Friday, April 30, 2010

All Jokes Aside

As you may already know, my first novel was published in November 2009. It's been an exciting and nerve racking year and a half. I have been trying to learn as much as possible about this new (to me) world called publishing and at the same time also learning so much more about myself; what I'm capable of, what my downfalls are. I'm learning it's important to build a fan base, a platform, and maintain an on line presence that is welcoming and offers something useful to others. The questions I keep coming back to are, How much do readers, online friends, and fans want to know? and How much am I willing to divulge?

This whole on line life is completely new to me, and at my age new things don't come so easily, so I wrestle between openness and privacy and often end up hiding behind humor (cheesy humor at that). This is something I've slowly come to see in myself. Seeing our own faults don't hit as fast as say, seeing faults in others. It's more of a process, like grief, that until we get to a point where we can accept we can not work on making necessary changes. That is where I am, accepting and deciding on how to make the changes.

It's not that I see a sense of humor as a bad thing. It's gotten me through a lot of tough times and helped me to view life less critically. But it can also be a crutch, a way of avoiding something uncomfortable or stressful. When it becomes a crutch it actually builds a wall, a protective barrier, between me and the world. I know this, and believe I have found a good balance with this in my real, off line life. Online, well that's another story. Online, I know that my tendencies toward humor can make me look fickle and even unprofessional at times. This is a problem, because I started this whole on line adventure to learn and enhance my professional writing life, not hinder it. At the same time, I don't want to completely lose my sense of humor in the process.

So, now that I know and accept this, how do I begin to make changes? I'm not sure. I know a big part of it is forcing my self to be more honest and open. I follow some incredible people and blogs online that have both inspired and forced me to look deeper at myself as a person on and off line. There is a difference between the two, for me anyway. I admire the people that can open themselves up to the world, that's not me. I'm a private person by nature. I do pour myself, heart and soul, into my writing, but I think knowing there's a cushion of fiction surrounding those raw exposed parts of me that live in every character I create allows me to do so.

There are no easy answers to this. It's going to be, like most everything in life, a series of trials and errors. I'm just beginning this journey, and know that I will get to a place that allows me to be more open yet keep some degree of privacy, which I think is vital in keeping mine and my family's life sacred and special to us. All I can ask for is patience (from myself and others) while I figure this all out.

My question to you is:

How much do you, as a reader, want to know about the author?

Thank you for stopping by. I do appreciate the time you take out of your own journeys to listen to mine.

Kristin : )

Thursday, April 29, 2010

National Poetry Month: The Road Not Taken

We have come to the end of my celebration of National Poetry Month. It was nice to revisit some of my favorite poems by Robert Frost and find a few I new ones. I'll cap off month with Frost's most popular.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

I hope you have enjoyed. Thanks for stopping by.

Kristin : )

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Writer Wednesdays: Jamie DeBree

The Path to “Writer”
Jamie DeBree

I’ve wanted to be a writer for a long time. I guess some would say I’ve *been* a writer for a long time, just with some very long growth and research periods thrown in (though I never dared use the title until just this last year). I started writing in high school with pages of passionate purple prose that garnered my first negative critique and a suggestion that I not pursue writing as anything more than a hobby. It was a sentiment echoed by well-meaning (and perhaps correct) family members, though their reasons were more practical – according to my mom, a woman should always be able to take care of and provide for herself, no matter her marital status. Wise words to this day, I think.

I’ve always had a very clear understanding of what it is to be self-employed, because my father has run his own business from home since I was very young. Growing up with that made me very much aware of the “feast or famine” lifestyle that any full-time writer would probably face, it’s just the nature of self-employment and contract work. So I had already dismissed the possibility of being a full-time writer…at least not until far in the future when I would be retired and no longer in need of a steady income.

I went off to college, working two, sometimes three jobs to pay for a degree I was pretty sure I’d never use and always, always in the background was the itch to write something more than essays and term papers. I didn’t have time to write back then, but I thought about it almost constantly as I went about my practical life. I’d occasionally jot down a story idea or a few chapters of something, and then walk away from it again as “real life” took over.

