Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Like the Wind

Like the wind, I’ve drifted through the days without stopping to write on my blog. I let almost a week go by without a word…or a whisper…or an endearing note. Holiday, job searches, revisions, and spending time with my Love have stopped me from posting to my blog. I’m sorry for this lull of words. By next week, I’ll be in full force with keeping up with my posts. For now, you’ll just have to fill your time watching Dancing with the Stars and the Royal Wedding. ;) I'm sure you're upset about it. 

I hope you all had a nice Easter.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Day by Oscar Wilde

Another poem in celebration of National Poetry Month and Easter.

THE silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome.
Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendour and in light the Pope passed home.
My heart stole back across wide wastes of years
To One who wandered by a lonely sea,
And sought in vain for any place of rest:
'Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest,
I, only I, must wander wearily,
And bruise my feet, and drink wine salt with tears.'

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reading and a Writer's Speed Bumps

I was recently talking with friends about books, and they expressed their love and excitement for the book turned movie, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Now I’ll admit it wasn’t my favorite book, and I don’t plan on seeing the movie. But this discussion opened my eyes to the fact that I’ve become a critical reader since I’ve been writing. The writer in me acts like a speed bump when I read—the pure enjoyment of books is replaced with a writer’s critique.

While crafting my own works, finding flaws, pulling my hair and crying that I can’t get it right, I wind up groaning when I read a published author doing what I’m trying to avoid. It goes to show that story trumps great writing, but it also goes to show that we ALL have our own tastes. If your story appeals to the majority, then you will be a great success as an author.

One of my favorite books is The Book Thief by Mark Zusak, which was also made into a movie but I don’t know the release date. You can read a review I wrote of The Book Thief on Helium. I love Mr. Zusak’s writing—his words—along with the fact that this book shows the hardships Germans went through during the Third Reich. It’s narrated by Death and one thing it says is, “I carried them in my fingers, like suitcases…or I’d throw them over my shoulder. It was only the children I carried in my arms.” When a writer can express something so beautiful and horrific at the same time they get high kudos from me.

Writers are told to show not tell—bring the reader into the story instead of telling them about it. This is one of my biggest weaknesses. Don’t introduce things into a story that doesn’t move the story along. Create flawed characters, not unrealistic ones readers can’t connect to. These are just a few things I’ve learned in my quest to become a better writer. So when I read books, my writer’s critique comes out, leaving me disappointed in books that might veer away from the writing rules—rules that are there to help a story thrive.

I miss the days where I could just sit and read a story without my inner red pen coming out, but  I have to admit it helps me in my own writing endeavors.

P.S. I believe reading The Book Thief, and living in Germany the past five months, gave me a huge appreciation and understanding of history, today’s Germany and my country.

What’s one of your favorite books?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

About Face

I recently joined Facebook to promote my blog readership and my present and future writing endeavors. I’ve connected with some writers, but also with my past. People have always talked about the connections they make on Facebook, but I didn’t care until I actually joined. As great as it is to connect with other writers, I find it sweet that I’m connecting with past neighbors and my second grade teacher. Yes, my second grade teacher, who used to call me an angel. I’d go home and tell my grandmother she called me an angel, and my grandmother would respond, “An angel with horns.”

Facebook lets us reach out to all moments and interests in our lives. It isn’t the only opportunity to connect with people from around the world, but it is a place where we can create our own little families—share our kernels of life. It’s also educational—a great place to add ‘likes’ and receive updates. I’ve been reading about Barry Eisler’s decision to self-publish. For those of you unaware about the publishing world, traditional publishing is going through major changes. It’s no longer the main or only way to publish. Due to technology, there are so many mediums (paper or Nook or Kindle) and ways to self-publish. The economy played a role in traditional publishing houses being choosy with their book choices. Since writers wanted to get their story out there, and publishing companies began focusing on known writers or celebrities, self-publishing became the main competitor of traditional publishing.

It’s a relief to read what Barry and Joe Knorath have to say about self-publishing. Self-publishing has always been a taboo in writers’ circles, so Barry’s and Joe’s information helps writers  know the challenges of both so they can make the best decision for their works. It lets me know that traditional publishing isn’t the only way to go, and it also makes me feel that rejection from big house publishing companies doesn’t mean my writing is bad.

Barry Eisler is a well-known author of many books, and has now decided to self-publish. This decision has made agents and traditional publishing companies angry because it puts them in jeopardy. There are many arguments between self-publishing and traditional, but seeing an established author who has gone the traditional route then change to self-publishing, has caught many people’s attention—especially mine. Barry and Joe Konrath, a Chicago writer, had a long discussion about Ebooks and Self-publishing. In December, Joe wrote a blog post titled, “You Should Self-Publish”. You can read the discussions between Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler on Barry’s blog: Ebooks and Self-Publishing: A Conversation Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath and Part 2.

So I made an about face with Facebook, and the publishing world has made an about face with self-publishing.

Have you done an about face?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Death Becomes Us

This is a poem I had published a few years back. Here’s to celebrating National Poetry Month.

The path that leads to Heaven's Garden
Isn’t for sale anymore.
Praying days, ask for pardon
He watches his soul rise and soar.

With a sold sign hung above its gate
Like Judas in the Joshua Tree,
Accepted wrongs prepared for fate
Peter smiles, says nothing is for free.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I am Smokin’ Not!

Every year on this day I praise myself for a job well done – One Year and Second Year. I was talking to my mother yesterday about how quickly my three smokeless years went by. Since I quit smoking, I’ve acquired a new perspective on life, my sniffer is enhanced, taste buds are partying and I traded one butt for another.

I won’t be doing much in regards to celebration—job search and revisions come first—BUTT I plan to savor another smokeless year. Who knows, maybe something spectacular will happen today. I hope this inspires someone.

Tobacco surges
Through your veins
It’s time to Commit
Let go of the reins

Such truth be told
Throughout the world
Blow away your smoke—
Gray curled and twirled

Nicotine plants
a cancer kiss
trade in this loss,
for a life to reminisce

Cheers to another smokeless day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Arrived? Check

*Looks around* Who knocked the sun out? We’re safely home after my tearful good-bye to Germany and a turbulent flight. One of the first things I did when I got home was take a shower. I wanted a huge spray of warm water hit me hard—where I could stretch and walk around in the shower. There was no wall blocking me from going anywhere or hitting my head. And it was the best shower I had in many months. Another thing I missed was my bed. I have the best bed EVER, and I’m not the only who says so. I make good bed, and as soon as our heads touched the pillows, we were out for the count.  

Now begins the grown up responsibilities. *sighs*

1) Get condo in order
2) Start throwing out and packing some stuff in condo
3) Look for job
4) Finish taking online web design program
5) Finish manuscript revisions
6) Find a home for my manuscript
7) Help Love find a job

But for now, I’m catching up on my sleep, relaxing and will put a few things in my fridge and cabinets. What are your plans for the near future?

Bea, who wishes she had a great book to read.