Brainstorm

*I am running out of fresh, interesting posts to write. So because made a commitment to making a post a day, this post is running garbled gunk that came out of my brain down my behind my ears, bumped its way from just below my earlobes, around my neck like a twirling golfball in the cup, splitting in half and slipping down either of my shoulders, stopping at my rotator cup like a ski jumper, to knock into my funny bone before sliding to my wrists and bump out my finger tips onto the keys. 

 

The “Spring,” and I use that term loosely, is really starting to annoy me. My feet are freezing. The heavy blankets on the bed are annoying because between kicking them off and waking in the middle of the night to get up and find them at the foot on the floor when I wake cold.

Then there is a few research projects bugging me because they are still ongoing and by my expectations they should have been completed by now. Toss in a few newly inspired projects that I want to start on yesterday, but being the responsible business person that I am (hey, no snickering!), won’t see time for my attention until next month or later.

And, AND, I just tried to pad this post with frivolous description that served no real purpose.

Briefly discussed with my husband the storyline on a soap-opera, relaying the last year of storyline developments that he may or may not remember since his last vacation. I wish I could say that this interruption of my day for a soap was a reward for keeping on track for the day, but it isn’t.

It is a reminder of childhood and time with my mom and grandmother. Their soaps, a little snack to keep me quiet, and their indulgence. Good memories! As I grew up they were nap time for my kids, and sometimes myself as well. (Still sometimes I fall asleep during it now.)

For those persnickety readers, this post has been about absolutely nothing. No point, no beginning, middle or end. No point to be made, no discovery.  Mostly complaint, whining and a little feelies over my childhood; a filler post.

Thanks for reading!

J.

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The End Is Near

Six more days of daily blogging left for the month. It has been . . . busy. Has it helped me get back into the habit of writing on a daily basis? Honest answer? I don’t know.

I won’t know until April is over and I can assess whether or not I am writing as much as I did in March. Thirty one days, when it is over and a minimum of three hundred words a day. Not all of those words were on the same subject, a story. But, that wasn’t the point.

Carving out the time to sit still and write was. In the middle of life that is busy and ever changing. Making something like a three hundred words on the screen before I could call it and get all the other responsibilities handled in my day was an old habit that needed to be resurrected.

That wasn’t the only habit I was breathing life back into, the other was reading. My habit of morning reading topics covering business motivation, research, information, being a writer, studying writing, publishing business, and self publishing business. A way to focus my day and self motivated at the top of the morning.

Another reading habit that goes back as far elementary, one that began over one summer was reading before going to sleep. By sixth grade I was up to reading an entire Nancy Drew (the hardback with the yellow spine) in one day. Start a new one every morning with breakfast and then as much as possible laying on the linoleum floor underneath the window air conditioner when the day got to hot playing outside. Then after supper and bath, zoned out between the pages with the tv white noise of my parents choosing. Finishing the story behind my closed bedroom door so my mother wouldn’t see the light from my room up past bedtime. A few stories were finished with a flashlight under the covers. (Mom or Dad one had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and realized I was still awake (DRATZ!). Evening reading is for fun.

The next seven months will be the best judge of whether or not this habit building project was successful. Will Sinister be self pub’d in October? Let’s freaking hope so!

Cleaning Out The Closet

The writing closet that is. Actually it isn’t a closet, but a thumb drive where all beginnings of short stories are stored — rough drafts, outlines, thoughts, any concept of a possible story. Going through it to find anything that will a decent story for here, the blog.

Similarly something this week went up on the pen for children’s  blog of mine. Granted, it was an idea that hadn’t been followed through on due self consciousness.

I know that I am more inclined to pay for fiction when I  know I enjoy the how the writer writes. Despite others recommendations, checking out a library book before plunking down cash is how I find new authors. That or I stand blocking a row of books in the store reading a least a few pages before I buy. That is drinking the milk before buying the cow.

Love it when any form of electronic book allows me to read or listen before as well. One of the reasons I like to make the settings for mine so that you can see how my tales read before you spend your money on mine.

Besides cleaning out the thumb drive, some time was spent thinking about what I can do to meet more readers. It isn’t like I can walk up to everyone I meet with a book in one hand and the other held out empty for payment. Nope, it doesn’t work that way. I don’t like that when someone does me that way.

One of the reasons I started this blog, to give readers a way to read before they buy. Now, with electronics and media forms changing and growing, maybe I need to look at audio as well as digital books.

My first children’s book is out on audibles. So maybe I need to do something along that lines with my first grown up fiction.

Building a readership is not easy.

Thank you for reading!

J.

Daily Writing

Do you do that? Write daily? Whether it is an emotional mind-sweep in the morning (ala Julia Cameron’s minimum three pages) or some other guideline of writing, do you?

This month long daily blogging thing is really draining me. I have been looking at drafted posts that never saw the light of day until now. Dug up a notebook from two years ago I jotted inspired potential blog posts in the midst of life.

Hmm, there is a lesson in there. Gonna let that little tiny magical moment just sit there.

