Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Just Kindled

The beauty of connecting with other writers is learning about them and new tips to help us all out. Being an author is tough; it’s a hard and lonely road of hard work, dedication and perseverance. When you come across another writer sharing information that opens more doors for you (I happened to find this on Goodreads), well, I can’t help but feel all tingly inside.

I just kindled with Send to Kindle. It’s an Amazon widget to add to websites. Sometimes we might come across something we want to read, but don’t have time to read it at the moment. The Send to Kindle button lets you download the site to your Kindle so you can enjoy the content at your leisure. Here’s an explanation and instructional link -

It really is a great add-on for websites and blogs in giving your content more exposure. I added it to my Author Website, The Book of Denise Baer - A Novel Idea, and my blog (look at the top of my post). I also added it to my new Tumblr Page – Denise Baer’s Writing.

The instructions worked without any problems on my website and tumblr, but I had to do some tweaking on my blog. If you have any questions or problems loading this widget, please don’t hesitate to email me. You’ll find the link to my email under my profile. I hope this helps spread the word about you and your achievements.

Sharing and Kindle,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chew and Let Go!

We bought a puppy six days after we got married, and a day after Valentine’s Day. His name is Shakespeare. When we first brought him home, we weren’t sure if he’d take to us, but he had no problem owning his bed, and now after a month, is part of our family.

Shakespeare chews on anything he can get a hold of and refuses to let it go. There were several toys we bought him that we took away because he chewed them apart. He also stumbles over his own feet and is awkward when it comes to new things.

Watching him reminds me much of my writing. When I wrote my first unpublished romance novel, I spent hours chewing on words until I finally came up with what I thought was the perfect sentence and then I refused to let them go. I stumbled over tenses and show vs. tell, which I struggle with to this day, but I continued to write and improve my writing.

Markus Zusak, author of the Book Thief said, “The only other thing I’d say is that I’m always trying to write a better book than the last one. I want to grow with every book." This is exactly what I want.

I remember reading my first novel and noticing that the writing was cheap. It was forced. I told the story instead of showing it, and my sentence structures were awkward and choppy. I’m so glad I didn’t publish it because there was so much I needed to learn ... and still…

But I grew with that book, just like my characters do. I like my characters in my first book, somewhat flawed, but they grow as the story progresses. My published novel, Net Switch, deals with a damaged soul. The character growth doesn’t have the same progression as the first story—more of a challenge. The main character needs to gradually become unhinged, fight inner demons and those who put her safety at risk. In comparison to the first book, I see how much I’ve developed as a writer. 

One thing I’ve noticed though is I haven’t written in one genre. My first book would probably be categorized as romance; Net Switch is a dark, psychological suspense; and my current novel is a cross genre of women's fiction and chick-lit. I don’t know if this makes me a confused writer or one wanting to be diverse. What I do know is that I’ve learned to stumble during writing, chew on sentences and then let them go, if needed.

I think it’s interesting to take a look at the opening lines of books to get a sense of the story and its strengths. Here are mine:

Romance novel - “Death came to relieve the pain and carry me to a place with no beginning or end.”

Net Switch - “Mental institutions don’t relieve the mind of misery, they only create more chaos where overcrowding exists.”

Current Manuscript - “They all sat around, eyes on me, watching for signs of ... what? I felt like a substance in a petri dish.”

Do you care to share your opening lines or maybe the first line of one of your favorite books?

Puppies and Writing,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Pope Brings Hope

The Church in Spain where I got married
I have always had a strong faith in God, and I have felt him throughout my life. Not so much with organized religion—I’m a non-practicing Catholic. My mother was a devout Catholic, went to Church regularly, prayed daily and wanted her children to follow in her faith as well. Unfortunately, I had a hard time taking to the church. I didn’t believe in some of the sermons, and I always felt that the bible is just a small guide for our faith and that we shouldn’t take it literally.

