Saturday, August 9, 2014

Writing with an iPod

Scott D. Parker

Well my five year old iPod touch finally died. It was strange death too because it's still basically works except for the bottom part of the screen near the dock. That area just stopped accepting any touches. I replaced it this week with a fifth-generation iPod touch. Boy I didn't know what I was missing. I'm always on the lookout for new ways to improve my writing efficiency and I think the new iPod touch might be that tool. This counts for the iPhone as well, but I'm not sure about the Android devices since I don't have any.

Took me about four days to finally realize the little microphone icon means I can dictate to the iPod. I am a big fan of the DragonDictate program on the Macintosh, I love speech to text technology. It doesn't always get everything right, like the previous sentence didn't put the dashes in between speech to text, but it gets a whole bunch of things right. The fact that there is not currently a full version of a dragon app that you can use on an iPod  means that this dictation to the iPod will stand in its place. I am correcting a few things along the way, but not very many at all.

Now that I have a device that runs iOS 7, I have a whole lot more apps available to me. One of the neatest ones I have found so far is called Index Cards for the iPhone. As a writer who still uses real index cards to plan and work out plot structures, having an app like this on the iPod is going to make my brainstorming sessions during the workday much more efficient. Nice feature of the dictating part of the iPod is that I can dictate and then type to fix an error and then dictate again, something the Dragon program on my Macintosh does not do well.

The app mimics you sitting at your desk with a stack of index cards, pens, and highlighters in front of you. After you start a project, you get this screen:

You enter your scene number on top. Notice the dictation software didn't put in the numerals. Maybe I have to say "number 1". The next space is where you can write what happens in the scene. At the bottom, where it reads “Long Text,” you can actually write more text than would fit on an index card. Lastly, you can assign colored labels to each card. You’ll end up with something like this:

You flip the iPod on it’s side, and you get a traditional index card look:

All of this is way cool. I’ve used it to work through my current book during my walking breaks at the day job. I can sync to Dropbox for a backup and, the thing that sold me on this app versus others, it syncs with Scrivener.

I know I’m just scratching the surface of what this app can do for me, but I’m super excited.

What mobile, on-the-go apps do y’all use for writing, brainstorming, or other writerly things?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Letting Go

It never ends.
That's one thing I’ve realized – even this early in my writing career. Nothing is ever done. Things stop or slow down, but they rarely reach a point of completion where I feel like I wouldn’t change a single comma or period. It just doesn’t happen. The medium doesn’t matter, either – be it a comic script, short story, novel or press release. I never feel like it’s perfect.
That took some getting used to. It’s hard to accept or deal with. But it’s a reality of the life we live as writers. I was tempted to say “the life we’ve chosen,” but that’s not accurate. I didn’t choose this. At certain times - before I was published and before I'd finished anything - I said I “wanted” to be a writer. Now, it’s more that I have to be one. Which is great when the ideas are flowing and I’m sitting down and writing. Not as great when I haven’t put pen to paper in a few days and I’m an absolute chore to be around. It’s not a choice – it’s something we have to do.
So, when writing is something you always think about and feel, it’s hard to let things go. It's hard to let people or scenes or stories go because they take up so much space in our brains and hearts that you want to perfectly translate what’s in your head to the printed page. But we have to let go – otherwise we run the risk of becoming that guy that references that novel he’s going to finish one day.
I’m thinking about all this as I recover from the week-long insanity that is San Diego Comic-Con. It’s an annual marathon I run for my day job and it’s brutal. You’re “on” for almost a week and by the time you get home your brain is jelly and you’ve forgotten most of what happened. But I couldn’t have a jelly brain because I had a giant item on my to-do list I could not ignore: Down the Darkest Street novel revisions.
Down the Darkest Street is the second Pete Fernandez novel, sequel to my debut, Silent City. I think it’s a better book. I hope people will see that, too. It’s definitely a – no pun intended – darker book, and hopefully not the sequel one would expect after reading Silent City. It was and is a harder book to write. Not in the “creative differences” or “challenging” PR spin way. It was harder to write because more stuff is going on, the characters are facing bigger mental, emotional and physical challenges and because second novels – like second albums – are inherently tougher. I think so, at least.
I’ve also had a blast writing it. I don’t want it to end.
I feel like I live in this world, with these characters I know and love and I get bummed out every time I get close to the end of an edit or rewrite because I know it’s not perfect. If I go back, I’ll find a better way to turn a phrase or resolve Plot Thread X or show this character’s true intentions…but at a certain point, you have to let go.
It was really tough sending the book off to my agent, even knowing that at some point – be it another round of notes from her or from the editor or whatever – I will get another chance to tinker. But letting go is part of the writing process and it’s a skill we learn as we do more of it. Knowing when to step back and let things percolate or, if you’re lucky, let things go and become a real, honest-to-God book.
On the bright side, once you’ve let go of one, you can start another. But that’s a story for another time.

