Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Lobster Shack Drawing WIP


Fence post sketch

I am excited about my newest drawing which does not have a proper name, so Lobster Shack is it’s working name. It’s a pen and ink and colored pencil piece. This piece is all me, none of my teacher is in it, which I am very proud of. My drawings take a long time, so I will post the WIP pictures as I progress, but don’t expect the finished project to be done quickly. I’m just not that fast.

Fence and shack and lobster trap

Shack and lobster trap




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REALLY GOOD ARTICLE on INDIE It’s insightful and informative and makes you really think “What would I do if Amazon charged to publish books”. Whether you have books to publish or are like me, researching before publication, the article is an important one to read.


My great friend, Rob Guthrie, has brought to the forefront probably the most controversial subject I’ve ever seen highlighted on his blog.


As an author working on her first novel I have chosen to go the self-publishing route. Join the growing rank of Indie Authors. I have already received advice from some of those I follow on Twitter as to why I shouldn’t be an Indie Author but rather find an agent and go through a publisher. I have done my research and homework, talked to other trusted authors. Some of those authors have agents, some had agents and fired them, some are already self-published on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. The more in depth I went into researching the publishing arena, the more I became convinced to self-publish.


Let’s start with if I decided to go the way of what I now…

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The Week In Review


Since there are people reading this blog who are in the same boat, trying to get published, build a platform and establish themselves as a writer, I will post a recap of my activities from time to time to generate some discussion about what it takes to get published, what things work, what doesn’t work and what steps one took towards the goal. Please jump in and share your activities. You never know if it will help others.

This week I split my blog into two blogs. One is now Losing A Person and Finding Myself (a weight loss story), and this one is my writing blog. The results have been well received. I posted some older essays which garnered new followers to the blog. Makes me think it’s a good idea to re-post every now and then posts that you feel are strong. People miss them the first time around.

I was informed that I was on the Creative Writing page at WordPress. How I was there is a mystery to me. It must be the tags I’m using. Could be that there was a lot of activity from my blog and maybe it brought some attention? I don’t know, but I like that it happened. Now, I’d like to shoot for being “Pressed”. If you read something on this blog that you like, hit the Press button please.  I would appreciate it greatly.

I submitted an essay to Guideposts Magazine this week. I’m not a religious person, but I am spiritual, and the essay is about a profound experience I had in my twenties. I can’t post it because that is considered to be publishing a piece and it makes it less marketable. I am waiting to see what my lawyer says about the Real Simple essay contest’s terms and conditions. I want to know if you give up the rights to your work by entering the contest. That is how it was with the Purina contest, so I didn’t enter it.

I am planning many book reviews. Some are how -to’s on writing, some are fiction, and some are general interest books. I am being approached my authors to review their books which is exciting. I am debating whether to post only favorable reviews or if I should post both favorable and negative reviews. They both serve to inform the public, but I am uncomfortable writing a negative review.  I’ll keep you posted on this subject.

Thanks for reading and following me.


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Book Review – You Are A Writer, So Act Like One – Jeff Goins

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

The title made me notice this book. It was offerred for free on Amazon last week, but I missed that offerring. I bought it, since the author seems to be everywhere. He seems to know what he’s talking about, so I took the plunge and paid for the book.

As a beginning writer seeking out information on publishing and the writing life, I am doing a lot of reading. Some of the information is redundant. The basics being touted by everybody. Goins take on it seemed more believable than others, like he was writing from experience not unsubstantiated research. Why do I say experience, again, I’ve seen him around the internet at prominant websites that he couldn’t be on if he wasn’t the writer he claims to be.

His premise is simple. You have to write. You have to market yourself and build a platform. He gives you his take on that. But the message he keeps coming back to is doing the work of writing. Unlike other “experts” that tout the riches to be had freelancing, Goins says the pay isn’t good (when you are starting out, it isn’t) and I believe it make always stink for some people. Since marketing is so vital to progression in this industry. Not everyone can market themselves effectively.

I have yet to read an author other than Goins that says you have to write for yourself, not for others. By writing for yourself, the following will come as a result, if you are authentic. He says you do have to have talent, but that the platform will “bring the gatekeepers to your door”. He does say you can accomplish this in a short period of time, which I question. It isn’t easy to build a platform and it does take a long time to accomplish, no matter what he says. It’s part of doing what he says to do; do the work of writing. Platform is a numbers game, and he says it’s about building relationships. Well, it’s been my experience that relationships take time and effort and they will yield positive results if you work at it. So his saying it will happen in a few months, I don’t believe to be the case.

