December 19, 2010

A Holiday Wish

For all of my friends:

That all of your holiday wishes be granted.
That you find the book of your dreams and one that you can hold onto in good times and in bad.

For my writer friends:

That the words flow out of your fingers.
That the publisher/agent of your dreams coddles you into writing your Pulitzer novel.
That you find the space and time to blissfully pursue your vocation.

For me:

That I find the agent of my dreams.
That that Wasserstein character stops holding Vestry meetings in my head at 2AM
That Jess and her grandmother finally come to some conclusion.
That Billy stops being shy because he really is a gem.
That my mind finds the time and space to create having found the vocation of my dreams.

October 30, 2010

Pitchapalooza

I had so much fun and learned so much at Pitchapalooza at the Clinton Book Shop on Thursday night. Well these two authors (Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry) are pitching their new book about how to get published (The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published). Arielle is an agent-at-large from a fairly large literary agency ( http://www.levinegreenberg.com/arielle-eckstut/ ) and together she and David have a business called The Book Doctors.



For this book tour the local book store recruits two local authors and the four of them do an American Idol style (without Simon) workshop where the audience gets one minute to pitch their book and the panel critiques the pitch and then decides who gets a free hour at a later date with Arielle and David to hone their pitch or just to pick their brains.


I was going to pay my $25 (which includes a copy of their book) to pitch them In Season, but when I called Rob (who runs the Clinton Book Shop) was desperate and he asked me to be one of the locals on the panel. It was fun! Arielle and David were kind but realistic with the presented pitches. Two standouts. One had a really good pitch for a book and the other was a book for which I wish the pitch had been better.  Since this was a pitch contest the good pitch won. I also sold a copy of my book and gave a copy to David and to an independent book store owner who was there with her husband to pitch books.


All in all a night of networking and fun.

October 29, 2010

Clarity

I traveled down to my local big book store this morning to purchase a book that their web site said was there.  Then their in-store puter said it wasn't but when I turned around two copies were out on the table behind me.  Sometimes one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.

No matter, it was worth the journey so long as I could use my 40% coupon.  I usually don't buy coffee table books but I had to have Finishing the Hat...Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes  by Stephen Sondheim and so far, having read about 25 pages, I have not been disappointed.  
What has struck me the most is his preface in which he says something that applies, I believe, to all writing:

"There are only three principles necessary for a lyric writer, all of them familiar truisms....they underlie everything I've ever written.  In no particular order, and to be written in stone:

Content Dictates Form

Less Is More

God is in the Details

all in the service of

Clarity

without which nothing else matters."

Thank you Mr. Sondheim.  I'm going to enjoy reading this and savoring your lyrics and listening to your music in my head.

October 24, 2010

Mellowing...

One of the steps in writing a book is finishing the first draft and then letting it mellow for awhile.  They Might Be Angels has been mellowing for a week now and I understand fully this step.  It's beginning to stink and I'm beginning to panic.  (Just as a side note I see it as a bad omen when I'm even confused about the name of the book -- see above -- the actual name could also be There Might Be Angels)

October 20, 2010

Announcing...

I've been more than relatively silent lately but I'm just about finished with the book I started only 70 days ago.  It's gone through several working titles by now, Adelaide Wasserstein Brocklehurst, The Bishop of Who, but finally last night someone, I think was the character Paul, woke me up with They Might be Angels and that is IT.  Thanks Paul.

September 28, 2010

Sneak Preview

I've just added a "Sneak Preview" page to my website.  Check there frequently or not so frequently for a taste of what I'm currently obsessing working on. 

September 24, 2010

Taking dictation can be difficult

Have I ever been this involved with a character?  I think not.  This is twice in the past two weeks that I have written about Adelaide though sobs and tears.  Everything that is happening to her seems to happen to me.  Though I have experienced some of those things in my life I seem to be re-living them all through Adelaide.

When I started this book (working title: The Bishop of Who, that has to change) I had an inkling that I was doing it as a spiritual exercise.  Something to exorcise some of the spiritual demons that have been chasing me around for awhile.  Little did I understand that Adelaide would help me examine my whole life.

She goes where she wants with her story.  Yesterday I reread a description I wrote of the book before I started.  Though the premise remains the same, I wonder that I was so sure what would happen in the story line.  Everything changes.  I guess I have to resolve myself to that with my particular writing style but sometimes its really hard.

