Monthly Archives: March 2013

Kinks in the Plot

hose kink

Kink Free?

It’s been a wonderful, sunny, dry winter here. Such beautiful weather necessitates a little water for plants that may not be as enamored with the lack of rain as me.

As I dragged the hose around the yard I experienced, as we all have, the hose kink.

The kink is random, unexpected, immediately stops the water flow and is as aggravating as hell. My first response is to do what we all do.  Yell and shake the hose.   And like all garden hoses, it refused to straighten. I was forced to drop the head of the hose and walk the length of the yard and manually unkink the line.

Sometimes we shake and shake a plot line in our book but nothing we do at one end of the page, unkinks the problems that appeared in the preceding chapter. The action is kinked up, the plot is not flowing, and yelling does not help.

We need to sigh.  Drop the end of the hose and march back to the kink.

Flow is good. It nurtures and grows everything that comes in contact with it.  So it’s our job as writers to manage an uninterrupted flow of events, characters and motivation.  I’m not saying we don’t yell and shake things up.  But remember to do it at the source of the trouble.

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Day of the Book Featuring, well, Me

Day of the Book – April 20, 2013

JFKU 100 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA

Time: 10-4

One of the advantages of creating a writers conference is that I get to speak.

Write your Book Now –  Catharine Bramkamp

You have a marvelous idea, you have the tools, but just how do you get started?  In this hands on workshop you will discover how to tap into your inner novelist or even tap into material  you have to create the book you want.

Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach, author and podcaster. She is a dynamic speaker covering subjects as diverse as NaNoNowWhat?  to the Evolution of Language to working through writing blocks.   She works with clients creating both fictional works (three clients have published four books) and non-fiction (one client has published two books).

Admission

$35 with lunch

Faculty, staff, alumnae:  $25

Students: $20

Morning events open to the public 10-12

Panel discussion (lunch) 12-1

Literary salon 2-4

Of course there will be books for sale!

For early reservations contact: Catharine at bramkamp@yahoo.com

Day of the Book ink well

Day of the Book

 

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Book Saves Lives

There are a number of scenes in the Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket  where Klaus Baudelaire,  who reads everything, must remember how to navigate boats, create traps and otherwise use the knowledge he has learned from reading.

Not the most subtile of messages, but hey, as writers and lovers of books, we can’t help believe that all that great information we consume daily  will come into use someday, if only to allow us to show off during a tedious dinner party.

I came across this article that proves we should continue to flog our children with the merits of reading too much.

In a recent Publishers Weekly issue: the article Lonely Planet Guide Saves Lives of Three Boys, caught my eye.

Three Australian boys were suck in mud flats, one up to his waist, the other two had sunk into mud to their chins.  I’ve been on the mud flats in Alaska, and apparently it’s not the sinking that is dangerous, what’s dangerous is not extracting yourself before   the ferocious and fast tide roars  in and you drown. (I did not read that).

Nine year old Vasco Gonsalves had just read the book  Not-for-Parents: How to Be a World Explorer: Your All-Terrain Manual by Joel Levy and remembered  the section on what to do in case you slip into quicksand.World Explorer book

“The book said to lean back and lift my legs and bring them up, roll over and swim back,” Vasco recalled. “And I got out and ran to tell my mum and the other mums and dads.”

I know how to use a fish fork because of what I’ve read.  I know how to time travel, because of the books I consume. We probably are completely unaware of just how much information we acquire just by reading our favorite novels and non-fiction.

And yes, I probably read how to swim out of quick sand a couple of times, I just don’t if I have the presence of mind like our nine year old, to remember all the steps.

So when we write, we owe it to our readers to be accurate – you never know when you’ll save a life.  Or embarrassment at dinner.

 

 

 

 

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Katy Moran – Writer and Author 

Our guest on Newbie Writers Podcast was the cooperative and cheerful Katy Moran from the edges of Wales who made both Damien and myself feel better about our weather.

She shared how a simple brooch, an artifact sparked two novels.  And the key to writing is to do it for your own enjoyment.  Because, as we said before, you may not be published, you may not become famous.  But if you love the work – the time is well spent.

Check out her books:

Katy Moran's new book

Katy Moran – Writer and Author | .

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Bonding with Battered Books

I had to share a comment from a reader about Allison Little, the heroine of the Real Estate Diva Mysteries:

My heart is still with Allison. HOW I could relate to her being able to part with only 5 books! AND her dismay and confusion at the less-than-admiring remarks of others (the philistines) about grubby/torn (read beloved) paperbacks. I’ve had my godson line 2 walls of my former library, now my office, with bookshelves. One wall has shelves specifically designed for paperbacks; the other, for hard cover books.

