Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to . . .

Last night, mystery author Cathy Pickens and I were talking about funny things that people have said to us about our work. We were at Uwharrie Books where Cathy was signing books and talking about her writing.

Okay, maybe everyone won't find it funny that Cathy has received threatening letters and I've had a stalker come to my house, but we had a good laugh over it.

Every author has some stories to tell about strange emails they've received or people contacting them in ways that made them cringe. There are also the review stories that we tell like old war tales, showing our private and public scars from words that hurt our feelings.

You have to learn to have a thick skin when you write for a living and let other people read and buy it. There is always going to be someone who loves it and someone who hates it. In between there are the people who like it but wish you'd have gotten a quote right that was wrong (according to them) and people who disagree with what REALLY happened in your story.

Recently, I had woman email me to say she didn't like the Renaissance Faire Mysteries because she hated Renaissance Faires and Festivals in general. I wondered what made her read Wicked Weaves when it's pretty clear what the book is about.

She answered my email by saying she'd hoped the events would be different than she recalled when she'd gone to a Ren Faire years ago. "I was hoping Ren Faires had changed, but I can tell from your book that they haven't. It's just like being at one of those events," she said in a return email. "I'll read the next book that comes out in that series and hope for the best."

You never know what to expect next and I guess that's part of what makes it fun!

Thanks for the laugh, Cathy!

Joyce Lavene
Ghastly Glass
Yes, it is JUST like being at the Renaissance Faire!

Monday, September 28, 2009

An epiphany . . . of sorts

This morning I had an epiphany of sorts.

I actually got out of bed, showered, dressed, got breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen, started the laundry---get the picture? You do and you are saying, so what? We all do that, every day of our lives and we don’t even think about it.

But that is exactly the point. I didn’t either. At least, I didn’t until I lost my leg. Then I wondered if I would ever be able to do those things, or anything else, again without a struggle. Have just another day. And this morning, it happened.

I was thinking about other things, actually a great many other things, and I went through all of those meaningless tasks automatically. Of course, months of practice went into this morning. Hours at therapy, weeks of wheeling myself around in a chair, more learning to walk upright once more. And while I still have a long way to go, I’m a lot better.

Which made me think about writing. Or, more accurately, rewriting. Someone whose name escapes me once said, fiction isn’t written, it’s re-written. And that should be the first rule of writing. Accept the fact that if you want to be good, you are going to re-write. And why not?

Baseball players practice hitting and throwing until I’m sure they think their arms are going to fall off. Dancers practice one step over and over until their toes bleed. Good cooks quietly throw out as many dishes as they, finally, proudly serve. So what makes writers think they are so different?

The Carolina Conspiracy has been giving workshops lately, and Joyce and Jim Lavene have been talking about re-writing, how we need to get over our fear of the delete button, and they are right. Get out that red pen and take out all of the words, sentences, paragraphs, that don’t fit, read too long, or make the same point fifteen times. Take out that cute description about how the cat ripped out the back of the sofa. It doesn’t move the story forward, and, if truth be told, it isn’t all that cute.

Writers have to practice their craft just like the dancer, the ball player, and the cook. And just like I had to, learning to walk again. It takes time, our toes bleed, and the garbage can overflows with our failures, but if we keep at it, paring down those sentences, ruthlessly throwing out those little gems we thought were so great but in our heart of hears know aren’t, tightening up that plot and pouring our hearts and souls into making our characters live and breath, we will eventually produce something publishable.

Or, more important, something we are really proud of.

Kathlenn Delaney
And Murder for dessert

Monday, September 21, 2009

A writer is a writer

I have been recently been involved with writing policies for the Town of Midland where I live. I have also written press releases for myself and others, webpage content, resumes and newsletters. People look at me and say, "You can write. You should be able to do this."

To a certain extent that's true, but there's a big difference between writing about killing people and writing how the Town of Midland should engage in environmentally sound practices.

Writing for the newspaper is different too but a writer friend of mine subsidizes her fiction by writing grants for companies. She feels like if you can write one thing, you can write another.

And she must be right because here we are doing it.

I frequently wonder if artists feel the same way. Are they called on to paint houses because they can paint landscapes? Or is stringing words together less impressive than doodling?

Back to writing soup labels . . .

Joyce Lavene
Ghastly Glass

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hendersonville NC Apple Festival

Today we went to Hendersonville and enjoyed the annual Apple Festival. The crowd was huge and parking was hard to find, but we had a good time.

There were lots of exhibits, music and, of course apples. They also had several live bands.

While we were there we stopped by Mountain Lore Books and More, which is owned by Joslyn Bleick. They were set up to host another author's signing, so I introduced myself. She is very excited and has a copy of my book to read. She will contact myself and the group about doing future signings at the store!

Thats all for now. Fight the Good Fight! Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Doug The Executioner Walker

Friday, September 4, 2009

Marketing Conspiracy

Here is an article by author Linda Faulkner (click on title) about marketing the Conspiracy!

Look for us in Gastonia, NC at the library on September 26 at 2 pm!

Joyce Lavene