Thursday, December 27, 2012

Send Out the Old and Bring In the New

Well, it's almost 2013, wow, where does the time go? You know when your parents told you that as you get older time goes faster, they were right. But as time marches on, we can look back to remember, and now turn our attention to hopes for the future. 

2012 was an unforgettable year for me. I lost my father in April and it has been tough to think back without tears. I am looking forward to getting past that and remembering the funny, loving, and intelligent man he was. He was my best friend as well as my father and it was painful to watch Dementia wither him away to a shell almost. What a terrible disease. I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy. I know he would want us to be happy and loved, so I will try to remember the good times and the laughter in this new year.

But, there were some good things that happened this year. My sister and I have become closer than ever in our lives. It has been so nice having her around and working on the book together. We did manage to accomplish our goal of finishing the book and getting it to the editor by the end of the year. It was a major feat, but well worth it. Now, on to the novella and the second book in the series.

Another good thing this year, my daughter Brandie, and Jon, got engaged and are now planning the wedding and a future together. We love Jon and are happy to have him join our family. He is just as nuts as us so he fits right in. He didn't join us for Christmas eve this year, but his parents, Debbie and Barry did, and we had a great time. Jon's family are wonderful people and are welcome in our crazy family any time. 

My son Travis kept the same job all year, and that is a great success for him! He had been laid off for a long time and was sinking, but now he can move forward and reach for the life he wants to create. 

So, for the most part it was a good year. It is definitely one for the history books in our family. There is good and bad in each year, but I try to remember the good, and learn from the bad.

Now, on to 2013. My wish is that it will be a prosperous year for us and our family. We have a lot to look forward to. Two engagements and weddings, (my niece Sonia and Paul got engaged on Solstice night) another book published, my grand son getting his tonsils out and fixing his hernia that he was born with. Hopefully he will feel good after that. And, I wish everyone in my family and my friends a healthy and happy new year.

I guess my New Years resolution is to get my book launched in May or June. Get the novella ready to publish in late fall and to save money. It's been a long time since I was able to do that. Of course the usual, try to lose weight and quit smoking, but I am sure it will all happen as it should.

What is your New Year resolution? Leave me a comment and let me know. Also, if there was something that happened in 2012 that you would like to share, please tell us about it. I would love to know. I wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous 2013! I appreciate your support in me and my first book, which is now my sister and I's first book, and I do hope you know that if you need support, I'm hear for you, just let me know.

Thanks again for all you do!

Love, Lisa

PS. My next blog post will be Jan. 3rd. Have a safe and fun New Year's eve!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lots Going On

Well, here it is Thursday, and we still have one more chapter to go through, and I am waiting for 5 chapters from Michael with edits. I am hoping to get this to the editor on Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed for me, my nerves are in my stomach. 

It seems like the closer this gets to sending it out, the more I'm uptight. I am trying to relax, but this is something I have worked towards for so long. It has  a hold of me. I am hoping my husband rubs my shoulders tonight, I need it!

There is a positive note though. I wrote a poem to put in the front of my book about the Djen. I thought I would put it here on the blog and get your take on it. It won't hurt my feelings if you don't like it. I would rather have the truth than embarrass myself by publishing it if it sucks. If you like it, let me know too. I haven't written a poem for about 30 years, so it might need work.

The Djen
The cool night air blowing
Leaves danced in its breeze
A backdrop of moonlight
Peeked through the trees

                    A glimpse of a sentry
A watcher prone
The hint of a beacon
A familiar glow

The ancient protector
A calm in the night
Blue beam of comfort
A trick of light

A blink of an eye
A trail of smoke
The glow dissipates
A prophecy unfolds...

Well there you have it. I hope you drop me a line and give me your take on it. In the mean time, I have to still get ready for Christmas. My house still needs cleaned, ( I did manage one room so far) and I have to shop for presents and go to the grocery store too. I might manage to be ready when 17 people show up to my house on Christmas eve, we'll see. 

I hope that everyone has a Happy holiday season and I pray that we have a prosperous new year. Take care everyone and don't forget to drop me a line!

