Ernest Hemingway Quote

Ernest Hemingway said, “A writer’s problem does not change. He himself changes and the world he lives in changes, but his problem remains the same. It is always how to write truly and having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes part of the experience of the person who reads it.”

The last twenty words are what brings success to a writer. Thanks, Ernest.

Quote about Choices by Brodi Ashton

Brodi Ashton in Everneath said “Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”

I’m editing submissions I have received for my new anthology, Choices.

The entries to my poetry contest about choices are with my poet/friend judges. Winners will be announced in early August.

Look for Stacey Gustafson's Book this Fall: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

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I’ve known Stacey Gustafson for a few years and whenever we are in a group together, she always says something funny to make us laugh. I’ve read most of the stories in her book, Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives. I highly recommend it.

Here is part of an interview she shared with me.

Where did you grow up?

I’m proud to be a city slicker from St. Louis; you know that place with the Arch. It’s home to a bunch of really delicious bad-for-you food like toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, and Provel cheese.

Who are some of your favorite writers?

I love Lisa Scottoline and Janet Evanovich, tough, sassy, funny women.

What inspired the cover of Are You Kidding Me?

I want my book cover to portray the way I feel every day, not mad or sad but frustrated. I’m frustrated with the laundry, waking up before 9 A.M., self-checkout lanes, public restrooms, Brussels Sprouts, roundabouts, and the carpool.

If you had to sum up your book in three words, what would they be?

Funny, relatable, and honest.

What is your favorite TV show?

I watch so many comedy sitcoms, I can recite the lines. I study the delivery of jokes from my favorites like “Seinfeld”, “Everybody loves Raymond”, “King of Queens”, “Everybody Hates Chris”, “Modern Family”, and “The Middle”.

Do you think Big Foot exists?

If he’s out there, the poor guy must be walking with a cane, more like Grandpa Big Foot. Since Big Foot is described as a big hairy creature, maybe I’m married to him.

Adriane Nichols Talked about Connecting

At Jessica Barksdale Inclan’s two-day retreat, I was happy to see L.A. actress and life coach, Adriane Nichols again. We both have attended Jessica’s workshops three times.

When Jessica gave us time to write, I found the deck off of the kitchen with no one else there. I wrote the beginning of Chapter Five for my novel, Norman in the Painting where Jill, the protagonist, reads Adriane’s blog. Jill takes her advice to look at her closet for 5 minutes as a way to begin organizing it. Jessica had told me that in my 25 word submission, I describe Jill’s sister, Viv’s clothing at length, but very little about Jill’s wardrobe. As Jill stares in her closet, she and I realize she has a lack of style and is wondering how to change it, symbolic of the beginning of her transformation.

Adriane also told us that some people disconnect to connect. I plan to have one of my characters show that kind of behavior.

What does your protagonist’s closet look like? Do any of your characters disconnect to connect?

Jessica Barksdale's Writing Retreat starts tomorrow

Jessica Barksdale The next two days will be the third time I’ve attended Jessica Barksdale’s writing retreats. Set among the tress in the East Bay hills, with several cozy places to write in between her lectures and critiques of participants 25 page submissions, it’s my favorite place to join writers.

Jessica Barksdale is the author of twelve traditionally published novels, including the best-selling Her Daughter’s Eyes, The Matter of Grace, and When you Believe.  Her next novel How to Bake a Man is forthcoming in the fall from Ghostwoods Books. She has published several eBooks and a women’s studies textbook, Diverse Voices of Women.

Jessica teaches composition, creative writing, mythology, and women’s literature at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and online novel writing courses for UCLA Extension.

I’ve taken several classes Jessica has taught. On-line writing classes set me forward in my writing career, and her mythology class at DVC was outstanding. The latter reminded me of attending theater plays every day in that semester. Her skill as a presenter/instructor kept every one looking forward to the next class and leaving each one with increased knowledge and joy in time well spent.

Written Across The Genres at Towne Center Bookstore

Judy Wheeler at Towne Center Bookstore is pleased with the sales of our anthology, Written Across the Genres. She will keep copies on the shelves, no waiting for an order. While you’re there, check out their new carpeting.

We’d like to thank Judy for her support. She offers space to members of the California Writers Club, Tri-Valley branch for readings and other events. Her helpers, Claire and Genevieve, are friendly and efficient.

Independent bookstores like hers are great places to browse for books.

Interview with Poet Fred Norman

If you missed my previous post, I recommended Fred Norman’s book, A Hill of Poems which has the Crosses of Lafayette on the cover. Here I will do an interview with him. His poem, “Top Loading Washing Machine” is in my anthology, Written Across the Genres (available on Amazon). At bookstore readings, people tell me they enjoy his poem even more when they hear him read it.

Julaina: Who is your favorite author?

Fred: Lately my favorite author seems to be the writer of the last good book I’ve read. For fiction that would be Chang-Rae Lee, the book is On Such a Full Sea. This is a book for writers as well as readers. It can be read for pleasure, an educational comment on our society with waves of tenseness and an ending that keeps the story fresh in memory for weeks after reading the last word. For the writer, it can be studied to learn how to do successfully what writers often are taught not to do, very long sentences, for instance and relatively little dialogue.

For non-fiction that would be Glenn Greenwald, the book is No Place to Hide. It has to do with Edward Snowden. It reads like a well-written novel, it’s difficult to put down, it stimulates the emotions. You can read this book and learn unpleasant truths or you can ignore this book and live in ignorance, happily, perhaps, but only happy for a while.

In poetry I long ago was hypnotized for life by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”. Oh, that vision of a dream. That Xanadu. Whenever I need a push to write, be it prose or poetry, or sometimes just to dream, I reread this poem.

Julaina: Where do you like to write?

Fred: I prefer writing at home, in my house, in a small room with windows to let in sunlight on a sunny day and to see out into darkness at night, quiet, and absolutely undisturbed by human contact.

Julaina: What are you working on now?

Fred: As you know, I committed myself to using whatever writing skill I have to oppose the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. To that I’ve added drones and whatever other illegal and immoral acts our government and military insist on doing. The list is endless. I’m set for life as far as reasons for writing are concerned.

Poetry works well in this endeavor, but as you also know, nobody reads poetry, especially my kind of poetry, so I’m not accomplishing what I set out to do. There are other genres I need to explore. For some of my ideas, the pamphlet is ideal, and there are publishers who specialize in pamphlets. That’s what I’m working on now. Look for the word “Occupy”. Blogging. My website is Crazydove.com. Short stories and essays. They’re next. I should be able to stay busy for a while.

Julaina: Thanks, Fred, for taking time for this interview. And good luck with your projects.