Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why Do Writers Write?

I don’t why other writers write, but I can tell you why I do. Once, I started on this path, I found I couldn’t quit, and I tried. Every time I received a rejection letter from submitting my work to an editor or agent, I wanted to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. Always, I promised myself I would never write another word.

After a month, two, or three, I would start writing all over again, and then I became a contest junkie. At first my scores were low, then they started edging up and I would think I’m on my way. The last contest I entered, I received three good scores and one really bad one, and that was the last time I entered a contest. It’s depressing to get a rejection letter, but it’s equally so when you fail in a contest. Sometimes the judge tells you why, and if the other judges do not say the same thing you’re wondering who is right. Each and every time, I’ve wanted to quit, but I can’t.

Peter De Vries:
“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.”

Love is too strong a word for me to use. I really have a love-hate relationship with writing. I can’t stop writing. When my writing is going smoothly I love it, but when it’s not I hate it.

Many writers think they’re going to make big bucks. What they don’t seem to know, but soon learn is that it may take years to get published, and then it takes a long time to build your readership. Most quit when they learn they can’t just sit down, write a book and sell it.

Frank Herbert:
Money to a writer is time to write.

The only reason I write is because I can’t stop. Money isn’t a motive, or I would have stopped long ago as I haven’t made any yet.

Laurel Goodman:
If they didn’t pay me, I’d do it for nothing.

Fortunately for me, I’m retired and receiving a pension and social security, and my husband is, too. For that reason I do not have to make a living writing, but it would sure be nice to make some money for so much effort.

Irving Wallace:
Even if I could not earn a penny from my writing, I would earn my livelihood at something else and continue to write at night.

I spent many years writing while I worked for a major airline. It wasn’t easy, but I still finished several books.

Louis Untermeyer:
Write out of love; write out of instinct; write out of reason. But always for money.

Why do you write? I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Have a good week.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tribute to War Heroes

Hi Everyone,

I don’t need to tell that it’s Memorial Day, the day we honor the men and women who served and often died for our country and our freedoms.

There is one such man who was in my life who served during WWII in Germany, Uncle Ray. His name was Ray Warmker, and when he came home from the war, he never talked about his experiences.

He quietly picked up his life becoming a car mechanic, and then eventually owning his own garage. He was a Ford man all the way. He worked on other makes, but he always said Ford was the best made American car.

I remember Uncle Ray as a patient, gentle man. He loved to be around family, to have picnics and other family gatherings. At these times, he spent time with his boys, his nieces and nephew. After dinner, he had all of us outside playing softball, touch football, and croquet in the summer, then making snowmen, riding sleighs, or playing cards in the winter.

This was the American dream, and it was what he fought for. To my American hero, Uncle Ray, he died at the young of forty-eight even though he made it home safely from the war.

There are so many other veterans from other wars out there who deserve our thanks. Please take the time to thank them and shake their hand when you meet them.

I hope everyone will leave a comment about their war heroes.

Happy Memorial Day!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Fiction versus Non-Fiction

Recently, I was told by someone in my past career that there was no redeeming value to reading fiction because it has no basis in truth. He asked me, why read something that never happened?

To say a fictitious story is about something that has never happened is a blanket statement and untrue. In my book, The Catalyst, the main character and a secondary character have been raped. It is true that there are women who have been raped, and I depicted the reactions of my characters to the occurrences that transpired as accurately as possible. To do this, I spoke with an ex-detective for the Kansas City Police Department.

My story is set in the Mid-West surrounding the riverboat gambling casino industry. I worked for a casino for nine months to research the daily operation. Much of the information had to be left out because the story is about the characters and not the casinos. What is there, I believe is fairly accurate, but it’s still a work of fiction, and I wouldn’t want it any other way for a number of reasons.

My second book, Addiction, is about a recovering alcoholic. There are real people who are abusive drinkers. I made the character in Addiction as realistic as I could with the help of people more knowledgeable than I am. This story is also about a serial killer. We have all read the headlines or watched the news about these types of murderers. The one in my book may not be real, but he is realistic.

Most fiction authors write about real life, and since we do, our readers have to be able to relate to our characters. I once wrote about a true happening, and I was told by an author leave it out because it was too unbelievable.

Now, you tell me if you read fiction, non-fiction or both, and which you prefer. As a reader, I’ve read both. Even in non-fiction not everyone agrees about the events. I will look forward to reading your comments.

