ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

#AtoZChallenge - BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! - My theme for April.

We're all individuals, right? Right!


Here is my great reveal - for the A - Z Challenge in April I've contacted bloggers whose name/blog/surname/whatever, starts with the relevant letter of the day and have sent them questions to answer about their childhood, accompanied by a childhood picture.

This should be easy, right? Wrong! Overall, I only had a couple of refusals and a couple of ignores, but getting the answers/pics back was a matter of persistence. Getting the individual posts set up has taken me far more time than I'd imagined as I cropped and tweaked photos and posts. However, I want to pre-schedule them so I have more time to go around reading/commenting on your posts if you're in the challenge. AND I've just decided I'm entering RomanticFridayWriters in the challenge too - short, short flash fiction every day!  What about you? Are you in or not?

But hard work or not, folks, these posts here at L'Aussie Writing are going to be super intriguing. Some of my respondents were so honest and generous with their information they made me quite emotional. I know I'm a softie, but they really tore at my heartstrings. We didn't all grow up in an ideal situation that's for sure, but it is often those trials and tribulations at an early age that mould us into the person we become. Maybe it gives us an edge, makes us fight harder, makes us overcome early obstacles and succeed in whatever path we choose in our lives.

So, do follow my posts when you have a moment. I know there's going to be over 1,000+ other posts to peruse and you can't read them all. But if you call in here, you'll love reading the stories, seeing the pictures and getting to know some things about bloggers' experiences that will make you wonder...and make you appreciate them even more...


Click on the badge if you've just decided to join the challenge, or to check out who else will be posting!


So, are you doing the A - Z Challenge? If so, what is your theme?








Friday, 23 March 2012

#RomanticFridayWriters - Challenge No 34- My poem - She Wears My Ring.

Long time between posts, but I've been preparing for the A - Z Challenge.

For my RFW post this week I've challenged myself by writing another poem. It's an urge that hits me from time to time. I know I have a lot to learn, but I thought the prompt called for some poetic lines. So, with apologies to D.H. Lawrence (from whom I stole the idea of the 'love/sea' and the first line, which is a common enough expression) - I believe there's no copyright on ideas!, I present my effort for the challenge. The words 'She Wears My Ring' had to be included, as well as inspiration from the song lyrics.

For the clever poets amongst us, I would appreciate your suggestions for improvement...


She Wears My Ring


Don’t you love me?
she asked.
I fell to my knees
and cried:
How could you doubt me?

Then don’t demean our love
she said.
In matters of emotional importance
you have so much to learn.

So, I handed her the ring
and thought she would toss it into the ocean
so fierce were her simmering green eyes.

They say in the sea love cannot live
But I see the dolphins
leaping
frolicking
at sunset
slick skins shimmering in the dying rays of translucent light…
ah, there is love.

She twirled the ring between her thumb and forefinger.
The facets twinkled in the dying rays of the sun –
Emerald green (like her eyes)
Diamonds encircled (like my love for her)

Please accept this ring as a token of my eternal devotion,
I said.

She turned her gaze from the sea
and the dolphins.
She looked into my soul -
Perhaps you do love me,
she said.

I turned my gaze to the sea -
Is that a dolphin
nosing the water in sheer delight?
I know exactly how that dolphin feels…

I turn to my love
and smile into her emerald eyes -
My love is as deep as the ocean,
I cry.
I hold her hand,
I slip the ring on her finger.
She wears my ring
for all the world to see.

©DeniseCovey2012

FCA 

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Thursday, 15 March 2012

Je ne regrette rien...Regrets? Do you have a few? On living and dying...Are you living your life Your Way?


Je ne regrette rien

Hi all! This is a life or life post. Or as a wag said once - 'Is there a life before death?'

I was reading an article by Nikki Gemmell, Aussie author who just returned from London to bring her kids up in Oz, and it really spoke to me. She wrote of a palliative care nurse who stated that there were five main regrets people voiced as they lay dying. (Bronnie Ware has since published these!) The following is the deepest regrets people have...and my spin on them...

No 1 Regret

I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself - not the life others expected of me. 

