Category: Writers (Page 1 of 3)
How’s your summer been? Busy like everyone else’s I bet.
Summer is all about being, doing and going all things and places we don’t do during the school year – even those of us without kids in school any longer.
Summer time is also about changes. Remember being in school going into the summer then coming back in September and seeing how much the other kids have changed and grown?
As adults we also change in the summer. We accumulate new experiences with the things we’ve done and the places we’ve gone.
This summer, I got married to an incredible woman. I met my wife in the summer of 2010. It was a summer of sea changes. My life took a 180 degree turn from one of most trying and challenging times, to the best period in my life.
I began a new job the same week we were married so we had to put off our honeymoon. Our honeymoon was at the end of July. We went to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in Maine. We had a wonderful time. On our last day there more changes occurred. My new wife slipped on a wet rock and shattered her right wrist, her dominate hand. The break was so bad; she required surgery to fix it.
We have to change our routines around for the next few months to work around the injury. Life is all about change. We know it, are ready for it and embrace it.
With the down time for healing, we’re enjoying watching the 2012 Olympics in London. It occurred to me that the Olympics officially started on my friend Mike’s birthday (July 27th) and will officially end on my friend Jim’s birthday (August 12th). We’ll be celebrating these changes this weekend!
On a more sober note, I wish to pay respect to both Maeve Binchy, who passed away on July 30th at the age of 72, and the very prolific Gore Vidal passed away a day later on July 31st, at the age of 86. Both were great novelists and left great legacies. Lives well lived.
What changes have you experienced this summer?
Today story writing takes a back seat as I pay tribute to Mr. Ray Bradbury, who passed away at the age of 91, on June 5th, the same day I finally announced to the world “I am a writer.”
Tonight his ever hopeful IBM Selectric typewriter now knows Ray will never regain the motor skills he lost in a stroke. It sits forever quiet – the energy and surge of Bradbury’s words will never again weave another story.
The first Bradbury novel I read as a teenager was Dandelion Wine, followed soon after by the Martian Chronicles. I’ve been a fan ever since.
I’ve managed to read most of his novels and only about a third of his more than 600 short stories, novelettes and collections.
He wrote engaging and enthralling stories with unforgettable characters like the fireman, Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451, the sinister Mr. Dark in Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Illustrated Man and Pipkin in The Halloween Tree. He had the ability to put you right in the story.
The thing I love(d) about Bradbury was his absolute passion for the writing process and the love of story creation. Most writers sound like martyrs when talking about the writing process: opening up veins onto the page, sweating drops of blood from the forehead and other tales of toil and torture of writing – but not Ray Bradbury. He loved it.
I’m a big fan or Stephen King, and still think his book On Writing, is hands down the best on the subject, but no other author has inspired me to be a writer more than Ray Bradbury. He always expounded on the possibilities of story and the magic of the writing process. He always made it sound fun.
When I created this blog, I named it in honor of Ray Bradbury in my About page. The title taken from one of my favorite Bradbury quotes:
“Write 1000 words a day. You’ve got to be madly in love. Don’t listen to your friends – they can’t help you. Write whatever you love–Science fiction, romance, soap opera–it doesn’t matter.”
~ Ray Bradbury ~
A couple of my early posts also refers to a different version of this quote:
Mr. Bradbury – Thank You. It was a life well lived…
How will You remember Ray Bradbury?
A little more than a month ago I did a book review of Jeff Goins book, You Are A Writer [So Start Acting Like One]
At the end of the review, I declared that You Are A Writer. What I failed to do is declare myself one.
I’ve been writing blogs since 2000, and I’ve written freelance articles for custom motorcycle magazines, and I’ve written several books (which were never published), so I guess I am a writer.
Several people have told me I am a writer including a business writing coach and more importantly, the senior editor of a regional newspaper, who taught an expository writing course when I attended night school.
People have told me I’m a writer, and I have written, but for some reason, until now, I felt uncomfortable declaring myself a writer.
Neil Gaiman recently gave a commencement address at The University of the Arts. At one point he talked about when someone asked him how to do something they felt would be difficult, he said, “Pretend that you are someone who could do it, Don’t pretend to do it, but pretend you are someone who can.” Write it out, put it up where you can see it every day – and it will help.
Jeff just began a Great Writers Series, where over the next 15 days he will share actions you need to take to form new habits that will help you become a Great Writer.
So in keeping with with Day 1, I’m declaring that…
I AM A WRITER
Whatever it is you want to do – declare it – and become it. There is a beauty in the momentum of taking action.
What are you declaring today?
How cool is this?
Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Coraline, The Graveyard Book) recently posted an interview he had with Stephen King, on his blog.
It’s the best King interview I have ever read.
From my mid-teens I’ve been a fan. The first Stephen King book I ever read was The Shinning. It scared the shit out of me and I’ve been hooked ever since.