Love, Lisa

Monday, December 17, 2012

More Rewrites

Well, it was a long weekend, filled with rewrites that put me back a few days. I have a good friend, Michael, who is an author, and has been kind enough to help with the editing of my book. That is, before it goes to the professional editor.

I send him chapters after they are critiqued by my critique partners and my sister and I, and he and I talk on the phone after he has thoroughly, and I do mean, thoroughly gone through them, and marked where I need to change it. He is a wonderful editor, I have to say. But, man, this time there were complete scene changes that I was not prepared for. Whew!

My sister and I managed to get them done though, but it has set us back a few days. No worries, we will get this done, come hell or high water, at the end of this week, and sent to my editor. 

Will this ever end, the edits I mean? I said I want it close to perfect though, and I meant it. It just means extra work for Toni and I, but at least it will be done correctly. 

I am very proud of the work Toni and I have done. And, I am very proud at how wonderful the book has become. I know that we aren't finished yet, but it's been all worth it.

I have been reading a self-published fiction novel for the last few days, and after seeing all the mistakes, after reading a book that tells more than it shows, and after seeing POV shifts and finding myself scanning through, instead of reading, I know I don't want my book to be like that. 

It is hard for me to understand why people self-publish and don't want their book to be correct and written as well as possible. In other words, get a professional editor. There are affordable one's out there, you just have to look. I found mine on LinkedIn. In fact, Michael, the guy I said is helping me edit, he found the same editor that I am using for his book. 

Take the time to get a professional editor. Even if you have to save money for it. You might get some people to buy your book in the beginning, but if you want them to give you a good review, or to tell their friends about your book, you have to have it right. Not to mention, I don't want to look back at my first book and feel embarrassed. It will hurt you in the long run and it gives those of us who self-publish a bad reputation. I have actually read on other blogs, people who refuse to buy books that aren't traditionally published because of the 'bad' writing. 

So, think about this. I know it takes longer to get your book out to the public, but it is worth the time and money.

Until Thursday, I hope all of you have a great week. Hopefully I will have the news on the next blog, that my book is going to the editor that day or the next!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas Time

December usually is a fun month for me, my birthday, and Christmas, and of course, lots of family time. But, for some reason, this year doesn't feel that jolly, no pun intended.

Living in Colorado, it's usually a picturesque Christmas, but with hardly any snow, very few Christmas lights around my house, and the mountains hidden by clouds so you can't see the peaks, kind of does me in.

I have been trying to put my finger on it and this morning I figured out what it was that's troubling grand kids are living too far away and Christmas just isn't Christmas without little giggles and the pitter patter of little feet.

I miss seeing them, and I hope to get to have them one day next week to bake my famous cookies, which by the way are on one of my author friends blog. Here's the link if you want to check them out.Christmas Cookies

Plus, we are tight on money this year, so the Christmas gifts will be nothing to write home about, if you know what I mean. 

I have decided to try to get myself out of this slump and think about what is good this holiday season. Yes, of course the obvious, a roof over my head and food in my belly, but other things that bring to light my holiday cheer.

There is one thing that I am very excited about, my book is on the last stretch of editing! We will be finished this weekend, YAY! Then it goes to my professional editor next week. I am so excited that it's almost ready to launch! I have been looking forward to this for 4 years and I can hardly believe  we have hit the mark!

This has been a long road, and it is so nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

There are other things that bring to light my holiday cheer. This Christmas eve will be celebrated at my house. And, we have some new family guests, Jon, my daughter's fiance' parents, will be joining us. I am looking forward to getting to know them better, and they have been great people to get to know. I am looking forward to having them over. 

So there. Two things I can look forward too. There is one more thing, watching my grand kids open their gifts. I have always loved to watch a child at Christmas time. There is nothing better to warm my heart and fill me with love and appreciation.

So, there you have it. When it doesn't feel like Christmas to you, stop and think of the wonderful things that are happening around you and give thanks to the Great Spirit for all you do have.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I will see you back here next Monday!

