Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Illiteracy, Red Stairs, And A New Hashtag

Hello, chaps and chapesses! I wanted to pop in for a few reasons. First and foremost is to let you know that yes, I have been writing and yes, it is going well and the reason I've been so incognito on the blog is that our home wifi is null and void and has been for the past two months and by the time I get to Starbucks or another wifi'd place, work for my food + fashion blog has stacked up so much, all my time is spent playing catch-up for that. So this is going to be a fun post because I have twenty minutes to cover a multitude of sins and I'm going to go at it at a running pace.

Tuesday, September 8th, was International Literacy Day! It baffles me to think there are, by some accounts, 757 million adults in the world who cannot read. When I stop to consider how different my life...heck...how different I would be had I never learned to read, it it almost too much to handle. As the primary teacher of two little girls, one of whom is on that precarious brinking of reading-but-not-quite, I feel like I'm up close and personal with the subject of literacy and "can we read," or "can we not read." The following infographic (brought to my attention by Grammarly) gives you a little more insight into the problem if illiteracy and where the highest problem-areas are.

Literacy Day

Please don't take for the granted the fact that you can read and write and all the worlds that have opened up to you because of it. And if you ever get the chance to teach a child to read...do it. It brings the subject into such a different point of view!

I'm working through Cocktail Hour by P.G. Wodehouse as well as slowly tromping through the rest of Schindler's List (it's so heart-rending I find I can only take very small doses), and reading through (over breakfast each morning) Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking. I heard this past weekend that Rooglewood Press is officially and permanently offering one of its author's stories as a free download, and Hayden Wand's The Wulver's Rose (from their Five Enchanted Roses collection) as chosen as the featured title! So definitely go download that and see if it tempts you into buying the whole collection.

September has also been a great month for another friend of mine, author Rachelle Rea, whose second novel, The Sound of Silver, Whitefire Press releases on October 15th! She's been busy all month sending out e-ARC copies to fellow authors and I just know it will be as huge a success as the first title.

My untitled Sleeping Beauty story. I'm still not sure whether I will enter Rooglewood's Spindles contest with this story, but I am writing it to that end. If the story wants to stretch itself and get bigger than the allotted word-count, I'm not going to cramp it and make it fit. I have a good feeling about this story and if it wants to become a full novel (though I'm not saying it will) I want to give it its freedom. Also, Cottleston Pie, which is being conducted on paper, has been locked in my trunk for two weeks. But it is so much almost finished I keep forgetting I need to actually do the deed.
Just now, as they mounted the red stairs again, the Queen weighed the cost of asking the one question to which she already guessed the answer: “When our sweet Mariechen died, did you swear to never again love anyone, even her mother?" But, as always, she hesitated. Already so strained, what might honesty add to the turmoil? No, far better to accept the coolness in place of warmer emotions and, philosopher-like, remark that the weather was pleasant enough to require only a light wrap. She placed her arm in his, reminded him of their evening engagements and, at the door to his study, parted from him with a sensation like frostbite pulsing in her throat

The hashtag for #wordplaywednesday! I know I've trained all of you to hashtag your weekly posts with that, but apparently we share it with something entirely different. So from now on, #wednesdaywordshare is the name of the game, okay? If you think of it, please share the news around so that we can all get grouped up again! :)

I will be back as soon as I can with a full snippets post, but I wanted to pop in while in the presence of wifi and say that I hadn't died, rotted, or abandoned ship. The Inkpen Authoress is still alive. Somewhat more stressed, busy, and wifi-deprived than of yore, but as full of words as she ever has been. Cheers, darlings!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Short Share

Autumn is a good time for sharing short, favorite poetry. Here is one of my very favorites by Emily Dickinson. I like how it doesn't mention goldenrod allergies. *achoo* Isn't it pretty?