How do you know when it’s time to let your WIP go on to the next stage?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Kelli Stanley: The City of Ghosts Interview

by Holly West

Hey y'all. It's time for me to let my fan girl flag fly: I've loved Kelli Stanley and her Miranda Corbie series since before the first one (CITY OF DRAGONS) was even released. Kelli appeared on a historical fiction panel at the first Bouchercon I attended, Indianapolis 2009 and I was immediately taken with her heroine, Miranda Corbie, an ex-escort and a former Spanish Civil War nurse now working as a P.I. in San Francisco circa 1940.

The third in the series, CITY OF GHOSTS, came out yesterday, and I'm thrilled that Kelli agreed to an interview for Do Some Damage to celebrate its release. 

Holly West: CITY OF GHOSTS touches upon several historical events/topics: The looting of art during WWII, Americans working as spies for the Nazis, and the Nazis censuring and destroying what the regime considered to be "degenerate" art and literature. One of the benefits of writing historical fiction is that we can use real-life historical events to inform our plots. It doesn't necessarily make the writing easier, but definitely provides some direction. In plotting, do you start with a historical event you'd like to explore in more depth or are your plots more about where you'd like to take Miranda Corbie as a character, then choosing the historical elements to follow?

Kelli Stanley: Holly, you ask the best questions! I know this is going to sound less than definitive, but the answer is both. There are historical elements from this period that I wanted to address—tensions between Japanese and Chinese Americans in Chinatown (CITY OF DRAGONS);  anti-Semitic, pro-fascist American hate groups and how eugenics (and America’s role in promoting it) led to Hitler’s Germany (CITY OF SECRETS).

For CITY OF GHOSTS, I wanted to explore the theme of art—who owns it, who values or devalues it, and what it means to a nation or a culture. That dovetailed historically with what the Nazis were doing to dispossessed Jews and conquered countries like Poland—a wholesale theft and destruction of cultural patrimony. I also wanted to write a train scene—that was purely personal. In every book, there’s at least one scene in which I tackle a noir or hardboiled—or, in this case, traditional mystery—trope. They’re  fun to write—an homage, if you will. The gambling scene in CITY OF SECRETS is another example.

Miranda’s character development is on almost a separate trajectory from the exterior plot mechanics; one of my challenges is to mesh each thread and theme so that they work to produce a united and hopefully seamless result. In other words, I put her in situations that I’m interested in and see how she reacts. In CITY OF GHOSTS, for example, she spends time in Reno because that’s one of the stops on the City of San Francisco streamliner. That gave her a chance to react to the very real sense of desperation that surrounds gambling and prostitution and gave me a chance to explore the history of the Biggest Little City in the World. I also wanted to throw a different kind of case her way—espionage. Not your usual PI bread-and-butter, but the kind of activity that would become far less unusual for a good investigator during World War II. Remember, the OSS is just an idea right now. Miranda’s experience as a spy opens up all sorts of future possibilities, doesn’t it?

