When Euripides Interrupts Wild Daydreams

I’m not sure what happens in other people’s heads, but I tend to overshare what happens in mine. It wasn’t long ago that the words, “Think BIG!” popped into my brain interrupting thoughts of blogging and book writing. Well, it happened again.

While I washed dishes one morning, my mind wandered to thoughts about my book. I was eighty pages away from my final read-through after a major revision. When finished, I planned to query again. Of course, my mind pole vaulted waaaay past that.

ME:  Someday I’ll be preparing for my first book signing. Huh. That will be so cool. I’m sure I’ll be nervous and will rehearse all day. I’ll have to make some notes for my…..

THOUGHT:  Euripides!Euripides

ME:  What?

THOUGHT:  EURIPIDES!

ME:  Where did that come from? Wasn’t he some famous old philosopher?

Usually, when a random word pops into my mind, I dismiss it. This time it was super loud and insistent.

I Googled Euripides surprised I spelled it correctly. Quotes came to the top of the search. My eyes fell on this one:

“Do not plan for ventures before finishing what’s at hand.”

ME: Whoa! Okay, I get it. I’ll go back to work.

I tweeted about it and received some great insight. (Disregard the repetition of my original tweet):

ME:  Why did the name Euripides interrupt an otherwise lovely daydream about the future?

  • Could it be that my subconscious remembered the quote from somewhere and the author’s name popped into my head? Pretty abstract and doubtful.
  • Was a higher power giving me a clue? It was more like a reprimand. “Okay. I get it, Higher Power!”
  • Was someone, who exists on a higher plane, having an argument with another entity and needed me to look up Euripides? Pshh!
  • Maybe Euripides is the patron saint of “staying present centered” and he becomes aggravated when we wander into the future.

After all that I looked him up:

Euripides was a playwright, not a philosopher. He wrote over ninety plays in Athens, Greece. He is credited with producing the first rom-com (romantic comedy) and wrote about ordinary people presented with extraordinary circumstances. He was also an ancient feminist:

Medea: “Sooner would I stand to face their battles, shield in hand, than bear one child.”

Ha!

I have to admit, I haven’t entertained thoughts of book signings since. I finished my work and am onto the next project. I did what I was told. “Are you happy now, Euripides?”

I wonder what word will wreck a perfectly good daydream next time…

What do you think? Has a random word ever popped into your mind?

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing Blew Up Facebook

For me traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No wayMy Facebook page blew up with comments after I shared an article written for The Guardian by Ros Barber entitled, “For me traditional publishing means poverty, but self-publishing? No way.”

Whoa!

She believes that making a living as a writer is almost impossible when being traditionally published since authors receive such a low percentage on the sale of each book. But self-publishing is much worse given the author is stuck with marketing. She went on to slam anyone who spams up his Twitter feed with book sales. Continue reading

What Dreams Teach Writers

“Sweet dreams,” our mothers said while tucking us into bed.

Pshh! When was the last time you had a sweet dream? Do your dreams come true in your dreams? Are you accepting a Hugo or Edgar award for exceptional writing? If you do, I would love to live in your subconscious.

My dreams are nothing like that.

I look forward to going to sleep. It can be such a relief after a hectic day, but my dreams seldom are a place where I rest. I never, ever get what I want.

DreamscapeDream #1.

I am lost and hungry as I thrash my way through the jungle at night. Dirt clings to my body, slick with sweat. I’m tired and want to sit down to rest, but am desperate to find civilization. A warm light flickers through the dense understory. It’s a campfire. Relieved, I run toward the clearing. Continue reading

NEWS From The Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference

I attended my fourth writer’s conference. Although they are similar in format, this one always stands out in friendliness and inclusivity. A positive energy source emanates throughout the Colorado Spring’s Marriott. It must be built upon a special kind of bedrock. Agents, editors, and best-selling authors are willing to have conversations with people like me; the super fans of the conference.

Here’s what inspired me and what I learned:

If you write fiction: Your blog, social media presence, and overall author’s platform are meaningless to traditional publishers. The agents suggested focusing on writing books instead. After you’re published, they are grateful if you already have a blog since they’ll want to link you up.

If you write non-fiction: The polar opposite is true. You better have a successful blog with lots of social media followers as part of your author’s platform. You should be booked for public speaking engagements, interviewed on podcasts and in YouTube videos. Publishers look at anything and everything you’ve done to build your presence, following, credibility, and to show you’re a respected expert in your field.

Sign up for critique sessions. It can be unnerving, but the input is invaluable especially if an agent you would like to pitch is giving the critique. They are the experts who you are trying to impress.

Attend the agent panel. This is a top priority for me at every conference. They talk about their pet peeves, what’s new in publishing, etiquette, and include their individual stories. You get the most up-to-date info. Every one of them chose their career because they love to read books.

What I learned: Continue reading

Pantsing While Plodding Toward Publication

writing journeyI started writing over four-and-a-half years ago. I had an idea for a non-fiction book, a snarky take on Boulder women. If you’re not familiar with how to assemble a book proposal, non-fiction is skiing down a gentle slope compared to fiction where the writer must plod along the desert and climb craggy mountains with blown out tennis shoes and holes in their socks. I’ll get to that later. At that time, I only needed a query letter, a table of contents, and a few sample chapters. Continue reading

Hitting the Halfway Point

Boulder Polar Plunge 2013 1

When I wrote my 25, 000th word for National Novel Writing Month, it reminded me of swimming through the Boulder Reservoir to touch the ice during the Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day. They’re both a sink or swim venture.  It got tough when I could barely touch the bottom. My legs and arms grew heavy with the cold and they moved in slow motion. In place of the silly grin I wore while splashing into the frigid water was sheer determination and a painful wince. One of the lifeguards standing on the pier shouted, “Do you need help?” It was hard to breathe, but I yelled back, “I can do it!”

I don’t know how many have dropped out of NaNoWriMo already, but the numbers have got to be high. I think writing 50,000 words in a month takes a certain kind of endurance. Crazy endurance. It’s for crazy people who have the time to commit, or in my case should be committed, but also have a lot of nerve and stamina. I love taking on new challenges and always have.

Not everyone can sit down and write on command. It can be intimidating to stare at a blank page. I’ve never had writer’s block. Maybe it’s all those Thursdays I found myself on a deadline and would crank out a Friday flash fiction or the stream-of-conscious writing exercises from a year ago when I woke up every morning for a month and wrote one word at time in a notebook until I filled a page. In both, I wrote the first thing that popped into my head. Continue reading

Seven Ways to Thrill Me!

thrillers

How long has it been since you read a real page-turner? A while? Yeah. Me too. I think that’s why I love watching thrillers. They are the ultimate in creating and sustaining suspense. Talk about tight writing. They race ahead with twisted turns in a world where you’re hooked into finding out what happens to the characters or who survives.

My heart simultaneously leaps with the evil guy who comes into view behind his latest victim in the dreary, deserted park. “Turn around. Turn Around! TURN AROU… Oh, never mind. Too late.” I slump down in my seat, heart hammering in my chest like I ran a 100 yard dash.

I’m not a slasher or horror movie watcher although they can be thrillers too. I couldn’t get through Nick Cage’s Drive Angry, although I loved the creepy, alien-like quality of the accountant played by William Fitchner. It was too violent for me. Silence of the Lambs haunted my nightmares for years.

I love the white knuckle-busting, heart-tapping, “Oh my God, He’s in the house!” terror. Continue reading