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A WRITER IS TENSE ABOUT TENSE

Throw the book out?

I am revising one of my earlier novels with the plan to publish it as an eBook. It’s the story of a woman married to a DEA agent, who is abusive. How can she leave a DEA agent, who has endless resources, so he can never find her?

If you’ve read either of my published books, you know emotion is strong in my stories.

As I revise A Marriage to Die for, I don’t feel the inTENSE emotion I’d like to portray. I rewrote one of my protagonist’s (Jane) scenes using the first person, present TENSE, and sent it to my critique partner, author Sandra Fontana. She really liked the effect.

Valiant and daring as I am, I plan to write all of Jane’s scenes this way. The reader will be right in the moment with her, be in the throes of her TENSE situations, share her deep emotions.

On the other hand, I want some distance from the DEA Ace, Brock. Although, I’d like the reader to know what he’s up to—to know things Jane does not. All of his scenes will be in the third person, past TENSE. As will other characters in the story.

Wish me luck. I may be breaking some rules here. Since I’m planning to offer the book free on Amazon for a limited time, read it, and let me know what you think in a review. I’m aiming for a few months. Sign up on my website: http://www.gerrileclerc.com, and I’ll send you a newsletter when A Marriage to Die for is available. Then I will blog on your responses.

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A WRITER’S FORTUNE (COOKIE)

Do You Believe?

Do You Believe?

I have to admit, every time I open a fortune cookie, I am waiting for those words a writer longs for. Something like: Your book will be a best seller, or: Your novel will skyrocket on Amazon. Even: You will be a great success; good things are coming your way. Right? Of course, you shake your head and smile, but when you get a good one, you slip that slip of paper into your pocket, pat it, and later put it on your bulletin board. Guilty as charged!
Last evening we went to a Chinese buffet with friends. An enormous buffet. On my last pass, I took advantage of the dessert assortment of ice cream, cookies, pastries, pudding, and fruit. Later, more than sated, we sat and chatted with our friends, sipping the last of our tea. The server came and brought the bill, along with four fortune cookies. Too full to think about eating one, I did focus on the possibility that one of those cookies contained the fate of my novel writing. I waited for someone to hand me a cookie. It wouldn’t work if I chose my own. Finally, my husband placed a cookie in front of me. I ate the cookie—yes I did—as full as I was, then unfurled the bit of paper.
Anyone who cared enough to research the origin of Fortune Cookies would have found the cookie is not a tradition in China. Several theories exist on how they became a staple in Chinese restaurants, but most likely they are based on a Japanese cookie—with a fortune inside. But who cares where it came from. Some of the numbers on the back of the fortune have been lottery winners. So, we all agree, the fortunes are true also.
This fortune was different from any I’ve seen before. A special message to everyone. As a writer, I love when my words come together to draw an emotion from my reader, so I particularly loved this fortune. All four of us felt it. Here’s what it said: Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.
Those lovely words are on my bulletin board. I am thinking of playing the lottery!

The Book . . . The Book . . . The Book!

Silent Grace

Silent Grace

It’s been a while since I put on my blogging cap. I’m back, having packed and unpacked a gazillion boxes, taken a million trips to donate stuff, and having finally found everything we packed . . . somewhere.
Yet, with all the commotion, I was able to progress with self-publishing my next book in the Knoll Cottage Series, Silent Grace. It should pop up on Amazon shortly.
Suddenly, I have time to relax and get back to a normal schedule. Do writers have a normal schedule?
I wanted to get back to you on my And the Agent Said: blog. While I waited to hear from her, I was actually feeling two ways about having an agent. I’ve been to panels of authors, agents, publishers, and they all have good points. Some traditionally published authors (which an agent would lead to) felt pressured. A book a year. Deadlines. Alterations in the story. I once attended a debut book signing by a mystery writer. She was traditionally published after years of trying with the same book. Her contract included seven more mysteries as a series to follow the original book. She told us this with deer-in-the-headlight eyes.
In the time I’ve waited for a response from the agent I met with at the writer’s conference I attended, I gave some good thought to which manner of publishing I’d prefer. The answer for me was: Being able to work at my own pace; being able to write in different genres; receiving a greater portion of the book royalties; hiring my own peeps to work on the book, was self-publishing. The caveat: One Must Market! But one must market even with a traditional publisher.
In spite of the fact that I met with the agent at a conference, which in the past meant a reply of some sort, I never received an answer on the two queries she requested. The agency’s website clearly said if you don’t hear in thirty days, there is no interest in representing your work.
Querying agents is hard. A negative answer, or no answer, is rejection. But a rejection doesn’t mean the book isn’t great. The agent’s choice is a subjective one.
After much thought, I am happy being an indie publisher. My book bravely heads to Amazon with a zillion other new books. The difference will be Marketing!
I’ll start here. If you go onto my website: http://www.gerrileclerc.com and sign up for my email list, you’ll be notified when I do give-aways of either Missing Emily or Silent Grace. They are two women’s fiction novels that stand alone, but are part of a trilogy. In about three or four days, check them out on Amazon, and read the great reviews!