After college I got a “real” job, and started working 8-5, amazed at how much *time* I had left over in the day with only one job and no classes or homework. I finally indulged my desire to write, throwing myself headlong into National Novel Writing Month and shocking myself by completing a 50,000 word novel. It was supposed to be a mystery-thriller, but turned into a mish-mash of all the genres I routinely read (romance, mystery, thriller, horror, and even some literary elements). It was bad (it’s still bad, actually), but it soothed that deep, aching need to write that I’d been carrying around for years. I still knew that writing wasn’t a “practical” career, so my writing would only be a hobby, but I wrote several more NaNo novels after that, each one improving. I dabbled a bit with editing, but it was overwhelming, and I couldn’t quite get motivated to put that much work into a “hobby”. I even tried to just give it up – quit writing altogether, but then November came around again, and I…just couldn’t stay away. Pretty soon I started the serial novel on my blog…my first novel written “in public” so to speak, and the first fiction I’d shown to anyone since high school. I got a few encouraging comments, and started meeting other writers – it felt good. It felt “right”…like I was doing what I’d been meant to do all along.

Last March, I decided to buy a netbook. A new story was percolating in my head at the time - I wanted to write, and I didn’t want to be stuck back in my office doing it. The week it got here I started writing the novel I’m currently editing for submission this summer. I've been writing regularly ever since – I just needed to be able to do my writing with the rest of the family (my husband and dogs). I really rebelled against locking myself away to work on my novels.

I also started interacting with other writers…and reading everything I could about the publishing industry. My practical side was downright giddy when I learned that there were authors out there who really did make a living selling their books. The key, it seems, is to be prolific, and most self-sufficient authors either sell the big bestselling thrillers, or romance novels. I read a lot of both, but my own novels lean heavily toward the romance side, so it was pretty easy to choose romance as my main genre. My romances are contemporary, but I can’t seem to write one without some sort of suspense element, so I’m calling them romantic suspense for now.

At this point, I'm working hard to set myself up to be successful not only in telling good stories that will entertain people, but also in publishing and selling enough books to earn a comfortable living. My current goal is to publish four books per year, and see how close that will get me to earning what I currently make at my day job. We'll see how that goes, but I'm optimistic. I'll start submitting my first “good” novel (my fifth completed ms) this summer. And that will be the start of a whole new journey.

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Thanks Jamie for being a guest for this edition of Writer Wednesdays and thank you to all who took time to stop by and read Jamie's Path to Writing. She also has a great blog that displays some of her work and offers excellent advice to writers Variety Pages . You can also follow her on Twitter @JamieDeBree .

Kristin : )

If you would like more info about this series, please see Writer Wednesday: The Intro

Monday, April 26, 2010

Memoir Mondays: On Writing Well by William Zinsser

On Writing Well by William Zinsser is not exactly a memoir, but it does have a chapter on Memoir writing. So, for that it has earned a place on my Memoir Monday shelf.

This is "an informal guide to writing nonfiction". It is intended to help the nonfiction writer with things like, improving your lead, how to interview and critique. It covers writing about Science, Technology, Nature, Business, Humor, and, of course, Memoirs. In addition to all this I think it offers great advice to all writers.

It's important for all writers to know that "rewriting is the essence of writing" and the best way "you learn to write [is] by writing". Those quotes from the book may sound redundant and simple, but they are true. The more you write, the better you will become at it and that goes for rewriting too. Zinsser puts it perfectly with this thought, "Nobody becomes Tom Wolfe overnight, not even Tom Wolfe."

My favorite part of this book is that Zinsser respects there are "... all kinds of writers and all kinds of methods, and any method that helps people say what they want to say is the right method for them."

Some other great points I took from Zinsser was to simplify as much as possible, grab the readers attention right away, keep focused on what you're trying to say, and if you don't have passion for what you're writing you shouldn't be writing it.

