Monday, March 31, 2014

Reading While Writing

I’ve noticed lately that reading while writing is a bit tricky.
While I am always writing, there are those times when I’m really writing or like now when I’m on the last edits (big smile creeps across face) and these are the times I either cannot seem to read anything at all or must read something completely different, even opposite of that which I’m writing, or editing.

I’ve asked a few writer-friends if they find this is true for them, and I found everyone had their own quirks. One friend can only read in the same point-of-view as she’s writing or it will “mess with her,” others say they can’t read at all when a deadline looms. I know I have to read the genre as I’m writing when I am having a bit of a writer’s block and a few agreed that has helped them as well. When I’m in the groove though, I find it difficult to choose a book.

For the past few weeks I’ve been stuck as to what to read – because God forbid I’m not reading a book, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been without. I’ve picked up and put down a few, many I want to return to after I send off the manuscript for the last time, but nothing felt as if it wouldn’t interfere with my writing. Until I cleaned out my daughter’s bookshelves. Mid-dusting I opened up one of her middle-grade books, and got lost in the world of simple sentences and terrific storytelling. I’ve been plowing through great 4th – 7th grade books by Wendy Mass, Cythia Lord and Rob Buyea to name a few. Not only did I find enjoyable books to escape into and depart from my own writing, I found a valuable lesson. Don’t lose sight of the big picture – write a great story.

Who know, maybe next time I’ll find historical or paranormal while I write about broken hearts and second chances. Whatever it takes to keep reading and writing and reading while writing.

Back to edits now.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

St. Francis and Friends's Team Page for Walk for Wellness House May 4, 2014

St. Francis and Friends's Team Page for Walk for Wellness House May 4, 2014

Just little note about this link.
Like most, I get approached to participate in various causes, charities and organizations.  In the past two years, I've had to soul search and narrow down the vast list.  There are many I believe in and support, and then there are those I want to see flourish and for those I chose to give my full attention and time. Wellness House continues to be one of those I hope to see succeed.

Wellness House in Hinsdale, IL is a welcoming, friendly place (literally, a house) where individuals and their families living with cancer can find support and encouragement.  Notice I said 'living' with cancer, because that's what it is all about - living.  Services such as group support, cooking classes, exercise classes and a host of other events are free thanks to generous donations.

So now you're wondering my connection.  Well, none at the moment.  I thankfully have no one in my family with cancer presently.  But, I wish Wellness House had existed for my mom.  Mum passed away 20 years ago from lung cancer in Boston.  She didn't 'live' with cancer, she suffered from it and hid her suffering from her family and friends. While I miss her everyday, my biggest regret is that we couldn't help her, she didn't have an outlet to let us in, so she shut us out.  I don't blame her, she had no other choice.

Wellness House gives you a choice whether to live with, or suffer from cancer.  I know she would've chosen a place like Wellness House had there been one for her.

For me, it was an easy choice to support Wellness House and the walk is one of my favorite days of the years.  I truly feel like I do make a difference.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Coming Out of the Writer’s Closet

“Hello, my name is Ally and I’m a writer.” I mean, “I write,” No, “I’m an author!”  
So, maybe I’m not completely ready to come as it appears I don’t even know how to introduce myself, but this is how I have felt for the past few years. After the initial excitement at the onset of writing my first book I over-enthusiastically told too many people and almost immediately regretted it. When friends and family would innocently and half-heartedly ask what was new with me, I actually told them.

“Well, I’m writing a book,” and I would then ramble on about the premise and enjoy the impressed looks they would give me. I loved it, while it lasted. It lasted until I would see the same person again and they would ask how it was going.

“Good,” I would answer and hope to change the subject.

“When is it going to be published?”

“Well, I don’t know. I have to find an agent, or publisher,” I would sigh, “It’s a process.” I would lose their attention and I assumed their respect, or at the least impressed thoughts of me they had previously formed.

Thankfully this all happened around the same time that I discovered the writing community on Twitter. There, I found the group with whom I confide in and commiserate with. During the agonizing querying, contest-entering, and synopsis writing phases I could whine from my keyboard and instantly hear from a fellow writer who would either validate my feelings of frustration or boost me up with 140 characters of encouragement. I began to be a writer only in the virtual world and amongst those few ‘real’ friends who happened to be writing too and alongside me in the trenches toward publication. I was a comfortable place to hang out for three years.

Now, everything has changed and truly the dream has come true, but I’m at a quandary as to how to deal with it. Of course, my family and close friends were ecstatic when I called them immediately to tell them I’d been offered a contract and again when I had to gloat that I’d signed it, but now as I get closer to it actually being published, the attention is a bit overwhelming. I get everything from,

“You wrote a book? I had no idea!” to, “Wow, that took a long time,” and occasionally, “Congrats, I knew you could do it.”  Then of course there are all the questions about the plot and when it’s coming out. I also have to backtrack to the people I told years ago that I was writing explaining, “It’s not that book.” Nope, the story I was so excited about four years ago sits on a hot pink flash drive. It keeps company with the other two manuscripts that got further, but not quite far enough. I find myself explaining and even surprising myself when I say this book is a romance and then upon seeing my friends’ facial reactions, I add the caveat that it’s a sweet romance, not what they’re thinking it is.
I have no regrets, it felt good and right at the time to hide out, but I’ve got my work cut out now to market myself. I’ll start at the beginning, “Hi, I’m Ally and I’d love to tell you all about my book.”

I’ll make this giant leap in my next post.