Many holidays are celebrated at the end of the year. Regardless of what you celebrate, I wish you and your families, peace, joy and love! For those of you who find this a difficult time of the year, may your burdens seem lighter and your hopes for the future brighter than ever before. Thank you all for your support!
I’m daydreaming…looking at man with an oversized cowboy hat riding a bull or a wild horse in a large corral. I’m not sure which it was because I was wondering more about why this vision was invading my thoughts. I dismissed it, but then when I saw the same sight in my mind’s eye the following day, I decided to sit down and meditate upon it.
As I relaxed into this vision, I realized that the man was an Italian singer that I enjoyed listening to. This realization made the whole daydream even more bizarre. I started to make notes as I watched the sketchy images of an unfolding story. I wrote the short story, “That’s Just the Way it Is” in a little over two hours which I published in 2013. A little later I wrote a sequel, “Return to Texas,” published in 2014. The cowboy from the vision became John Colter, who is the protagonist Becky’s, first husband.
Somehow Becky’s story never “felt” finished…too many loose ends needed to be connected. Life got in the way until 2020 when I began working on a book that would reveal a more complete version of Becky’s life. This book became the novella Where the Heart Goes in which Becky’s shares scenes from her life as a child up until her death, from a place that seems like the afterlife. It’s like a saga packed into a novella-sized book informally narrated by the protagonist. This is a story of love, guided by the heart.
Where do stories like this come from? Is this a past life memory…mine or someone else’s shot out of the collective unconscious? Was I Rebecca? Perhaps it’s just the product of an unbridled somewhat creative mind. We will never know for sure, will we? What I do know is that this story was meant to be written and lives in a special place inside my heart. I hope that it will find a place in yours as well!
I am happy to say that I have returned to writing daily (at least for now 😊) It feels comfortable, and for the most part, the words are flowing. In 2016, I slowed down considerably due to family issues and then experienced several changes which required my time and attention. Now I’m back with renewed enthusiasm and a more focused perspective on where my writing is going.
Some of you may remember the strong, female protagonist, Rebecca, in the two short stories I published. She has been insistent about my finishing her story before I complete anything else. Rather than making a trilogy of the stories, I have decided (with her help) to write a richer, expanded version of the first two stories and complete it with the final section into a novella. “Where the Heart Goes” will be released early in 2020. For those of you who haven’t read my short stories, this is historical fiction with a romantic theme that takes place primarily in Texas in the late 1800’s.
The novella will be followed by a novel, “Trip to a Lifetime.” I began writing this several years ago after a trip to Italy. About two-thirds of it is written and if all goes well, it will be published in 2021. It is spiritual fiction with a reincarnation theme.
Thank you for following me on this journey. Your support is important to me and hopefully it will keep me from slacking off. 😊
This seems to be the time of the year when I reevaluate my writing journey, so here I go.
I am enjoying my life, and writing is a part of that. It may not be as important as I intended when I began this journey a few years ago, but I still have many goals. I still wonder if a part-time writer can become a very good writer. I guess I’ll find out.
I enjoy my blog and plan to write more often as long as it doesn’t interfere with writing for publication. I love the interaction with other bloggers and followers.
As far as publication, I did release my grandmother’s poetry earlier in the year. The work was 95% hers, but doing the editing, layout and formatting for Kindle enhanced my skills in those areas.
I think it’s important to publish at least once a year so I will be expanding two of the articles I’ve written on this blog into e-books during the next year. More about the first one will come soon.
The novel that I’ve referred to several times on this blog is 75% complete. I’m talking about the first draft so it will still be a while before it sits on a bookshelf anywhere. I am planning to self-publish with Balboa Press because I am so aligned with Hay House in my thinking and the types of spiritual things I write about. Besides, it doesn’t hurt that Hay House takes a look at the books coming through Balboa to find selections they may want to publish.