I'm going back over my WIPs now to apply some of these. What do you think of William Zinsser's advice? Have you read On Writing Well, or any of his other books?

Thank you for stopping by.

Kristin : )

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bo Obama: The White House Tails

Bo Obama, if you don't already know, is the First Dog at the White House. Not the first dog to ever live there, but a member of the Presidential family. His owners are none other than President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha. He is an adorable Portuguese Water Dog and the narrator of this story told in Graphic Comic form.

In Bo Obama: The White House Tails, Bo tells about his history and how he ended up becoming the newest member of the Obama family. He also explains what it's like living in the White House. The story then goes on to discuss all of the pets that have lived in the White House through out history.

I recognized some, like Socks Clinton and Millie Bush, but there were some very interesting pets. President James Buchanan had a dog, two bald eagles, and a herd of elephants as pets. The elephants were a gift from the King of Siam.
Bo Obama: The White House Tails was written by Paul J. Salamoff, the artwork was done by Keith Tucker, and the lettering by Wilson Ramos Jr. It was published by BLUEWATER COMICS

This is a great way to bring non fiction to kids. They love the Graphic Comic style and adding the first person narration of today's First Dog, Bo will only add to the appeal. I think this would make a great addition to any school or home library. It teaches children history and entertains them.
Let me know if you have or plan to purchase this book. I am also curious about what you think about the new trend in nonfiction Graphic Comics.
Kristin : )

Thursday, April 22, 2010

National Poetry Month: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

It's Thursday, which means it's time for another Robert Frost poem. This is a well known one and another one of my favorites.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


Kristin : )

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Writer Wednesdays: Dani Harris

Hi, I'm Dani. I am a Twitter friend of Kristin's and quite honored for her to have invited me to participate in her guest post series by writers. To be honest, I'm stunned because I just started my blog in February 2010 and only began writing in January 2010. I write haiku, senryu, verse....not the rhyming type of poetry.

My journey into writing actually began on Twitter when I accidentally started following writers and poets. If you are not familiar with the Twitterverse, it is quite amazing. It is the perfect medium for short verse with it's limit of 140 characters, and the poetry "community" is very active with several group haiku challenges every day. The general definition of haiku is a verse of three parts made up of 5 syllables/7 syllables/ 5 syllables. There actually are more requirements, but this is the basis most used on Twitter. A word is selected and anyone who would likes can tweet a haiku containing that word, and individuals will randomly tweet haiku, too. I fell in love with the art form and eventually got enough courage to tweet my own words.

Quite to my surprise and delight, the writing and poetry communities both embraced me, which led to starting my own blog haiku love songs. It's also quite unexpected because I've never done any type of writing before and I'm 58 years old. {{cringe}} A young 58-year-old grandmother. I have no formal education, or really even any basic knowledge, of writing. What I do know is that the words are here now and I must write.

I was quite intimidated to attempt this post and was discussing it with another poet/Twitter friend. He said I write from my heart, and I do. The verse may not have anything to do with my real life, but every word contains a piece of me. Sometimes it can leave me feeling quite raw and exposed emotionally. Most of what I write is triggered by a song, or a bird or something I'm doing, like unbraiding my hair....usually there is an urgency to get to the computer or a pencil and paper because the words start flowing. {And I have a really bad memory, being so old and all.}

Once in a while when I read the finished verse, it doesn't feel right so I put it away and go back to it later. Occasionally, I sit down to write without anything in mind because I need something to post to my blog. But 95% of the time, the words flow... through me, not from me....and I just leave them alone.

So, am I a writer? I write. Why do I write? Because the words are forcing their way out. Am I any good? That is something beyond my ability to judge, but I'm having a lot of fun doing it.

Thanks again to Kristin for so generously inviting me here. The final moral of my writing story is that it's never too late to start.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You can enjoy Dani's poetry by following her blog: haiku love songs And you can also follow her on Twitter: @ddh77 .

Thank you Dani for a very inspirational post and perfect timing since it is National Poetry Month. Thanks also to all of you who have stopped by today.