There was a time I used to read everything King ever wrote, but that desire faded over the last 10 years. I obtained an early autographed copy of Under the Dome in late 2009, and that was the last King novel I’ve read.
However, after reading Neil’s interview with King, as both a reader and a writer, it has rekindled a whole new interest in catching up on what I’ve missed over the past 2+ years.
Here are some gems I took away from that interview:
I think the most important thing I learned from Stephen King I learned as a teenager, reading King’s book of essays on horror and on writing, Danse Macabre. In there he points out that if you just write a page a day, just 300 words, at the end of a year you’d have a novel. It was immensely reassuring – suddenly something huge and impossible became strangely easy. As an adult, it’s how I’ve written books I haven’t had the time to write, like my children’s novel Coraline.
As of right now, if I died and everybody kept it a secret, it would go on until 2013. There’s a new Dark Tower novel, The Wind in the Keyhole. That comes out soon, and Dr Sleep is done. So if I got hit by a taxi cab, like Margaret Mitchell, what wouldn’t be done, what would be done. Joyland wouldn’t be done but Joe (his son) could finish it, in a breeze. His style is almost indistinguishable from mine.”
Why would he write a sequel to The Shining?
“I wanted to write Dr Sleep because I wanted to see what would happen to Danny Torrence when he grew up…He is going to be one of those people who says ‘I am never going to be like my father, I am never going to be abusive like my father was’. Then you wake up at 37 or 38 and you’re a drunk. Then I thought, what kind of a life does that person like that have?”
I told him about the peculiarity of researching the story I was working on, that everything I needed, fictionally, was waiting for me when I went looking for it. He nods in agreement.
“Absolutely – you reach out and it’s there…That was The Green Mile…I started writing it and I stayed ahead of the publication schedule pretty comfortably. Because…” he hesitates, tries to explain in a way that doesn’t sound foolish, “…every time I needed something that something was right there to hand.”
“When John Coffey goes to jail – he was going to be executed for murdering the two girls. I knew that he didn’t do it, but I didn’t know that the guy who did do it was going to be there, didn’t know anything about how it happened, but when I wrote it, it was all just there for me. You just take it. Everything just fits together like it existed before.”
“I never think of stories as made things; I think of them as found things. As if you pull them out of the ground, and you just pick them up. Someone once told me that that was me low-balling my own creativity. That might or might not be the case. But still, on the story I am working on now, I do have some unresolved problem. It doesn’t keep me awake at nights. I feel like when it comes down, it will be there…”
King writes every day. If he doesn’t write he’s not happy. If he writes, the world is a good place. So he writes. It’s that simple.
“I sit down maybe at quarter past eight in the morning and I work until quarter to twelve and for that period of time, everything is real. And then it just clicks off. I think I probably write about 1200 to 1500 words. It’s six pages. I want to get six pages into hardcopy.”
Hop on over to Neil’s blog and read the unabridged Stephen King interview
I first came across David Gaughran in the comments sections of J.A. Konrath’s blog posts at the Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. David always gave insightful, levelheaded responses.
In visiting his blog, I found well-written and informed articles about the state of today’s publishing industry at an international level as well as the journey he was on in publishing his on e-books. I became an instant fan.
David’s personable style and voice is evident in his ebook Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should. It was an honor that he allowed me to be one of his “first reader” reviewers of the book. I anticipated that it would be good, but I was blown away by just how good it really is.
Here’s the review I gave it on Amazon:
Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should is brilliant, informative and motivating. David Guaghran is a talented writer who may be new to the self-publishing scene, but he has his finger firmly on the overall pulse of the sea-change taking place in the publishing industry. With the once impenetrable walls of the traditional publishing industry crashing to the ground, David shows you how to publish your own ebooks successfully, which can not only compete with the Big 6 publisher’s, but also surpass them.
LET’S GET DIGITAL is a thorough and indispensable resource for newbies interested in self-publishing their own ebook. David shows you how today’s publishing landscape compares to the way it used to be – and why it’s much better now.
He then covers the steps he took to self-publish his books, including the all-important tasks of getting your book professionally edited and creating the best book cover you can. David also covers how to get yourself and your books known and driving traffic to your blog and ebooks using forums, social media, reviews (and how to get them) and complementary sites and services.
In the last third of the book are motivating and inspirational stories of how 33 previously unpublished authors used similar strategies to turn their dreams and desires for publication into reality.
Make no mistake, to self-publish your own ebook takes a lot of work. To become a successful, well-known, consistently selling ebook author takes Herculean effort. LET’S GET DIGITAL is an excellent resource to help get you there.
At $2.99, this ebook is a bargain. The information contained in it is easily worth thirty times as much with all the time and effort it’ll save you.
Although I received a free PDF copy for review, as soon as it was released I bought a copy of Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should for my Kindle – and so should you!
Being a fan of Kerouac, I was surprised when I read about this.