September 11, 2010

Dear Adelaide Wasserstein Brocklehurst...

holding Bishop's Committee meetings in my head at 2AM is just not acceptable.

Signed...your faithful author

September 9, 2010

by the word, by the day

I am now fully into writing the book that has as a working title The Bishop of Who.  I never before counted the words in a book as I wrote (even during NaNoWriMo) and I find it fascinating to observe that the more I count the faster I write.  I fully expect that in a week or so, unless I run completely dry, I will be setting finger to keyboard at the rate of 4000 words a day.  What causes me to rush so headlong into arranging pixels on page I know not.  I just know that I have to.

September 6, 2010

Yiddish and thought processes

Spent the afternoon consulting a Yiddish dictionary and the Episcopal Hymnal (1982).  A writer's life.  Two thousand words some of which are not English. 

It is interesting, as you get deeper and deeper into a book, to examine your thought processes .   When I first get an idea it is all intellectual.  The questions are related to who is my protagonist and what is her motivation.  Then, unbidden, a character will begin to talk to me.  Sometimes it is the protagonist who is speaking.  Sometimes it is the person I think is the protagonist but who eventually takes a back seat. [In In Between Goodbyes Ian was supposed to be my protagonist but Hope took over].  Sometimes it is just the dog.

Suddenly, in a rush the narrative and the dialogue all come tumbling out.  People overtalk each other.  Characters explain their motivation.  Then, for a while it is all silence, as if someone yelled "Cut."  I can't get anyone to talk.  But that is necessary for people and narrative to straighten itself out.  I get antsy.

Today everyone started talking at once.  I was compelled to sit and type about Rome, about spiritual directors, about a tiny world that was shaping itself.

August 28, 2010

Digital Overload

Listened on NPR tonight to a great interview with Terry Gross and Matt Richtel about Digital Overload.  I kept saying, "I resemble that remark."  (Alright so it was first aired in March, I'm a bit behind.)

August 13, 2010

Changes

More changes to the blog here soon...stay tuned.

August 7, 2010

Thank you, Barbara

I simply cannot wait to start writing about Bishop Adelaide Wasserstein Brocklehurst.  Though you didn't know it, you inspired me today, Barbara, and Adelaide started talking to me.

August 6, 2010

I guess it has to find it's own way...

I just heard from Alexa who has been giving a preliminary read to my latest novel, In SeasonWriting this time I deliberately set about writing a romance novel thinking that would be easiest to sell in the current market. 

I am, however, a writer who must write what is told to her by her characters.  I worked hard to fit this story into a genre that I don't particularly like, figuring it was all in aid of commercial viability.  Well, you might be able to lie to yourself but your characters will get you in the end.

Lexa:  "In Season has a great premise, a good set-up, and strong characters. FE is dynamic, interesting, a little unusual, and has a fascinating personal history. The dynamic between she and Amanda is good, and her relationship with Brady is compelling.


However... it's not a romance novel."
 
Damn.  
 
I respect Lexa.  She saw right through the little game I was playing and also saw that it didn't work.
 
I write women's fiction.  I just have to accept that and try to sell it.  
 
Sigh.

August 4, 2010

Technology. Simplified?

The other night it took me just over an hour to get my url and set up the initial page of my website.  Tonight it took that just to establish an RSS feed from here to the website.  Perhaps I should quit while I'm ahead?

July 28, 2010

Ack! It only took an hour...

I just went back to the negative if I look at my writing balance sheet this year. I purchased and started to publish my web site. It only took about an hour to spend all my profits. Ah well, easy come easy go.


Don't look at it too hard, though. I'm just building it.

July 25, 2010

Why we have editors

This morning, searching for reviews of South Pacific, I found this little gem:

"the only real problem with the show after polo Shzot left the man who replaced him was not as good. I was highly fortunate to see both Polo Szot play the role of Emeil in the revival and Brian Stokes Mitchell in the concert vershin(had to sleep outside to get tickets to both). The new Emeil is no where evan close to the league of Szot or Stokes Mitchell. he was passable but certainly far from the best option. after seeing the show a second time it donned on me why they had som uch publistiy (commercials, discounts) was not blamed on the receshion but on the new Emeil. before pollo left the show they were putting 100% in the seats but now they hover around 85-90% and not to mention the fact that they used to run strictly on word of mouth and now they have commercials (featuring Szot) running everywhere. my advise to the producers if they wont to put more people in the seats and take off all the discounts and commercials and have the show running on word of mouth put Brian Stokes Mitchel or someone of that caliber on the stage (it might be pricey but it would pay off handsomely)"

Nuff sed.