Kristin : )

If you would like more info about this series follow this link Writer Wednesdays: The Intro .

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Female Force: Stephenie Meyer

This is a must have addition if you are a die hard Twilight fan. Female Force: Stephenie Meyer is a biographical Graphic Comic narrated by, can you guess? Yup, a vampire.

You get a look into Stephenie's past, her family, and what made her decide to write in the first place. Something I didn't know was that Twilight was originally titled Forks. After the town of Forks, Washington where the novel takes place. It was later changed to Twilight with the help of her Literary Agent.

It didn't take long for Twilight mania to sweep the nation and it's still going strong with book sales and movie deals. I wouldn't be surprised to see this Graphic Comic become a collector's item.

There is also a history of Forks, Washington included in the back. It covers everything you want to know about town filled with fictional vampires.

Female Force: Stephenie Meyer was written by Ryan Burtan, artwork was done by Dave MacNeil (Penciler), Kirsty Swan (Colorist), and Jaymes Reed (Letterer). The History of Forks section was written by Darren G. Davis and Matt Bellisle.

Please let me know if you have or plan to purchase this book.


Kristin : )

Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Poetry Month: Robert Frost + The Outsiders

I'm honored to be part of Savvy Verse & Wit Blog Tour to celebrate National Poetry Month. Thanks to all of you who stopped in today. Some of you have been here before (thank you for your continued support) For others just landing here for the first time... welcome :)

Poetry is what first grabbed my creative attention as a child and has led me on my path to becoming a writer. One poem that really took hold was by Robert Frost.

I, and every other preteen in my world, was completely obsessed with The Outsiders when it came out in 1983. I had one friend that would rush home to rewatch it everyday after school. I was not that obsessed, but would occasionally tag along when lured by snacks. We actually talked out a life plan of moving to Tulsa, OK and becoming taxi drivers (she had really good snacks LOL). It's funny what a kid thinks is an exciting career. Quotes from the movie became our vocabulary for an embarrassing amount of time. "Stay Gold Pony Boy," is possibly the most remembered line. It was the last words spoken by Johnny before dying, but that fact alone did not sear that phrase into my mind. For me it was what he was referring to that has stayed with me ever since. Johnny had shared a poem with Pony Boy as they watched the sunrise while hiding from the police. The poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

It's one of Frost's shorter poems, but to me, one of the most powerful in message. Enjoy the beauty in life, it is short lived. This poem, seamlessly folded into a pop culture movie lead me to read more of Frost's poems and then other poets, and so forth. It grabbed hold of my young heart and pushed me down the path that I am still trying to find my footing on today.

I still love Robert Frost and play around with prose when the mood hits, although more for me that for anyone else. Writing has been a passion and past time for me since, but has just recently became a career possibility. In November of 2008 I had my first novel published, The Truth Lies in the Dark. I am working on many writing projects now and hope to see some of them made public soon.

To celebrate National Poetry Month I will be posting a different Robert Frost poem every week in April and of course, I'll be hopping over to many of the blog tour stops to read more poetry stories and celebrations.


Kristin : )

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Writer Wednesdays: Jen Knox

Musical Chairs: From Journal Entry to Publication

I’m honored to be here, sharing my story as a writer and as a woman who’s learned to give voice to her past. Here’s a little about me: I am a quiet girl with a lively past. I grew up in Ohio, and I live in Texas with my incredibly handsome husband and my “kids” (a Blue Heeler named Buddy & a cat named Cheese). Currently, I teach English at San Antonio College, and as Fiction Editor for Our Stories Literary Journal. Writing is a sort of spirituality to me. I’ve had numerous short work published, but Musical Chairs is my first published book.

So, how did it all begin? Well, my memoir began to come together long before I knew I wanted to write. It began with journals, some of which resurfaced as I was returning to
school to get my GED. In a therapeutic sense (far from literary), I began to reflect, reading and writing feverishly about my past—years I would've preferred to forget, years I felt compelled to revisit. Many years later, after obtaining a degree and writing constantly, fiction and essays, my past continued to come up in my work; consequently, my book began to take shape. I decided my story needed to be told and finally, I was ready to tell it.