Now that I married in a Catholic Church, I find myself wanting to return to the Church, but take from it what helps me with my faith. For example, several weeks ago, the priest we sat and listened to (well, since it was in German, I sat in my own thoughts while my husband later interpreted what the priest said) was a radical priest. He condemned so many people that there wasn’t anyone left to condemn. If the Catholic Church wanted to bring in parishioners, he wasn’t the one to assign to the task. My husband felt disgusted after mass, and didn’t want to go anymore. I told him all we have to do is avoid that priest’s masses. There’s nothing wrong with going to mass and following God’s word—taking away from it what guides our faith. At least, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

Religion, like many things, is very personal. Some don’t believe at all, some are up in the air, some are like me, and some have strong religious convictions. But no matter what, I couldn’t help watching CNN the past few days, waiting to hear from the new Pope. I’ve never done that in the past, but for some reason I found so much hope and change hanging in the air. Flags from different countries stood high in the crowds of people gathering in St. Peter’s square. Anderson Cooper interviewed several people from all parts of the world, and they also stated that they were looking for hope and change.

With all that’s gone on in the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuses, people want action and punishment against these priests. Catholics also want to see a change in bringing the church up-to-date in relation to the parishioners.

I couldn’t help but tear up watching all the people from all walks of life gather together in peace to find out about the next Pope. There were many Americans hoping Cardinal O’Malley would become Pope, but instead, a Pope was chosen from outside Europe—Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Buenos Aires, Argentina, who chose the name Francis. I didn’t know much about him, but I found him to be humble, and from what we were told, to be one who lives in the faith, not in the wealth. I wish him well and hope his legacy will be one of positive change.

God and Church,

Friday, March 8, 2013

Brooding Boredom!

I’ve always had this problem--boredom. Throughout my life, I’d get bored with things very easily. It’s probably one of the main reasons I couldn’t keep a long-term relationship. But like most, we’re supposed to mature and lose and gain things along the way. Unfortunately, I haven’t lost boredom.

Change has always suppressed the boredom for the time being. It makes my life interesting. My hair is a great example. Everyone and anyone who knows me has seen my hair change months at a time from long to short, blonde to eggplant, I constantly change out of boredom. Changing my looks spices things up for me. I’m sure change was the main component when making the decision to move from the U.S. to Germany.

Now I’ve come into a major problem with boredom. I’m on all social networks and I blog, yet I can’t seem to stay focused in promoting and keeping an online presence. I can Tweet about something, but I get bored reading the countless tweets with links. My attention just isn’t there. I go to Goodreads and participate in discussion groups, but then I stop for weeks at a time.

The consistency and dedication that so many writers have I seem to be missing. I’m so caught up with my life and writing my current WIP that I don’t have the drive to Tweet, post on my Facebook page, blog, join in discussions on LinkedIn and Goodreads on a daily basis. I’ve forced myself and find that I’m not even ‘listening’ to what’s being said out there.

So what do I do? How do I shake the boredom, keep an online presence, promote and live life? How do some of you amazing people do it? I’ve followed and watched some delve into their blogs like daily journals. They respond to every comment as if they’ve been friends forever. They’re Tweeting and making friends, posting on Facebook pages and connecting with others. But me, the boredom seems to cast a veil over my face, hiding me from the things I should be doing as a writer.

All I hear is, you gotta have a website. You gotta have a blog. You gotta get involved. As much as I want to get involved, find critique partners, connect at a deeper level with writers, I’m struggling to find them…or I don’t know how to go about finding them and then boredom sets in and I turn to life to get things going again.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone else? Am I the only one unfocused and bored? Should I buy a smart phone or an iPhone? Should I start eating black licorice on a daily basis?

Boredom and Change,

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fallen Star

I wrote this poem a while back and requested some feedback. It received good responses along with critiques. One person even stated, “...this started out with one of THE most romantic lines I have ever read.” What do you think? 

Fallen Star

Have you ever
seen a fallen star
and wondered

who had caught it?

Was it Aphrodite,
holding it hostage
to give to her next lover,

Or Apollo

who grabbed hold
of it, to steal the
light for his lyre?

For I doubt
if you had caught
the star

you’d keep it a
secret from me,

because our lives
were sworn to truth
and love, and secrets

are hypocrisy.

Have you ever wondered?

Wishes and Stars,