For those of us working towards our first book, he does reccommend building your platform early on. Do not wait to do this. This I believe to be true. Because it takes time. OK enough about time, I’ve made my case for it. I say read the book, and then apply what you’ve learned, and do what he says: Write. Keep writing. Keeping working and dreaming and moving forward. I say, buy the book if you are at the beginning of your writing career. He practices what he preaches. I am glad I read the book and spent time with this author. Now we will see how his advice works for me.


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To Speed or Not To Speed; The Journey to Publication From A Newbies Perspective

Example variable speed limit sign in the Unite...

Example variable speed limit sign in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is becoming a writer like driving your car? Do you chart a path of safety, clocking in at a pre-determined speed, careful not to break rules written and unwritten? There is so much traffic, and everyone is jockeying to get to the same places. And everyone is going at their own speed. On this road, there are no police, just a lot of gate keepers and toll booths that will alter your destination time and time again. On this road, I am not bored, I am anxious to get to my destination, the hell with the traffic, the gatekeepers. I want to get to the destination, but I really don’t want to drive. But you say “Getting there is half the fun”. That may be, but I have waited a lifetime to be in the driver’s seat. I am tired of waiting, now that I’ve made the decision to drive, to write.

Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard writers have to work to get published, to make a life writing. I know you have to pay your dues and work your way up in the craft. I know it takes time and persistence. I guess I just want my break to come sooner rather than later. Is that so bad? Of course I know I have to do all the things writers do, indeed I have to write more. But this road is filled with dreams, and sometimes the dreams get in the way of the work. All my life, I did not believe that I could be a writer since I did not go to school for writing. I know, very limited thinking. I thought that is what it takes to be a writer. But I am finding that while it certainly helps to have the paper behind you for moral support, you really only have to do two things to be a writer and that give yourself permission and then you write.

Getting published is part of the highway I’m traveling on.  It requires diligence and patience and  humility and bravado, (Yes you can have both at the same time.)You have to want the public destination that has your name on it for all to see, and you have to be willing to listen to those who are already at their destination and who are directing you. Bravado and humility. So, I do desire the public destination. I aspire to having my name appear before readers. Yes, I want recognition for my efforts. And I want to be wise about it, so all these other writers who are willing to share what they know are important to me. I want to know what they know. They are guiding my ride and are making me adhere to the posted speed…steady as she goes.

Before being published, (dreams getting in the way again) I have to find my voice. Sometimes when I write, I am inspired and the words flow and the piece comes together and it’s a very a good thing. It makes me happy and the experience is much like being a conduit for the act of creativity, the inspiration takes over and you simply are along for the ride. I love it when that happens. More often than not, I am working to make the subject interesting, to make the words spill onto the page coherently. This is what being a writer is all about. Writing with the inspiration, and writing without it. But always writing.

To be known to others that I’m a writer means jumping in headfirst to social media. Now my ride is feeling a little out of control. The newness of it all. Finding out that I’ve made some mistakes branding myself. Coming to terms with the fact that I am promoting myself as a product. I used to be in sales, and I can sell ice to Eskimos, but that was with someone else’s product that I believed in, now it’s all about me and I have to believe in myself as much as I believed in other people’s products. So, I tweet a little, I blog, and I write a lot. I read even more, always seeking guidance and directions from others. I don’t know squat and I am learning. The ride is still scary.

I will leave my lawlessness for when I’m behind the wheel of my car. For my writing I’m choosing the speed-limit-adhering directional wisdom of others who are making a living writing. The highway has many curves and turns and potholes. I plan to arrive at my publishing destination wise and grateful, and none the worse for the wear. Just because there are potholes doesn’t mean I have to drive through them. Avoiding them is acceptable on the journey. But there doesn’t seem to be a police presence on this writing highway, no flashing blue lights to ruin your day. But then again, this journey is just beginning. I think I may change my view on police once I work with some editors.



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Bound Over Time

Pam 2012

We met when my sister lived behind her in the New England suburb of West Peabody, MA. She is eleven months older than I am. We were teenagers when we got to know each other, sharing a love for my new-born nephew. She would babysit for him, her mother would clean house for my sister. We were instantaneous friends.  She has been a fixture in my life since then.

