Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Loss and Knowing authors?

What is it about books and authors that bring us in and make us feel we know a person, and know them well enough to be sad at their passing?

What is the connection that doesn’t seem to transcend into other mediums as well? At least not for me. I can enjoy a great piece of art or sculpture, without ever feeling the tinge of sadness that the originator is no longer around to produce more.

But with authors and books it is different. From Robert Jordan’s passing earlier this year with his to-be-completed final novel left behind, to the recent passing of Tony Hillerman, author of the southwest Indian mysteries with the characters Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn.
Whether I have read the person’s work or not there always seems to be a loss in the world somehow.
That the world is somehow an emptier place without them.
A world a little less rich.
A little less varied.
A little less interesting.

Maybe it’s not knowing the author so much as the characters?

And feeling their loss?

There is only so much time to read and so many books to read nowdays, and there is a sense of loss when you pick up a book, especially if you really like the book and the characters, of knowing there won’t be anymore. No new frontiers and ages for the characters to transcend, no new growth or possible changes for the author to come into, and spread on to us. As a writer I mourn that possibility. As a reader I mourn.

Friday, October 17, 2008


A friend gave me a most lovely birthday card recently that I had to share -
"If a little dreaming is dangerous,
the cure for it is not to dream less
but to dream more, to dream all the time." - Marcel Proust

Hold fast to your dreams...

This reminded me of some of my favorite quotes:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." - Maya Angelou

"There are only two ways to Live Your Life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a Miracle." - Albert Einstein

"Remember, a journey is not measured by the amount of breaths you take, but the things that take your breath away!"

And inspiration comes from all sorts of places if you allow it.
For those that have not yet discovered the Wonderful whimsical jewelry of the Kirks Folly Family I would highly recommend checking them out. I have a wonderful collection of their unique pieces that I have accumulated over the years and they always make your heart sing in some way. Whether from just looking at the lovely things they do and create, or just the thought of's all good, as one of my fellow writers says.
And while you are over on the Kirks Folly site, be sure to sign up for Jenniefer Kirk's newsletter - the Fairy Godmother newsletter, as she always has a great quote in it. Which is where most of the ones listed here have come from. And she had a quote in one of her newsletters about the choices we make, and what we choose to believe and choose to think. I must find it again sometime as it was an incredible thought.
But in the meantime I will use the ending of one of her newsletters -
I leave you with this: Your Thoughts Become Your Destiny

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wisdom and Advice

Wisdom and Advice
We sure had a lot of great advice and wisdom from all our wonderful speakers at the James River Writers Conference this past weekend.
From Kirk Ellis, coming off his Emmy win for John Adams, telling us to never take no.
He was fantastic to talk to, with all the interesting projects he’s working on.
To Adriana Trigiani with all her wonderful advice, and what she considered her best - ‘Finish your damn book.’
To her recommendations of her favorite books that she believes everyone should read – which I put in a previous entry, directly from her email.

And then there is the lovely and gracious Diane Mott Davidson, of the Goldy the caterer culinary mystery series fame.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a more gracious person than Diane, and that’s saying a lot considering the world around here also holds the lovely gracious writer Emyl Jenkins. But then Emyl also taught Diane and takes credit for her writing career. ;) So maybe there were other things that transferred in there too. ;)

Diane was also interested in the books Adriana talked about and counted some of Adriana’s favorites as her favorites too.

Diane said that Napoleon Hill's THINK AND GROW RICH, which Adriana emphatically recommended – go buy it! - is an old favorite of hers.

As it is of Adriana’s also since Adriana said she bought another copy on her way to the airport.

Hmmmm, both successful authors, wonderful people, really liking this book – I think I need to take a look at that!

Diane mentioned that she wasn’t familiar with some of the other books that Adriana mentioned so she headed to a bookstore to remedy that.

And since I was lucky enough to have Diane tell me some of her favorite recommended books also, I will share them here with you -

The first recommendation Diane has and her favorite she said is Henri Nouwen ----

“I'd list the Nouwen first, and that would include my favorite Nouwen, The Art of the Beloved, which is also a FABULOUS audio, if you can get the one that Nouwen reads himself. I noticed the Henri Nouwen Society had reissued it for very little $.“

Diane also recommends Nouwen's SPIRITUAL DIRECTION

Then she lists - Norman Vincent Peale's THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING … “I also have an audio of Norman Vincent Peale reading The Power of Positive Thinking and it's super.”

And Louise Hay's YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, comes in on the list.

Diane did mention she had a bit of trouble finding the books as Adriana listed them in Adriana’s session at the Conference, but found books that she thought might be what Adriana was thinking of – THE MAGIC OF BELIEVING which Diane said was all she could find. And “The other book Adriana recommended that I didn't have is THE POWER OF YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND, by a fellow named Doctor Murphy. “

So there you have it as I have it.
And now I need to go find some books.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