BY BRUCE DeSILVA
“The Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks” (Grove Press, 214 pages, $24), by William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac: More than 60 years ago, when Jack Kerouac was 23 and William S. Burroughs was 30, they were arrested in New York City for helping a friend cover up a murder. Although neither had written anything worth mentioning yet, they fancied themselves writers. So, after they beat the rap, they collaborated on a novel based on the case.
Kerouac, for one, thought the book was darned good. America’s publishers unanimously disagreed. And so the manuscript was tucked away, unloved and forgotten, until, at long last, Grove Press published it this month.
It was not worth the wait.
The real crime, which caused a sensation in 1944 New York, gave Kerouac and Burroughs a lot with which to work, but they failed to do much with it. The story is plodding, the characters uninteresting and the writing listless, with few hints at the innovative styles that would later make these writers icons of the beat generation. Perhaps the book will be of interest to literary scholars, but Grove could have posted it on an obscure internet site and spared the rest of us.
The real killer was Lucien Carr, a youth from a well-to-do family. The victim was David Kammerer, who had become infatuated with Carr years earlier in St. Louis while serving as his Boy Scout leader. Kammerer apparently came to New York to pursue Carr, their dance ending when the youth stabbed the older man in the chest with a scout knife, put stones in his pockets and shoved him into the Hudson River.
Carr promptly confessed to Burroughs and Kerouac, who did not call the police. In fact, the latter helped dispose of the murder weapon. Carr was later found guilty of second degree murder, but he was given only a two-year sentence after his lawyer argued that he had committed the crime to defend his honor from a homosexual predator. Carr served his time and went on to have a distinguished career as an editor. He died in 2005.
The crime, with its bohemian characters and hints of pedopilia, was a lot more interesting in the newspapers of the day than it is in the novel.
Kerouac and Burroughs changed the names of all the characters, including themselves. Inexplicably, they also changed the murder weapon, turning the delicious detail of the scout knife into a hatchet. As “Mike Ryko” and “Will Dennison,” the authors take turns narrating the story in a hard-boiled style, trying to write like Mickey Spillane and making a mess of it.
The characters are aimless, intellectual wannabes who spend most of the book engaging in vacuous conversations while wandering from one seedy apartment and bar to another in pursuit of sex, drugs and whiskey.
It is impossible to work up much concern for what will happen to any of them.
This is a shocker!
From TV Guide:
Michael Crichton, whose contributions to pop culture ranged from the human drama of ER and Disclosure to the sci-fi adventures Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, has died after what his family called “a private battle with cancer.” He was 66.
“While the world knew him as a great storyteller that challenged our preconceived notions about the world around us … family and friends knew Michael Crichton as a devoted husband, loving father and generous friend who inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of our world through new eyes,” his family said in a statement. “He did this with a wry sense of humor that those who were privileged to know him personally will never forget.”
Crichton died Tuesday, the family said.
His page-turner novels — and later the plethora of TV shows and films based on his work — balanced hard science with rip-roaring adventure and small-scale emotion. They sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.
(New York Times)
By Marilyn Stasio
Tony Hillerman, whose lyrical, authentic and compelling mystery novels set among the Navajos of the Southwest blazed innovative trails in the American detective story, died Sunday at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, The Associated Press reported.
He was 83 and lived in Albuquerque. The cause was pulmonary failure, according to the AP report.
Hillerman’s evocative novels, which describe people struggling to maintain ancient traditions in the modern world, touched millions of readers, who made them best sellers. But although the themes of his books were not overtly political, he wrote with a purpose, he often said, and that purpose was to instill in his readers a respect for Indian culture. The plots of his stories, while steeped in contemporary crime and its consequences, were invariably instructive about ancient tribal beliefs and customs, from purification rituals for a soldier returned from a foreign war to incest taboos for a proper clan marriage.
“It’s always troubled me that the American people are so ignorant of these rich Indian cultures,” Hillerman once told Publishers Weekly. “I think it’s important to show that aspects of ancient Indian ways are still very much alive and are highly germane even to our ways.”
Hillerman was not the first mystery writer to set a story on Indian land or to introduce a full-blooded Native American detective to crime literature. In 1946 the grand prize in the first short-story competition of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine went to Manly Wade Wellman for the first of two stories he wrote with an Indian protagonist.
But beginning with “The Blessing Way” in 1970 the 18 novels Hillerman set on Southwest Indian reservations featuring Lieut. Joe Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police, brought a new dimension to the character of the traditional genre hero.
In addition to his complex heroes, Hillerman also wrote compassionately and with intimate knowledge of a great range of clansmen from the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni tribes, people with whom he felt a deep affinity because he grew up among those very much like them. “When I met the Navajo I now so often write about, I recognized kindred spirits,” he wrote in an autobiographical essay in 1986. “Country boys. Folks among whom I felt at ease.”