HW: Indeed, it does. When CITY OF GHOSTS opens, Miranda has one goal: she wants to earn enough money to get to England to find her mother, whom she barely remembers. At first, I thought, "This is a different Miranda--though war is raging in Europe and she's rightly concerned, it's less about seeking justice and more about accomplishing her goal. It isn't long, however, before Miranda's quest to find her mother intersects with her justice-seeking instincts. The book reveals new information about Miranda and her history, but as a writer, did you learn something new about Miranda as well? 

KS: This will sound daft, but Miranda always surprises me. Sometimes I feel as though I’m just reporting her life, retelling her story, rather than actually creating it. I don’t even like to think about authorship when it comes to her … barmy, I know. But I’ll force myself to step back and put on my author hat …

The first three books of the series form a character arc, and this arc is, in all honesty, what the books are really “about.”  By the end of CITY OF GHOSTS, Miranda is a different person than the woman we meet in CITY OF DRAGONS. No spoilers, but there are two major overarching narrative themes that run through the Miranda series: a hero’s journey and a return home. A combination of the Iliad and the Odyssey, to be honest. Miranda is an angry Achilles at the start of CITY OF DRAGONS. She is not quite as angry and more at peace by the end of CITY OF GHOSTS. Finding one’s mother is a metaphor for finding oneself, don’t you think?

CITY OF SHARKS picks up, as all the books do, when CITY OF GHOSTS ends. Miranda is still on a long journey, both figuratively and (perhaps) literally; she is still a soldier above all else, but even soldiers need to set aside their weapons. There is a great difference between rushing into battle because you have a death-wish and place no value on your life and rushing into battle because it needs to be done and you want to survive to enjoy the peace. Miranda is changing; she acts on the world, the world acts back. No one lives in a vacuum, and—because part of me feels like she is, effectively, real, neither does she.

HW: In the synopsis page for this book on your website, it refers to CITY OF GHOSTS as a "novel that asks tough questions of the past that have yet to be answered in the present." That's a powerful description. What are some of the questions it asks and do you think we'll ever have satisfactory answers?

KS: The questions are both concrete—“What happened to Raphael’s Portrait of a Young Man?”—and abstract. To whom does art belong? Why does it matter? Is it worth a person’s life? Who decides how much value it has? Artistic ownership is a thorny question, even in 2014. The Elgin Marbles, for example—should they be repatriated to Greece, when the country can’t afford to give them the physical protection they require as ancient artifacts? Or should they stay in the British Museum? To whom do they belong? Tough questions and even tougher answers.

Every Miranda book addresses questions of guilt—why did we stand back and let fascist Spain conquer the Republic? Why did the government not intervene to save Jews stranded on the MS St. Louis? Why were so many people willing to turn a blind eye toward Hitler and Hirohito and Mussolini, and why was cultural propaganda far more anti-Communist than anti-Fascist?

There are some answers here, but—because similar issues exist in the modern world (China is a totalitarian regime with a horrific human rights record, yet American and multinational corporations continue to build its economy), I don’t think anyone really wants to hear the truth. For the record: there is no morality or ethics in business, and business dictates policy. I’m not anti-Capitalist, I’m just pro-ethics, but without regulation and oversight, well … we have Dupont and Ford celebrating Hitler and China making US Olympic team uniforms.

HW: A key aspect of Miranda's personal history is that she lost her lover, Johnny, in the Spanish Civil War and it's wounded her deeply. She's a heroine, to be sure, but the loss she's suffered defines her. She's unrelenting in her quest for justice, but is she really doing it for Johnny? Is that her way of keeping him alive?

KS: There’s a refrain in every book, including CITY OF GHOSTS, Miranda repeating words her dead lover told her: “You’re a good soldier, Miranda, you’re a good soldier.” Miranda does what she does because of the fire inside her, but also because Johnny died fighting “the good fight.”