Did you say ouch to that? I do a bit. Women have a certain role thrust on them - they're often everyone's carer and nurturer, especially the Baby Boomer generation - 'a woman's lot is to give and give and go on giving'...from the '60's song, Born a Woman, by Sandy Posey. At some time we might wake up to ourselves and wonder who we are, what do we want? So how do we tackle this regret?
  • Don't be bound by fear of failure - the only true failure is in not doing anything at all. 
  • See setbacks as a need for more courage to keep going. 
  • Try to say 'I will' not 'I should'. Will you get that ms to the publisher/agent/Amazon/Smashwords this year? You will? Great! So will I!
  • Appreciate change. Our life is made rich by risking.
  • Stop worrying about what others think of you. 'Arm me, audacity', as Shakespeare, that pretty successful scribe, said. 
No 2 Regret

I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

So much of our lives is spent on the treadmill of just scraping by. Our ambitions are often reliant on the great god Mammon. Sure, we can't live without money, but some of us take the money-making gig a bit too far!

A life driven by love is preferable to one lead by greed for an obscene accumulation of coin. The best pleasures often lie in the simplest moments - a walk by the ocean, sharing a glass of wine while watching the sunset, a barbie with family and friends - none of these need a huge financial outlay (unless you like to sip your wine and watch your sunset in Capri in Italy, lol, and you live at the other end of the earth.)


Live life your way. As Emily Dickenson said: 'Friday I tasted life. It was a vast morsel. A Circus passed my house. Still I feel the red in my mouth...The lawn is full of south and the odours tangle, and I hear today for the first time the river in the tree.'

No 3 Regret

I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings

Do you have trouble saying 'no'? Hard not to. We love people and want to help, but Sartre said an essential freedom is the ability to say no. Is it only strong people like Sartre who have the courage to say no? If you're a pleaser, the yes person (hmm, I know someone like this) it can be depleting.

Do you say yes then fall into festering resentment, corrosive bitterness?
DON'T SAY YES WHEN YOU MEAN NO!

No 4 Regret


I wish I'd stayed in touch with friends.


Life moves on, we move on, we leave friends behind (yes, blogger friends too). Years later you can think - heck, where are my friends? You've let them drift away in the rush of life. Rectify this immediately. 


'No man is an island...I am involved in mankind...' from 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' by John Donne.


No 5 Regret

I wish I'd let myself be happier.

Simple?

Have you lost your sense of fun in the seriousness of daily life? Or are you simply a pessimist?
Have you let worries and responsibilities define you? We all have those; it's what we do with them that makes the difference.

Keep your heart light even in the face of the trials of daily life. It's a great armory for living. Don't wait till you're dying to learn that.



Here are the lyrics from the old warbler himself, Frank Sinatra, who said he didn't have many regrets. Lucky guy! You might have heard it a thousand times, but let it speak to you today...

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

I've lived a life that's full.
I've traveled each and ev'ry highway;
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Regrets, I've had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway,
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.

I've loved, I've laughed and cried.
I've had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.

To think I did all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
"No, oh no not me,
I did it my way".

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -
And did it my way!

So our lives are like a short story - with a beginning, a middle and an end, but with variable word counts (think days.) On average we have 25,550 days to live. Live each day to the full!


No matter your calling in life, live life to the full!
PS In case you can't read my watermark, all pictures are taken by moi for L'AussieImages. No more wrestling with what's copyright with google images for me. I have thousands of travel and local pics, so hope you enjoy my originals with my posts from now on...


To finish on a writerly note: *If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster. ~Isaac Asimov* 



Friday, 9 March 2012

#RomanticFridayWriters - Challenge No 33 - My Vignette - I Love You Because...

Hello there!

Does reading books inspire you? Of course it does. I've been reading Tony Davis' 'F. Scott, Ernest and Me,' a rollicking tale of an Aussie writer heading to Paris to write his Great Australian Novel, but ends up writing about Paris instead. Ah, that Grande Dame is a seductress...Anyhow, I thought, great idea for the current RomanticFridayWriter prompt - I Love You Because. I could just imagine a girlfriend languishing while the Great Unpublished Novelist heads off to the delights of Paris without a moment's consideration for her. Therein lies my little tale, vignette, whatever. I hope you enjoy it...


