The Adventure of Writing

“Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos… to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream.”

― John Cheever

Since I’ve never thought of myself as very organized, it’s interesting to ponder writing fiction as triumphing over chaos. But for any of us who has  attempted to control circumstances and people, it makes perfect sense to strive over what T.S. Eliot terms the general mess of imprecision of feeling, Undisciplined squads of emotion.

 

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Isn’t that what wrens do when they set up housekeeping in a world of predators ready to disrupt their nesting?

Ah, yes. That’s what control freaks try to manage–the inner chaos. Of course, our actions spread out to those around us, and we get the sense we’re doing well, even if everyone else is chafing at the bit.

Anyway, writing fiction helps this type of personality by giving us a whole set of characters to manage. To bring to life on the page, with all their secrets and foibles, passions and dreams.

I just read about an author hard at work on a sequel to her first novel. This past year, life has given her more than a full platter of challenges, including grief, but she’s finding joy in working with her characters.

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Kind of like gardening…cooperative plants like ajuga grow just about anywhere with relish,

 

 

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same for Shasta daisies–we can count on them to flourish and multiply with little care,

 

 

while others require a gentle hand, lots of water, and shade.

 

 

But the act of tending these plants nurtures us. What a gift–glorious July blossoms to delight the eye!

Much like flowers, the gift we receive in focusing on our stories nurtures us, too. What can we say but thanks?

 

 

 

 

Love in the Seams

Today I’d like to welcome, Jodie Wolfe. I understand you recently released a new book. Can you tell us about it?

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Thank you for having me here today, Gail. I look forward to getting to know you and your readers better.

Love in the Seams is book two in my Twins & Needles Series. Here’s what it says on the back cover.

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Mae Stafford longs for the companionship and unconditional love her sister has found in her new husband. But after years of refusing potential suitors because of a pact they made as children, Mae no longer has any choices left once their agreement is broken. She’s given up hope that God will give her what she desires most, a family of her own.

 

 

Instead of dwelling on what she doesn’t have, she throws herself into her work in her recently acquired local dress shop.

As a promise made to his late wife, Johannes Mueller agrees to travel west to be a school teacher in Calder Springs, Texas, away from the bigotry associated with being an immigrant in New York City. He hopes to improve his life and forget his loss. Johannes isn’t counting on his five-year-old daughter’s search for a new mother when they arrive.

His little LillyAnn finds ways to bring the seamstress and him together…often. Can he learn to embrace his German heritage and unlock his heart to love again?

I understand your first book is about Mae Stafford’s twin sister, Ellie, is that correct?

Yes. Hearts Tightly Knit is built on the premise of twin sisters who made a vow to always stay together and never marry. I wondered what it would take to persuade one of them to change their minds.

 In your new novella, Mae Stafford is a seamstress. Do you sew?

I do, some. I made a Victorian outfit that I wore at a genre dinner at an ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference a couple years ago. While I do enjoy sewing, my favorite craft is knitting.

GOOD GRIEF! I call that really sewing, girl! I do ok w/buttons and hems, but …

 Do you have any final thoughts to share about your writing?

The goal of my writing is to point to my Heavenly Father and the hope we can have in Him, no matter what our circumstances.

 Where can readers find you and purchase your book?

Website: http://www.jodiewolfe.com

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Seams-Twins-Needles-Book/dp/0997502622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478548961&sr=8-1&keywords=love+in+the+seams

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Jodie-Wolfe-553400191384913/; https://www.facebook.com/jodie.wolfe.1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JodieAWolfe

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/JodieAWolfe

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jodie-Wolfe/e/B01EAWOHXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15220520.Jodie_Wolfe

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116840153259583634192/posts

Fiction Finder: http://www.fictionfinder.com/author/?author=Jodie+Wolfe

Blogs I contribute to: Stitches Thru Time, Putting on the New and of course, Quid Pro Quills.

Thanks, Jodie. I hope your book sells extremely well.

Thank you for allowing me to stop by today, Gail to speak to your readers. I’m giving away a free sewing kit to one lucky commenter between now and November 19th. Winner will be notified.

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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Summer Joys

It’s July first, and in the fifties here in Northern Iowa. I’m signing in before the Fourth of July, when we’ll have twenty-plus folks here to celebrate my husband’s birthday. Yup, a lucky firecracker–he always gets a party.

Thought I’d share some photos and thoughts on the joys of summer. Most of the pics speak for themselves.

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Hearing that old bat C-R-A-A-A-C-K!!

 

 

 

 

Sunshine through tall maples …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daylily glory, dewdrop peonies, and  summer moments – the best of summer is here.

For a writer, every color, every nuance, every shade and hue is novel fodder. Voila!

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Pondering, Plotting, and Present Circumstances

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” Nido Qubein, businessman and motivational speaker

Reminds me of the TV ad where a workshop facilitator tells participants they have potential, even as his wooden nose grows. No-one wants to be that poor guy learning the very opposite from what the speaker intended.

But this quote doesn’t mess with our potential. It merely says we all start in a unique place. I witness this on a writers’ loop I follow. Definitions get tossed around, interpretations vary, and once in a while, tension results. But the moderators know when to step in and keep things under control.

Often, conflicts arise from writers at various places in their journeys. Drastic changes in the publishing world wreak havoc with expectations and dreams–this can be hard to handle, and undesired emotions surface.

It’s good to recall that in writing, so much depends on ideas and timing. As Victor Hugo stated, “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Of course, we all want OUR ideas to find their time, but sometimes circumstances seem bent on hindering an idea from blossoming into its potential. Consider Harper Lee’s next release, for example.

We don’t know the whole story yet, but a plethora of questions arise. Is the story closely related to To Kill A Mockingbird? Who is the hero/heroine? Bottom line, we can’t WAIT!

Most of us thought there was no way any second hero could rival Atticus Finch. Drawn into his little southern town and his kind heart, we never want to leave. He’s too wonderful, too wise, too brave.

But now we must say, “We’ll see.” Right? I mean, who can know what delights lie ahead in this second debut? (Can one have a second debut? Due to time’s passage, it certainly seems so to me.)

Where is the “start” this time? Somewhere long after the finish, or what we deemed was the finish. We thought we had it all in order, but SURPRISE! Ahhh….this would be a good topic for discussion on that loop . . . the surprises our writing brings us.

Anyway, it’s obvious this week’s post is pure conjecture, which is fun sometimes. Letting loose and pondering remind us there’s still room for philosophizing. In some cultures, this activity takes place daily, publicly. It’s a valued contribution to society.

Maybe we ought to allow our characters this leisure, as well. How long has it been since your hero or heroine fell into speculation…just plain old pondering? Oh yeah, we’re supposed to keep the plot moving. It was just an idea, but while we’re at it, what do you think Ms. Lee’s next heroine will be like?