Robert Davis: about writing, publishing, and demons

This is a first for Choices - a guest post by an author of a book of horror stories. However, the writing life of author, Robert Davis, is something all authors can resonate with. And maybe it's time for us all to wander around some other genres. Who knows? We might end up liking them. Please welcome Robert with a hearty congratulations on the launch (TODAY!) of his book. Writing, Publishing, and Demons by Robert Davis Hmmmm, writing a guest blog…For a week of firsts, I have one more to add! First of all I would like to thank Madeline Sharples for allowing me to blog today. It is great to see how many people support independent authors. My first book Rakasha: Legend of the Hindi Tiger Demon has been released on Amazon today, July 5, 2013, in both Ebook and POD. I have written for years and years and years, since the fifth grade. While I chose not to think back to how long ago that really was, it was a while back. For all this time I have written, edited, and deleted a tho … [Read more...]

My guest, Belinda Nicoll – drumroll please!

I'm so happy to have Belinda Nicoll here today. She is the author of the memoir, Out of Sync, which I read and reviewed a couple of months ago. For me Out of Sync to be more than a memoir. It is an adventure story, a travelogue, a history of our changing times, and a philosophical view of the world and life, as she adjusts to moving to America from South Africa with a new husband. I highly recommend you pick up her beautifully written book. And I'm so grateful to Belinda for answering my long list of questions. Here goes: 1. What does the title of the book mean? My memoir explores the concept of change—despite a series of harrowing events that demonstrate how quickly adventure and excitement can devolve into chaos and despair, I believe that change, however merciless, is always the most profound catalyst for personal development. The title of my book—Out of Sync—captures the condition that permeated all aspects of my life in the ten years following our expatriation … [Read more...]

A wonderful resource for all writers

The Heart and Craft of Writing Compelling Description needs a new name. It should be called “Every Writer’s Bible.” It needs to be read and reread. It needs to be carried around with you. It needs to get worn and tattered with underlines and margin notes because you keep referring to it so often. Author Sharon M. Lippincott likes the word savor – a perfect word for this book. It’s one to be savored throughout all your writing endeavors no matter in which genre you write: nonfiction, life story, memoir, fiction. You’ll find what you’re looking for to help you write better descriptions in this book. This wonderful resource is an anthology of Sharon Lippincott’s posts from her blog, The Heart and Craft of Life Writing. She says, “I find the topic of writing description endlessly fascinating and will continue to explore and post about it as long as my fingers keep moving. Meanwhile, use the tips in this anthology to practice writing and stretching your imagina … [Read more...]

My writing life in 2012

Writing became a way to live with my son Paul’s bipolar disorder and to survive his suicide as a result. However, I never dreamed it would become my way of life. I still cannot get through the day without writing something. However, in the last few years it has become more than a balm to ease the pain. It has become a joy and a way to meet and interact with some very wonderful writing friends. Like writing, I can never have enough Buddhas (Richard Stock photo) With that in mind, I thought I write down a few of the highlights of my writing life from 2012, starting with my first publisher’s decision to go out of business. At first I was indeed devastated and then so angry. She closed down with four days warning and cut off our websites even before that. But the devastation and anger were very short lived. I reached out to a few writing friends – especially Keith Alan Hamilton – and got some suggestions about where to query. However, my dear friend and mentor Mark Shelmerdine … [Read more...]

What are you grateful for?

My blogging friend, Pam Young, wrote down her list of things she's grateful for, and I decided to copy her. This is the season to think about such things. Gratitude has been on my mind a lot lately - especially since my husband Bob of 42 years seems to be experiencing a lot a pain in his hip, and I worry about him. I don't want anything bad to happen to him, and I'm trying to be positive that nothing will. Our marriage and our friendship is something I am very grateful for. Here's my list - at least so far: My good health and healthy life style of a good diet and lots of exercise My happy marriage My wonderful son and daughter-in-law That I can continue to write and work toward ending the stigma of mental illness and preventing suicide Many loving friends and family members That I can still workout or take a walk every day of the week That I live in what I think is the most beautiful place in the world – only 10-minutes from the beach That we live comf … [Read more...]

My writing life – still all good

Did I really say I wouldn’t be working constantly while on my three-month virtual blog tour? I must have been dreaming. Writing, revising, and refining each and every one of my articles and getting them to the blog owners in enough time for them to post have kept me very busy. Plus, I’ve had new several requests from other bloggers to write for them that I've tucked into my blog tour schedule Right now I have a yellow sticky on my virtual desktop reminding me of the eight posts due in the next thirty days. Now that might not seem like a lot to you. However, just coming up with blog post ideas is a challenge – that is unless one of the blog owners asks for something specific. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been asked to write about: 1) how I realized poetry alone was not enough to convey the story I told in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, 2) my concept of gratitude, and 3) what I would say to someone who has just lost a loved one to suicide. These are not so sim … [Read more...]