While His Guitar Gently Weeps


He lay in the hammock strumming his guitar, the notes weeping to the ground.
‘I love you, Ernest,’ Zora whispered from where she lay under the tree, watching his foot dancing in the air. 
Regret smote his heart, but he was determined to remain steadfast.
‘I must go, my darling Zora. I must write my novel, my magnum opus.’
‘Plenty of people write novels in Australia, my darling, at least one or two. Think Peter Carey and er, well, why can’t you stay?’
She caught his foot and kissed it, washing it with her tears.
Discordant notes crashed around her. She jerked upright, banging her head on his bottom. ‘Tim Winton! He’s the other one!’
‘You temptress. You would have me stay, but I must go forth to where the giants of twentieth-century literature have gone before me. I must find my true voice in the city where Ernest found his and F. Scott wrote between drinks.’
Happy notes plunked on the air.
‘Are you going to live in a garret and starve? Will you find inspiration in the towers, arches, domes and flying buttresses?’
‘I’m not approaching my novel from a standing start, my sweet Zora. I’ll have you know I had a poem published in a literary anthology once, and a major publisher showed interest when I pitched my YA vampire idea just five years ago. I framed the note from the editor.’
‘But Ernest, that’s hardly in the realm of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. They were prolific! You’re such a dreamer. I fear you will be greatly disappointed. And the money it will cost! Where’s that coming from?’
Da…da…da…deah,’ he sang. ‘I’ve sold the music shop.’
‘What! What about me? I’m the manager! Why?’
‘Because it was keeping me from my higher ambition. I awarded myself an arts grant. With my monumental literary idea, I’ll tackle the task of producing something that will outlive me, that will fly beyond the towers, the arches, the domes and flying buttresses.’ He tinkled the strings.
‘Ernest, all you have in common with Hemingway is his Christian name. I blame your parents for putting ideas of literary grandeur in your head at birth. I love you because you’re you!’
‘It’s going to be a tour de force, my pièce de résistance, a work of greatness. Just you wait and see…’
He lay in the hammock strumming the guitar, the notes laughing to the skies.


 ©DeniseCovey2012


WORD COUNT: 407
FCA - Full Critique Acceptable.

Click on the names below to read more stories and poems.







Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group post - Regular Submissions - Submit early and often.


Hi all!

How did it get to be the first Wednesday of the month again? Time for my IWSG post.

Today my post is about submitting. I, like many other writers/authors, determined to submit more this year. If you don't submit, you don't get accepted/rejected, but it is a safe way to stay in your writing rut. When I read how some writers submit every week, every month or whatever, I think, well, brave you. I made a resolution to submit every week this year, but of course that lasted one week! I submit regularly every fortnight to Romantic Friday Writers and that counts to me, as I get useful critiques which I use to take my 400-word story away and write it up to a little less than 1,000 words (the limit for flash fiction) then I submit the longer stories elsewhere.

Otherwise, I am submitting vignettes to Vine Leaves Literary Journal (see link in sidebar) (a little vignette made the first issue, but there's no guarantee Jessica Bell and Dawn Ius will like my current submission!) 

I also submit to Fast Fiction women's magazine in Australia. They pay well and accept a certain type of story, luckily of the kind I like to write. You can have up to 4 stories in their inbox at any one time, so I keep it pretty full.

There doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to examine all the outlets for my work (My Writer's Marketplace makes a handy doorstop) and some of you probably feel the same. But take heart, if one magazine rejects your story, there's no guarantee it won't be picked up somewhere else, so we do need to seek new markets.

I'll finish with an abbreviated Submissions Checklist for Short Stories from Writer's Digest's latest issue . Many of these points are relevant if you're submitting a novel or non-fiction...
  • Check the guidelines and adhere strictly to them.
  • Submit early if there's a reading period for submissions.Editors suffer from fatigue too.
  • Submit often - have your next story/ies ready when you submit your first.
  • Always submit simultaneously. It's not practical to do otherwise. It can take 6 months to hear from some magazines/journals.
  • Include a brief cover letter, listing any prior publications. (If you have some credits, this might scare the intern into reading your submission and passing it onto the senior editor.)
None of these things guarantee success. However, as a writer, all you have to do is persuade one editor at one magazine/journal to print your story. (And hopefully, someone will actually, eventually, pay you for your gems.)
  • What is your story? Are you submitting regularly this year? Share with us your highs and lows...
     





