Subject: Newschat Autumn 2012
It's been a year of challenges. My beloved mother left this mortal coil (one of her favorite ways of saying 'died'; from Shakespeare) in April. Marcia and I moved into our new home in Bradenton, Florida in May. Tropical Storm Debby invaded our dining room in June. Meanwhile my contractual deadline of September 14 for YOU'VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU loomed ever closer.
But I think the motto of the explorer Lt. Col. Percival Harrison Fawcett is best for times like this: Nec Aspera Terrent. Translation from the Latin: 'Difficulties Be Damned!' (Fawcett disappeared in the jungles of Brazil in 1925. His gold signet ring inscribed with those words turned up in a junk shop in Mato Grosso in 1979. Moral of the story: Always wear a distinctive piece of jewelry in case there's no DNA left.)
BTW, if you're unfamiliar with the word 'jungle' it's the kind of place we call a 'rain forest' today. But in 1925 they were jungles, boy, were they ever.
Although loved ones continue to leave this mortal coil, new life and growth always surround us. Even autumn, the great pause of breath before winter, brings beauty, familiar change, and new possibilities.
As usual, your FAQs guide me:
Q: So did you meet that deadline?
A: Yes. The beauty of deadlines is the external force they create. I'm happy with the book and am keeping my fingers crossed that my editors at Writer's Digest Books agree. After several changes, the current full title is YOU'VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU: WRITE IT STRESS FREE AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE. What do you think of the subtitle? Write back and let me know; I'm sort of taking a poll. The nugget of the book is this: Writing a book is easy.
A: Easy, that is, once we get out of our own way and let our natural voice and creativity flow freely. The book aims to help you do that.
Q: When can I get it?
A: Publication is scheduled for next spring. Growth season!
Q: I'd like to meet you in person. Is this possible somewhere in North America in the near future?
A: Yes! I'm honored to be a presenter at the upcoming Writer's Digest West conference in Hollywood, California, October 19-21.
My gig is on the 20th, and I'll be sharing lots of stuff from the book, including the Heart-Clutching Moment Plotting Method, Writing With the Masters, and more. Other authors on the faculty are James Scott Bell, Steven James, and Aimee Bender. The conference is part of a triple threat called Story World, where authors, screenwriters, and game developers can come and learn how to get good.
The following day, October 21, I'll be doing a reading and mini writing workshop at the June Mazer Archives in West Hollywood, 3-5 p.m. I think it's gonna be free. Stop in and we'll have some fun.
Q: Will you be at Golden Crown in Dallas next year?
A: I intend to. I had a great time at the last two conferences. They're doing a fun thing on the East Coast in a couple of weeks. I can't make it, but lots of cool authors and readers will be there.
Q: Are you working on new fiction?
Q: I've heard that before.
A: I know. I've had to keep putting new work aside to handle life (and death) stuff, plus the nonfiction book I just finished. I'm working on the next in the Lillian Byrd series (those books are available on Amazon Kindle) and have a bunch of other projects lined up, including another Rita Farmer book. I've kept up my writing for Writer's Digest Magazine, and recently contributed to their 2013 GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS. If you're interested in going the traditional-publishing route, it's a terrific resource.
Q: I live in the Tampa area and am dying to hear some good symphonic music. Suggestions?
A: You are so in luck. The Tampa Bay Symphony has started up rehearsals for their new concert season. I'm percussion section leader and will be pleased to play in Aaron Copland's 'Rodeo' suite, Morton Gould's weirdly cool 'Red Cavalry March' (where there's this fast woodblock ostinato that is trying to give me carpal tunnel syndrome), and more. Check it out and come listen! If you make it to a concert, come up and introduce yourself during intermission, OK?
Q: What's an ostinato?
A: It just means a sustained, repeated phrase. From the Italian for 'stubborn'!
Q: What are your author friends up to these days?
A: Check out these new books:
REST FOR THE WICKED by Ellen Hart is getting great reviews!
The same can be said for Pearl North's newest, THE BOOK OF THE NIGHT
Also of Chuck Sambuchino's RED DOG, BLUE DOG
And finally, a word from my Webmistress: Life's too short to delete unwanted emails. To opt out of this news group, reply to this email and put 'remove' in the subject line.
With thanks for your friendship, which keeps me going through jungle and hedge, desert and peak.
Author and Contributing Editor at Writer's Digest Magazine