Notes on the Process of Writing a Memoir:

It took five years of rewriting, cutting and adding scenes, and revision; and it took a lot of well-deserved rejection. Writers who
reevaluate their work, rather than just keep submitting until it’s accepted are the ones who grow.

Writing my story was a largely cathartic and difficult experience, but it was also gratifying. I think that the actually publishing process was a far more traumatic experience for me. I remember signing with ATTM Press, feeling elated. Then, a few hours later, wanting to call and cancel. Even though I had been pursing publication for a few months, I was unprepared for the reality of acceptance. Was I really ready to share? This is a story about running away from home, about abandoning family and being unable to keep friends. It is a story that recalls my experience as a stripper—a profession that many people believe is demeaning. I began to worry nonstop about backlash; however, the support from readers has been wonderful. Many people have contacted me and said their daughters’ or their own lives have run parallel paths, and they thank me for writing my story. There have also been many people who have written me expressing pity or their personal diagnoses (none of whom, I must note, were psychologists or psychiatrists). But, this variety of responses—the personal responses that memoir invites—has proven that I now have a voice, which is the very thing I so craved during the times I write about. For that, I am grateful that I told my story. Every woman has an important story to tell; we just have different ways of telling them.

About Jen’s Writing:

Jen Knox is the author of Musical Chairs, a memoir (ATTM Press). She is a graduate of Bennington's Writing Seminars and works as an English Professor at San Antonio College and a Fiction Editor at Our Stories Literary Journal. Her work has been published in Flashquake, The Houston Literary Journal, Short Story American, Slow Trains, SLAB, and Superstition Review. She has earned awards from Glimmer Train's Best Start Competition and The ECC Literary Competition. Jen grew up in Ohio, and lives in Texas, where she is working on a novel entitled Absurd Hunger.

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More information about today's guest can be found on her website, Jen Knox, and you can follow Jen on Twitter, @Jenknox2 . Thank you Jen for being a guest on my Writer Wednesday series and thanks to all who stopped by to enjoy today's post.

Kristin : )

If you would like more info about this series please follow this link: Writer Wednesdays: The Intro

Monday, April 12, 2010

Memoir Monday: A Gift From Brittany

A Gift From Brittany by Marjorie Price is a great memoir about an artist, mother, wife, and friend. Although these titles do conflict at times in her life. Her husband, an artist from Paris sweeps Marjorie off her feet and off to the remote countryside village in Brittany, France.

The move from Paris to their run down 1/2 of hamlet (basically a small village in itself) was a hard transition for Marjorie. There was a lot of restoring to do before they would have any of the comforts they were used. Slowly it became clear that her husband demanded the artist spotlight. He expected Marjorie to raise their young daughter and nurture his art career and turn her back on her own lifelong dream of being an artist.

While her relationship weakened between her and her husband another relationship was growing. Marjorie's friendship with a elder neighbor, who seemed to exist completely in the distant past, taught her how to fight for her own future.

I found two main messages in this memoir. 1) You have to follow your heart when it comes to living out your dreams, and 2) Life is a delicate balance between what you want to have and what you must let go of.

Ms. Price works with watercolors mostly, but also showcases some beautiful acrylics. Her artwork is currently on display from April 3 through April 24, 2010, at the
Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center40 South Carroll Street, Frederick, Maryland.

If you would like more information or to take a look at some of her pieces you can stop by her website .

Thanks for coming by today's Memoir Monday featuring artist and author Marjorie Price.

Kristin : )

* This memoir was sent to me by a publicist. No money or promise of a positive review was exchanged. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blog Tour: The Tighty Whitey Spider

The Tighty Whitey Spider is perfect to review for National Poetry Month. It's a book of silly animal poems written by Kenn Nesbitt and illustrated by Ethan Long.