That Darn Back Blurb

Aarrrgh!

Aarrrgh!

So you’ve written nearly 100,000 words. You’ve revised the manuscript 100 times. You’ve had 20 people read for you, then you revised it 50 more times. It’s perfect! It’s ready!
All you have to do is write down the 100,000 words to about 250 or less and slap it on the back of your book.
I struggled for hours yesterday and came up with a bunch of words that convinced me no one would ever read Silent Grace. Yuck!
Thank God for the internet! Today, I visited two websites: http://www.blurb.com, (who knew blurb would have its own website!) and http://www.digitalbookworld.com. Thank you to all the folks who bring writers such terrific information on the web. I highly recommend both of these sites if you’re struggling with your own blurb. No charge, just have at it and go back to work. I did. I rewrote the blurb based on the data I mined from the two sites. I am so much happier and confident it will intrigue readers.
Next, I send it off to my trusted and capable critique partner. If she likes it, it’s a go. And Silent Grace is one step closer to publication.

Writer’s Causes

Lilacs painted by Donna Green for Missing Emily

Lilacs painted by Donna Green for Missing Emily

Writers of fiction, I believe, write mainly to entertain others with their stories. In my own experience, my novels also reflect my nursing background. Some things I’ve seen will always be pictures in my mind. The most heartbreaking are sick children.
In Missing Emily, I write about a child whose mother is so devastated by her daughter’s illness, that she takes a path she would never think possible to save her child’s life. Her actions cause another mother to suffer. I write about the heartache, pain, devastation, but others actively do amazing things to help these children and their families. Charities like the Jimmy Fund and Make a Wish.
I blogged a long time back about Magical Moon Farm, my dear friend’s foundation for children with cancer. Her name is Donna Green, she is a well-loved, well-collected artist who has also published many illustrated books. She was my guide to self-publish my own book. In her spare time (she has none!), she painted the beautiful lilacs on the cover of my book.
I recently was on a forum where the discussion was whether or not a reader would buy a book that states: a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a certain charity. As my book does. I was surprised how many said they would not buy a book with that stipulation. They see it as a scam to sell books. I have only seen this statement here and there, and I always think it’s great. It gives me the feeling that my book purchase will not only entertain, but will also help someone in need. For me, seeing Donna’s wonderful kids at the farm, all of whom are knighted and have a project, all of whom are learning skills to help them stay healthy during treatments and after, to find peace through meditation, and to support each other, make me want to support them. Marvelous things are done at this sacred place. When I decided to donate funds from my own book sales, it gave me a stronger purpose to write a good book and to market the heck out of it.
I’d love to know how you feel about this. Would you put a book back down if that little phrase is on it? A portion of the proceeds . . .

Publishing Day!

MISSING EMILY COVER COVER Lo-Res

I AM PUBLISHED! Finally!! After years of work and preparation, I was not ready for the onslaught of delight! To see my book listed on Amazon, after combing the site for books to read written by others, now there is a choice for others to read my book. I have heard from family and friends who celebrate the book’s launch with me. If I can figure out the system, I bet I would find purchases of Missing Emily already completed.
Thank you to every hand that was reached out to help me reach my dream!
Every single minute of my time in learning and writing has been worth the extreme feeling of joy I have today!
Missing Emily is available on Amazon. And from here . . . I will begin to polish Silent Grace, the next book in the series.

Gone Girl: A Novel. Let’s Talk

Gone Girl: A Novel on Kindle

Gone Girl: A Novel on Kindle

Let me start by saying how great I think the book is. As a writer, I mean. The way the surprises emerge, stealthily, sneakily, is quite brilliant. The premise is quite brilliant. Not contrived, and slightly unbelievable, but addictive. Once you get past the beginning.
Gone Girl broke rules, and no agent would take on this book, except that it was brilliant. I read for a while before I realized I didn’t like either of the main characters. I couldn’t relate to them, couldn’t sympathize with them, and in time, I actively disliked them. Rule-breaker. But when a book grabs your interest and hooks you, it can be a grand success, even if it breaks the rules—or maybe because it breaks the rules.
Now, the ending. One friend told me she thought it was a love story. I sure didn’t think that . . . but then, was it? An unhealthy love? Or was it a case of psychotic codependence? Or was is about a parent’s protective instinct?
The end of the book made me mad. I felt frustrated, and if I had Gillian Flynn’s phone number, I would have called her and asked a dozen questions. And tell her I think she’s brilliant.
This book is an author’s dream. It’s provocative and stimulates conversation.
So, if you read the book, please tell me what you think about it. Even if you only saw the movie, because it was very close to the novel, you can join in.
Gillian Flynn currently has another best seller on the New York Times list, Dark Places. Will you read it? Darn it, I will!

