Good morning, sunshine!

A quiet Sunday morning, but after a great rain last night, our plants are grinning all over the porch and deck.

Geraniums garner fresh sunshine . . . the plant on the right has TWELVE blossoms right now.

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Rosemary and basil greet us . . .

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Petunias and johnny jump-ups join in.

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Yesterday the first edits for A Purpose True, the sequel to Addie’s story, arrived. A time to pay attention to details, to make things better, to brighten the world around us, and to enjoy the process.

Already, tomato blossoms promise a fruitful summer . . . what more could we ask?

Richard Mabry – Round and Round/Giveaway

Please welcome Richard L. Mabry, M.D. to our blog today. He’s the award winning author of Medical Suspense With Heart, as well as the Prescription For Trouble series (Abingdon), Stress Test, Heart Failure, Critical Condition (Harper Collins), and  Fatal Trauma (Abingdon) To one fortunate commenter this week, he’ll give away a copy of Miracle Drug.

“Mabry combines his medical expertise with a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” – USA Today

THE WRITING CAROUSEL

There’s a song in the musical, The Fantasticks, called “Round and Round.” In it, the couple sees only the good things that go by, even though at times the view from the carousel is of scenes that are less than pleasant. Why do I bring that up? I mention it because the view of writing from the standpoint of the pre-published writer is much different than the one seen by the author who has at least a couple of books under his/her belt.

Before I got a contract for Code Blue, my first novel, I wrote four novels over a period of four years, garnering forty rejections in the process. And that’s nowhere near a record. Although some authors (like Gayle Roper) got a contract for their first novel, others (like T Davis Bunn) collected lots more rejections than I did before a publisher liked his work. Eventually I, and lots of other authors, prevailed. However, shortly thereafter I also learned something interesting: that contract wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning of lots more work.

First, I quickly discovered that, although my novel might be good enough to make an acquisition editor happy, it would go through a series of edits and rewrites before it saw print. And all those edits and rewrites involved me. Did it make the work better? Of course it did. Was it time-consuming? Yes—but I learned with each editorial letter and rewrite.

In addition, there was the process of cover design, a process I’m pleased to say I’ve been involved in for all my novels. That’s nice, but also takes a bit of time. In addition, there was the back cover copy and author information. It was necessary writing, but took some work to accomplish.

Then there’s marketing. Although the publisher works at marketing the book, there’s a good bit for the author to do as well. And I learned very fast that no one wants a book to be read by a wide audience more than the author does. Say what you will about “the good old days,” but nowadays it’s a necessity for an author to be active in social media and other aspects of keeping his/her name and work before the reading public. Don’t forget, of course, that this includes not only their own website and blog, but being available (and even making arrangements) for guest blogs and interviews on the sites of others.

Oh, and while all this is going on, the writer should be at work on their next book. After all, none of us want to be a one-trick pony. And after the first and second come…you guessed it—the third. Authors who quit after the first book aren’t unheard of, but they’re rare. It’s even been discovered that Harper Lee, who supposedly stopped after writing To Kill A Mockingbird, had another book sitting in a trunk or someplace.

Now, imagine trying to keep all those plates spinning. That’s where I’ve been for a while: arranging to get out the news about my forthcoming book, Fatal Trauma, while finishing edits for the next one, Miracle Drug (due out in September), and keeping up interest in my prior novels—the so-called “backlist.” Has it required time and effort on my part? Of course it has. Would I trade it for the status of an unpublished writer? Not a chance.

So that’s the writing carousel. If you haven’t been able to get on yet, don’t despair. Work on your craft and don’t give up. The view from here is pretty good, even as it goes round and round.

Miracle Drug

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” He is an active member of International Thriller Writers, a past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and a member the Romance Writers of America. His eight previously published novels have garnered critical acclaim and been recognized by programs including the ACFW’s Carol Award, the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. His novella, Rx Murder, released via Amazon in April, and Abingdon Press published his novel, Fatal Trauma, in May of this year. Miracle Drug is scheduled for release in September.

You can learn more about Richard on his website (http://rmabry.com) and blog (http://rmabry.blogspot.com). He can also be found via his Facebook author page (http://facebook.com/rmabrybooks) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/RichardMabry).