My mother always told me that you can count your true friends on one hand. She’s right. Through all the years that have passed, “friends” have come and gone. Acquaintances have littered the years, some brought betterment to my life, and some were better forgotten. She is the one person who has remained and who I can say is my true friend.

Sometimes there would be long stretches of time when we wouldn’t see each other, or talk to each other. Not because of a falling out but because life would take its course and there were geographical separations, me in Florida, me two hours away in western MA, me in college, through all those life situations, She remained my confidante, she was the constant through the upheavals, the moves, the bouts with unemployment, the failed relationships, all of life.  When we would reconnect, it was as though no time had passed, or we were in each other’s presence despite the miles that separated us.

She has always inspired me, her life filled with challenges that I think would have bested me. She always has the right attitude, and she handles her challenges with grace. She makes wiser decisions than I do. She is grounded. She gives of herself to others tirelessly. She is a good friend to others.

Now, in mid-life, we are separated by 1500 miles but she manages to visit in person. We can burn up the phone lines and we use email a lot. We are solid despite the distance. We share similarities in that neither of us married or had children. A circumstance that separates you from the majority of the population, but that binds us together. Animals mean more to us as a result. Our nieces and nephews are surrogate children, now on their own.  Though childless we both know the pain of an empty nest and the joy of future generations. The children we knew are now having children. The cycle of life moves on.

From her I’ve learned to be patient, to love and show that love through actions. I’ve learned to assert myself, and to not take grief from others.  I see the results of consistency in her life that will help make the second half of her life better than mine. She has been stable and focused. I have been erratic and scattered. Our paths have brought us to different places but we transcend the differences in position to a common familiarity. We are as different as we are alike.

The relationships that have gone from my life serve a purpose. Primarily to teach me something, then to make me appreciate the true relationships I have that have survived the passage of life. I am grateful for the experiences with these acquaintances no matter how fleeting the time spent with them or how painful their departure. They have made my gratitude for my true friend all the more intense.

We would say we’ll be sitting next to each other in rocking chairs on the front porch of the rest home. I don’t believe that but I do believe she will be in my life when I am old and we will have a comfort of shared history, and we shall remain forever friends.

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Breathing Lessons

When your heart is shattered into a million aching pieces, what do you do? You seek out love’s healing power. When the first two cats I ever owned died within six months of each other after being with me for just eight years, I was consumed by the pain. The loss was simply more than I could stand. I went into survival mode, and what I was compelled to do, seemingly driven by an unseen force, was replace my cats immediately with a kitten. No waiting period, I needed to love something then and there.

Ignoring my previous objections to shelters, (they killed animals as well as saved them. I didn’t think I could stand the reality of all those hopeful eyes begging me for a reprieve) I went to the Halifax Animal Shelter in Daytona. There, I steeled myself, swallowed my grief and went to the cat room. There I was assisted by a volunteer who brought me all the kittens that I thought had potential. There were dozens. This driving force that had brought me to this sterile room of need imparted to me the knowledge that I would know instinctually when I had found The One.

Sitting in the cat room with me was a man who was holding one kitten for the duration of time where I held over a dozen. Another man and his daughter came in and were looking as well. I was watching the first man, envious of his seeming attachment to the beautiful kitten in his hands. He was speaking to it in a low voice, indistinguishable with the other conversations going on in the room. There was something about that particular kitten, so calm and peaceful particularly when juxtaposed to the squirming, rambunctious roommates I had been holding.

I strained to hear what the man was saying to the kitten; “Now you have to let them see your personality, let them see how special you are. You want them to notice you. They will take you home if you do”. The two men struck up a conversation, and I listened in, watching this alluring kitten with predatory interest. The first man was giving the kitten up and was there to help her get adopted. The kitten exchanged hands and I panicked. No, No No, I think she is The One. Please don’t like her, Please don’t take her, I prayed desperately.

The kitten exchanged hands again, the second man saying how nice she was, the first man looking crestfallen. I spoke up, “Please may I hold her?” She exchanged hands again. She settled into my arms. And she gave me a kiss. The man explained that she was here with her brothers who were Hemingway’s with the six toes. She had five and pretty black stripes, but what cinched the deal was her kiss and her settling into my arms after being held for so long. I told the man I wanted her, that she would have a good home and her name would not be Fossy Ears, as she was presently named. No, her name would be Bella and she would be loved completely because she was The One. The urgency of the force that drove me to that shelter was quelled, and I felt peace in the midst of my grief. Bella was love incarnate and she healed me from that first kiss. I can breathe again.




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