Thoreau on Cape Cod

A treed walk on Cape Cod

A treed walk on Cape Cod

We have all heard of Walden Pond, but Henry David Thoreau also spent time on Cape Cod, a place of which he said: a man could stand and “put all America behind him.” He meant women, too. He spent about three weeks over four visits in the 1850s, walking, sleeping in lighthouses, fishing huts, and isolated farms. His book, Cape Cod, was originally a grouping of lectures he wrote from his journals, but was published three years after his death in book form.
Thoreau, considered one of the foremost American writers, was also a transcendentalist. The main belief of transcendentalism was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. It was a form of protest against the general state of the country’s culture and society. So, it stands to reason that Thoreau was also a naturalist, noting the general deforestation of the land from years of farming and wood-cutting, and the erosion of the Cape’s shoreline. The erosion wasn’t a problem then, as people built homesteads inland.
When Thoreau wandered the Cape, which he called the “bared and bended arm” of Massachusetts, he visited places he thought of as old, since they were settled in the 1600s, so it surprises me that the names of the same towns, beaches, ponds, etc., which were new to him over a hundred fifty years ago, were new to me more recently. He traveled on foot from Eastham to Provincetown, twice along the Atlantic side and once along the bay side. He crossed the Cape a half a dozen times. He walked from the Yarmouthport train station, past the salt works, over the Bass River, where he noted that he had to pay a toll to pass over the “Lower Bridge.” He walked the cliff trails in Wellfleet which look similar today, but have eroded 450 feet farther. Don’t picnic on the sea cliffs if you have fear of heights. The shaggy, 100 feet high, carved face of the cliffs won’t help you feel secure.
Since Thoreau walked the Cape, immersed in its magic, the land is again forested. Portions of land are now set aside for conservation. The National Seashore is protected and no longer the “desolate treeless moors” Thoreau saw.
I’m not finished with Thoreau. I downloaded his book, Cape Cod, for free on Amazon. I’ll get back to you about what I find out.

Book Review – Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard

Book Review
Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard
by Sally Cabot, Cape Cod Author

Meet Benjamin Franklin! Not the pudgy, spectacled, balding, founding father, but a dynamic, tall, handsome, virile man with a most exciting personality. His story is told through the two principal women in his life, and later in the novel, his illegitimate son, William. The book takes place in Quaker Philadelphia and London, spanning the years from 1723 to 1777.
This is no history lesson. Ms. Cabot pulls you into the time frame of dirty, drudgery, class conscious eighteenth century. The author seamlessly embeds Franklin’s accomplishments and inventions into a gripping story, and explains his thought processes and how he developed his ideas.
In his randy youth, this handsome, gray-eyed, tall, broad-shouldered man frolicked with two women. Surprisingly, we see him take responsibility for his actions, an illegitimate son, a common-law wife, and buck the social mores of the times. We follow his life through to his old age, entwined with the historical events of those years.
In spite of the fact we only hear Franklin’s direct voice through his real letters and writings included by the author, we feel we know him well. And we like him!
As an author and reader of mainly women’s fiction, I rarely read historic biographical novels. This book is well researched, the language is timely, the story is passionate. I found Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard riveting.
Visit the author’s delightful Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/authorsallycabot.

Gratitude

Gratitude – July 1, 2013 Blog

I’m still in ditz mode as I revise my novel. I finished the first draft of the revision and am now in editing mode. It occurred to me as I read through, how much the support of my family and friends helped make this book possible. I thought about how long my list of acknowledgements would have to be.
Agents advise writers not to say their mother loves their book when they send in a query letter. But my Mom is a reader, and so smart, I depend on her. She’s found every novel I have written is perfect. My sisters and sisters-in-law also read and critique for me, and love my books. My children support me by reading and suggesting lists of things I could buy with my successes. 🙂 I have a great group of friends who give me gifts, like author coffee mugs, a writer’s little tablet, beautiful journals, pen boxes, bookends, and book covers. Many of my family and friends were my first readers. Without their encouragement, I’d never be revising my fourth novel. I’ve worked with a wonderful teacher who has given so much of herself for my benefit; my beta reader who has supported me from the first novel on; my new critique partner who has made herself indispensable to my writing. All of the agents and editors and authors, who give the classes at conferences to help other writers achieve their dreams, are part of the mix. All of the people who read or comment or follow this blog are unselfishly helping me build my platform.
Then there is my hubby. At first, he missed me when I became a fixture in front of a computer. He picked up the slack in house duties, got up and cooked a meal if I didn’t show up to do it myself. He helps me brainstorm, edits my blogs, holds my hand when a rejection letter comes, celebrates the good news. He’s my biggest fan—no, he doesn’t read my books, and we agree that’s a good thing. He hears me answer the same question—my favorite: How’s the writing going?—over and over. He is my love and my best friend.
What other creative work starts or ends with a thank you note? Every book has a list of acknowledgements. A painting is signed, and the artist has a bio, but no acknowledgements on the piece. My friend does amazing assemblage art pieces that are filled with spiritual overtones. She signs her work, but without acknowledgements. An architect or construction company’s signature is on a sign in the yard. But a writer only signs her work when people come to see her and buy her book.
Only writers have thank you notes. This is one from me to everyone who has helped me live my dream.