When you go through great grief, you have a strong desire to carry on that person’s goals, dreams and ambitions—it is a way of keeping them with you, of keeping them inside you, of enacting the need you had for them when they lived and the need you still feel.

At the same time, Miranda was involved in “lost” causes before she met John—for example, there are a few allusions throughout the series to her time teaching hungry children in Salinas during the Depression. As the ultimate outsider—thanks to her gender, beauty, history, moral code, strength, politics and inability to normalize social behaviors—Miranda empathizes with other outsiders. You find her in Chinatown because she feels more at home there than on Nob Hill.

She found her soul mate in John. And going through that loss propelled her to the front lines of the fight.

HW: You use some real-life historical figures in your novels, as do I. Though I might fictionalize their actions or speech, I try to characterize them as closely as possible to what historical accounts have revealed them to be so as not to misrepresent them. Do you have any "rules" about using real-life people?

KS: Same rules as you, Holly—I try to be as truthful to the historic record as possible. At the same time, I really enjoy filling in the blanks!

Fritz Weidemann (Nazi Consul in San Francisco and character in CITY OF GHOSTS) was profiled by Life Magazine in 1939. I bought a copy (I own a large run of these magazines from ’39-’41) and was able to touch on details like his favorite restaurant in San Francisco  and the tailor who made his clothes. Other elements I had to infer—for example, why Hitler idol-worshipped the man. I try to arrive at a portrait that feels psychologically accurate and truthful to the person I’ve researched. Some liberties, obviously, must be taken, but not with the subject’s personality—that, above all else, must make sense and be believable.

Incidentally, the people at the Nazi costume party—and the spy case Miranda is told about—were all true. Those people did socialize with Fritz and the short tale about the German spy flying to Los Angeles was actual history. I try to weave in as much accurate, historical detail as possible.

HW: I feel like I have a personal connection with Miranda Corbie--some parts of her history remind me of my dear friend, Doris, who passed away at 91 in 2008. Beyond that though, Miranda is such a vivid character that while I'm reading, she jumps off the page and lives in my imagination. Do you ever picture her as an old woman? Do you know how her life plays out?

KS: Ouch, that’s a hard question. And while I’m thinking of a good response, thank you for those kind words about Miranda! My goal was to make her seem as real to readers as she is to me.

So … fighting in Spain, surviving Dianne’s Escort Service and the pitfalls of being a PI … all require an extraordinary amount of toughness. Growing old requires more.

I, too, had a friend and neighbor that passed away at 101 last year. That generation was amazing. I can’t really see into the future for Miranda—it’s hazy—but I’m not sure that I see her as old. I’m not sure that she has enough of that particular type of toughness. Surviving the inequities of age is harder than charging with the Light Brigade, you know? I mean, I think about her—wonder if she was around when Kennedy was shot, for example. Ultimately, I think Miranda would want to go out in the same way John did.

About the farthest I can see ahead for her is the Alger Hiss case right after the war. The Cold War and all the hysteria of the Black List—and Miranda would be about 40, so a good age. I’d really like to write her through the war and into the ‘50s and see where life takes her.

HW: During the writing of CITY OF GHOSTS, you lost both of your parents within a month of each other, which subsequently delayed your finishing it. I know the loss was profound for you--how did it affect the writing of this book? Did you approach writing differently when you were able to come back to it? Was the process healing in any way?

KS: Another tough question. Losing my parents was also losing two-thirds of myself. As an only child with no close relatives or friends from childhood—we moved around a bit until I was 13—they were the repositories of my history, the only family I had, parents whom I could call up when my own memories and recollections were fuzzy. So, in a sense, I feel wiped out, lost and almost insubstantial.

They were my best friends, and not a day goes by when I don’t think about them or feel the pain of missing them. I had to learn to live life without them and I’m still learning—and, ironically, developed PTSD, something from which Miranda suffers. That made me understand her even better.

