it to completion, polishing the edits, and finalizing it into brilliance. Keep in mind that critics are lurking; however, not all are meant to harm you.

Ask yourself:  Is there truth in their criticism? If so, then maybe they aren’t intending to hurt your feelings, but give you “constructive criticism”. Try to see a positive side no matter how much it hurt.

Granted, some people deliver criticism tactfully, but others are blunt.

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Why do people criticize?

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Some people show an honest concern. They don’t know they are being critical. In their minds, they’re being helpful. Try not to take their critique as bashing, which may cause you to lash out. Look for the positive, “constructive” criticism—they may be right.

Other people are mean spirited. Let’s face it, the world is a cruel place and jerks reside amongst us. They blurt out whatever hurts the most to tear you down. Either they are jealous, ignorant, or downright mean; try not to take their cruelty to heart. Let their harsh words glide off you like water on a duck’s back. Please, remain silent and do not fire-back—it’ll make you look bad.

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Flipping the negativity:

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People are going to say things that aren’t nice—whether intentional or not—they think it’s their way of expressing an opinion. Try to step away for a moment to compose yourself. Don’t react right away, or better—not at all. Look for truth in their criticism. If you can’t find anything of value, disregard it, smile, and go on.

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Take for example Amy’s Bakery. Being I’m from Arizona, the uproar caused from Gordon Ramsay’s televised show astounded everyone. People flocked in droves to see the infamous character of Amy’s Bakery. But was she all bad? I don’t think so, and here’s why:

A lot of people don’t know how to take criticism—whether it’s constructive or mean-spirited. It is the tell-tale signs that they personally have faced many painful incidences, and to them criticism means malicious, spiteful, and hateful. They prepare for a fight, even though a conflict isn’t ensuing. If they could realize that some criticism isn’t said to tear them down, but instead to build them up—then everything might turn out differently.

Apparently, it all started with a customer’s comments made on Reddit. She responded with harsher words, and so the controversy ensued. Sometimes, it is difficult to deal with criticism. Some of us want to respond. What could have changed the outcome is to ignore the harsh comment(s), learn from it, and try to look for something positive instead of negative.  Instead of lashing out against a customer with an opinion, she should have asked what could she do to better their product or service.

I know what it’s like dealing with the public. At times, it is most unbearable. I contemplated walking out on SO many occasions, but my regular customers made it worth staying for.

There is also a reality with serving the public—you need them!

If your livelihood depends on customers, and you lash-out at everyone, then eventually you aren’t going to have customers left. No one will buy what you’re selling; no matter how good or discounted it may be.

“Where I’m at” on The Omphalos of Delphi

I am still working in chapter 17, and am very happy with the direction it’s going. But, I will try not to get too attached, because it might change during final edits.
Recently, I started researching Copenhagen, Denmark. It is beautiful!
 

*copenhagen

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Even though the characters aren’t going to stay long (maybe an hour delay), I’d like to know their surroundings. Then we’re off to London! Thank goodness, I have friends and family members to help answer questions pertaining to England.

 

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TRUE and INTERESTING FACTS about The Sphere Of Archimedes:

—Professor Donovan Spiegler is modeled after UC, Berkeley Professor Richard A. Muller, and Cary Grant’s character: Dr. Noah Praetorius in People Will Talk.
—The character “Ms. Sloth” (not her real name) was my seventh grade teacher.
—Oliver’s “shopping overload” with his mother and sister, was my experiences as a child. My mother and grandmother would take me on long trips to the mall. They spent hours and hours of sifting through racks of clothes.
—Donovan’s narrative, about being bullied, was my uncle’s story. The only difference: When my uncle went to punch his tormentor, he turned his head. Consequently, the bully was struck in the throat.
—Joshua (boy on the cover) couldn’t stop giggling for the photo shoot. When handing him the glass orb, I said: “This sphere sucks-up bullies.” It made matters worse! We had to take a few moments to compose his laughter.
—Oliver’s obnoxiousness is based on a combination of my youngest daughter and husband. My oldest daughter is the source of Amy’s character.
—Our family DOES own a tarantula.
—Gumble’s disposition is based on our dog, Boomer. Sadly, Boomer died a few weeks after I had finished the book; however his goofy, loveable-self is forever immortalized in this book.
—I have only been to the South Rim Grand Canyon once when I was 10 years old. In order to write about North Rim, I had to study the geography of the park, the trails, and stations in the area, because I’ve never been there.
—My mother had a business meeting in Flagstaff, and we stayed in the Little America Hotel™. They DO have the fattest squirrels and chipmunks I have ever seen!
—I knew the road trip from Phoenix to Wyoming was going to be long and boring, so I added many distractions from the drabness of driving.
Special thanks to Google Earth and caffeine!

Where I’m at Wednesday

So far, I’ve finished chapter 15, and I am well into chapter 16. This is going slower than anticipated. But, the important thing is I’m writing. Even though it’s VERY tempting to set it down and runaway, I would physically be hunted by the fans who demand to find out “what happens next”. I reassure –I am not that cruel or irresponsible, so I continue to plod-along.
Okay, this is where I’m at: The characters [won’t say who] are RUNNING! The bad people are coming to get them. Although things look grim, our heroes aren’t alone. They do have unnatural helpers that the bad guys won’t expect. My dilemma is—getting my “good” characters from point A to point B. Things are a little sticky, and transportation is limited. Ugh! More research. I juggled some ideas, but I need to refine the details.
A lot of the times when I write, I insert plot ideas only to revise or take out of the story altogether. What I DO love about writing—the creativeness along the journey. Usually I write with a planned direction I need to go. But, I cannot predict the changes along the way. For example: In the first book, The Sphere of Archimedes, I knew my characters needed to be driven to The Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. If you have ever taken a road trip, you know how boring they can be—hours and hours watching scenery pass-by. I didn’t want my readers to get bored, because if it’s boring to the writer, than it is ten-times boring to the reader. I had to make things exciting during the long drive from Arizona to Wyoming.
In the second book, there are several [separate] action scenes going on simultaneously. Everyone you met from the first book is doing something exciting and different. Also, you’re introduced to new, evil characters that intertwine with established persons.  I will admit, with the progression of each book, the intensity amplifies. The last book (#4) will be the most difficult to write –so many obstacles for our protagonists.
Stay tuned every Wednesday for updates on “where I’m at” in The Omphalos of Delphi.

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Last week, I gave advice to novice writers. This week I’ll give you some helpful resources:
Writer’s digest is chalked full of helpful tips, webinars, and classes. Even though some of the classes and webinars cost, this site offers many freebies.
 Writer’s diet—a website that helps tidy your project. As a writer, I know I can get too wordy or the opposite –not enough. Sometimes we have a habit of over-using verbs/nouns, adverbs/adjectives, or prepositions. I am guilty of it too. All you do is copy/paste a writing sample of 100-1000 words into the box, choose “Basic or Advanced”, and then click “Run the test”. You will see a detailed chart stating your strengths and weaknesses. Obviously, you want to shoot for “Fit & Trim”.
Author Nathan Bransford has very helpful tips for writing a variety of things. I often refer to his blogs.
     Wikipedia —I can’t live without this one! Most of my research is done online through Wikipedia or my own encyclopedia set.
Dictionary.com—Not only is this site useful for spelling, thesaurus, but also the enunciation of words.
These are just a few resources I could think of off the top of my head. Check out my editor’s website! She has many more helpful sites listed under “Grammar Suppliers”.
Editing Addict
 
Next Wednesday, I’ll talk about writing query letters and proposals. Plus, I’ll  list helpful websites.