When I get to the point where I am ready to send it to Balboa I will talk more about the topic. At this point, I will say that it was inspired by a true story and has a very spiritual theme – that of reincarnation and the love that travels through many lifetimes and never dies.
Last, but not least, it’s important I that I continue to learn about writing so I take a course or attend a conference every year. This year I am taking an online course – James Patterson’s MasterClass. It’s reasonably priced, and I am getting a lot of great tips from a best-selling author. Applying some of them to my own work is slowing me down, but I am trying to avoid my tendency to overthink and stay focused on what’s most important to the novel.
How are things going with those of you who publish your work or aspire to? I can’t be inspirational and say to do something I don’t do myself, like write everyday. What I can say is… if you have a goal in mind, don’t give up until you reach it. The journey may not be what you expect, but it will be worthwhile and in some ways may become more important than the goal.
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I’m happy to announce that the e-book of my grandmother’s poetry, “Martha’s Words,” is now available for sale at Amazon.com. I am sharing with you another one of her poems as I did last year. I have learned from this selection, as well as from some of her other work, that my grandmother was a good judge of character and had a keen sense of whether someone was being “true or false.” 🙂 I have not given up the idea of a hardback book and am continuing to explore options.
True or False
“Vanity, vanity, all is vanity,”
Should have been said in this our day.
Look well north or south,
East or west;
The over-dressed, fashionable
Hold full sway.
Is it true or false?
Leave I you to decide
That a wolf very nicely
In sheep’s clothing may hide.
Martha Walton Press
February 17, 1911
On a dark, dreary day I am finding myself more focused than usual. Obviously for me, it’s a good time to concentrate on writing something, anything, and to tell my inner critic to step aside.
How do you feel about cold, rainy days? Perhaps if you are a writer, you love them for their creative potential. To me, there is something soothing and nurturing about them as if Mother Nature is bathing the world with a comforting blessing. I find myself being introspective and more in touch with my feelings than usual.
If you go to work or school, you may hate going out in them like I used to. It’s particularly uncomfortable getting wet when it’s cold. Maybe you like school or your job so much, that it doesn’t matter? That’s truly a gift when you do, not to mention a plus for your physical and mental health.
Maybe you like to stay in bed and pull the covers over your head? Listening to Karen Carpenter sing “Rainy Days and Mondays” goes well with that. What a loss to the world that great voice was.
This is the first of a number of brief, light topics I will be throwing out for discussion. I haven’t felt as connected to my blog in the last year as I did earlier on; I’m changing that by taking time to listen to the ideas that float through my mind and not being so quick to dismiss them. I hope you’ll join in.
So, I’d truly like to know how you feel about dark, cold rainy days. What’s you favorite thing to do when you have a choice?
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Recently, I haven’t been inspired to write on my blog or work on my next publication. I’ve been allowing the business of living to get in the way. When I took time to think about why this was happening, I decided that my focus on the goal of becoming an author, seemed to be interfering with the process of being a writer. The pursuit of the dream had become overwhelming.
It’s easy to lose the joy of writing when you follow the crowd into today’s insane world of self-publication. Who is giving you solid advice, or who is just trying to sell you a book or a course? Why are Amazon and Hachette in conflict? Should I take time away from writing to even care? How important is it really to have a platform? I certainly can’t “build” one without writing. Collecting followers on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, etc. are often joyless, mindless activities that take precious time away from the art of writing, that for me requires quality time and inspiration. Using the time to build meaningful connections with a few followers is more important to me than the numbers. How often should I write on my blog? I want to write when I have something worth saying not just to do a prescribed, weekly routine post with little content. How important is the book cover? How do you resolve formatting issues? The list feels endless and overwhelming.
I realize that I’ve been through this before. Last September I wrote, “Why Do You Write?” I thought I had tweaked my perspective then. Why do I keeping forgetting that it’s more about my own unique journey than the goal? My path may not be the mainstream one, but it’s my own. When I am truly invested in this journey, there is comfort and satisfaction filled with wonderful and challenging experiences along the way. This is for me the “nuts and blots” of a writer’s life.