The thing is, a book has a trajectory that belongs to the book, not the author. I started CITY OF GHOSTS when my parents were alive. I had to finish it after they were gone. I was a different person, but the book had to be the same book, Miranda had to be Miranda.

It took a long time for me to even open up my subconscious because it wasn’t (and still isn’t, actually) a comfortable place to be. I knew my parents wanted me to be successful and they were both very proud of my career, so I had to finish the book. Plus, I had a patient publisher who was waiting on me. So I pushed myself and wound up writing probably 35k more words than necessary. I’ve always been an overwriter, but the excess was a direct result of the pain I was feeling.

Finishing the book was therapeutic; writing it probably was, too, but so is waking up every day. When you’re in grief, just living becomes its own therapy and its own battle, something Miranda understands very well.

HW: You've now written three books in the Miranda Corbie series. Do you have a favorite?

KS: No, no favorites, though CITY OF DRAGONS, in my heart of hearts, probably has an edge, just
because it was Miranda’s introduction to me and to the world. Actually, the three books feel like three parts of an extra long novel—more connected than separate, and all detailing those narrative themes I mentioned above.

I do have favorite bits—the gambling scene in CITY OF SECRETS, for example—some of the San Francisco descriptions in CITY OF DRAGONS—the Berkeley and Reno and train scenes in CITY OF GHOSTS.  And CITY OF GHOSTS was partially modeled on The Maltese Falcon—the existential quest—one of the greatest novels of the 20th century and (of course) a huge influence on me.

HW: What's next for Miranda? What's next for you?

KS: Right now, I’m writing CITY OF SHARKS—it was time to write about Alcatraz, and, thanks to my author pal Julie Kramer, who has been wanting me to use this title—I decided to take the plunge, so to speak.  The main plot deals with the publishing industry in 1940, but, as in every Miranda novel, there is a lot more going on …

My current contract will be up with that book but I am, of course, hoping to write Miranda for as long as I can write. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to write other things—right now, I’ve got a YA trilogy and a couple of thrillers—stand-alones with series potential—on the drawing board, plus another period mystery/hardboiled,  lighter in tone. Plus, I haven’t forgotten about Arcturus and Roman Noir, but because the second book is out of print I haven’t been able to invest the time to write another. That may change; everything does. I’m hoping to up my production output, that’s for sure, and, as I said, keep Miranda in Chesterfields for a long time to come.

Kelli Stanley writes the Miranda Corbie series of literary noir novels, set in 1940 San Francisco and featuring the ex-escort, former Spanish Civil War nurse and iconoclastic private eye Miranda Corbie--called, by Library Journal, one of "crime's most arresting heroines." CITY OF DRAGONS won the Macavity Award and was nominated for a Shamus and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; CITY OF SECRETS won the Golden Nugget for best mystery set in California, and the third, CITY OF GHOSTS, comes out August 5th. Her first book, NOX DORMIENDA, is set in Roman Britain and won the Bruce Alexander Award. Kelli  lives in San Francisco and holds a Master's Degree in Classics. Visit for more info.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Already met Rocket Racoon? Meet Bill Mantlo.

By Jay Stringer

There was a time -to people of my generation- where the mere mention of the word raccoon would make our heads do this;

And this;

And, I guess, for some, the word raccoon would make their brain do this;

But from now on, the word only has one association.

Everyone is talking about Rocket Raccoon at the moment.

Rocket was co-created by Bill Mantlo, a writer who worked on titles including Alpha Flight, The Incredible Hulk and Rom. He did a lot of single fill-in issues too, so if you have a favourite Marvel character, chances are Bill wrote him or her at some point. (Mine is Daredevil and, yes, Bill did an issue.) He was also a qualified attorney. He used his writing income to pay his way through law school and became a public defender in the Bronx. My writing income pays for me to sit in this chair and eat food. Bill put his to use to get to a place where he could give aid to others.