Have a great week.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m posting my blog a day early to honor all mothers, but especially as a tribute to mine. She was one in a million according to my mind. Born Katherine Alice Walker, she was a frail child and my grandparents never expected her to live a long life.

Evidence of that turned up when my family did a search for unclaimed money last year. We found an insurance policy on our mother’s life bought by grandma and grandpa when mom was eleven years old. Fortunately, she did live, or I wouldn’t be here to write about her life.

Always delicate as an English rose, Mom was strong-minded. An example of this is when the doctor said my brother could have surgery to correct his crossed eyes (50-50 chance of keeping his sight or losing it altogether), or go blind in a couple more years. She elected to have the surgery believing it would save his eyesight, and it did. This is one instance of her strengths out of many.

One of Mom’s friends referred to her as a banty hen, and it was a very apt description of her. She always championed the underdog, and woe to those who would threaten her family or friends in any way.

My mother was a great believer in taking care of the children, and I like to think of her in heaven as playing with the little ones and dancing with the angels. I forgot to tell you she loved to dance the jitterbug, and she was a huge music lover.

My mother was great at showing us how to live our lives, but in the end there was no finer person to teach us how to die. Her strength and bravery will stay with me until the day I face death. I can only hope I’m able to live such a decent life and have the strength to keep moving on to the end as she did.

I still miss you, Mom.

I hope all of you will share comments about your mother’s here. Have a great day.

Until next week,

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Work Habits of an Author

This is going to be hard because I can only tell you about the life of a writer from my perspective. There will be other authors who have a different life to write about than mine.

Most mornings, I’m up by 7:30 (there are exceptions both earlier and later), I get a cup of coffee and check email, fix breakfast for hubby who is hungry by then, and I wash dishes. Smile. Once that is done, I get more coffee, visit MySpace, Ning, and Facebook to post there or read messages. When that is done, I check email one more time.

Next, I shut down my main computer and boot up my laptop because that’s where I do my real work. Write. I may talk on IM (Yahoo Instant Messager) while there to brainstorm ideas with other authors, or my editor, but I never read email or send email from my laptop.

I re-read my work from the day before and make changes if needed, then I start writing. If I have a good two to four hours to write in, I consider that a good day. It’s rare that I can write all day, but once in a while I’m able to, and on those occasions I’m ecstatic.

It usually takes me a half hour to write one page, so if I write for two hours I can get four pages done. I feel so good when I can accomplish that much, but there are days when that doesn’t occur. Some days, I can’t get anything done. When that happens I’m really annoyed at myself and everyone around me.

Here are other authors work habits.

Author, Scott Spencer:

I work every day, from ten in the morning till I’m done with my pages. I try not to write beyond a certain point. It’s my experience that if I write too much in one day it kills a couple of days work for me after that. I like to keep myself to three or four pages a day.

Author, Gore Vidal:

First coffee. Then a bowel movement. Then the muse joins me.

Here are two quotes by James Thurber:

My usual method. . .is to spend the mornings turning over the text in my mind. Then in the afternoon, between two and five, I call in a secretary and dictate to her. I can do about two thousand words. It took me about ten years to learn.

I never quite know when I’m not writing. Sometimes my wife comes up to me at a party and says, “Dammit, Thurber, stop writing.” She usually catches me in the middle of a paragraph.

My belief is that everyone works differently, but we all have to write. There’s no getting away from it even if we wanted to. Writers write, we may be unhappy writing, but we’re even unhappier not writing. My husband started me on this path, and he had no idea the monster he was creating. Smile.

Author, H.G. Wells:

There comes a moment in the day, when you have written your pages in the morning, attended to your correspondence in the afternoon, and have nothing further to do. Then comes the hour when you are bored; that’s the time for sex.

Most romance authors would be offended by that last sentence from H.G. Wells. He obviously wasn’t very romantic. One would wonder what kind of lover he was. If someone has read and autobiography about him and knows I would love to hear about him.

Author, Truman Capote:

I am a completely horizontal author. I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis.

Author, Annie Dillard:

I work mornings only. I go out to lunch. Afternoons I play with the baby, walk with my husband, or shovel mail.

As you can see, everyone has different work habits. What is yours? This question is not just for writers, everyone is welcome to share their schedule.

Thanks for visiting my blog. See you next week.