Love, Lisa

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest-Shah Husain

Please welcome my new guest, Shah Husain, a writer of myth’s, legends, and fun stories from India, Africa, and other Ancient worlds. Her books are quite a few to list, but they are full of insight, intrigue, and information about a time in our history almost all but forgotten in this modern age. And, since my series touches on the Genie, or Djinni lore, I was fascinated about her work. I first became attracted to her books when I saw the one about the history of the Goddess—the oldest known religion to the human race. It is 25,000 years old. Right now, Shah is not promoting a new book, but instead is working on a new pilot series in the UK where she lives, one that I would love to know more about. I hope that all of you enjoy the interview and don’t forget to leave her questions and comments.
Thank you Shah for letting me interview you for my blog. I am looking forward to getting to know you better.
Tell us a little about yourself and back ground: Well, thank you very much for inviting me on to your site, Lisa.  I’m pleased to be here.  My first memories are of London, UK,  where my father was completing his studies to practice at the Bar.  Then we returned to Pakistan.  It was a very educated, literary household, so we breathed books, stories, writing and reading, along with the oxygen.  It was an idyllic childhood in many ways.  We were surrounded with gardens, greenery, hills and an amazing verve and vigour.  Pakistan was not even 10 years old when we returned to live there.  It was country full of hope – everyone had a purpose and a place and it was a brave new world, specially for women.  Who would have thought we’d look ahead 30 years to such catastrophe.  But as I grew up the sheer vitality and optimism of people around infected me.  My mother worked hard to rehabilitate refugees and her general attitude was, yes, some things are not so good YET, but we’ll fix’em.  That attitude didn’t really allow the self-doubt writers feel -   I’m afraid I’m going to repeat that writers’ cliché about writing since I learned to hold a pencil. I never doubted even at 5 that one day my scribbling would be in a story book. I started freelancing, interviewing and writing short stories for magazines when I was in my teens – wrote for children’s pages when I was much younger.  I did radio programmes from interviewing to weekly diaries– and then finally, started to write books.  My first book was published in the early 80s.  I write for children and for adults.  Fiction is my passion though I’ve written a fair amount of non-fiction too and I enjoy writing screenplays. 
I would love to know about your pilot series, what’s that about?:
These are two TV series: one’s an adapatation from ancient Indian myth and the other is a contemporary story centering on the paranormal.  A high profile director approached me for a collaboration about the first and as we worked on that I mentioned the second idea and she was very taken with that too, so she took my proposal to the network’s drama department and they went crazy for it. Both proposals are in the early stages of development.  We have a fantastic broadcaster backing them.  But these things take time and there’s many a slip in the world of film and TV – I’ve been around long enough to know these things can disappear into thin air at any stage.  I’m still confident about these, though. So far everything seems to be progressing well. There are actually signatures on dotted lines and all submissions have been approved to date.
Your writing takes us into a time long since passed, what has been your motivation?:
Indeed.  Many of my books are set in the land of never-never and magical, mythical worlds that still survive in our unconscious minds.  I grew up in Pakistan and India listening to stories.  As children we were rarely told off or given instructions without a story to demonstrate the point.  Some of my mother’s relatives in India lived in a deliberately un-modernised way in places where TV did not penetrate until the 1970s.  This meant my siblings and cousins and I spent a lot of time amusing ourselves in inventive ways.  One of my favourite pastimes was exploring wooded areas, orchards, gardens and scrub and fantasizing about magical worlds within them.  One of my favourite pastimes was to listen to stories wherever I could find them.  Ghosts, jinns, witches, fairies and demonic beings.  I read the stories too, of course, voraciously: all the tomes of European, English and American fairytales I could find as well as Russian, Chinese and Japanese and Middle Eastern ones.  I found out many things that influenced my later writing choices.  Firstly, I realized I liked listening to stories even more than reading them. Secondly, that most myths and fairytales and legends fall into certain patterns and contain similar motifs and themes no matter where in the world they come from.  So I chose to retell fairytales in a colloquial manner and all my story collections for adults (Virago Press) tend to be around a single theme – eg. Witches.  Traditional tales demonstrate a universal tendency, a oneness about humanity, which greatly appeals to me and which is very unifying.  According to Jung, these stories come from an unconscious reservoir of story and we all share it.  That was why I was thrilled when my recent children’s book about a popular character Mulla Nasruddin was selected as one of only 9 recommended reads by Chautauquan Institution for its Young Readers Programme.  (link to interview in Chautauquan Daily
 …. interview
Do you have any ideas for a new book in your future?:
I am always exploding with ideas, Lisa.  It sounds ungrateful but I kind of wish they’d pause a while and allow me to write what’s already churning around in my head.  I’ve got a novel coming out next year, set against sectarian violence in India and am two-thirds of the way through a modern reinterpretation of an ancient Indian myth. It looks at Multiple Personality Syndrome.  I’m really enjoying it.
I am writing a fantasy fiction series and based my world on the Djinn. Not the Djinn in a bottle, but a race of beings in another dimension. I named the world Djenrye and the people are the Djen, (different spelling) but I wanted them to be a people, not a typical trickster with wishes. What kind of lore can you tell us about the Djinn?:
You’re on to something there, Lisa.  In Middle Eastern tradition Jinns there are races of Jinns distributed into tribes much like humans, with their own motivations and activities. Interestingly, I’ve been thinking about Jinns recently in connection with an episode for my TV project but I have been fascinated with them since I can remember.  I grew up in a world where people freely believe in Jinns and speak as casually about them as people in the west may speak about astrology or psychics.  They take them for granted and take appropriate precautions as a matter of course. When I visit Bangladesh people regularly refer to some precious object being found through the aid of a ‘controller’ of Jinns, in India they speak of Jinns inhabiting mosques and wild places.  In Pakistan, too.  Apparently they love sweet-meats, shift shape and sometimes live in mosques or in trees, love flowers fall in love with human women, specially those with long hair and beautiful voices.  When they do, they become very possessive and prevent them marrying or having romantic relationships even if this means making them mentally or physically ill.  They can be cast out, of course – but it’s hard because they are apparently religious beings and so prayer is not an antidote.  Of course the Arabian Nights stories – the real ones, not the sanitized western versions for kids – reveal much of this lore.  I had a great uncle who spoke of seeing them in the late 19th/early 20th century when he travelled far and wide in India as a District superintendent.  There are loads of tales about them transforming into snakes - in oral tales and the Nights, so in a country like India at that time, where there were lots of snakes, there was always the worry that one of them might be a Jinn!!  The Quran describes them as beings of ‘smokeless fire’. It tells of many races of Jinns, good and bad, and names some of their significant leaders.  They are not immortal but they seem to be somewhat invincible.  I remember fairytales in which they would hide their heart inside a bee, inside a fruit, inside a parrot. 
I really look forward to reading your book, Lisa.  Best of luck with its progress.