"The morns are meeker than they were,
the nuts are getting brown.
The berry's cheek is plumper,
the Rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf, 
the field - a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned
I'll put a trinket on."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Nameless Vanish

You would think that after all this time, I would have learned. I would have learned to name my files before saving them. That being said, I'm here to announce that I finished the pressing chapter of Cottleston Pie which pretty nearly completes the draft. I'm going to consult with my notebook tomorrow and see if there are any pieces and stories I left dangling that want to be included, but otherwise I'm only going to smooth over a few things and touch up the synopsis before beginning to send it off. Excitement! I know that it won't be accepted probably for a very long time, but you never can tell. I also feel that I have a better pulse on what makes good children's fiction than I do on how to tap into the mystery market, or the historical romance market. Not that I couldn't get into those, but I feel it might be easier (and I will probably be eating crow, presently) to get into this market of children's fiction. We'll see.

What I mean by complaining about not naming files is this: I began a (very good) story for Rooglewood Press's  Five Enchanted Spindles contest and forgot to name it. At least, if I did begin it on Google Drive as I suppose, I forgot to name it. If I began it on my laptop, that is a whole different problem because guess what? My laptop died and with it, everything on it. Children, always back up your hard drive. I am not off to open every untitled document in Google Drive (because I had planned to work on this Very Good Story next, after finishing Cottleston Pie) and if I can't find it there...watch me weep. Here's hoping! Are any of you planning a story for Five Enchanted Spindles? I would love to hear about your story. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Hundred Ways To Write

I have just spent rather a lot of time traveling to see my new niece, so you'll excuse the lack of posting on this blog. I have also been reading a good deal. True Men & Traitors: From the OSS to the CIA, my Life in the Shadows by David Doyle is fascinating and whether because of that book or watching The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the Cold War and spies have very much been on the brain. Schindler's List is nearly finished, and I've been burrowing among food magazines and reading up on this very different but so intricate form of creativity and the people who have done astonishingly well with it.

I've been thinking a lot about the different forms of "being a writer." When I first got into this gig, I thought being a writer meant being a novelist. Well, it can mean that and for a lot of us it does mean that. But there are many other methods of being a writer. Methods that are fun and helpful to explore even if you think novelizing is your main talent. For instance, you could freelance some non-fiction articles, enter an essay contest, submit poetry to a magazine, take on a job as a content-editor, start a blog series on your favorite restaurants, or write a cookbook. You could write an editorial for the newspaper on a social issue close to your heart, or freelance the entertainment column for a local newspaper. I think of one of my favorite Facebook accounts, Humans of New York, and how its proprietor, Brandon Stanton, has so smoothly meshed photography and writing in telling the stories of people he meets in word and image. That's such a cool and inventive method of being a writer. You know what I really want to do? I want to be in charge of writing descriptions of perfumes and naming a line of nail polishes or lipsticks. Isn't that weird? But I bet I could get paid for it and it sounds like so much fun. I've also always wanted to name a neighborhood full of streets under a certain theme. I think I might have a problem with naming things.

My heart has also been tied up in finishing seasons 4, 5, and 6 of White Collar and continuing to watching The West Wing. Also the odd episode or three of Parks & Rec watched while holding a sleeping infant and trying not to wake her with my laughter.

Got me thinking about screenwriting, and what a blast it would be to write a show so successfully that you had fans begging for more, that your words got quoted in daily conversation, that people aspired to dress like your character, or be your character some day.

Jeff Eastin, I blame you for my goal to become Elizabeth Burke. I also blame you for creating Neal Caffrey, making me want to marry a Bureau agent, and making NYC look swankier than it ever has. But that's a whole nother conversation. Then the devastating trailer for the final season of Downton Abbey came out and cemented the thing: screenwriting is, perhaps, just as rewarding profession as becoming a best-selling novelist. So I suppose my thought for your Wednesday is this: never limit the range of your writing experience to novels only. Write your novels and write them well. Noveling is probably the most straightforward way in which you can be a writer. But if you want to create an addicting screenplay on the side? Well, I'm not going to stop you.