Bill was injured in a hit-and-run road collision in 1992. A driver ploughed into him and then fled the scene. He suffered severe head trauma and has never fully recovered, he requires constant medical help and lives in a care facility.

You can read a more in-depth account here.

Writing (or any art) can feel like a lonely life. For Bill Mantlo, one moment in 1992 has made it even worse than that. But it's at times like this that people can step up and remind us we're not alone. Bill has a family who care for him and visit him, and Marvel Comics have made some very generous gestures, including giving him a private screening of Guardians Of The Galaxy from his bed in the care home.

 But this is where the rest of us come in. Health care isn't cheap.

Maybe you've gone to the movie and loved the little furry thing. Maybe your kids have. Maybe you're going to be buying someone a T shirt or a toy. Well, for all of that, we can consider giving a little something back. Any donation goes straight to helping him out.

It's easy to do with the Bill Mantlo Support Fund through paypal. I'm rubbish at paypal links, so here's Greg Pak's website where he's got a donate button set up. You don't even need to be a paypal member to do it.

Not everyone has money to spare, especially right now, but there is another option. Like I said, writing can be hard and lonely. What makes a difference -for all of us- is knowing we connected with people, knowing we put something out there that entertained. So if you loved the film, or if those kids did, or if you are buying that toy or T shirt, maybe you could write Bill a quick note? A card or letter, something to say how much fun you had, and how much you loved the wee raccoon.

Any cards or letters can be sent via his brother Mike, who is Bill's legal guardian. You can also send old-school donations to the address, but please make any cheques out to Mike Mantlo. 

Mike Mantlo 
26364 East Pintail Road 
Long Neck, 
DE 19966

Thanks guys.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Read any good recent story collections or anthos?

I haven't been doing as much anthology or story collection reading as I usually do. Here's a couple I've looked at:

A farmer perishing under a fallen tractor makes a last stab at philosophizing: “There was nothing dead that was ever beautiful.” It is a sentiment belied not only by the strange beauty in his story but also in the rough lives and deaths, small and large, that fill these haunting tales. Pulp-fiction grim and gritty but with the rhythm and resonance of classic folklore, these stories take place in a world of shadowy figures and childhood fears, in a countryside peopled by witches and skinflints, by men and women mercilessly unforgiving of one another’s trespasses, and in nights prowled by wolves and scrutinized by an “agonized and lamenting” moon. Ervin D. Krause’s characters pontificate in saloons, condemning the morals of others as they slowly get sloshed; they have affairs in old cars on winter nights; they traffic in gossip, terrorize their neighbors, steal, hunt, and spy.
This collection includes award-winning stories like “The Snake” and “The Quick and the Dead” as well as the previously unpublished “Anniversary,” which stirred a national controversy when it was censored by the University of Nebraska and barred from appearing in Prairie Schooner. Krause’s portrayal of the matter-of-fact cruelty and hopeful fragility of humanity is a critical addition to the canon of twentieth-century American literature.

A giant ape... A heartless priest... A descent into depravity under London... An immortal hound... A baby thrown up by the sea... A Voodoo prayer... A legend made flesh in the eyes of a terrified child... Monsters come in all shapes and sizes... From human individuals with an evil streak or deeply aberrant nature, to those who are simply physically wrong. From beasts of the imagination to modern myths from the big screen... In these 15 stories representing the very best recent fiction by the writer of TV's GHOSTWATCH and AFTERLIFE and the acclaimed novella WHITSTABLE, you will meet all the things that made our childhoods terrifying - and bearable... "Others had Bobby Moore or Elvis. We had Christopher Lee and Quatermass. We had monsters in our hearts forever..." ... Containing two never-before-published stories.