Ask the author

One of the best experiences I had while we were on our recent trip to New England and the East Coast was being a guest at my great niece, Anna’s first grade class in Fairfax, Virginia. The class was working on a poetry unit. They had spent a lot of time in the last two months writing and illustrating Ouch, Acrostic, Animal, Color, and Haiku poems in preparation for a program for family and friends called Poetry and Punch. At first I thought Jessica, the teacher, wanted me to give them a lesson in writing Haiku – the poetry form they were currently working on. But, no. They already were writing them and knew all about the form. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was going to have a Question and Answer session with them. Jessica had the children sit on the rug in the front of the room and introduced me as Anna’s Aunt Madeline, the author. She then gave them the opportunity to ask me any questions they had about my work as a writer and author. And from the very first … [Read more...]

Rejection – another cause of a U-turn

Talk about a U-turn. This must be my week. Here I am facing that U-turn again, and I need to find a way to work myself out of it. It is so easy to get in the rejection doldrums. Any little thing can set it off – an unreturned telephone call or email, someone saying they’ll do something and they don’t, and of course that actual dreaded rejection letter. I’m sure most of my creative readers know what that dreaded word is about it. You’ve probably experienced it. I know I have. I actually got sixty-eight rejections (by actual letter or by silence) before I got a publishing contract for my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. So I thought I was immune to it. Turns out I’m not. Rejection hurts. In the last month my work has received two rejection emails. And since these rejections were from anthologies I’ve been featured in before, my first reaction was Whoa, what am I doing wrong here? I better stop and rethink my course of action. Did I just say I’m taking a … [Read more...]

Writing in Times of Grief – Join our roundtable tomorrow

I'll be participating in a roundtable discussion tomorrow afternoon with my dear friend, Eleanor Vincent. Sponsored by the National Association of Memoir Writers, we'll discuss Writing in Times of Grief. And we'd love for you to join us by listening in and asking questions as well. In the latest NAMW newsletter, founder and discussion moderator, Linda Joy Myers, wrote: In preparation for our September 8th Roundtable discussion, I have been busy reading the books by our featured authors for the September Roundtable. Eleanor Vincent wrote Swimming with Maya and Madeline Sharples' memoir is Leaving the Hall Light On. Both books are about their beautiful children, how the death of a child leaves a scar that can't be completely healed. Each mother had to find her own path to become re-engaged with life and the rest of the family, and try to heal from such a heart breaking tragedy. Eleanor Vincent lost her daughter in a freak accident with a horse. Madeline Sharples' son suffered … [Read more...]

WOW blog tour stop No. 11

WOW Women on Writing arranged another wonderful blog tour stop for me today. I'm at Colloquium with Janie Siess who introduces authors and reviews books. She says her goal for her website is "it will be a place where people feel comfortable dropping by, reading about my experiences, observations and opinions, and responding by sharing their own vieewpoints, experiences, and feelings." My post today is: "Using Memoir Writing to Deal with Grief." And on June 27 Janie will post her review of my book. I am so pleased about being the guest of Colloquium. Please go over and check it out. And if you post a comment on June 27th, you'll have a chance to win a signed hardcopy of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. … [Read more...]

WOW blog tour stop No. 10

I am so excited to be the guest blogger on Women’s Memoirs today. Thank you Robyn and Jodi of WOW-Women on Writing for arranging this stop for me. Kendra and Matilda of Women's Memoirs asked me a series of questions about journaling and writing my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, as they related to my path to healing after my son Paul's suicide. The post not only has my answers and recommendations for other women who need to find ways to heal, they've posted photos of Paul and our family and a wonderful piece of Paul's music played by him. The music player is inserted right there on the blog. Please take a look at this wonderful and useful blog to writers of all genres. the-hall-light-on-by-madeline-sharples/ … [Read more...]

It’s Not Just About the Money

Paul Sharples 1971-1999 The Red Room Where the Writers Are blog ( prompt this week was to write about "writing for free." Here is what I had to say about that. I’ve been writing without monetary rewards virtually all of my life. However I’ve stepped up the pace in the years since the death of my son in 1999, when I found that writing paid me in comfort and healing. Writing about the unhappiness and tragedy in my life transfers the pain from my body onto the page. Writing is like an addiction to me; I get itchy if I don’t do it. My office, where I write, is like magic to me. I could spend all day in there and never feel confined. I see the outside garden and the fountain from my writing table. The fountain attracts the most beautiful orange and yellow birds. Some have red heads, some take little dips in the pool, some surf on the leaves that hang over the fountain, some just hover over the water too wary to wade in. The time I spend writing in my offi … [Read more...]