Guess the Vacation Spot

It’s time to recharge and go on my much anticipated vacation where I’ll spend a birthday. 

I plan to go here: 

Guess where? flickr.com

Guess where? By Jason Pier, Flickr.com

And then here:

DSC05515.JPG

By Jon Cox, flickr.com

With a daylong trip here-hopefully in the water for awhile.

4934155744_6420bcc2db_b

by Rebecca Anchondo-flickr.com

I’m not taking my laptop, but with luck may get some nice photos off my cell. 

See you in two weeks! 

How to Fight Domestic Violence

If I can stop one heart... by Emily Dickinson

If I Can Stop One Heart by Emily Dickinson

Life between the sheets (of paper) is not always rosy. And I know people like to read about the ‘rosy,’ because there’s so much evil and trauma in the world that it can be overwhelming. I understand.

The issue of violence, domestic violence, is one of those non-rosy topics but it’s important to talk about.

Even after many years, my own experience is hard to discuss. Victims/Survivors feel judged if they talk about the topic, sometimes by others and other times by themselves.

Suffice it to say that domestic violence can be deadly at worse and traumatic at best.

I’ve heard it said that writers work out their own issues in story. There’s a lot of truth in that. In one of my novels (unpublished) the main character experiences violence. The opening lines:

I didn’t run because I killed him. I ran because I didn’t. He was alive when I left, but that wasn’t important to the judge who sentenced me to San Bueno Correctional Facility. He was sure of two things: Alek was dead and I was the one who did it.

These are the black and white statistics:

Nearly one in four women, one in seven men and more than 3 million children in the United States are affected by domestic violence.

You can help change those numbers.

Assistance is a used cell phone away.

HopeLine phones are refurbished phones equipped with 3,000 anytime minutes of airtime and texting capabilities. They come with Verizon Wireless Nationwide Coverage, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, 3-Way Calling, Caller ID, Basic Voice Mail and texting.

They are available to survivors affiliated with participating domestic violence agencies. This program has collected over 10 million phones, while donating over $18 million dollars to domestic violence organizations.

A great explanation of the program can be found here. 

Through HopeLine, the public can help prevent domestic violence by donating no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories in any condition from any service provider at any Verizon Wireless Store, by mail or at special events held throughout the year.

How to Donate

If you donate your phone, erase any personal data from the address book, deleting call logs, erasing messages, removing stored photos and other media. As part of the refurbishing process, phones donated to HopeLine are scrubbed prior to distributing them for reuse to ensure all customer data is removed.

Three ways to help HopeLine:

In Person: Drop phones at any Verizon Wireless communications Store. Visit the online store locator.

By Mail: Print a postage-paid label , adhere it to the box/envelope and mail.

Organize a Phone Drive Suggestions and Tips

Now go find those old phones stashed in the junk drawer and help someone fight back.

 

Thoughts on Ferguson and Recommended Resources

alvaradofrazier:

flickr.com

flickr.com

“People know about the Klan and the overt racism, but the killing of one’s soul little by little, day after day, is a lot worse than someone coming in your house and lynching you” Samuel L. Jackson

Jackson’s statement succinctly states how racism affects people.

Imagine how this feels, being bombarded with these messages from toddlerhood to adult. I can tell you, firsthand, it stirs up shame, embarrassment, anger, fear, and conflict. 

Now imagine that your children go through the same kind of racism, much more covertly these days as well as overtly, and you can see how one could feel negatively about themselves and those who are racist. 

My son, who just returned from college in Colorado to California last month, experienced stares, glares, and questioning looks when he and his friend stopped at gas stations and in towns through Utah. No tattoos on arms, neck, face, no ‘gang attire,’ just ordinary college kids who are six feet two, with light brown skin.

One of their friends, in another car, had to stop on the side of the road to let his car engine cool. A car passed by, the occupants yelled “Go back to Mexico.” He’s not from Mexico, he’s from Oregon. 

This scene didn’t bother my son too much, he said, because he sees these remarks as ignorant. “Their behavior says more about them as human beings, than about me.” 

This was not the worse example, just the latest.

We need to counteract racism at every level. 

We need, as parents, neighbors, communities, church members, schools, to do our part in eradicating racism, if we are to live in a better world. 

