Wanted – Dead or Alive

Violet's Vibes

Should I have created a more genteel title? Okay, how about “Looking for class of 1945-1946?” Misleading because it sounds like a graduating class.  Maybe, “Looking for Stephens Elementary first-grade classmates?” There were nearly one hundred first graders back then and only 39 in Mrs. Buffington’s class of 1945-46. (Did I say only 39? That was a huge class with no teacher’s assistant.)

How about this title?

Wanted Dead or Alive

Mrs. Buffington’s first grade class of 1945-46

While my twin, Vi Parsons, and I prepared for our March 10th book launch of Double Take, our stories of growing up in Chowchilla, California, we dug out childhood photos and memorabilia to display at two hometown authors events. Well, not exactly our hometown since we were born hundreds of miles southeast of Highway 99, but the town where life unfolded for us like purple morning glories on a spring…

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A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

A Wolf called Romeo by Nick JansNational Geographic has an interesting article about a friendly wolf in Alaska.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150322-romeo-wolf-dog-animals-wildlife-alaska-ngbooktalk/

Romeo appeared in the Alaskan community near Juneau, and “was a bit of a flirt, and like Shakespeare’s Romeo seemed to fall in love with”…Juliet, a yellow Labrador. Normally wolves fight with canines or eat them, but Romeo wanted to play and had his favorite humans and dogs. He would keep his distance from people but came within touching range of the author, however, Nick Jans didn’t try to pet him. He respected the wolf’s wild behavior. Romeo “would run into the middle of a game of fetch and steal the tennis ball, run off with it, throw it up in the air, and bat it with his paws.” He had his own toys that he’d bring to Jans and his friend, Harry Robinson. Romeo would pick up one of his toys, knowing how to fetch, and bring it to Harry to throw, .

The average life span of a wolf is three years and he was full grown when he came to the community. He visited them often for six more years, so he was at least eight years old at the time of his death. They didn’t feed him. He would leave for several days, apparently finding his own food.

To read more, go to the link above, or order it from you local bookstore, or go to http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Called-Romeo-Nick-Jans/dp/054422809X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427668462&sr=8-1&keywords=A+dog+called+Romeo

Pitch-O-Rama: Meet the Agents and Editors March 28

WNBA small badgeWomen’s National Book Association’s 12th Annual Pitch-O-Rama: Meet the Agents and Editors is set for tomorrow morning.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015, 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
    For men and women
    Women’s Building, Auditorium,
    3543 18th Street (b/t Guerrero & Valencia Streets) San Francisco CA 94110
    Continental Breakfast
  • Free pre-pitch coaching and ongoing mentoring
    Two one-hour pitch sessions and more!
    After the sessions, a panel presentation explores “Steps to Publishing: Editing”

    Cost: $65 WNBA members, $75 non-members, $90 walk-ins, if space available.

  • A rare opportunity to pitch to literary agents and acquisition editors in a private, supportive setting and receive feedback from some of the best publishing professionals in the Bay Area.

The list of some of the agents:

Andy Ross, previous owner of Berkeley’s legendary Cody’s Bookstore, now owns his own literary agency.

Georgia Hughes, editorial director at New World Library.

Brenda Knight, presenter at the SF Writers Conference, worked at Harper Collins.

Donna Galassi, VP Associate Publisher for Avalon Travel and Seal Press.

Daniel Harmon, Publishing Director, previous pop culture editor.

Amy Cloughley, agent with Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

Chelsea Lindman, literary agent at Sanford J. Greenburger, Associates.

Laurie McLean, Founding Partner of Fuse Literary Agency, previously with Larsen Pomada Literary Agents.

Gayle Wattawa, of Heyday, an independent, nonprofit publisher.

Carlie Webber, founder of CK Webber Associates Literary Agency.

And several more.

See you there.  Womens Building in SF

Writer's Digest Boot Camp

writers digest universityWriter’s Digest University’s “How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent Boot Camp” is half-way finished for this week. I’ve learned a lot about query letters. We’ve viewed two videos, had two days of two hour discussions, and tomorrow we submit our query letter, first five pages, and synopsis for our agent’s critique. I choose Jill Marr from the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. The agents’ critiqued materials are due to attendees by April 9th. I’ve connected on social media with several people from Jill’s group discussions. It’s been an inspiring few days.

The boot camps are different from the tutorials that Writer’s Digest offers. I haven’t taken a tutorial, but I’m impressed with this boot camp.

More later. I have to do my Norman in the Painting synopsis.

Paul Levinson's The Other Car

Tax timeThe next couple days I might not post since I need to organize my receipts for taxes.

I took a break today and read a novella by Paul Levinson called “The Other Car.” It’s available on Kindle for $.99.

The Other CArJames Oleson is beginning to see everything in perfect duplicate – two identical models of cars which are the same down to scuff marks and license plate, two old philosophy books with the same torn pages and inscription in old ink, and twin mail men. Is he losing his mind, or experiencing the birth of a new alternate reality via binary fission?

Back to numbers.