July 20, 2010

Sometimes ya gotta show your face...

For those folks, you know who you are, who are not on FB...you wanted a pic from the signing.

July 18, 2010

Is she really as crazy as she seems?

Since I'm in the throes of finishing a book I seem not to be blog original these days and only able to post quotes but this one, from Sam Lipsyte is so attuned to the life of the writer that I couldn't resist:


"One of my big revelations," Lipsyte says, "was that nobody cares whether you write your novel or not.  They want you to be happy.  Your parents want you to have health insurance.  Your friends want you to be a good friend.  But everybody's thinking about their own problems and nobody wakes up in the morning thinking 'Boy, I sure hope Sam finishes that chapter and gets one step closer to his dream of being a working writer.' Nobody does that.  If you want to write, it has to come from you.  If you don't want to write, that's great.  Go do something else.  That was a very liberating moment for me"  (March/April 2010 Poets and Writers, pg 56).


Writing is a very lonely job.  You have to be willing to just forget about support and do it.  Once the meet and greets for the last book are done, you have to get right back to that big phosporescent eye that sits on your desk and go on to the next world you are about to create.  You have no mini-skirted cheerleaders yelling "Go Chrissie" in your ear.  Even your friends don't really understand that when you are talking to them your characters are wandering around in your head talking to you.  They think you a bit strange, but if you're lucky, they still have breakfast with you on Saturday morning.


All that said, you write because you have to, because the state of "not-writing" is worse hell than the state of writing.

I guess the answer to my question is yes.

July 5, 2010

Oddly silent.

There is one thing guaranteed to gum up a writer's works (excuse the pun).  A pinched nerve in the neck.  I can type looking at the screen just fine as long as I a) do a neck roll every 2.5 minutes  b) don't have to look down at the keys for any reason.  Of course my mind has taken the opportunity to spew ideas which I can only jot down on pieces of paper and hope I remember them when the spinal column decides to behave.  I'm almost wishing for writer's block.  Almost.

June 25, 2010

June 16, 2010

The best advice is short and to the point

I've heard a lot of writing advice but absolutely the best I've heard comes today in the form of a Gotham Gram...an email from the great writing school that I highly recommend


Neil Gaiman has become so popular he is often considered the “rock star” of the literary world. He trades mostly in science fiction and fantasy in a variety of forms—novels, children’s books, graphic novels, comic books, and film. Among his trend-setting works: Coraline, The Graveyard Book and The Sandman series. He takes readers, of all ages, to the very edge of imagination.

8 Good Writing Practices
  1. Write.
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
  6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
  7. Laugh at your own jokes.
  8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

From an article in The Guardian

June 11, 2010

It finally got to me and I've snapped. I think,

Write, write all morning.  Try to figure out what I need to bring with me to my book signing tomorrow.  Pick out a dress.  I need to relax.  Went down to B and N just to smell books.  I wonder if they have my book for order.  Look it up on a self-service terminal.  They do!  Then proceed to every self-service terminal in the store looking up my book and leaving it up on the screen.  Escaped without detection.

I'd rather stick pins in my eyes....

Isn't it amazing how having one thing you absolutely do not want to do (but in reality should do) helps you get other things done?  (and no its not a colonoscopy and no I'm not telling you what it is).  

I've had this thing in my mind that I feel I absolutely must do.  Only I don't wanna.  Suddenly, I'm terribly productive writing a book that I absolutely hated working on. Suddenly I've been walking around to bookstores copies of my book in hand saying "please stock my book."  So obviously I absolutely hate working on the book and I absolutely hate peddling  my published book  less than I absolutely hate getting around to doing the thing I hate most.  There's a moral in there somewhere.

June 9, 2010

Self-publishing interview

Alexa Offenhauer is publishing on her blog, Looseleaf Writing  a (2 post) series of interviews with me about self-publishing.  Drop by and read her really interesting (not just my stuff) blog about the editing business.