James River Writers Conference 2008

If you missed this year's James River Writers Conference you missed a good one.
Although they all are good ones I think. ;) This was the 6th year for the Conference, and I have been fortunate enough to attend all of them. And even more fortunate enough to be able to be a real part of the last two of them.
Each Conference is different in its scope and direction, probably due a lot to having different chairs/co-chairs each year that put their touches of personalities as well as reading and writing styles as a part of it. So each Conference offers different insights and advice to the attendee writers.
We all hope it is Good and Useful advice. As well as the opportunity to mingle with people that at least somewhat understand what it's like to struggle in this writing-wonderland. As my writing group member, Katharine with an 'a' of the blog 'Eat Cookies Be Quiet' listed at side, likes to put it - it's like visiting a planet where you actually fit in and aren't the alien. I'm sure she would put it a bit differently since even though we all are writers, we bring our own uniqueness to our stories, as well as our lives.
So if you're a writer, especially a serious one, or wanting to get serious about it, come visit our Conference-planet next year. We mostly all speak the same language ;-D. Or at least the vowels are the same. ;-D

Gotta run. More on the Conference later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

James River Writers Conference Questions/Answers

I thought I'd do a few posts on the James River Writers Conference from this this past weekend.
And while I'd like to say it was brilliant thinking on my part to come up with this ;-p
it was actually more Adriana Trigiana's idea than mine.
What can I say but the woman is amazing! ;)

But hopefully there will be posts that will be helpful to any that stumble across this blog.

This post was brought to mind by a question posed by someone in the audience at the session I had with Adriana.
Not that I remember what the person's question was actually, more of her statement that people of ethnic minorities, such as Latinos, can't get published.
I do remember Adriana's reaction to that. After it looked like she had reigned herself in a bit she forcefully declared, "Write a good book and the publishers will publish it!"

The woman came up to the stage to talk to Adriana after the session and I asked the woman if she had been at last year's, 2007, James River Writers Conference, and met Marcela Landres.
She replied that she hadn't.
I told her to go to Marcela's site for all kinds of great information as Marcela is a Big advocate of getting writers published, and Especially interested in the Latino marketplace and stories, and getting them published.

Google is a Wondrous thing my friends!

Especially for writers, and writers on their way to being published. [nice spin that, don't you think? Instead of newbie writers or beginning writers....

But for those that don't Google, for some strange unearthly reason that I cannot even imagine - I did a quick Google to get to Marcela for you.

Marcela Landres. Helping writers get published. If you write, I created this web site for you. In the seven years I worked as an editor at Simon & Schuster,

Latina Experience: Marcela Landres
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of attending an intriguing publishing workshop hosted by Marcela Landres. To our surprise, we found out that

So there. I give you two entries, go forth and read.
There is work involved in all this writing and getting published stuff that involves more than just writing the book guys!

Marcela is actually a real sweetie too. Good thing, since she's so blasted attractive I don't want to stand very close to her.
James River Writers were actually fortunate to have her here for two of our Conferences, 2006 and 2007 I think.

Not to mention she edited my favorite Feng Shui book when she was still an editor at Simon and Schuster -
Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life: How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect, and Happiness - by Karen Rauch Carter

There are so many opportunities of all kinds available now, from being able to use Google to find and research -- although it is helpful to remember that all you find out there is not exactly accurate -- to being to find publishing opportunities online as well as in print.
One of things I appreciated so much about Marcela, she not only tells you what you need to do to build a career as a writer, she tells you how to go about it!
And how many of us have sat in sessions and read articles in magazines that talk all about what you should be doing to move into and along in a writing career, such as doing magazine articles etc... But feeling so frustrated because they don't even give you an inkling of how to actually go about doing Any of it!

Which brings me back to the James River Writers Conferences. And all the great opportunites offered when you attend them. From just mingling with other writers that are in various stages of work and careers so you are sure to find someone with similarities to talk with, to also being able to talk to well-known established writers and being able to actually talk with and learn from them.
Truly a wonderful opportunity.
So even though you missed this year's, 2008, James River Writers Conference, make plans to invest in yourself, invest in your writing career and come mingle with us for the 2009 Conference to be held October 9th and 10th. Also be sure to check the link to the JRW site I've listed at the side for all the monthly chances to mingle, such as the great Writing Shows each month.
Come, smile, and say hello!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Adriana Trigiani

This wonderful vibrant woman is a true force of nature! And I've never seen someone draw people to themselves like she does. Bees to honey, or just some kind of beautifully packaged magnet, she draws people to her like no one I've Ever seen!
As soon as people see her they seem to be drawn in and flock around her.
But with her vibrance and wonderful generous giving personality, I was happy to hover in the outer rings of that orbit.

I had the great privilege to talk with her [not sure there's such a thing as interviewing Adriana in person ;) ] it just happened to be on the stage at the James River Writers Conference this past weekend.

I couldn't even write fast enough to copy down the answers to my questions and all the great advice she was giving.

So for those that missed the great Adriana Trigiani and her great advice - I asked her to send me the names of the books she recommended so I could put them here.
[and it also makes me pull this weedy neglected blog up to give it a bit of attention after long neglect.]

So here it is ---

Here are the books: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (go out and buy it right now!) The Magic of Belief and The Power of your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy-

And for those that did manage to attend the session [the Conference sold out this year! So better start planning for next year's James River Writers Conference for October 9, and 10, 2009] their understanding of what all she said will grow when they read her books. She gave some really good advice and insight into how she writes and creates her stories. And how they can also.
For those that didn't attend the session - first of all, you Really missed it!!!! - but I'll be posting some of the other advice and such as I can.

Since her last and she considered her Best advice to all us writers around her --

So guess I need to get back to work on my own book now. ;) Thanks Adriana. ;) ;)