Thursday, 1 March 2012

From Traditional Publishing to e-Publishing. Author Ann Carbine Best tells us why and how she went indie...


Hello there!

Those of you who have been following me a long time might remember my Publication Party. As an aspiring author I wanted to hear the stories of bloggers who had broken through and found a publisher. Along with my Byronic Hero series, (where we wallowed in Heathcliff, Darcy and Rochester) this was the most popular series I've ever run on my blog (which turns 4 this April!)

Ann Best was one of the authors who'd just been accepted for publication with her memoir, In the Mirror. She told us of her journey to publication and shared her life with us. Ann has always inspired me and I count her as a sister across the oceans, one who I'd love to visit one day. We've remained in close touch and today I bring you Ann again, for an update on her journey and an insight into her most recent projects.

Over to you, Ann!

A small press, WiDo Publishing, accepted my memoir In the Mirror, back in December of 2010. It was a long and interesting process that took place at a time when the publishing industry began going through massive changes. It was a major change in my life in other ways, too. Because I was housebound with my disabled daughter, my only means of marketing was through the Internet, so I had to learn how to blog.

My seventy-year-old brain was stretched to the limit! So much so that I didn’t think I could ever self-publish. However, at my age, I didn’t want to wait years to publish something else; and I knew that a novella would be a tough sell, especially one that didn’t fall in one of the “popular” genres.

But I had a novella in my files, Svetlana Garetova’s story.

I met Svetlana in 1997 when she was a fill-in aide for my disabled daughter. On day one, I told her I was interested in miracles and angel stories for a book I was writing. After showering my daughter, she started telling me how she came to America. Instantly I recognised a dramatically compelling story. I held up my hand -. “Stop! I’ve got to record this,” I got out my tape recorder.

 I spent several days transcribing what she told me into story form. But I never did the miracles and angels book, and so her story sat in my file for years. Then last fall when I got it out, I thought, This is fascinating.

I’m getting older by the minute, and don’t have the years to spare to query publishers, let alone the patience. I’ve always enjoyed a challenge, so I decided to self-publish it, partly to see if I could. I couldn’t do a cover on my own. I absolutely can NOT figure out PhotoShop. So a friend came to my rescue. She offered to do it for free, but I paid her anyway.

This was all I had to pay. From a lifetime of reading and writing, and with my editing and proofreading skills, I knew I could produce an error-free manuscript. I just needed some readers who would tell me if something didn’t make sense.

After they gave me their feedback, I went through the manuscript again and again to make sure everything did make sense, and then I had to figure out how to format it for uploading. It took time, but Mark Coker’s Smashwords guide is designed for dummies like me. Up it went on Smashwords.

However, getting it uploaded to Amazon was another problem. I finally used one of the programs suggested in Amazon’s style guide, Mobi Pocket Creator.

Through a lot of trial and error, it worked! Phew! Mission Impossible became Mission Accomplished!

I think Svetlana would be pleased with the way it turned out.

Brief Synopsis:


When Svetlana Garetova flies with her four-year-old son from Moscow in Russia to Salt Lake City in America for a visit with Jimmy Rafael, she becomes very ill. He nurses her to back to health, but when she recovers, she realizes with horror that she has missed the deadline in Moscow to pay protection money for her businesses. Her distraught mother tells her that she would be safer in America, and when Jimmy says he will marry her, she accepts his proposal even though she barely knows him and has some misgivings. On their wedding night, she discovers who he really is, and that she and her son are almost prisoners in his house. She must find a way to escape, and people to help them.

You can download a sample from the beginning of the book on Amazon. (Link: http://www.amazon.com/Ann-Carbine-Best/e/B0053YU4B8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1   This also links to In the Mirror)

You can also read a sample of it on my blog post, a scene that’s from the middle of the book, the most dramatic scene in the story. (link to the post: http://annbestblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/roland-yeomans-novel-let-the-wind-blow-through-you-free-for-kindle/#comments)

 Wasn't it wonderful hearing from Ann today? I wish her every success in her new self-publishing career. I still hope she will write another memoir for us...

  • Would you share your self-publishing story with me?
  • Do you think you'll stick to the traditional route?
  • Do you read many self-pubbed books?