First of all, the main little critter is sporting nothing but his tighty whitey underwear. This alone had my kids giggling. Then there is a dog that doesn't bark, a cat that can fly, sky diving elephants, and flying pigs! That's just some of the silliness Nesbitt has packed into this 97 page book and CD.

Kenn Nesbitt is celebrating his newest release along with National Poetry Month by doing a blog tour. As an added gift he is offering everyone a look at his first book, My Hippo Has the Hiccups. So follow the link and check it out. The offer ends on April 30th.

In addition to his hilarious books, Nesbitt is also the founder of one of the most popular kid's poetry websites, Poetry for Kids.

I'd love to hear what you and the children in your life think of Kenn Nesbitt and his silly poems.

Thanks for stopping by.

Kristin : )

Friday, April 9, 2010

Healthy Fear

As a mom of four, I know how hard it is to raise kids today. The never ending battle to teach them right and wrong, sympathy and empathy, good and bad, safe and dangerous. There are a million opportunities and ways to do this each day. Whichever methods or words we choose, we all have to go to bed knowing we have done the best we can to keep our children safe, healthy, and happy. A recent trip to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles aka Defunct Meandering Vexationstation) got me thinking.

A Grandmother was sitting next to me with her 3-4 year old granddaughter. The little girl (donning adorably huge fuzzy bunny ears) was singing songs and reciting her alphabet, with her grandmother encouraging her to sing louder. It was very cute. I made sure to look up after each segment of her impromptu show, just to smile. Kids love an audience. Other people nearby cheered and complimented the little girl. It's funny how bureaucracy can strike up these kinds of kinships.

Where the day took a turn for me was when the little girl started asking her grandmother about strangers. She pointed at the woman who clapped, the nice gentleman who said good job, and me who had smiled, and asked if we were strangers. Her grandmother answered yes, which we were. She went on to ask if everyone around her were strangers, which prompted another obvious yes from the grandmother. Then the little girl announced that her mother said ALL strangers wanted to steal her.

"Do all these strangers want to steal me away?"

" Yes, " her grandmother replied again. "You are just a little girl. You can't talk to strangers ever."

I couldn't help but glance up from my book to see her eyes widen as she looked around again. Her songs and dancing stopped. Can you imagine the fear pumping through that child's body at that moment? I could see it.

I'm not in the position to say that it was the right or wrong thing to teach that little girl. Kids are inherently trusting and it's scary to think how easily they can be manipulated into dangerous situations. But I do admit that hearing that type of blanket fear being taught worries me. What happens when that little girl grows up? Will she harbor this underlying wide spread fears that her mother and grandmother have taught, and obviously at some level still believe? That is not only sad, but scary. Fear is the foundation of prejudice and hate. I'm afraid that teaching our children to fear everyone and everything will set the stage for some serious problems in the future and a huge backslide for humanity (that was a bit dramatic, but you know what I mean)

Anyone who really knows me is snickering at parts of this post. I am pretty much the most paranoid parent around, second only to my husband. I am cautious, sometimes overly so, but I try (or at least I hope) to convey to my kids that there are possible rewards and consequences in every situation. There is a balance, a healthy amount of fear needed to keep children aware and careful, but still able to grow into open and trusting adults. That is what I want most for my kids, because I believe that's where they'll find happiness.

So, maybe the key is adding another goal to my nightly ritual. When I lie down to fall asleep knowing that I've done everything in my power to keep my children safe, healthy, and happy, I will also be more aware of teaching them something that helps them become a better person out in the world when they become adults.

Just think of the possibilities if our kids could be just a little more respectful, accepting, and understanding to each other as adults. Imagine them acting and thinking from these emotions and not from fear.


Kristin : )

Thursday, April 8, 2010

National Poetry Month: Into My Own

Here's another good one by Robert Frost

Into My Own

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as 'twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e'er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew--
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

To me this poem is about plunging into the unknown, setting aside the fears and uncertainty of the future, of what lies on the other side of that journey through the dark forest.

What does it mean to you?