June 7, 2010

Er that's Episcopal Priest, not Episcopalian Priest...picky, picky, picky

full ForeWord Review HERE

7/21/2010 Edit

Well that link seems to have disappeared so here is the review in full:


ForeWord Clarion Review

FICTION

In Between Goodbyes

Christina Wible

CreateSpace

978-1-4414-1832-6

Three Stars (out of Five)

Strong characters carrying heavy psychological baggage feature in this insider’s look at life in New York’s theater district. A touch of mystery makes In Between Goodbyes a fascinating contemporary romantic tale.

Christina Wible’s debut follows the life of Hope Moran, who ekes out a living as a Broadway dresser. A dresser, in theater terms, is one who babysits and coddles and, yes, even dresses a theater actor when a wardrobe change is required. She also moonlights as an Episcopalian priest, filling in for various churches and doing good deeds, particularly among the homeless. One afternoon, she turns to life saving by pushing celebrity thespian Ian Pfeiffer out of the path of a kidnapper’s bullet. His family is not so fortunate; they die in a fiery car crash.

The show must go on. Hope, hired for her expertise in dressing and spiritual counseling, keeps Ian performing. Their close association turns to friendship, punctuated by a brief sexual encounter. As a result of some convenient plot manipulation, Ian heads to Central America to shoot a movie while Hope gestates, delivering a daughter with the help of a circle of women friends. The sense of community and friendship among the theater crowd rings true and adds another layer of enjoyment for the reader. The slightly prosaic mystery concerning the kidnapper offers a little suspense. A niggling problem—Ian’s lack of interest in sex—hovers in the background to be hurriedly resolved as the book ends.

The story of Hope and Ian’s relationship follows an all too familiar pattern: Ian doesn’t know he’s a father, and Hope works hard to keep father and daughter from meeting. Their lives diverge and years later converge again, resulting in a bittersweet ending.

It is the details concerning theater life that save this book from mediocrity. “Amy made her opening speech, and Ian clenched and unclenched his fists,” Wible writes. “He leaned back, and she put her hand squarely in the middle of his back. He leaned harder against the hand and then propelled himself out onto the stage for his entrance. The applause was deafening, and she could see both Amy and Ian struggle to stay in the moment.”

Overall, the writing flows well, but there are a few problems, including clumps of information, poor transitions from scene to scene, and a tendency to tell rather than show. For example, Wible writes, “Hope had last worked with Amy on some children’s musical where Amy was some over-costumed singing animal. She remembered the costume with a skirt so big it wouldn’t fit through the dressing room door, forcing Amy to make up in the dressing room and then costume in the wings.”

Tighter writing, a good editing, and better use of fiction writing techniques would greatly improve this novel. Nevertheless, In Between Goodbyes will be enjoyed by readers who like a good-hearted heroine, a worthy man who stays true to his love, and the smell of greasepaint.

Dawn Goldsmith

May 30, 2010

I know this is getting truly boring but...

In Between Goodbyes is now available at Barnes and Noble.com

Of course the Clinton Book Shop is still preferred.  In what alternate universe do you think Barnes and Noble will give me a signing?

May 26, 2010

Networking

I guess because most of my life I worked for the same company I never saw the value of networking.  Now, suddenly, I'm trying to sell books and it is all in the network.  Some of the results:  a friend offering to show my next book to her agent, a bookstore in Washington listing my book on the strength of a purchased commercial review, getting networked to Indie bookstores because I publicized my signing at the bookstore in Clinton.  

The world gets smaller as you network.

May 19, 2010

Announcement

Local book signing!

I am excited to announce that I will be signing In Between Goodbyes at the Clinton Book Shop on Saturday June 12, 2010 from 1PM to 3PM. 

This is exciting in two ways, the store has just moved down the street from where they used to be into the historic Grandin Library and I love the new store.  (If you follow the directions to the store on the site it is to their old store on 36 Main Street so facing that store, turn left and walk down a full block - crossing Leigh St. - and you will find the new store at 12 Main on the same side of the street.)

Additionally, for those of you who are members of the PHS Class of 64, I will be donating a portion of the proceeds to the class scholarship fund.

Clinton is a fun town.  Come out for the day.  Bring the kids or the grandkids and go to the Museum or the Art Museum and have lunch or dinner in one of the myriad of restaurants.  

Hope to see you all there!

May 17, 2010

This takes time...

Really, if anyone thinks being an author is a snap you should try convincing people to buy your book.  Flogging this book has been the hardest thing I think I have ever done.  So there.