When I was feeling really unmotivated, a little 365 book of writing prompts was purchased. Before I returned home, there were ideas and a storyline started. The book? Found it last week. It needs to move from the drawer I found it in to my favorite work space.

One thing I took away from Pinckney Benedict’s writing course was — you can always use writing exercises to prime the pump. That and practice, practice, practice.

My greatest weakness is grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. Good news, that is what editing is all about. That practice doing thing, it applies to editing as well. They are all skills.

Like the pitcher that stands out in a field aiming balls into a milk crate mounted in the strike zone of an imaginary batter, practice. That thing that great free-throw ball players do before and after practice with the team ends, practice. They make time for practice.

Practice.

This is practice.

Thank you for stopping by to read a word or two. Grateful if you stuck and read it all, Kudos if you have kept coming back.

It has me brainstorming about this blog, its purpose and what to do with it in the future. What do you think? Anyone got any ideas? Comment away, please?

Me, Being Mom

 

***The eldest is doing a podcast with his buds. (They need script submissions.) The premise of the show is reading a script cold. Tongues get twisted, and some vulgar language (warning), and cursing, spontaneously spew out, if that offends, don’t even.

Out of the first six episodes four have additional guest voices.

  • Episode 3 — Ryan Hartley
  •  Episode 5— Noelle Fabian Dragon
  •  Episode 6 —Sophie Hard

Harley along with writing, also reads along with the guys. The ladies lend their voices a trilogy.

The scripts have been a range of stories behind them from end of the world Cheech and Chong style story to mystery. The primary script writer to date is Joey Skaggs, also performs. Joey keeps asking for others to send in their script (email them to bigkidstudios15@gmail.com )

Collin Buckingham, as they say, runs the levers and knobs. For people like me, it means he is the sound guy. The quietest of the four, is the sound guy. Is that how that works? Nice work on the levers and knobs, Collin.

Adario Mercadante, a comedian who also has some acting chops. He is the comic relief. Rumors about that sometime ago he may have swallowed an old Jewish lady, and don’t ride a bicycle under the influence anywhere near where he is driving.

Michael Kolb, is my offspring. Despite all the time sitting in front of a mike to do the show he has kept his podcast bod in shape. Michael is the best eldest son a mom could have. He is my biggest supporter, so duh, I am trying to be his.

The final in the three parter will be out next Monday, March 26, 2018. Ragged Rock is a trilogy about a town, doppelgängers and dead bodies. That’s all I am going to tell you about it. You just need to go listen.

Listen, like, share, leave 5 star reviews. Help a mom out here, don’t want them all moving back home.

The show is open to performing submitted scripts. Write a script and submit. Email to bigkidstudios15@gmail.com

Listen to the podcast

They are everywhere.

*** The Patreon account they have a Private Script Read Reward that gives you a straight script read. They will read with no cut ups, mistakes or fart jokes. Sounds like a good deal.

What

What? It is, what it is.  I am not looking back, but forward. There is a lot of work ahead for 2018. I am down to seven months before I release my first grown up fiction. (Cross your fingers.)

I started self publishing children’s fiction because, well, I made a promise. And I am keeping it. But. My heart isn’t in it at the moment. The whole time I have been working on the two in print, and one or two that are in research and what I like to call brainstorming time, my heart has gone back to my first love.

An eclectic story telling that runs the gamut of many genres. That whole genre/style/categorizing aspect is one I have to work on. I nuzzle up to one and then another, not really sticking with one— but I know I have to so that I can have an approach to marketing the stories as they are finished.

There has been a distinct shift in my perspective about writing and business. A good shift that has given me the distance. I may have a loose handle on the writing process, but the business side up to now has been total chaos. Hoping the changes in my approach to marketing and my perspective to paying gigs gets an adjustment.

Anyone want to share their blog or experience at this next stage? Going from a finished product to getting your work in front of the eyes of a reader? Go for it. Suggests away.

 

 

The Questionnaire

Sinister – one of the main character answers  to the Vanity Fair edition of The Proust Questionnaire1.  

  1. Idea of perfect happiness – any time before my parents death, or the people I thought were my parents.
  2. greatest fear – now.
  3. trait most deplore in me – ignorance, insecurity, anger
  4. trait most deplore in others – secrets
  5. living person I most admire – my mother, or who I thought was my mother, well, the woman that raise me
  6. greatest extravagance – my life before
  7. current state of mind- grief, anger, curiostiy
  8. most overrated virture – kindness
  9. when I lie – only when I am forced to
  10. what dislike about appearance – that what I thought were family traits aren’t
  11. living person most despise – adoptive grandfather
  12. quality most like in a man –  honesty
  13. quality most like in a woman – honesty
  14. words or phrase most overused – not fair
  15. greatest love of life –  haven’t found it yet
  16. when where most happiest – a year ago
  17. talent most like to have  –  charisma
  18. change one thing what would it be – to not be adopted
  19. greatest achievement – getting Grafat’s blessing
  20. die come back as what – a cat
  21. where most want to live – in knowledge
  22. most treasured possession – Nonnie’s rosary
  23. lowest depth of misery – after Mom and Dad died and I found the letter
  24. favorite occupation – daughter
  25. most marked characteristic –  stubbornness
  26. most valued in friends – empathy
  27. favorite writers – Ann Rice, J. K. Rowling, R. A. Salvatore
  28. hero of fiction- Drizzt
  29. historical figure identify with – Eleanor Roosevelt
  30. heroes of in life – parents, biological and adoptive
  31. favorite names –
  32. most dislike- deception, lies
  33. greatest regret- that I didn’t thank my parents before they passed
  34. how to die – in a blaze of glory
  35. personal motto – I don’t know but I will find out

That was kind of fun. Trying to imagine the answers.