The article below is from Jason Low, of Lee and Low Publishers. He gives some valuable resources, to discuss and think about. 

Originally posted on the open book:

The following is a note from our Publisher, Jason Low, published in this month’s e-newsletter:

image from BirdIt’s been a hard few weeks for those of us following the news out of Ferguson, Missouri. While the exact details of Michael Brown’s death remain unknown, we can already see how this latest incident fits into a larger narrative in this country in which people of color are routinely discriminated against and subject to violence based on the color of their skin. Healing and change cannot begin until we as a country acknowledge the role racism plays not just in events like Michael Brown’s death, but in the everyday lived experiences of the 37% of America that is not white.

From a distance, it can seem like our book-filled corner of the world doesn’t have much to do with Michael Brown’s death, but we know better. The need for more diverse books…

View original 168 more words

Lessons Learned at the WD Conference

 

Two words for the Writer’s Digest Novel Conference in L.A: Worth It!

A couple of weeks of craft workshops jammed into two and a half days may be overwhelming, but there was lots of value for $249.

Twenty plus pages of facts, thoughts, post-its to self, and business cards fill my note book so this will be a two parter.

I’ll start at the beginning and give some highlights. All of the speakers have websites and resources you can find through the links I’ve listed.

Keynote quote speaker Jonathan Maberry spoke on importance of being a good literary citizen,

“don’t be a jackass,”

“any completed first draft is a win even if it’s bad because you completed it.” 

1. An Intro to Structure That Empowers Plotters and Pantsers Alike and Your Story on Steroids- Larry Brooks, Storyfix.com gave us slam dunk specifics. There are too many notes to give here, but go to his site for the free downloads. A gem for me was:

“Know the difference between concept and premise. Develop these before writing the story.”

Believe me, I’m a pantser, now in recovery, and this tip helps tremendously:

“Concept: the dramatic landscape of story that is conceptual; the stage, or arena. No character names needed. Write this in two or three sentences.

Premise: the protagonist has to have a conflict to surmount, a quest. Define your story core.”

2-Your First 50 Pages – Jeff Gerke. This author/editor is the Jim Carrey of the writing world who talked about how neuroscience relates to storytelling.

“In publishing everything is decided on your first 50 pages-if even that.”

Writing has to cause the reader to identify with someone/something in the story. Make the protagonist vulnerable or have some kind of need. Engage the readers mind with action, intrigue, curiosity. The brain is looking for danger, surprise, something new, so start with that in the beginning.

Martha Alderson, Plot Whisperer with her graph

Martha Alderson, Plot Whisperer with her graph

3. Martha Alderson, the Plot Whisper. She uses a plot graph to show you how to correspond your novel with the beginning, middle, and end of a plot.

There are four types of scenes: suspense, dialogue, crisis, and twister.

Catch her detailed mini-workshops on YouTube where she shows you how to plot a novel or screenplay.

Every scene should have a setting…goal…sensory details…forward movement…opposition.. and emotion.

There is a difference between the crisis and the climax of a novel:

Crisis-the antagonist wins, protagonist loses. Climax-protagonist wins and learns everything in the middle.

4. Ask the Agent Panel. A list of pet peeves and suggestions:

Misspelled names…using the words ‘fiction novel,’ bad grammar, writers who don’t read the submission rules,…pitching at inappropriate times. 

As if on cue, when the Q & A period began, a woman pitched her book, “Anyone interested in….” Ugh, it wasn’t pretty.

Search for agents by using Query Tracker, Twitters #MSWL (manuscript wish list), or go to the bookstore, look for books in your genre and on the last page under acknowledgements, the agents name is usually listed. I use Poet and Writers agent listing.

One of the agents said she was looking for a YA set in prison. It was like the heavens opened up when I heard this statement. I had to make myself stop wiggling in my seat and wait for a time when I could tell her I had such a novel. During Q & A I said I had the novel she wanted,  she said send it to me.

Then  I asked a question: whether more emphasis was placed  on the query or the first 10 pages. Two out of three agents said the first pages.

I need 50 pages to know if a book is good, but only 1 to know it’s not.”

 

I hope you found something useful for your writing life. Investigate the presenters sites. Plan to attend a conference on writing craft. Invest in your writing.

If you have a specific question that I may provide information for, please ask me in the comment section.

 

 

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