Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Vacation

The blog is on hiatus for the next month. Stay cool and fully hydrated wherever you are. Enjoy the remainder of your summer.

Monday, July 16, 2012

TNBT...aka The Next Big Thing

A dear writing friend of mine, Nicole Petrino-Salter, who will soon be focused on Interview Tuesday forwarded this idea from Karin Kaufman's site and I've chosen to participate. I hope this will shine a little more light on my writing process and WIPs. You can view Nicole's answers here.

1. What is the title of your book/WIP?
I'm currently working on two projects, one fiction, one nonfiction. My YA fantasy novel, codename "Big Joe" is in the revision stage. The nonfiction book is tentatively titled "Sarah's Wild Ride."

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
"Sarah's Wild Ride" was birthed out of my family's journey through pediatric liver disease and liver transplant for my youngest daughter. It's turned out to be about much more than just our experiences and I'm hoping it offers encouragement to parents of children with life-threatening diseases. 

3. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I don't know that I can picture any living actor playing in my movies but I'm sure John Wayne and James Stewart would make appearances in there.

4. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
"Sarah's Wild Ride" - Offering guidance and encouragement to parents of seriously ill-children, sharing our own story that their families can survive in the face of incredible adversity.

5. Is your book published or represented?
Not yet. 

6. How long did it take you to write?
I wrote the bulk of "Big Joe" in four months. I'm currently working on sample chapters and a book proposal for "Sarah's Wild Ride."

7. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
I've always enjoyed reading fantasy and I've began writing my own stories in 3rd grade. I'd say it's more the love of writing than having one particular inspiration. If you cornered me, though., I'd have to say J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks. 

As for the nonfiction book: living the story and meeting other families trying to survive these dire circumstances has been inspiration enough.

9. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book.
There are amazing families whose kids deal with potentially life-threatening diseases each day. If I can make one positive difference in their lives and the lives of those who follow us, I will consider my writing career successful.

Check out these fabulous writers:

Janalyn Voigt

Michael Duncan

Dennis Brooke

Gigi Murfitt

Sunday, July 15, 2012

An Unexpected Detour

We all experience them: something completely throws our lives off course, sending us scurrying to recover and make some sense of things. That happened to me last week.

I'd felt some discomfort in my chest and it didn't subside within 24 hours. I'm not one to panic so I kind of ignored the fact it could be heart-related, though my family does have some history of heart disease and my father received a double bypass 17 years ago.

Sure, I'd been feeling some stress but I'm generally pretty relaxed even in the face of adversity. However, I decided to take advice (my own and my dad's) and visit the ER.

I'm happy to report whatever caused my issues was distinctly NOT heart-related, for which I'm grateful. But after being hooked up for EKG readings, taking a stress test and being lit up by a couple of CT scans, the experience has given me pause. It's an unexpected detour from life, where everything comes to grinding halt as you await news of the worst kind.

Indeed, I'm re-evaluating a large portion of my life right now, regardless what the test results show. What unexpected detours have given you reason to pause and perhaps re-evaluate your life or a portion of it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The "Monster"

What, you ask, is the "Monster?" It may not be terrifying but it's close. A book proposal. Yes, that is the monster I'm facing daily. It's been an interesting journey so far. In the past week, I've primarily worked on completing some sample chapters, outlining and refining the book's message. As I've mentioned before, writing book length nonfiction is a stretch for me since I'm accustomed to writing fiction.

I suppose it's a little different with this book because of the personal nature. It's not a memoir but there is a lot of my family's story through liver disease and transplant included. In fact, it was the impetus for the book. I find it easy and difficult at the same time. The challenge is to craft a great story, not just our story.

Have you labored through the book proposal process before? Could you describe the experience? Do you find such things exhilarating or monotonous?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Interview Tuesday Hiatus

I'm taking a bit of break from interviews for the summer. I'll return in late August with some great interviews. If you'd like to suggest an interview subject or know a writer, editor or agent who might be interested in being interviewed, drop me a note via email or comment.

Monday, July 9, 2012

There Are No Re-do's (in the Writing life)

As any writer knows, a writing career can take many twists and turns. I've previously spoken about  the reasons I write and setting up goals. Those are both part of the journey but I want to focus more on where we come from as writers and our story as we walk through the writerly life.

I'm still a pre-published book author so my journey will certainly differ from others, but I'm sure all writers can relate to certain aspects of all our stories.

Maybe you can relate to this scenario: In third grade, you discover books really for the first time and become an avid reader. In your free time and at teacher's prompting, you being writing little stories. You know, the ones only a third grade you can write. In 1976 that meant spacemen with odd names from Mars or other "far off" places. Or humorous tales about your classmates. Maybe it was dreams of traveling somewhere yourself or creating your first "world" which resembled your backyard more than a distant land, truth be told.

It was there, third grade, that I learned I not only loved books but I loved writing. Throughout my school years, I strove to create new work and to exceed teacher expectations. This meant, that in eighth grade, a minimum 10 page report became a 90+ page tome. Or in high school how a 5-page short story became a 30+ novel idea condensed only because I didn't want my teacher to have too much to read.

I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. I even wrote when I was serving in the Navy and upon my return home. Somewhere along the line pragmatism took hold and I set my writing aside as an unrealistic hobby - something that was fun but which I could never know as a career.

Those few years are tinged with regret as I move forward with the knowledge I left a lot of myself in those boxes of plot ideas and stories. It's almost seems harder now, as if I've started over again then if I had at least kept writing continuously.

You can't go back and change the world, or alter a moment of your life. Regrets, I've learned, hold no purpose; they only hold you back. So while there may be no "re-do's" in life, we can jumpstart our dreams and pursue what we were meant to do.

And what I was meant to do was write. So I can do nothing else.

(detail a bit of the fits and starts of my journey, regrets and leaving things behind you can't change, and always look to the future, with goals)

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Hiatus to Celebrate Independence

The blog is taking the week off to remember our nation's fight for independence. It will return to its normal schedule on July 9.