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Karen Milligan, June 21, 2015

 

Karen Milligan is a reader, teacher and writer. Teaching high school English, literature and a myriad of writing styles for the past 51 years has had its redundancies and periods. Grading papers = editing. (She began teaching when she was 14 years old at a rural summer school and later taught her younger brother and her son all four years of their high school.)

She’s published 30 children’s stories, a book The Great Church Mouse Caper and 5 teacher resource books on writing. Currently she tutors students in expository and creative writing, writes for a Wisconsin Genealogy newsletter and edits thesis papers. She’s also writing her childhood memoirs along with a historical genealogical family tree involving Dutch and Scottish ancestors.

She lives in Menasha, Wisconsin with her husband of 35 years, a former instrumental music teacher; they have one son and two grandchildren, 16 and 18 years old. Her hobbies include: sewing, flower gardening, long distance hiking, reading, travel, photography, bird watching, writing memoir stories, singing, and charcoal drawing. She is open to editing and proofreading and can be contacted at kmbooks50@gmail.com or befriend her at Karen Porter Milligan on facebook.

 

Credits to the Edits

Have you ever thought about how many actual words you hear in a day? The number, if you could count them, would be astonishing. The sheer number of words you read in a day could be counted, but who would take time to do that? We writers and editors, who love words, handle them every day with our eyes and our minds. As a teacher of English, expository and fiction writing, I cannot fathom the billions of words that have crossed my brainwaves.

You, as a writer, accept the fact that you must also edit. Re-reading, searching for mistakes, looking for anomalies, tweaking unclear phrases or spying flat-out typos can be tedious or joyful. This all depends on your viewpoint and time needed to seek the mistakes.

In essay papers corrected by teachers are the following real-life examples of… well, youʼll see… History of the World, a studentʼs answer: Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube.

Another student wrote: The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them, we wouldnʼt have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns–Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in “The Iliad,” by Homer. Homer also wrote the “Oddity,” in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

A third student opined: Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. A fourth student expressed: In mid-evil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the futile times was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another story was about William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.

Now these were honest-to-goodness students’ use of the English language which is filled with funny, odd, humorous, out-of-place ideas and phrases. The rules, if you will, about editing take twists and turns. Two words that have been added to American language are: texting and impacting. The word “text” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. Mimi just texted me and I need to answer her!

The word “impact” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. But, we hear both used incorrectly almost daily. The students were impacted by the new campus ruling. One last word that has morphed since I was young is the word harassment. (And, yes, I used the word “morphed” correctly.)

Harassment used to be pronounced with the accent on the middle syllable, but is now pronounced with the accent on the first syllable. Who and where the change was sanctioned on all three words is a mystery to me. Editing will always be a mud-fuddled job. Wait! Where did that word come from? Yikes! I ended a sentence with a preposition. See what I mean?

Alright, all of you writers and editors out there, keep up the good work. (Please, edit out the use of “alright!”) I give you credits to the edits!

Karen A. Milligan Menasha, Wisconsin

Good-bye, April

April is known as a trickster around these parts, and she lived up to her reputation this weekend. During our town garage sales, she sent treasure-seekers racing between vehicles and garages.

But today, the sun’s spectacular, and the sky as blue as my grandkids’ eyes. So I’ve been out checking on the growth in our yard.

My tulips, surrounded by blue bells, are peeking at the world. By the time you see this picture, it’ll have turned around, because I’m going to ask my husband for help. Every time I try to edit it, I lose everything, even my words, so I’m going to publish this post, then ask for help. If you see it’s still catty-wampus, you’ll know that didn’t work out.

 

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But you get the idea- pretty lavender tulips and lovely bluebells.

 

 

 

The potatoes have decided it’s safe to show themselves, too.

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And through another manuscript rejection, I’ve been challenged to slough off old, out-used attitudes. Ya think?

One of my characters motivated me in this area . . . who said we write for publication?

 

Sometimes I think writing is really all about the journey.

So, as May arrives in a few days, I hope I’ll maintain my late-April resolution and stay in a positive frame of mind. One thing for sure, every day brings a bit more green to our Northern Iowa world, and that’s a very good thing.