May 12, 2010

Professional Review #1

Excerpt from Forward CLARION Review:

Strong characters carrying heavy psychological baggage feature in this insider's look at life in New York's theater district.  A touch of mystery makes In Between Goodbyes a fascinating contemporary romantic tale. ...In Between Goodbyes will be enjoyed by readers who like a good-hearted heroine, a worthy man who stays true to his love and the smell of greasepaint.

May 8, 2010

Questioning

I'm taking a course at Gotham Writers on writing the query letter.  Does this sound like I am questioning my decision to self-publish In Between Goodbyes?  Yes.  I read  a lot of agent's blogs.  Granted they have a vested interest in writers not self-publishing (do the math yourself) but they all discourage self-publishing.  I am looking for a publisher's view of a book that has been self-published.  Does a previous self-publish entirely negate a republication by a publisher?  Does a previous self-published book make a publisher look askance at a new book that they are being approached to publish?  Interesting research.

April 22, 2010

And THIS afternoon...

My first sale through a book store.  Thank you Kris and the Clinton Book Shop.

April 14, 2010

And this afternoon...

The Clinton Book Shop now has my book in stock.  Get ye there if you need a copy!

The things that keep us going

I keep saying that what keeps me writing is the writing itself and that is wholly true.  There is not a day that I am not compelled to sit down and write something that is not a manual on how to use on of the hospital's data bases.

But beyond that, I am a human being and recognition of my writing is always something that makes me smile.  After all I feel when I hold my book in my hand, I like it better when I see it in someone else's hand.

I hear from a friend this morning that the book club of her church has chosen In Between Goodbyes as one of their books this summer.  Warms the cockles of my heart, it does.

April 10, 2010

Midnight Inspiration - keeping the baby awake

Well not quite, but I find the best time for inspiration is whenever I'm in the bath before going to bed.  If I don't get it on paper then, the idea goes totally away so I spend my first 15 minutes in bed writing down the inspiration.  That, in turn, leaves me awake for awhile.

I've thought of taking an earlier bath but somehow my brain is on to me and I don't get any inspiration.

Any ideas?

March 24, 2010

The smell of printer's ink

So today I tackle #5 "With additional editing and tightening, In Between Goodbyes might have luck being shopped by a reputable agent." 

Would you like to see my rejection stack?  That's it.  In order to be "shopped by a reputable agent" you must first land a "reputable agent."  82 rejection letters later, all from "reputable agents"  (perhaps some were not so reputable) I couldn't even land that.  

These days most publishers don't want author submitted (over the transom) manuscripts.  In order to land a publisher you must first land an agent.  Perhaps you also need to land a friend who knows an agent.  I'm not sure what the answer is.  By the time the 82nd rejection came and by the time I had gone through 81 rewrites of my query letter, my ego said "uncle."  I self-published.

This is not to say that self-publishing should be relegated to the land of the totally rejected but I can tell you that when I had my book in my hot little hand I was elated akin to heavy, heavy drugs for at least a few weeks.

You see, my joy in writing comes from just that, writing.  I don't really care if I sell, just that I write.  The soft, shiny covers and smell of printer's ink was a bonus.

March 22, 2010

A digression...

I'm allowing myself a digression today, a digression from blogging about writing to blogging about Broadway.

I was raised on Rogers and Hammerstein.  I danced to Lerner and Lowe.  I watched the movie versions of every Cole Porter.  My understanding of Broadway came, however, the first time I watched Sondheim.  

At first hearing I said "What's this crap?"  I had been so indoctrinated to formulaic music.  But then I realized that Sondheim made people think.  I was used to just feeling.  I first heard (like everyone mostly did) his lyrics in West Side Story.  I was paying attention to Bernstein but those lyrics, how they stole into my consciousness.  I missed Anyone Can Whistle (it flew by so fast) but then, just before I married (probably bad timing) I saw the original Company.

Who was this man?  Where did he come from?  How did he gain entry to my brain?  Forty years later I would see the revival of Company for my sixtieth birthday and I could still marvel at the newness of it.
Mr Sondheim, you changed Broadway, you changed the way we think about musicals and, in many ways you wrote the songs that parallel my life.  On the occasion of your Eightieth birthday, thank you for Being Alive.