Review: Our House is not in Paris by Susan Cutsforth

Book Review Reblog from solothefirst.wordpress.com

Rambles, writing and amusing musings

Our House is not in Paris by Susan Cutsforth
Blurb:
Susan Cutsforth and her husband, Stuart, are ‘ordinary’ people living an extraordinary life. They both work full-time: one is a teacher librarian of thirty years, and the other, a middle-level clerk in the public service.

But, as Susan recounts in ‘Our House is Not in Paris’, they own a holiday house in France — the other side of the world. And not only that, this petite maison required significant renovating, which they accomplished almost singlehandedly during their working holidays.

Our House is Not in Paris is a story of pushing boundaries, aiming high and, most of all, taking risks. With humour, poetry and insight, Susan’s story shows that you can do more than simply dream: if you work hard, anything is possible.

My review:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Our House is Not in Paris, and felt transported into author Susan’s…

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Secondary Characters Deserve Attention

secondary characters deserve attentionDo you have secondary characters in your novel or story? Have you given them enough attention? Or are you using them as if they were props?

As writers, we spend time in character development for our protagonist and antagonist, and tend to throw in a secondary character for dialogue or for a cause of some kind, etc. Without distinguishing characteristics, these minor beings are flat, boring, and unnoticeable. What can a writer do to enhance a minor figure’s brief appearance? For example a police officer might be in a couple of scenes, but has little importance. Find something distinctive about him. Does he smell like cigarette smoke? Does he pull on his ear frequently? Is his badge on crooked?

What about a delivery boy? In one of  my short stories, he’s there for a minute, but I have him joking with my protagonist about the size of the package being taller than her. She enjoys his humor.

In a different short story of mine that won a second place award in a competition, called “A Cup of Change,” the waiter talks too much about his fiance, yet he’s infatuated with the protagonist who openly flirts with him. He appears twice in the story for brief moments, but he’s memorable. When I wrote that story several years ago, I had learned that secondary characters can reflect the theme or premise or can have a similar goal or problem in a subplot. “A Cup of Change” is about a woman who is having an affair with her friend’s husband and doesn’t realize her friend knows about it. The woman tries to encourage her friend to get a divorce since the married couple are not getting along. Meanwhile the waiter talks on and on about his upcoming wedding. The wife flirts with him and gives him advice on how to treat his bride while the mistress interprets the interaction as a good sign for an impending divorce. The young waiter’s actions show he is excited about his wedding plans, yet nervous around this mature, seductive woman. He’s a minor character but fully developed and he reflects the theme of marriage and betrayal.

Do you have a favorite minor character?

Lolly Winston's Good Grief

Lolly Winston Good Grief
Lolly Winston’s Good Grief is an excellent book. I savored the last twenty pages, unable to leave the characters and their world in Ashland, Oregon, that I enjoyed these last few days. At times the story brought tears and other times, I laughed out loud, even in the reception room where I was waiting for an appointment.

Here is an example (page 256) of her style. It’s a scene where Sophie, the main character, has been avoiding the man she dated for reasons I won’t tell. He hasn’t contacted her for a while and she’s made a good-riddance list in an attempt to get over him. One morning she hears his voice on her answering machine as she’s heading out the door to go to the bakery where she works. She clutches the front door handle and listens to the beginning of his apologetic message.

“Squeezing a stack of cookbooks to my chest, I creep back down the hall to the kitchen, holding my breath as if he might hear me through the answering machine.

This better be good.”

A few lines down:

“I lean toward the answering machine as if to sniff it. Clean laundry smell, broad shoulders, narrow waist, callused warm hands. None of my good-riddance list items come to mind.”

I’ll miss Sophie, Crystal, Drew, Ruth, and Marion. Maybe I’ll reread it one day just to be with them again.

Have you read Good Grief or any of Lolly Winston’s books? Lolly Winston photo

Rollo May Quotes

Rollo May betray yourselfToday, I opened a book at random and found the following quote by Rollo May:

“The boundaries of our world shift under out feet and we tremble while waiting to see whether any  new form will take the place of the lost boundary or whether we can create out of this chaos some new order.”

The quote reminded me of reading several existentialists’ books when I was in my twenties. Rollo May, 1909-1994, was an American existential psychologist and author of the influential book Love and Will in 1969. Paul Tillich, philosopher and theologian, was a close friend. According to Wikipedia, “Anxiety is a major focus of Rollo May and is the subject of his work “The Meaning of Anxiety”. He defines it as “the apprehension cued off by a threat to some value which the individual holds essential to his existence as a self” (1967, p. 72)…

“One way in which Rollo proposes to fight anxiety is by displacing anxiety to fear as he believes that ‘anxiety seeks to become fear’. He claims that by shifting anxiety to a fear, one can therefore discover incentives to either avoid the feared object or find the means to remove this fear of it.”

Since fear is one of the themes with my WIP, Norman in the Painting, I can use Rollo’s propositions in Jill’s character. Fear is natural to people and writers often use fear in their writing. In Chapter 18, Jill’s underlying fears are challenging her comfort zone. What felt like a simple fear in her past has multiplied to many fears that dash her environmental security.

Here are more quotes by Rollo May:

Rollo May run faster when lostRollo May on mythRollo May imagination not frosting

Has any of Rollo’s quotes inspired you or resonated with what you are writing now?