THE DOWNRIVER HORSESHOE draws its stories from the landscapes and people of the industrial, south side of Metro Detroit called Downriver. It is Americana with a gritty, blue-collar twist—filled with quirky, rough-hewn characters like Duke Peterson, a retired cookie-truck driver who, at the behest of his nasty, invalid wife, has to hock his grandfather’s old shotguns to make rent; there is George Rimbaud, a morally confused mailman who continually crosses the line and intertwines his life (and sex life) with people along his route; and also Simon Touhy, a young man who falls in love with a prosthetic leg found at his worksite on Mt. Trashmore, a landfill converted to public ski slope. With the luck and pride of Downriver at their side, these men march on, making the best decisions they can in an area that can be bleak and beautiful and dangerous on the same block.

How about you, read any good collections or anthologies recently?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Writing with Kids (Or Other Obligations!)

Until I had kids, I had no idea that even the smallest maternal bone existed in my body. To my surprise, when I held that baby in my hands, it felt natural and I knew what to do. And it was the greatest thing ever. At the same time, it didn’t take me long to figure out that all my passion (obsession?) for my job as a newspaper crime reporter had been shifted to the little sweet bundle in my arms.
I couldn’t do both.
So I quit newspaper and became a stay-at-home mom.
One day along the line, another baby later, I finally had enough energy to think about something besides diaper changes and picking up the endless stream of toys and realized I missed writing.
Not just journalism but writing.
So on the day my youngest started kindergarten I began to write. A book. A real book. Something I didn’t have confidence to do until I was in my 40s.
And then it sold. Suddenly, I’m an author with book contracts and deadlines and also, still—my most important job—a mama. 
During the school year, these two worlds mesh seamlessly.
As long as I get my “butt in chair” and write as soon as the kids get on the bus for school, then I can juggle both worlds.
I believe in the Brad Parks philosophy: The Church of One Thousand Words.
If you write 1,000 words a day you will have a rough draft of a novel in three months.  It’s true. It’s real. It works. I’ve proven this in the four novels I’ve written so far
Butt in chair. One thousand words a day.
I can get my thousand words a day done in usually two hours.
I’m incredibly, extremely blessed to have a supportive husband who is okay with me staying home and writing, so I often can write for four hours instead of two.
Now that I’m a published author, I divide my day in half. In the mornings, I write from 9 to 12. After lunch, I work on promotional/marketing and other household, more domestic tasks until 3:30.
Then until bedtime, I’m Italian mama and wife, enjoying time with my family
Then it starts all over again.
I’m incredibly, incredibly blessed to live this life. I know it. I don’t ever take it for granted. My good friend, Meg, said this today: “Filled with absolute gratitude and excitement today. My life is a marvel to me.” And I’m going to steal it.
Word for word.
Filled with absolute gratitude and excitement today. My life is a marvel to me.
So, I should back up. The life I just described takes place September through June.
June through September is a whole different story.
During these months, I am full-time Italian Mama and try to snatch moments here and there to write and do book marketing stuff in between piano lessons, swim lessons, soccer practice and play rehearsals.
I have sat in the darkened theater while my daughter rehearses and tapped on my laptop. I get up early and try to write before the kids wake. I lug my laptop anywhere and everywhere. Because you see, I learned from the hardest working writer I know—Joelle Charbonneau—who turned over this blog spot to me. That woman has learned to write whenever and wherever she can and she has been a role model to me for years.
So, this summer, I haven’t got much done writing wise—at least not nearly as much as I wanted to. I try when I can, and I have upmost respect for writers who have a full-time 9-5 job and then come home and write. Especially those who also have families to care for on top of it. Or some friends of mine who write while suffering from chronic diseases that can lay them out flat for weeks. Or writers who are struggling with difficult issues in their life and are weary from life. There are so many scenarios and yet, we all write, don’t’ we? We have to write. Good grief, when I think about that I realize I could never, ever complain about my situation.
So, I won’t complain, but will ask how other writers fit writing into their schedules? I know what works for me and am very grateful to have figured it out, but would love to have others share what works for them.