Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another tearful day. . .

Another tearful day. . .

It is one thing to make yourself cry and it is another to write about it. But I simply cannot help myself this morning. After adding another 30 some hours of reformatting, posting, and creating an Author page on Amazon I have lowered my pay rate as a wannabe author to probably about $0.0000000000000002 per hour.

So, I am asking myself again, (to you who know whom I am talking to, forgive me for repeating myself) why do I keep at this writing thing?

After all the checks were done and I was notified that all my books when live on Kindle I rushed over to the store to see for myself. Sure enough if you put in Susan Todd and Kindle Books, there I am.  - to save you time.

Because I have had the hard copies on Amazon for a while and opted into the “Look Inside” program it followed suit with my e-books. So as I opened them one by one and read them, the same thing hit me yet again. I wrote them and even I wanted to keep turning the pages! Having not read them in a long time, they were new to me.

I could not help but be thankful to some skillful Amazon employee who added just the right amount of teasing chapters that hopefully would leave the would-be-reader hanging and wanting more.

Then the tears come spontaneously. I simply cannot help it. Every bone in my body feels for these books. Especially since joining a couple of writing Facebook groups where I post occasionally. I regress, again, but when I post on these sites I am instantly reminded of an ant bed or bee hive. When one author-Ant comes in with a leaf of possibility all the other ants run to that newfound site and strip it clean.

If a worker bee-author stumbled onto a site of flowering smorgasbord where they can sprinkle their wordy-pollen . . .  whoosh! Off the bees fly. Post after post of how this and how that comes up. And you have to be quick. Once you post it goes down the Facebook tube in a hurry. I have gone back sometimes within minutes and my post isn’t even showing any longer.

Please, dear fellow writer, if you are reading this, don’t think me ungrateful or mean-spirited. I truly am not. I am simply asking the question . . . "WHAT ARE WE ALL DOING THIS FOR?"

But I can only answer that for myself. I wrote these books over the years, and I mean years. I tried to stop writing once and it literally made me sick. So I thought, why do this to myself? Who cares?

And, I know, I know dear Christian reader, that everything I do I do unto the Lord and it isn’t a life lesson in trust that I am seeking an answer to today. I know all too well and believe me this isn’t the first day of prayer that has gone into this endeavor between God and myself. I have asked, I have prayed and I have trusted. Do I not know that God gave me this desire? Of course I do. Do I not know that the creator of the Universe can and could at any moment decide that it is time for my humble writings to skyrocket to the top? Absolutely, I believe this.

I have done again everything I know to do to put my books in line to be found at the moment. I am sure there are probably other things I will do lowering the above mentioned pay rate yet again.
For today, right now as I write, I am going to let it be enough. I have to. Writing gives me something to fill my hours. It takes me places I cannot physically go any more, if ever. It brings the type of people into my life that I understand and like. It helps me diet. (I eat less when I am writing all day.) So there are many upsides.

One day when I stand before the Lord I will not care at all about books, sales, sites or the such. Only being with Him and seeing the Father’s face will matter to this woman then. And perhaps my mansion will overlook an arena of cushy cloud seats with a podium where He will announce, “And now heavenly guests I am pleased and proud to give you, my child, Susan, reading from her latest book for your enjoyment.”

Hmm, maybe I just stumbled upon a writing prompt! I will leave this post on a positive note, “I am going to keep on writing, believing and trusting and I hope you all do the same.”

                                 "Is that what I think it is?

  "I'll catch up with you later, Susan's books have gone Kindle!"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The question really is, fellow writers, who really hooks whom… or is that who?

The question really is, fellow writers, who really hooks whom… or is that who?

This blog is in response to Susan Braun's blog. Susan addresses the agent syndrome that all truly passionately serious and patient would-be-authors experience. The conclusion that I have come to is one of personal belief. Agents are only front men to their own agency. They are the public face that has to show up at the conferences in order to catch the attention of what could be the next Nicolas Sparks, Steven King, Dan Brown, or Danielle Steele. So they are not stupid, they have their pitch all ready.

We on the other hand come with our hopes and dreams entwined around our 40,000 – to 90,000 word children we carry in our arms. So when we step up to these Word Wizards of Oz that we hope will be the answer to our dreams, something really does happen.