How often are you tempted to do something that everyone else seems to be doing and cast aside your own unique approach? No doubt, this struggle leads us to discovering more about ourselves, but does following the crowd bring you joy and fulfillment? Remember how good it feels when we tune into our “gut” feelings and go with our own unique flow? I’m going to never stop remembering (until next year, I suppose 🙂 ) .
He kept them in a night table drawer—a treasure of poems carefully hand-written in a composition book by his mother fifty years before. One of the poems, “My Boy,” was about him. How it must have warmed my Dad’s heart when he read it. Reece Wilmer Press, Jr. looked a lot like his mother and had inherited her stocky body build splattered with freckles, as I did.
I wasn’t particularly interested in the poems back then. It wasn’t until 1972, when he gave them to me, that I remembered they even existed. Martha Walton Press had died nine years before my birth. I am truly sorry that I never had the chance to know her. Dad didn’t talk much about his early family life, but I had the impression that it was a bit troubled. My mother mentioned to me that he had to quit school at age 16 to help support the family when his parents split up. (Ten years later, though, he graduated with a diploma in civil engineering from Drexel University).
The poems, written between 1899 and 1911, survived the five moves to date in my life. During this time, the writing has faded and the pages have become slightly torn and dog-eared. A few years ago when I took up genealogy, I read the poems several times, searching her words and studying the stylish handwriting in an attempt to know her better.
Recently, when I began self-publishing, it became apparent that these poems should be preserved in print. The themes of love, friendship, death and life are timeless. The words are cumbersome by today’s standards but their simplicity conveys a richness of emotion and nostalgia. Moreover, my grandmother was a feisty, creative, intelligent woman who played piano by ear, sewed clothing that she saw on a model and ran her own beauty shop. From the little I know about her, she seemed ahead of her time. When she became divorced, she married her younger brother-in-law, a bit unusual for the 1920s. She deserves to be remembered, and I can’t think of a better way to honor her memory.
As I continue in my writing journey, I feel that Martha’s spirit watches me, cheering me on. I sometimes wonder if she would have done more with her writing if life hadn’t gotten in the way. The luxury of retirement was not available to her; at the age of 57 she passed away from colon cancer.
I am planning to publish her twelve poems in a short book entitled, “Martha’s Words,” later this year. Here is the first poem—I hope you like it and will want to read more of her work.
A rose lies withered in my hand,
And one by one, its petals fall.
My thoughts oft turn to a better land
Where no flowers will fall at all.
It reminds me too of an aimless past,
Ah, full of regrets I now see.
Yes, one by one, hopes all fall fast;
There’s naught sure but eternity.
‘Tis sweet to live just day to day
For hope fadeth with the morrow.
And the prize we seek in a worldly way
Is only a false hope we borrow.
I often pray that God, to me, may gift
A life like the pure simple flower,
Content to take his sunshine to live
And scatter his blessings each hour.
Martha Walton (July 27, 1899)
I am so happy to finally say that “Return to Texas” was published on Amazon yesterday. This is a stand-alone sequel to the first story, “That’s Just the Way it Is,” giving just enough backstory so that you can enjoy it even if you didn’t read the first one.
It came in at around 6500 words, about four thousand more than the first. It is written in first person past and covers a two-year period of time unlike the first that shared moments in time that spanned a twenty-year period. Looking back, I probably should have aimed for a novella rather than these non-traditional (in terms of format) short stories, but I felt more comfortable doing smaller projects first. They have taught me a lot, and I do believe I am a better writer now.
I hope that some of you will read and enjoy it. Please let me know how you like it. As always, reviews are deeply appreciated, especially on the Amazon site where they help the story to reach a wider audience and become more successful.
There are many mini-milestones in a writer’s journey. Marion Marchetto was kind enough to move me along to the next one when she recently asked me for an interview. Many thanks, Marion.
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