March 21, 2010

Author Cred

For this one I have to take #'s 2 and 4 below together.  First of all I have to thank the reviewer for feeling this way, especially since he is a man.  BUT.  While I understand that having cred in an area would make people more likely to read a non-fiction book on a subject, I cannot agree that a person's credentials work the same way with a work of fiction.
Yes, I have been a "Broadway Baby" all my life in terms of going to shows and keeping up with the reviews, the gossip and even taking college level courses in theater.  But I am not, nor have I ever been in the theater so I really have no credentials in terms of having actually acted, tried to act or even being married to an actor.  All my experience is second hand.  So what am I supposed to say in a bio that would make people buy this book?  "Chris has been a theater voyeur her whole life."  I do think "a student of the theater her whole life" might work but I'm still not sure that that gives me cred enough to sell a book.

March 20, 2010

Thank You, Lora

My first commentary, on #1 is “Thank you Lora.”  A good editor is always useful especially when it comes to punctuation, grammar and continuity.  I am hopelessly punctuation challenged, most notably when it comes to dialogue.  Since my novels are dialogue-heavy a punctuation Nazi is essential.

After reading Lora's first comments I just let her have her way with the punctuation and here it is, proof positive that trusting your editor can be a good thing.

Paid Previews and Reviews

I recently paid for a reputable preview of IBG which will eventually be built into a review of the novel. I’m going to present some excerpts here and number them. The reason for the numbering is that I will take the opportunity in the next few days to point out some of the positives and negatives of having this done.

Paying for reviews is not as spurious as it sounds. With these reviews (usually paid for by the publisher but in my case by the self-publisher), the publisher is able to get word out about a novel through a reputable third party. For the self-published author these are a learning experience as well as a publicity handle. After all, wouldn’t you rather an honest opinion about your book from a disinterested party rather than your great aunt Selma?

Below are the excerpts, somewhat out of context but omitting only those things which are technicalities that are fixable.

(1) The writing is clean and nicely punctuated.

(2) A bit choppy, but a commendable opening. Nicely constructed. Author obviously understands theater and constructs an interesting story premise from page one.

(3) Dialogue is a strength of this novel. Not overbearing but simple and used well to move the story along. With additional editing and tightening, In between Goodbyes might have luck being shopped by a reputable agent.

(4) Would be nice to learn something (anything) about Ms Wible. Her theater background for instance. All of which offers readers potential reason to connect with the book.

(5)With additional editing and tightening, In between Goodbyes might have luck being shopped by a reputable agent.

March 14, 2010

Inspiration for In Between Goodbyes

Someone asked me where they could hear the song that inspired my book.  You will find it here:  In Between Goodbyes  on YouTube.  She is my idol as a Broadway singer.

Inspiration Everywhere continued

I went to the City (waddayamean what City? is there another?) to observe an Opera yesterday.  Now I keep saying on this blog that the City is my inspiration and I thought I would give you a hint of that by listing out all of the snippets that could someday become a part of a book.  Inspiration can come from anywhere and while each of these incidents in itself might not inspire a whole book or short story they are sure to be fit into some piece of my writing sometime.


This also shows that I never need to buy one of those books that gives me 200 pages of inspiration...I find it everywhere.

1. Bus driver barely able to hold the bus on the road due to 65 MPH gusts yet still taking time to ANSWER HIS DAMN HANDHELD CELL!     (Sorry about that.  I’m calmer now.)
2. Sheets of rain on the bus windows obscuring the passing scenery.
3. Fear of being out of control.
4. Navigating the City underground from the bowels of the Port Authority Terminal, through the passage of several blocks underground to the Number 1 subway and then uptown to surface in front of Avery Fisher Hall.   On the way: Lost French tourists. A woman trying to manage two baby carriers and a backpack.  A street musician in the underground passage playing Hotel California on the guitar. A community sing in a Subway car when a trio started playing Quanta La Mera and three Dominican girls and myself, the ultimate Gringa, linked arms singing.
5. Walking in sheets of rain so formidable that an umbrella was totally useless.
6. Looking at the lovely bread sculptures on the table in front of me that were holding the menus and then (by poking them) realizing that they were not sculptures at all but rather stale half loaves of bread which might, in an alternate universe have been thrown away but here at Le Pain Quotidian were being useful.
7. The glittering majesty of the Metropolitan Opera in the rain.
8. The fountain looking like crystal.
9. The sheer height of the stage and the way it dwarfs the performers and the way Kentridge’s projections were just the right proportion for the stage.
10. The giggly joy I get every time the floating chandeliers in the house start to rise into the air just before the performance.
11. How a performance is always enhanced by amiable seatmates.
12. Sticking my sopping coat under my chair and taking off my shoes hoping against hope that my socks would dry out.
13.Watching a performer I admire (nay idolize?) act his brains out whilst singing in Russian (not his native language) music that sometimes defies singing.
14. Exiting the dress circle to the grand visage of Lincoln Center Plaza and to be greeted by what appeared to be a monsoon only colder.
15. Slogging back to the subway as people crashed into each other to avoid abandoned and flying inside out umbrellas.
16. Riding home in a warm bus driven by a driver who was wholly focused on the road and being able to abandon my control problem.