Thank you so much for answering my questions. I would love to sit with you and talk about these stories. First I love history, and second, I love fables. If you would like, please leave us with your thoughts and anything you wish to promote about your pilot, or your books. Also, don’t forget to leave your links so everyone can check out your work. Thanks again Shah, you’ve been wonderful and I appreciate you and your books!

You can find Shah's works on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble sites, or go to her website- You can also reach her on FB and Twitter.

Thanks for joining in my wonderful blog followers and leave Shah a comment or question. she will be checking in periodically to answer. Until Thursday, have a great week!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Writing Woes

Good Thursday to everyone. I hope all of you have a great weekend. We are finally expecting snow, which is a good thing. If we don't get a lot more, we will have a water shortage come spring. I am looking forward to colder temperatures and seeing snow on the ground. Some how, it doesn't seem right to only have the sun up from 7 in the morning until 5, well kind of 5 in the evening, and not having a winter...weird.

But enough about our weather woes, I wanted to touch on a few writers I know and their writing woes, or should I say challenges. 

Two friends of mine have asked me for help in writing their books. Not that I have all the answers, so good thing they are only logistic type problems. Although, I do not mind helping, it is a frustrating toll. Not for me so much, but for them. I do feel bad when I have to reiterate, but I guess that's what happens when you're learning. 

One of my friends had issues with grammar and punctuation mainly, the other, scene setting. Both have issues with description. One wants to give to much, the other, not enough.

Luckily I was blessed with a wonderful writing coach, Janet Roots. She taught me a lot and I tend to retain well. But, not before over 2 yrs of classes and a private writing coach and a lot of trial and error. Oh, and of course. quite a few critique partners.

People don't realize how tough writing a novel can be. Not to mention, time consuming. It's almost been 4 yrs since I began my writing endeavor, and even though I am so glad I experienced it, it doesn't make it any easier. There are no short cuts to writing a good book, no matter how hard one tries. 

One of the hardest things I have had to experience though, besides patience, is teaching what I have learned. The funny thing is, both of these writers are writing in 'first' person, and I have never written that way. Another weird experience. But, since one of my critique partners writes in that, I have learned a lot about it. My critique partner, Robin, is also helping me with one of these writers, but I'm on my own with the other. So far so good.

I think I have figured it out. Not to say I would change to first person, I prefer third myself. I hope that I am helping these two talented gals, and I hope that I don't screw up their books! They are both good stories, from what I have seen, and have a lot of potential. 

So bear with me ladies, I hope that I don't steer you wrong. I know I can be a tough critique, but it should pay off in the long run.

Back to the weekend. I am turning older this one, on Saturday. Not really sure how I feel about birthday's any more, but it sure beats the alternative, right! 

See you on Monday with my guest Shah Husain. I'm looking forward to it!

Love, Lisa

Monday, December 3, 2012

Working on Writing

I can finally see the light at the end of the very long tunnel. We are on chapter 23, only about 12 more to go. I'm very excited! 

I also sent five pages to my professional editor last week and she loved it and wanted to read more! I am stoked! It really feels good when someone who doesn't even know me likes my book, they aren't saying it because the love you, like your mother or daughter...well you get my drift. So, things are moving along. 

The outline is almost finished, which is a good thing, and I am going to rewrite in a few places where it needs some ramping up. Other than that, I am thinking the book might be ready on time to get it edited for free. Yes, you heard right, free. The editor that will be working on my novel offered free services as long as she receives it by the end of the year. After that, she charges. But, she is really reasonable. Only 500.00 for the entire manuscript, and that includes grammar, punctuation, and scene setting along with pace. 

I think that's a pretty good deal. I have been quoted as much as 2500.00, which I think is ridiculous! No wonder so many self-published authors don't pay to get professionally edited before launching. I did, however, find quite a few reasonable editors through LinkedIn. Just food for thought for those of my writing followers. I think if you do your homework and really want your book to be the best, you can find deals.

Back to the writing. I have decided to go ahead and start rewriting my short story (novella) that will come out the fall of next year. I need to actually write. It's been a long time. I am looking forward to it. I am weening myself from Facebook for now and working on my stories. It's also good to know how many writers are feeling the same as I when it comes to social media and marketing. It sucks you in and the next thing you know you are not doing any writing. I do appreciate the people who have joined my blog though and leave comments, it means the world to me. We writers are like all other artistic people, we have low self-esteem issues and need support. But, you guys are great!

I will be having a wonderful guest next Monday. Her name is Shah Husain and she writes about ancient beliefs and stories from the old worlds. She lives in British Columbia and I look really forward to having her as a guest. I also will be having Michael Hicks, although no date is set yet. He writes sci-fi and I have read two of his books and plan to read more. I have to know how the stories turn out. I will let you know when he will be on here. Again, I hope that all of you make them feel welcome and drop them a line. I'm sure it will make them feel good too!

Well, until Thursday, I hope all of you have a wonderful week. I will be writing and now my yoga and walking, (I gotta get in shape!) and of course, the daily home duties.

Love, Lisa