Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To Say or *NOT* to Say

“The trouble of talking too fast is you may say something you haven’t thought of yet.”

                                                                                                            Ann Landers

 She^ said it, and I doubt she regretted it.

The other day it occurred to me that in this new age, such ‘talking’ is often a comment left on a chat board, or to a blog post.

Oh, sure- you can delete your own blog posts, and you can edit or delete reviews on your own site. It’s true that once ‘out there,’ the Internet Wayback Machines can find deleted material. But who would bother?

It’s a different story when it comes to certain blogging services and the comments you leave on them. If you delete these, a record is left of who you are, and that you deleted whatever it was. I always find these ‘deleted by’ creepy, even though they were probably just correcting a typo. These deletes scream- SO~AND~SO SAID SOMETHING THEY NOW REGRET AND WANT HIDDEN. Talk about wanting less attention…

I’ve stopped posting anyplace that will not allow me to un-post or correct my typos in a seamless way. As I won’t post anonymously, I don’t need that inevitable ‘from’ turned to ‘form’ haunting me forever. (From/Form is my number one typo, present in every letter I ever typed. You’d think I have some subliminal unfulfilled bureaucratic ambitions.)

And this doesn’t even begin to touch on unintended offensive remarks. (The intended kind deserves a separate post.)

Because I like chiming in on others’ good blog posts, and love when others come to mine, I will try not to talk too fast. Like Winnie the Pooh, got to think. Think. Think.

Not a simple thing in this fast paced E-realm.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Getting Off the Duff

The end of summer also means the beginning of my writing year.

Oh, I write during the summer. I write Emails and blog posts. I write letters and grocery-shopping lists. I even revise my fiction and write critiques for writing friends. But I don’t write first drafts of new fiction stories.

I developed this pattern when my kids were little. As they had no babysitter, summer was at Camp Mama. It’s the nature of the Mama Job to be interrupted all the time with every sort of urgent task, and the focus that is required for new real writing wasn’t possible. Although I swear my kids still seem to think I’m eminently interruptible, I could probably manage to leave them alone and go off to some dungeon now. But the pattern of summers off was set, and I found it was good for me.

When the second part of August shows up, I begin to feel the twitches. Like running one’s hands over the car door, jiggling the keys, but not inserting the key or pushing the start button. Not quit yet.

And with that comes the Doubt Elf. Can you do it? Will the engine start? Doubt Elf brings with him the Excuses Guy. Excuses Guy says thing like, “Don’t start quite yet, you still have weeding/straightening/whatever to do,” and “Shouldn’t you be promoting your just published book?”

Excuses will end when you stop making them

Mirka M. G. Breen, August 2012

She’s right^. I remind myself of another thing-This is *for me.* I’m happiest writing the first draft.

On your mark, get set---
©Tony Carrillo

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to The Voice of Thunder

What is an author feeling when the real-honest-to-goodness paper Author Copies arrive?

First this^

Then this-

And finally that-

(^Thanks to DD for documenting, and rightly putting Author on cloud-nine with a bit of photo-finish^…)

And only days later, a note from the publisher said the release date was moved up to August 14. Wait a minute, that’s-

***Happy Birthday to you, THE VOICE OF THUNDER***

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Road Taken

Sometimes the road not taken was a life lesson, because the road you wound up on was a vast improvement.

Take for example the flight back home DD and I were supposed to be on- last flight out of Cleveland, fully booked to the last seat. A gate full of tired passengers waited when delay after delay turned into a flight cancelation, with the announcement that the airline had only enough hotel vouchers for half the passengers and will book us on the next available flight the next day, or whenever.

As we rushed to the customer service line, I told DD to prepare to spend the night on an airport bench. Instead, we were given vouchers for a nonstop flight not too early the next morning, vouchers for meals, and vouchers for a hotel nearby, all at the airline’s expense. Mind you, ours were the most economy-fare tickets, so we had no reason to count on first class treatment, which even first-class fare-payers can’t anymore. The hotel shuttle took the scenic route because the stand-up comedian driver said he wanted to do something special for his carload of ‘distressed passengers.’ I thought I had landed in the middle of this Thomas Kinkade Painting.

And then we found ourselves in the luxury suite, with a whirlpool bath in our room.

This made me think of another circuitous route that ended well- an offer from a publisher I had turned down a couple of years ago. The enthusiastic offer to publish my middle grade novel came with a condition for certain changes. This was just before I had an acceptance for my first picture book, and I was over the moon. After all, they only wanted me to cut one character, change the behavior of another, and change some minor details. None of the suggested changed seemed right to me, but, hey, I’m a novice and they are, well, experienced publishers who know what they are doing. Everyone says that you should ‘sit’ on such suggestions and maybe even sleep on it. Right?

But they wanted to change the ending too. That last one, no matter how much I tried to talk myself into, was a deal breaker. Oh, I did sleep on it. I also ran it by my beta reader who’s been with the story almost from the beginning, and he said, even more vehemently, they were wrong-Wrong-WRONG.

This same novel for middle grades found acceptance at the able hands of another publishing team, where the many editing rounds (three major, two minor) never stirred the story the wrong way. THE VOICE OF THUNDER is less than a month from its official release, and I could not be happier about the road I didn’t take and the one I did.

This brings me back to our relaxing extra night in Cleveland, and the following day’s flight. This time the plane was not full; we had empty seats between us. We arrived home in the middle of a beautiful sunny day, not in the dead of night.

One case where I had a choice and one where I didn’t. But both felt like emerging from darkness to light.

The road taken, once again, was the best road.