March 8, 2010

What's in a name?

I get my ideas for names in my books from two places, the roster of people at the place I work and my spam.  Seriously.  Today at work it was Hedwig Hockgerfelter.  Beautiful.  In my spam list are Natasha Fink, Doyle Grubbs and Buzz Irb.  Seriously, you can't make these up!

March 7, 2010

Are you getting dizzy yet?

I told you to be ready for a wild ride.  This blog is changing.  Shortly, it will have a new URL.  Hang on.

March 3, 2010

Waiting...

If writing for public consumption doesn't teach you patience, nothing will.

I just finished waiting for contest results (didn't win).
I'm waiting to hear if I will have a book signing in a local store this spring.
I've waited far too long in times past to hear on query letters.

And the most infamous:

I'm waiting for inspiration.

February 26, 2010

Hmmm…you’re too old for what?

At work the other day one of my (younger) peers at work said to me: “I admire you for writing a book and publishing it the way you have at your age.”

I tried to ignore the obvious insult and replied (I hope less huffily than I felt): “First of all it took me 6 years to write that book so I was considerably younger when I started. Second, who says that writing and publishing is a young person’s job? Third, “ (and here I lost my cool) “How old do you actually think I am? My aunt wrote her memoir in her 80s?”

February 23, 2010

Computer Traffic Cop

Or at least that’s what I feel like sometimes. Some days I fail at it.

You see, I write on three different computers. Back in the day (when I was taking notes in classes and writing books at the same time) I wrote longhand on yellow legal paper. But then I found that I was loathe to transcribe the longhand notes. So I started writing on my home computer which is great for me when I’m home but I like to hammer away on a pc in the library and at work too. I have a great store of abandoned yellow legal pads. As a consequence, I write a snippet on the work machine, a snippet on the netbook I carry to the library and pretty soon I’ve got snippets up the wazoo without any sense of organization.

That has lead me to try a new organization process. The home PC is definitive. The netbook gets downloaded to the home book as soon as I get home via thumb drive. The work horse gets up loaded to my Yahoo email and then downloaded to the home book. And sometimes I lose all sense of direction and download and upload everything in the wrong direction.

Sigh.

February 19, 2010

Inspiration everywhere

The below is a cross-post from my private (that is, friends) blog but I think it is important here because it is one of the things that inspires me. Certainly the play I went to that day was great to see, but it is the people-watching that energizes my writing.

The Birth of a Broadway Babe

It was to be my second and last viewing of the play A Steady Rain. I hadn’t intended on doing it again but something drove me there. Perhaps it was the fifth row ticket that answered my knock on the door of the Telecharge website.

I settled into my seat noting that the Schoenfeld does provide some knee room where their more expensive tickets play, when a mountain of a man stepped over me and sat down next to me, crossing his arms in one simple gesture of “I don’t want to be here.” Great, always good to have an amiable seat-mate.

I decided to ignore him but there was no doing that. Turning only his head and not his body he asked in a broad NewYawk accent, “How long is this thing?”

Okay, right there he had my back up. I’d just paid $150 to watch a “thing?” I think not.

“An hour and 30 minutes but there’s a fund-raiser for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS after so it will probably be about one forty five before you can sprint out of the theatre.”

I wondered at someone so bent on not being a place the entry to which he had paid $150.

I thought that would be the end of the conversation, but no.

“They’re raising money for AIDS?”

I got ready to defend it but before I could open my mouth he said:

“That’s good.”

But he was still looking straight ahead at the stage as if studying a perp.

“My wife thought I should come. She bought me the ticket. I always do what she says.”

Suddenly it dawned on me.

