Saturday, November 19, 2011

United Kingdom

I had the opportunity to go to London for a long weekend last week. I was impressed by how quiet the underground was and how tasteful the Christmas decorations were.The store windows were decorated in subtle ways with bright colors. In one of the main department stores, giant, blood red tree decorations were hung above the shoppers. No glitz. It was good to be in the company of calm people. Even the protesters on the grounds of St Paul's Church were civil and quiet.
Another observation is the emphasis on Literature. I saw the replica of the Shakespeare's Globe Theater and the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Both just happened to be closed because it was evening but it was great to see that these were highlighted on the tour.
We walked over the Tower Bridge at night. What a beautiful sight. The afternoon tour of the Tower of London, a large walled-in compound was worth every minute. The Beefeater who gave the tour treated us to some funny lines about some not- so- funny topics, like people being beheaded without trials. The crown jewels were well worth seeing along with the line of kings and the arms and armour rooms. Such splendor!
I always like to notice different expressions of people in other nations. The British are not afraid to call a toilet one instead of a rest room, like us. They also do not say exit but Way out. Interesting take on expressions.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Wampum Exchange

I have been working on editing my book for a few weeks now. My editor has been very patient and helpful, as he wants to retain my voice and story. It is a lot of hard work and well worth the effort. I want the writing to be the best it can be and still tell a good story. My point in writing this novella is for teens and adults alike to be entertained while learning about the history of the era.
Here is a short synopsis of The Wampum Exchange.

The Wampum Exchange gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of people back in 1650 Colonial America through the eyes of twelve-year-old Daniel.

In 1650, young Daniel and his family live on the East End of Long Island in one of the first English settlements there. Their lives and those of the community are centered on their farms and the Meeting House where they worship and meet to establish local rules. Daniel's chance meeting with a boy from the local Indian settlement alters the way he looks at life from then on. With his family's help, he must own up to his shortcomings and make things right. Along the way, Daniel solves a mystery that he doesn't know exists. Throughout the story, Daniel is learning what it means to grow up and become a part of the adult world.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The dream that began eight years ago has finally come to fruition. I have a publisher for my historical Y/A novella. Along the way, the path has had many twists and turns. Those rejection letters and then e-mails came slowly but packed a wallop. I stopped submitting for awhile because of the rejection. Then I began to make a plan.
I took a writing course and joined a writers group of older writers. The Taproot group was good for me. I was exposed to a wonderful instructor, who just happened to be a poet. I listened and took the criticism as constructive most of the time. Sometimes I did not change my gut instinct but listened to the way I could improve the mechanics of the work. I listened to all the poets and was inspired to write more of the same.
I also began to read the guidelines carefully. At first, I sent my work to any magazine or publisher that I thought would want to read my pieces. I realized after awhile that there has to be a fit. So I became selective in sending my work. I would read past volumes if I could to get a feel for the publication. I did have a few successes. Once a year at least one publication would accept my work. That fueled the spark in me to keep sending.
The biggest change for the better came along because I subscribed to fundsforwriters, a free newsletter for writers by C Hope Clark. Hope gives all of us a reason to keep writing. She has an advice column at the start of every newsletter. Then she compiles lists of places of submission with blurbs explaining what they are looking for. At the end of each newsletter, there are publishers and agents listed. This is what helped me the most. I began sending my work to magazines or anthologies that appeared to be looking for what I was writing. I have had several articles, poems, and short stories published. Most were paid and some were not. At least I knew that upfront.I was inspired to keep writing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dreams do Come True

This is not a new story but it is a common one for writers. It began with a series of glimpses of my life in a writing class after I retired from teaching. It was cathartic and actually fun to mine my brain for childhood images and write them down. Many of us remember events but do we write them down?
Off I was every week to my class of older writers. Each of us was writing about our past and it was interesting to note that after awhile we could tell the authors by the subjects of each of the pieces. Then a light bulb went off in my head and I started to write fiction.That was even more fun to do. After that I wanted to become a published author. That is where it got very challenging. When I retired I had been teaching for many years and I was at the top of my game.
Becoming a better writer and trying to get published was a huge challenge.I did not know where to start but I plugged along. I learned a lot from my mistakes but I welcomed this new life even with all of the rejections. I believed in myself and knew that it would happen one day. And it did.