Like Allison, I’m trying to part with some books – and that’s not always a chore. Finding that I could donate the unwanted hardcovers to the library assuaged my conscience vis-a-vis land fill. The paperbacks go to the second-hand bookstore for credit!

See, aren’t I ecologically minded?

Marilyn Temmer

Your Family Stories

 I have shelves of precious books in less than perfect condition, what about you?

One of the Real Estate Diva Mysteries

One of the Real Estate Diva Mysteries

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Beth Barany speaks at Day of the Book

Day of the Book ink well

Day of the Book

Day of the Book

April 20, 2013

JFKU 100 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA

Time: 10-4

My friend Beth is a fabulous speaker and is so willing to share everything she knows!  Come and hear her speak at Day of the Book:

WHAT IS YOUR BIG IDEA? –   Beth Barany

Many people have something to say, a big message they want to share with the world. But they don’t know how to get it out of their head and onto the page. In this talk, by writing coach and novelist, Beth Barany, she’ll take you through the simple, yet powerful steps to get your powerful message into a book.

Award-winning novelist, Beth Barany is a creativity coach for writers, helping them complete their books, and get them into the hands of their readers. Her latest book for writers is Twitter for Authors: Social Media Book Marketing Strategies for Shy Writers.

 Admission

$35 with lunch

Faculty, staff, alumnae:  $25

Students: $20

Morning events open to the public 10-12

Panel discussion (lunch) 12-1

Literary salon 2-4

More on Beth

For early reservations contact: Catharine at bramkamp@yahoo.com

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TWIT TV

TWIT TV Studios

TWIT TV Studios

I visited TWIT TV the other week.  It is an amazing place and an amazing success story. The shows provides news, commentary, help and how – to perspectives on the latest trends in digital tech (this is lifted from their web site, so it must be true) and they’ve recently expanded into a “Multimillion dollar studio”  which I could visit because I live close by.

Here’s my favorite thing in the studio – and I’m sorry I didn’t take a photo –  the lobby lined with two brick walls.  On each brick is the name of a donor who made the new studio possible. Two of the bricks were lazered with QR codes, that’s all. I wonder  about setting current technology in stone or in this case, brick.

Should we have that kind of faith in the new, new thing?  What happens if QR codes become passé?  What if the landing page is taken down?  What about the brick’s relevance then?

I know, it makes me wonder about the transient nature of e-books, what happens if they go out of style?

Leo Laporte in his hat from New Orleans

Leo Laporte in his hat from New Orleans

 

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A Plea for Sanity this National (US) Grammar Day

I came across this article by Kory Stamper, a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster .  In honor of National Grammar Day, I agree with Ms. Stamper that no, we are not really correcting your grammar as you speak, and no, unlike the militant grammarians, I am not compelled to correct grammar or spelling on signs, in public or during social exchanges.  Because it’s just obnoxious.

So thank you Kory, for expressing my feelings on correcting grammar in public.  I always consider how well I’d be doing, grammar-wise, if I were trying to live in China and figuring out how to communicate in Mandarin.  I already tried, and I suck.

Check it out:

A Plea for Sanity this National (US) Grammar Day | harm·less drudg·ery.

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Find Your Tribe

We just interviewed Betsy Fasbinder author of Fire & Water, a dark love story.

She published her book with She Writes Press, a boutique publisher.  Betsy priced jobbing each piece of her book:  editing, cover design, book layout, print, uploading to Kindle, all the left brain activities that book publication requires and discovered that She Writes Press did it all in one shop and for less than hiring four or five different companies or individuals.  And she is quite happy with the results.

Fire & Water

Fire & Water

” She Writes Press consists of really smart people who know the industry and are also willing to collaborate with the author. They did not try to make the book into anything that it wasn’t.”

Betsy’s advice to the Newbie Writer:  Find your tribe. Writers understand writers, we understand what you are going through.  Find a few, find a bunch, but do find the support, writing is lonely, get you tribe.

Betsy has been awarded the Floyd Salas Award, a Jack London award and two East of Eden awards for both fiction and memoir pieces.  Four of her pieces have been produced as Readers’ Theater works in the historic Nevada Theater in Nevada City, California.  She is the also co-producer of The Women’s Writing Salon in Nevada County.

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