An invisible collar is attached around our necks with miles of invisible chain. The other end is securely hooked to one of the hundreds of rings hanging off their belts like scalps. They do this because they are not going to risk the possibility that standing in front of them at this moment disguised as grey-haired grandmothers, lanky love sick college students, retired or soon to be retired individuals from every walk of life could be the next #1 Best Seller that their skilled expertise will have snatched from the writing pool.

If they were humane they would ask us while we are right there in front of them to condense the 90,000 words we have given years of our blood sweat and tears to, not to mention the social life and time with family that has been sacrificed, down to a one minute synopses and decide right there and then. Which that, in itself, I find ridiculously impossible. Oh, no, instead they make sure the chain is secure by adding, “Send me a copy of your manuscript and I will get back to you.”

They do this because back at the ranch they have a team of well schooled ghost-readers who are highly skilled at knowing the criteria of what to pass on to the agent for a second look or chunk in the rejected manuscript compost pile. Then months later when the composted pile of rejects has grown too large and begun to ferment they pound out a stack of standard reject letters which they address, stamp and send out on a Friday just for good measure knowing they will lay in the postoffice for yet another two days. 

Ah, the joy of wanting to be an author! I have decided that agents come from the same emotional rock quarry as did my father. It took me years to realize that he never ever had any intentions of doing what he promised when he said he would. It was simply to put me off as long as he could before he had to actively respond to my request. Thus you have the equivalent of the book agent.

I realize that my father having only me and one other sibling to ignore, these agents get hundreds , sometimes thousands, of our wordy children all clamoring for their attention. So I will give them that.

We on the other hand start looking the very next day in our mail boxes, both electronically and by snail mail hoping to see that long white coveted envelope. Howbeit sad, we cannot stop. Those who did not dance to the agent’s charming tunes for years but surrendered to the self-publishing world welcome all of us last-ditch stand-off believers. Of which I have to say I was one.

Although, this post sounds dreadfully morose, it isn’t to me. My books, though still patiently waiting to go home with any eager reader who thinks them worthy of their time, are alive and in the world.

I have the satisfaction of having accomplished that part of writing. I hung in there; I wrote day after day, edited and edited and edited, designed covers, forged through frustratingly hard formatting and did not give up.  So when I click on books by Susan Todd on Amazon and those books are mine, well, Katie bar the door! I am an author in my own rights!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Today is a Celebration of Motherhood.

Today is Mother’s Day, but in fact it should read, Today is a Celebration of Motherhood. Why? Because every day is mother’s day.  We know that, it is a given. Every day it is her day to be engaged in a roll of incredible variety. Listening to a sermon this morning the speaker used the antidote of all that a mother does and what she is actually worth if each of her job titles were for pay; $300.00.00 a year. His point being is that if in choosing to stay at home to be a mother she doesn’t work is completely wrong.

There are mothers today at all different stages of mothering. Some have just recently given birth, so new at it they have not even had time to make one mistake yet. Some mother’s have been at it for a few years and are just now getting a handle on the task. Some have been at it for years and could offer their wisdom from a place of experience.

I thought about being a mother and being the child of a mother while listening to this sermon and how much importance a mother holds in their child’s life. It is a daunting task, if it is taken seriously.  I don’t know of a serious loving mother who has not looked back and wondered if they did the right thing by their children/child. Knowing they made mistakes along the way and how those mistakes might have affected or even marked their children for life.

There is an antidote for making mistakes, “No one is perfect.” True as this is, I think that the one thing that needs to be said by all mother’s to their children, if in fact it is completely true, is this, “Please know that any mistakes I made raising you were not intentional and everything I did, I did with one thing in mind, your good.” I believe if any new mother asked me what was the one thing I could tell her to spare her fear of making mistakes along her path of motherhood is just that. “If everything in you comes from an honest genuine love of what is the very best for your child, then you can not go wrong.”

How many times has it been said, “But at the time I thought I was doing what was best for you.” Years give us, on the child side, the wisdom to know what our mother meant. Knowing that her judgment call for me came from that very place of ‘for MY good’ comes to light as I grow older.

I’d rather see mistakes a mother makes coming from a heart where the foundational motivation is for the very best of her child, than to see a mother doing what looks right that is motivated by what makes her feel good about herself and how she looks as a mother. There is a BIG difference.

We all know the line, “any man can father a child, but it takes a real man to be a Dad.”

Well, it is even truer for a woman. “Just being able to give birth to a child isn’t what makes a woman a mother. It is something so much deeper and almost indescribable at times what a woman feels when she holds that brand new baby in her arms knowing that at that moment she has yet to have colored in one line of its life.