“Are you NYPD?”

He turned slowly in my direction.

“Brooklyn, yeah. My badge showing?”

“Nope, just a good guess.”

“You a profiler?”

“No, just a New Yorker.”

“Humpf.”

“She said it’s a play about cops. She went because she likes one of the guys in the play. I never been to a play before. Not even in High School.”

I wondered for a beat about someone living in NY who had a wife who liked plays but had never been himself. But I only wondered for a beat because Mr. Only-looks-at-the-stage was off on another run-on paragraph.

“She thinks I’ll like it. Will I?”

I decided to go for minimalist.

“Do you like Law and Order?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s Law and Order without the car chase and set in Chicago.”

He relaxed a bit.

The ushers began with their song and dance.

“The magic (where did they get that phrase) will begin shortly. Please turn off your cell phones. No photography is allowed anywhere in the theatre…”

“What magic?” He mumbled to the curtain.

I decided it best not to answer.

The lights went down. The music hummed in the background. The curtain went up.

By now, for me, the best show was in the audience.

I arranged myself so that I could see him on the edge of my peripheral vision. His arms were still crossed but he chuckled a bit when Hugh Jackman made his opening remarks about being a Nielson family.

Five minutes into the play and I turned again slightly to my left. His arms were uncrossed, he was leaning slightly forward.

Then they described the bullet through the front window. He leaned farther forward and relaxed, his hands clasped between his knees. He stayed like this for the rest of the hour and a half. I think he had started becoming one with the play. When the audience was startled, as it is, by two of the revelations, he heard them as a cop would. He didn’t gasp or catch his breath like the audience; there was just a barely audible “shit” under his breath.

He came up for air only when he was carried there by the thunderous applause of the audience at the end of the play. Immediately he was on his feet taking cue, perhaps from the people in front of us, but his emotion was genuine and his applause louder almost than the rest of the thousand or so people in the theatre.

We settled back into our seats for the fund-raiser. Now he was a bit more relaxed and amiable.

“So deese guys. I seen ‘em somewhere before.”

I went Mona Lisa on him.

Hugh Jackman began to speak.

“Where the hell, pardon, did that come from?”

He seemed flummoxed by Hugh’s transition from Chicago cop to Australian actor.

“Australia,” I answered somewhat facetiously.

Then Daniel Craig began to speak in the Queen’s English.

The light dawned.

“James Bond.”

He smiled at his triumph of recognition.

“I’d a never known.”

He shook his head.

“But where do I know the other one from?”

“Wolverine.”

I took his few words for my cue.

“Nah.”

“Yeah.”

I pointed at his Playbill and he studied it.

“He sings?”

“Very well I might add.”

Jackman and Craig slipped off their shirts to reveal the wifebeaters that they were about to auction for BC/EFA and I thought I heard my companion mutter,

“I need to go to the gym more.”

But I may have been mistaken.

Then Hugh announced that Sunday night’s performance would benefit in part the NYCPBA Widows & Children’s Fund.

We were rising from our seats when he asked, “How would one go about getting tickets for Sunday night?”

He was hooked.

“I think the wife would like to see it again.”

I suppressed a snork and pointed him in the direction of the box office. I, being the older than middle-aged woman I am, headed for the ladies. But I was to have one last encounter with my Brooklyn cop.

As I came out of the alley and around the corner to the front of the theatre he was just coming out, tickets in hand.

“I showed him my credit card and my badge and got good seats for us on Sunday.”

He waved the tickets at me and beamed.

I think I saw the making of a theatre convert, Brooklyn style.

February 18, 2010

Okay, so now you're part of an experiment

As all three of my readers know, this blog is sort of an experiment. I have posts on what it is to do signings, ego trips with rave reviews and some philosophy about singular writing.

As you may also know, I'm something of an eternal student so I'm now taking a course on blogging. You may see changes in the coming weeks or not. I hope to be posting more often.

If you want to know how I'm doing on the upcoming books...

They all have titles. The book formerly known as Loft is now Factory and Loft. No, that's not a combined title. Loft was turning into Gone With the Wind so it is now two books, one titled Factory and the other titled Loft. The Romance calls itself In Season. Okay. So its about horse breeding if you get the title. The tiny jewel that I'm thinking is going to be a novella is Two Rooms. It sits in my computer little changed from its early days, oh some 20 years ago. Perhaps some day.