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November News 2014

What happened?

I’ve been somewhat absent from my newsletter/blog for a month. Writing a new novel takes a lot of butt-in-chair time.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the "timeline" on the cork board.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the “timeline” on the cork board.

I’ve heard of National Novel Writing Month for as long as it’s been around. I never thought I would actually do it. I did this time. NaNoWriMo was the impetus I needed to finally write a solid first draft of Token, that YA (Young Adult) work-in-progress that I’ve been telling you about for the last year. I went into the month with four chapters that were not good. I spent some time improving those. I had close to seven thousand words to start. I needed 50,000 words to win (or complete) NaNoWriMo. You see, it’s a national challenge. I probably should point out that now NaNoWriMo is an international challenge. Many people win. I’m not the only one. I have 53,000 words today. There will be more by December 1. I’m officially going to the big TGIF (thank God it’s finished) party at River Oaks Book Store. Yay!!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!


Now, the News:

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

November 8 was the Houston Writer’s Guild’s first mini-conference under the new leadership team. The team consists of Denise, Fern, and myself. Denise and Fern are the new owners of the Guild. I am honored they picked me to help them steer the course. Our mini-conference was a rocking success with a good showing of members and new folks anxious to learn the craft of writing. Sarah Cortez an esteemed speaker and winner of many writing awards for her poetry books, was our speaker. People said that the day went by so fast they couldn’t believe it. There was also lots of food with breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.

Now for the News You Can Use:

SAM_1233_edited-1March 28 of 2015 we will hold a one day pitch practice conference to help members of HWG get their pitches and presentations ready for the BIG CONFERENCE. At the pre-conference we will have actual agents for members to pitch their novels, and screenplays to. More details to come.

The next big thing is the Amazing 2015 HWG conference. There will be several agents from NYC there. We will have some Texas agents and editors and publishers there. Friends, this is Big Time! There will be agents looking for folks they want to represent to the big six publishers in NYC. There will also be a lot of break-out sessions about how to self-publish, the art of craft, the business of doing it, the “how to” market it. More details to come.

Down on The Farm

One of the things I did do this month besides have some amazing books signings around town was that I took Cora to visit my brother on his farm. We picked vegetables, Jon took us to visit the menagerie, we petted his AKC Siberians, and Jon gave us some eggs (nicer than any from the store). I want to show you some pictures from that day.SAM_1240

And I wanted to show you some artwork that my amazing sis-in-law did. She drew this from composite photos of her trips to Egypt. She painted it with coffee. Okay, you can say “wow” too.SAM_1243

Happy Thanksgiving!

SAM_1264It’s the end of the month and I want to thank you for sticking with me in reading my blog, especially when there are weeks between offerings. I appreciate every one of you. May God richly bless you in this holiday season.

I thank the Lord for His loving kindness, and mercy in keeping our family safe and well.

Don’t eat too much and watch out for the crazy drivers.

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Place of Many Birds

Place of Many Birds - Jan Merry Herein is a group of short stories about the adventures that take eight-year-old Earle, ten-year-old Alan, and twelve-year-old Bob to different spots around Australia. Having never been to Australia before I enjoyed the views. The stories take place, as far as I can make out, after World War II. These are heartfelt tales that harken back to another age when children could roam and create imaginary worlds.

Earle is the youngest and the story-teller.

Better editing would have improved upon some of the stories. There were only minor flaws that I noticed: a missing 's' or odd gaps in wording. But here's an example of where a few sentences could have been made better:

"When I look out to sea from the top of the cliff, I can't see the horizon because of the mist, but I can hope a pirate's galleon with skull and crossbones flying from the mast, will suddenly burst through the mist."

An editor could make this shine. I would have changed the word "mist" the second time it is used to another word.

In the story "A Place of Many Birds" which is about the family's many moves. Each section of this story speaks about the way the different birds would wake them up, or fly up from trees. There is a section about the discovery of the abandoned house. All around them the countryside is parched with drought. The abandoned house is dusty and empty of everything, but then the boys find the cellar.

"At the top of the steep flight of stairs we wait to see who will take the first step into the darkness. This time Alan goes first, followed by Bob, and I am last. I expect the cellar to be dry and dusty, but the walls are damp and as we descend the stairs, Alan calls out again.
"It's full of water."
Shafts of light drift down from an air vent high in the wall and when my eyes adjust to the dark, I see water lapping around the lower stairs."

The boys find that the cellar is not only full of water but of stores of jars and boxes that they can't get to because of the water.

This discovery is like this novel, you read story after story and find yourself enjoying them but then you come upon a real "find".

I like that.