Epiphany Moment

A comment heard more than once.

I call bullshit.

Why?

Because ego and heart can become wrapped up in the opinion of others.  So, fear of judgement can silence an otherwise exceptional writer. Ego goes both ways, the ego that is doused in fear, and those whose ego is bigger than their britches.  Snoots who decide based on their own agendas what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’.

There have been plenty of beloved writers that, in my opinion, stunk.  Didn’t enjoy their work at all, that doesn’t mean they weren’t good writers.  I am beginning to think that all this judgement has way more to do with the ego of the person reading, than the ability of the writer.

My own unique style of writer’s block,  I like to call ‘WRITER’S PARANOIA’.  Judgement on my writing ability has a connection to a whole bunch of history and probably something to do with vomiting on my shoes at a public event as a child. So, this is a familiar obstacle in my own writing.

‘People have great story ideas, but can’t write them.’  In no way are there idea people and writer people.  That is a self serving idea, to make ourselves feel better about having a strength that is one or the other and lack of confidence in the other.

-ooh!

See, that right there? That is an opinion that I normally wouldn’t publicly admit to, out of writer’s paranoia.  Because that opinion can be judged.  Very likely even ‘proved’ wrong. (I still say it is hokey.)

Everyone can be a writer.  The accurate statement would be that not everyone wants to be a writer. Therefore the practice of writing isn’t their priority.  They have no desire to write, so they don’t.

There are people who think their writing is just fine.  Those may actually be so, or not, depending on the reader.  They have no desire to work on their writing. AND – they really don’t care what you or I think.

Then there is me.  There are some stories that start off so strong and before I can get too far into it, I lose my voice. Or I just start off writing flat, even and B-O-R-I-N-G!  And it frustrates the ba-jee-bus out of me.  I don’t know want to write like that.

People whose writing I find inspiring, they also intimidate the hell out of me.  It is the moment standing on a stage on a summer’s heat-sweltering evening in an unconditioned gymnasium with only the hot breeze from open doors blowing across the top of the massive room. The stage, wooden basketball court and locker rooms are one floor is below ground level where no breeze reaches.  About to step up on a shop class built ramp to take me in an itchy taffeta dress from the locker room to the stage and out on a cat walk in the middle of melting mothers and grandmothers stuck to warm metal folding chairs in rows covering the court. Sweat between my shoulder blades, nausea rising, and before that first shiny black Mary Jane steps on the plywood, soured bitter bile rises between my tongue and roof of my mouth.  The taste so nasty I can’t swallow it back down.  In tears I look down as that shiny toe hovers over the grain of wood, and a splatter of the liquid drops, followed by the entire contents of my stomach.  Yep.  it is that scarey.

So you tell me. Some people can’t write. I don’t buy it.  You can’t sell me.  There are reasons from fear, desire, and ego that stand between a writer and good work.  Everyone can write.

Editing and Final Copies

Here is what I learned from publishing the two children’s books.

  •  Copyrights are cheaper without a supplemental.  So make sure you are done with major additions!
    • I added the illustrations to the picture book after I filed for the story itself. Because I dragged my feet and didn’t submit the drawings in a timely manner, I had to add them as a supplemental.
    • $35-55 for an electronic filing, paper forms $85, Recording fees are $105 and the services and fees go up from there
    • where to file for
  • ISBN numbers if you buy them yourself or let another company or corporation own them
    • Very personal decision to make, but think it through.
    • Regardless of your decision –
      • remember that editing is key and costly
      • reprints are one thing change is a different edition, you can research the pros/cons and percentages but know that new editions generally call for another ISBN number
      • These cost anywhere from $29 – $129 depending on what and how you plan on selling
      • where to buy 
  • Marketing?
    • (maniacal laughter) No, seriously, I do not have this figured out. And to be honest I believe with all my being that this is a very personal issue. What works tends to work, until something brand new becomes the new thing. I think the odds are not in your favor if you go against the grain (from my experience, as I have gone by my gut and moved far slower than I should have in some parts and too fast in others)

Let me bottomline it for you— the cost of editing is worth it — if you use someone reputable and that works within the genre you are writing and even experienced in the reader age you are targeting. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Sure there are errors and mistakes in both my children books, but the costs involved aren’t ones that at this point I will see the benefit of incurring again.

But, I have no regrets. I did it. However good or bad they were received. I did it. My mistakes and failures are being put to good use with this next story.

So take what knowledge you can glean from my words and works and best wishes!

 

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