Kristin : )

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Writer Wednesdays: Lane Stephens

Me? A Writer?

Lane Stephens

My entire professional life has been involved with design and art. From the age of 10, when I won my first art competition, I knew I was going to be an artist. College, then advertising agencies, magazine publishing, retail advertising, and restaurant design were the fields in which I flourished, holding positions as designer, illustrator, Art Director and then Creative Director. I was one of those people who excelled in anything artistic. I have since left the cutthroat corporate world to become a free-lance designer/illustrator and painter, working from a studio in my house.

And through all this, I was a reader… a voracious 2 to 3 book a week reader of fiction. When my husband and I vacationed, I’d drag a tote bag of books along with me and plowed through them. While sitting on a deck overlooking the glittering waters of Cape Cod, I’d just finished a wonderful book, Peace like a River, so lyrical in its prose, it made my heart sing. I closed it and sighed. My husband looks up from his own book (I had gotten him hooked on reading by then) a question on his face. I said, “You know, I think I might have a book in me.” I put my pens and paint brushes aside and plopped myself in front of the computer.

For three years I’ve been on a path I’m determined to see to the end. I have written a novel. It’s a novel of character-driven suspense with an element of the supernatural and an interwoven theme of covetousness throughout…the wanting of that which you cannot have. I sent this grand piece of work to literary agents in a flurry of queries with high expectations of landing an agent. The impersonal form-letter rejections, notes, emails and even a rejection on a post-it slip did not deter me.

It took one kind agent to open my eyes and rob me of my innocence, taking the time to write that though my writing was intelligent and compelling, a first novel -- a morbidly obese one of 197,000 words -- was not going to be picked up by any agent or publisher.

I knew my manuscript was long by industry standards, but surely the quality of the writing would be seen! I revisited my work due to that nice man taking the time to address a newbie with some actual feedback. I cut and rewrote and cut some more. I have tightened and sharpened the prose and rethought scenes… and cut some more. At present, it is still a hefty 178,000 words. My big fat great manuscript is resistant to change.

A lovely publisher at a small publishing house took an interest in me, for whatever her reasons, and reviewed the first chapter. Her input was invaluable, though she declined to option me. She took the time to make page by page suggestions, showing me what an editor looks for and what criticism I might expect. She too, said it was too long, but I was thrilled to get a glimpse of the future. I am again taking my corpulent copy and am dieting it down even further. Every time I can delete a that or a beloved, fluffy ly word is a small triumph.

It’s an all-consuming, on-going process. I reached the point where I could not look at the story one more time without my eyes glazing over. It crowds my dreams with possible plot changes and subconscious nonsense involving it. I cringe when friends ask, “What’s going on with your book?” having heard of it since its conception. My husband calls home and asks, “What are you doing?” and my reply is still “I’m working on the book.” Yes, I am still working on the book and will continue to work until it is a lean, toned and trim piece of intelligent, compelling and publishable literature, regardless of how long it takes. Bear with me, family and friends… I am still working on the book.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'd like to thank Lane for being the first guest on Writer Wednesdays and thank all of you for stopping by to celebrate and support her writing journey.

Kristin : )

For more info about this series please follow this link: Writer Wednesdays: The Intro

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Spring & Easter

I had planned on starting the Raising Kids in a High Tech World series today, but seeing how it's a holiday weekend for my family, I've decided to postpone it until next week.

If you're celebrating Easter this weekend have a beuatiful one. If not, have a great weekend anyway.


Kristin : )

Thursday, April 1, 2010

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate I'm posting a different Robert Frost (one of my favorite poet) poem each week. I am also taking part in a celebration blog tour set up by Savvy, Verse & Wit . Make sure to stop back on April 15th for my post about how Robert Frost and The Outsiders influenced and led me to the writing path I am on now.

Today's poem by Robert Frost is perfect for the Spring

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

This Robert Frost poem was copied from a book I purchased for my kids, in hopes of igniting their inner creative whims. Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost

What's your favorite poet or poem?

Kristin : )