If I could wish anything for the world today on Mother’s Day, it would be that all the mothering being done would come from hearts motivated by one thing and one thing only – for the good of the child.

I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who is or was actively enrolled in the school of motherhood however means the privilege came to them. For you,

be it by birth, adoption, choice or appointed.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hello? Can anyone hear me?

Hello? Can anyone hear me?

Have you ever wanted to be someone else?

I know that I am not burning up the blogging world, but I hope I am a little missed. I have been writing! Writing, writing, writing, and writing! To those who are addicted to this passion, thank you for understanding.

In fact, I just closed out of the file I am writing because I wanted to get these thoughts for my blog on paper. Not that I really wanted to leave the world of my latest character. I don’t mean to brag and if it sounds that way, forgive me. But I wish I was Ricka, this morning. She is my main character and where I have put her and what is happening in her world is so real to me that when I look up and see the tree standing out across from my apartment I have to come back to where I am.

But my mind and feelings are being woven in this woman’s life. And rightly so. We fictional writers cannot help but bring some of our own reflections into what we write. I do a lot of that, but also I take my characters to the places I wish I could go. So together, as I create them, I get to experience places, people and things that are not possible from my chair.

Speaking of which, it has something going wrong with it and not being handy with furniture repair I can’t seem to find what is making it tilt to the left. That’s another thought.

Maybe it is twisting from the salty sea air that surrounds it now and maybe the gulls have carried in to much sand on their wings or maybe . . . .  See I told you I get very involved in what I write. (I live in Ohio.)

And that brings a bit of sadness. If you are a writer reading this then again you will definitely understand. Although writing has been a therapeutic endeavor for me, helping to clear away the clutter in my mind on lonely days, it is far more than that. We, who write, do so because we want people to be transported to that place with us. To see, taste, smell, feel or get to know and love or hate our characters.

When I start a book I feel as if my room begins to fill up with these people and soon I have a cast of characters fast becoming familiar to me. Especially when I am writing in such a flow as I am right now, they become like friends.

After I finished the very first book I wrote, it took me days to stop missing the characters in it. I had spent so much time with them that it felt as though I had lost time with actual people. (I am rally not crazy.) You would have to love to write as much as I do to understand. And I think there are a great many out there who do love writing. In fact on the writing sites I frequently cruse, sometimes it is like stepping into an ant bed with one common goal. Everyone wants their books to be read.

And who can blame us. We spend an incredible amount of time alone doing this. It is a one man/woman sport I always say. Unless you co-write. Which I have done in the past, But it seemed I was the one doing most of the writing. I had more time on my hands.  Although, it was a lesson learned, I am still up for it if the right person came along.

But today, I am faced with the biggest problem I see over and over in all the blogging about writing.  I think everyone has something in their stories worthy of being read. And I think I can say I know what you all feel while you are writing your latest. “Will I be the only one who ever gets to read this?”

Putting in all the hours seems like child's play compared to what happens when the book is finished. What do I do with it? Where do I go now? How do I keep these characters I have lived with for months from dying so soon?

I marvel when I see someone post that their book is about to come out. From where? I personally thank God for self-publishing. At least my books have gotten a chance to breathe their own. They are not just figments of my imagination existing in my imagination only.

I wish I knew the key. If I did I’d open it for myself and for others like me who would give anything to find that fleeting enigma we long to follow into the thicket of the publishing world and have our books published and loved by the world.

Ah, sometimes I think that is the greatest fictional thing I write. I know it happens, I’ve seen people become overnight successes. One can only hope. But in the mean time, I’ll step back into the world of Ricka, where Gully the seagull flutters about her cottage porch overlooking the bayou. And Joshua, the impish little tanned boy might appear from over the sand dune bringing new worlds of wisdom from Great Mama.

A final thought; before reading my piece in the memoir class the other day, I asked a question. I asked if there was anyone who might be interested in being a test reader for me. Just to catch those occsssionally misspelleded words and for feed back.

The teacher without pause said, “I’ll do it.”

I nearly fell out of my chair! I said, “You will???????” I think I sounded as shocked as if she had just offered me a kidney. I ALMOST CRIED. 

I’ve never had anyone respond so quickly to that request. She can cross out every other word and it won’t bother me. Just her genuine care to be so willing is worth it.

(I knew she was my favorite teacher!)

I hope everyone writing today finds as much solace in the doing of it as I am, bless you all.