January small stones

I've been faithfully writing my small stones every day - even though my time has been limited the past few weeks. I took on a consulting job three weeks ago back working at my old day job - helping engineers write and produce a proposal to the U.S. Government. It's always interesting and fulfilling and very busy, but doesn't come close to the pleasure I feel when I'm doing my creative work. I'm happy to say the job will be over on February 21. That said, here are my January Gems - my daily attempt at writing a short piece every day of the month. They aren't meant to be masterpieces. Just a way to jump-start my writing for the day. January Gems Happy New Year everyone. I love that we’re still keeping up with our small stones. Let’s make 2017 a great writing year. The floats in the Rose Parade are spectacular. They’re getting more elaborate and tech-y every year. After our recent heavy rains, it’s gotten unseasonably cold here in southern California. But not so cold t … [Read more...]

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Fresh eyes are important to our writing process

After a three-week break, I went back to my consulting job on August 3 and worked 17 days straight. That is until today when I got a little mini vacation - a few hours off to go out to lunch and get a much-needed manicure and pedicure. Tomorrow I'll  be back on the job for another 20 days or so until the work is finished. I can't tell how much I look forward to going back to my writing life and playing with all my writing friends out on the networks. I really apologize for being such a dropout these last few weeks and months. Once back I'll probably get so involved again, you all will want me to get a work gig again. However, while I've been working I looked at how similar writing a proposal is to writing a book. Right now  a review team is looking at our product. That's what I hope most of us do with our draft books: ask a team of fellow authors to review our book and give us comments pick our team carefully for their expertise give them a list of specific things to look … [Read more...]

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How technical writing helped me write memoir and fiction

I fell in love with writing in grade school and took journalism and was on the newspaper staff in high school. I attended the University of Wisconsin as a journalism major, then transferred to UCLA my senior year to complete a degree in English. Because jobs for women journalists were few in the 1960s in Los Angeles, I began a long career as a technical writer and editor, proposal manager, web designer and content developer in the aerospace industry. And I must say that was a great choice because my job paid very well, and I’m still able to work from time to time as a consultant years after I officially retired (I’m just about to embark on a four-month job to help a group of engineers write a proposal to the U.S. Air Force). Plus, I’ve been able to transfer what I learned as a technical writer over to my memoir and fiction writing. Here are six things I learned: Plan before you write. I had an outline before I started my memoir and a list of scenes that guided my fiction b … [Read more...]

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Some old stories

In 2012 and 2013 I contributed to a website called Storylane. It inspired me to write very short pieces about a variety of subjects. Unfortunately, Storylane no longer exists, but packrat that I am I saved every piece I submitted. Here’s a few: How I Got My First Job Out of College I graduated from UCLA with a degree in English and had no idea what I would do professionally after getting it. I had wanted to work as a journalist and actually completed all the course work for a degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin. But family illness caused me to transfer to UCLA for my senior year, and UCLA didn’t offer a BA degree in journalism. So I was stuck in a city I didn’t know, and hardly knowing anyone in it. I tried valiantly and unsuccessfully early on to get a writing job and then gave up. It was 1962. Not a lot of jobs for women writers in those days, especially in Los Angeles. Then someone suggested I try the growing aerospace business in southern California. And I … [Read more...]

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My Gutsy Story Anthology

I’ve been so proud to be a part of the group of sixty-four writers who participated in the 2013 edition of  the My Gutsy Story Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure from Around the World, conceived and edited by Sonia Marsh. The anthology has won three awards so far: 2014 ELIT Gold Award for Anthologies 2014 International Book Awards Finalist 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award Silver Honoree Winner at the Paris Book Festival Sonia is now taking submissions for the all-new 2015 anthology. I encourage you to submit your story now. Click here to find out how. Here’s the piece I wrote for the 2013 edition. And if you like my piece, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed in the sixty-three other stories in this wonderfully inspiring book. You can buy it here. My Gutsy Story When my older son Paul died by suicide in 1999 after a seven-year battle with bipolar disorder, I knew I had to find ways to keep myself busy and productive or else I would wallow away in my grief. At t … [Read more...]

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WOW blog tour stop No. 13

I'm over at NAMW today with a blog post about my journey from aerospace writing to creative writing. Please go over and take a look and leave a comment. I'm so proud to be part of this wonderful organization for memoir writers. It makes me feel like I've "arrived" to be in such good company. I'll also be with them again in September with a blog post about memoir writing to deal with grief and as part of a roundtable on the same subject in September. I'll let you know about dates as the time gets closer. In the meantime please go to the following links to see my post: http://www.namw.org/news/the-journey-from-aerospace-writer-to-creative-writer/ and NAMW's news section: http://www.namw.org/updates/madeline-sharples-author-of-leaving-the-hall-light-on-to-make-a-blog-tour-stop-at-namw/     "About the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) The National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) is a membership organization that invites memoir writers … [Read more...]

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