Writing work check-up

On January 5, 2015, I wrote a short writing to-do list for the coming few months. Today, since it's almost the end of January, is a good time to take stock. I'm pleased to report that I'm moving right along on my novel revisions. I've incorporated my red lines and yellow highlights into my online Revision 4 chapter files up to page 124. That means I have only 54 single-spaced hard-copy pages to go. Of course that doesn't mean that I'm finished finished. As I've revised I've tagged many many pages that I need to go back to. Like yesterday for instance. I was working on Chapter Seventeen which required that I add a new subsection at the chapter's end. I wrote it. I stepped back from it, I thought about how John Updike writes incredibly detailed descriptions, and I realized I wrote only the bare bones so far. I need to go back to that little subsection and add and add and add more. Remember the old adage - show don't tell? Well my bare bones only tell. I haven't written the scene t … [Read more...]

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Writing work resolutions for 2015

I’m finally back to real work after a nice long new year’s holiday rest. And it’s about time. Of course I didn’t stay exactly idle. I’ve thought long and hard about how to proceed with my writing life this year, and I've made a preliminary list. I’m sure I'll add more things in the weeks and months to come. Keep slugging away at my novel revisions. I’m about to start Chapter Six – only Twenty-one chapters to go. In other words I’m on page forty-one of one hundred and seventy-nine single-spaces pages. It’s going to be a long haul. Write blog pieces for Choices that are more about my writing work and writing advice for others. Write for other websites: Naturally Savvy, Aging Bodies, and Cate Russell-Cole’s CommuniCATE Resources for Writers website. I feel so honored that she asked me help her out while she works on her own memoir. Write more poetry. In the last few months I’ve let my poetry writing go by the wayside in favor of working on my novel – that’s not good for my soul. … [Read more...]

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Keeping Paul’s music alive

After Paul died on the morning of September 23, 1999 we found a rectangular-shaped  black canvas bag that contained cassette tapes of all his recorded music. We picked out a few and played them during his memorial service four days later. One of his long time friends, Martin Borsanyi, who used to compose and play jazz music with Paul during their high school days, came over to our house many times in the next year or so. He made an inventory of Paul’s musical instruments (except his piano, which we still have) and other electronic sound and recording equipment that we gave away to the Crossroads High School jazz ensemble where he and Martin played. Martin also transferred the music from cassette onto CDs, working in our home because I was afraid to let the tapes out of my sight for fear of losing them. Once I got into the age of iTunes, I also transferred all of Paul’s music there as well. I also created a memorial page on my blog here at Choices where people can stop by to list … [Read more...]

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My six-year old website has a new look

In case you’ve wondered where I’ve been, I’m happy to say I’m back to blogging with a whole new look and a new blog host site. I’ve moved, thanks to a wonderful web master and domain host, from Blogspot to WordPress. I felt after six years it was time for a change. Plus I’ve heard from my many blogging friends that WordPress will much better serve my needs. Come back in a few months and I’ll let you know if I find that to be true. Right now I’m knee-deep in questions and problems. First of all I have no idea how to even post this. It’s like going back to Square One. But I’ve found, via my trusty friend Google, a WordPress support document called: First Steps with WordPress. If it successfully helps me post this, you’ll know I learned something. If not, well, what can I say? Then I have to learn how to edit. When my archives from Blogspot got transferred over, most of my careful formatting went by the wayside. Line spacing is all over the place and the text is no longer wrapped ar … [Read more...]

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I’m querying again

Well, I’ve already sent out mini query letters to a couple of recommended prospective publishers. I’ve included information about my book and links to sample chapters of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On, and I’ve told them I’ll have all the files in native QuarkXpress and pdf. So if they want to add my book to their portfolios it should be a slam-dunk. Plus I’m not interested in another hardback run. I would prefer a paperback and/or e-book. I've also made a little pitch about my current writing work with links to my blogs Choices and Red Room, and to the PsychAlive and Naturally Savvy websites, where I blog every month. And now the waiting begins. I hate this part. The querying and waiting.   I thought I wouldn’t have to do it again until I’m ready to market my novel. And, now I wonder if it is even worth it. Readers, I need your advice on this one. Should I even try to find a new publisher or should I just go ahead and self-publish? What do you thin … [Read more...]

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The eve of New Year’s Eve

I think this is a perfect day for looking back. Usually we go to an eve, eve party where we always share about our events of the year. Since it was cancelled this year, I'll share our major happenings of 2011 here. Major Happenings of 2011: 1. My husband, Bob, and I traveled to Amador County and Sutter Creek, CA with Manhattan Beach friends to taste some native zinfandel wines in January. On our first night there Bob fell and broke the three metatarsal bones in his right foot. Bob had foot surgery to repair and pin his broken bones together in February and had to be off his foot for eight weeks. He got around on a knee scooter (Rolleraid) or crutches. I was his driver. Bob on his knee scooter (Rolleraid) 2. On May 8 (Mother’s Day) my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On was released by Lucky Press. My successful book launch reading and signing at our local independent bookstore, Pages, was held on May 12. A couple of weeks later we celebrated my birthday in Lake O … [Read more...]

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Midweek Work Progress Report

This week has been very productive. I’ve sent off my second piece for the PsychAlive website, and I got word from the editor that it’s ready to go live. The piece is called “Comforting Those Who Grieve.” I’m still awaiting word from my Savvy Over 60 editor about when my November piece for them will be up. I also started working on a piece for a new blog I’m interested in called, Heartache to Healing, founded by grief coach, author, and speaker, JoAnne Funch. Hopefully, the piece will be good enough that I’ll be allowed to contribute there once in a while as well. And I started working on my speech that I’m scheduled to make on November 19 for our local chapter of the American Association of University Women. It was suggested I talk about the mental health and suicide prevention services available in our area. I’ll do that and expand the speech to tell my story of healing after my son’s suicide that I describe in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. And surprise, surprise, I … [Read more...]

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Recap of 2010 Events

Before I move on to 2011, I thought I'd recap some of our family's 2010. We sent this list along with our holiday cards. January: Bob recovers from knee surgery Bob publishes Volume 1 of Family History – Bob's family story Bob’s brother Richard’s dies; Madeline and Bob travel to New York February: Ben and Marissa announce intention to marry Madeline takes novel writing workshop at UCLA and begins first novel March: Madeline begins blogging on Red Room, a writers website -http://www.redroom.com/member/madeline40 April: Madeline retires from Northrop Grumman on April 30 May: Madeline has several poems published at Survivor Chronicles, unFold, and Poetsespresso Bob ends 14 years of consulting for TRW/Northrop Grumman on May 7 Madeline and Bob begin five-week vacation with trip to Chicago, Washington, and New York City to see family and friend June: Our five week vacation continues to London, cruise from South Hampton to Scandinavia and St … [Read more...]

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