Archives for posts with tag: writing

Admittedly, I have not been actively blogging. That’s because I’ve been back to writing. It’s been a pleasure. What with building and planting and gardening, there’s been precious little “writing-headspace” in my life for a couple of years. This winter, the frenzy has diminished enough that I’ve been spending lovely days, in front of the fire, banging away on the laptop. It’s been fun. And I expect that by fall, there’ll be at least one book launch, and that’s fun, too.

Every now and again we look up from our activities and realize that this, this moment, this experience, is why we’ve done all of it, anyway. We’re here, now.

My current book project has something I’ve not done before. It has actual villains. And that’s a different kind of thread for me. But this week, I read an opinion piece in the Washington Post that set me back a bit. It was about laziness in writing about villains. The author is a woman who suffers from a facial deformity. Her complaint is that movies and books frequently use non-standard appearances–disabilities/scars/disfigurement–in a short cut to describe villains. To her, it adds insult to injury, and increases the levels of suspicion she encounters in her day to day.

Nailed. I’d been doing just that. It’s easy in a manuscript of Prohibition Era thugs to make the villain visibly different. That way, one needn’t tediously show, by his actions, just how depraved he is. And it is lazy. It reflects a “lookism” world view that I generally reject. So this week, I’ve been re-writing. My villain is still a thug, but no longer an ugly thug. I appreciate the viewpoint and it’s timely connection to my own project.

I think the comeuppance will result in a better book, one that better reflects my values.

Tangents…

A.V. Walters–

IMG_2387

I am trying to return to writing. I have at least two novels to finish, and ideas for several more. Finally, we have moved into our home, and though there’s plenty left to do, our energies are not completely devoted to the building project. Tangents are the problem.

I’m currently working on a Prohibition era tale based, in part, on my grandfather’s rum-running days. I try to be historically accurate–which leads me constantly down the rabbit hole. In the current chapter, Trudy, our protagonist, hands a sheaf of papers outlining liquor distribution channels, to Red, who’s an overly ambitious rumrunner. Those papers, how are they attached to each other, physically?

A quick foray to the internet reveals that, though the stapler had already been invented in ’31, (the novel’s setting) it was still not a common household item. So, it’s not likely that these papers would’ve been stapled together. I suppose they could be folded, or rolled, and tied neatly with grosgrain ribbon, but that seems a bit precious in the context of this exchange. Paper clips. Hmmm, another not-so-quick trip to the internet… Yes, by all means, the paperclip was already in wide use at the time.

But, that lead me to the myth of Norwegian invention. Norwegian, Johan Vaaler, filed paperclip patents in both Germany and the United States in 1901 (Norway had no Patent Office then) for a similar but less workable product than the unpatented Gem paper clips already in common use in England since the 1870s. Vaaler’s patent described a single wire loop–a design that never made it to common usage. Other paperclip patents were filed in the United States, one as early as 1867–but none of these early patents describe the common Gem design still used today. And then there’s the role of the paperclip as a symbol of anti-fascist resistance.

Several countries had identifying pins which became symbols of national pride during the WW2 occupation of Europe, notably: some pins of national flags; a pin showing exiled Norwegian King Haakon VII’s cipher; and the Danish King’s Mark. The Germans made such displays of national unity illegal. In France, a simple paperclip worn on a collar, cuff or lapel, became a symbol of “unity” and resistance. The innocuous paperclip as a symbol of resistance spread across the occupied countries until, predictably, this too became illegal.

Learning this, it only took me a minute to locate a paperclip and to affix it to my jacket collar. It seems to me that we could use a simple unifying symbol for our own resistance to the current racist, fascist and anti-democratic trends in governments, everywhere. At least, we could use it to project our own disavowal for hate, and fear driven policies: We Do Not Agree!

There is a sculpture of a giant paperclip in Sandvika, Norway, celebrating Norwegian ingenuity in the invention. Unfortunately, that sculpture is of a Gem clip–and not Vaaler’s patented version. Sometimes “story” eclipses reality.

Except, of course, at my house, where the tangents of history lead me far from my intent to get on with the story. In this one, at least I’ll have the paperclip right.

 

Authors + Card tables + Books =

A.V. Walters

Traverse City Authors

You’ve been there—a book fair, or an author-signing event. The author sits, with a forced smile, trying to engage. Normal people, who otherwise might manage a smile or a nod, drop their eyes and rush by. They’re too polite to intend to reject, but the result is the same. They avoid eye contact.

We love books. They entertain and inform. They take us to places, internal and external, that we otherwise would never experience. They make us think. Storytelling is probably the true oldest profession. It may be the real difference between man and the other animals. Forget tools—animals use tools.

But writing is very much an internal process. There’s not much to see. It is, for everyone except the author, pretty boring. And authors are often shy, living in the world from their side of the keyboard. It makes for a marketing conundrum. As the author, how do you sell books? As consumers, we want action—writing, by itself, isn’t dynamic.

The standard formula, the book fair, is death on cold toast. Uncomfortable for both the author and the consumer, it is Authors + Card Tables + Books = Boring. It’s like one of those sad little small town zoos, where the animals are housed in small, concrete cages. At best, you’re tempted to tap on the glass to elicit some response, or throw popcorn, even when the signs admonish you not to feed the animals. At worst, you scurry by, shoulders hunched, eyes averted.

I’ve joined an Author’s Group. We discussed at great length the challenge of the “author’s event.” We swapped horror stories of our collective experiences, trapped behind stacks of books in the entry of some otherwise kindly bookseller. We vowed not to repeat the equation.

Traverse City Authors announces its Celebration of Story. On June 14, at the Little Fleet, we’re holding a story slam benefit for Front Street Writers (a local nonprofit program for young writers.) After all, at its essence, what we do is tell stories. Come see the Authors, in their natural habitat, surrounded by good food and drink (because authors aren’t stupid), and yes, of course, books.

https://www.facebook.com/TraverseCityAuthors/?notif_t=page_fan&notif_id=1493079806456302

 

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Update

It’s only day three and already I’ve missed a day!

In my real life, we’re backfilling over the new septic field (and I thought digging it was hard), moving dirt back over it and being mindful not to damage all the underground pipes; it’s more backbreaking and exhausting than digging the hole in the first place! Yesterday, I started my NaNoWriMo assignment, and promptly fell asleep. So today, I had to double up to try to catch up. Right now my word count stands at 4,295–I’ll need to beef it up tomorrow too, to get back on track. Phew. (And I don’t get to include this in my official word count.) NaNoWriMo–It’s not for everyone. Goodnight All.

Happy Hallowe’en all. October was busy. What with work and building, (and, dead-tired exhaustion) there was barely time to blog. I’m working on it. But tomorrow starts November. What can I say? November is NaNoWriMo. It’s National Novel Writing Month. Bear with me; I’ll still blog. But the challenge is on to write nearly 1,700 words a day for thirty days. At the end (if past performance is any measure) I’ll still be 50,000 words short of a novel, but I’ll be well on my way! I am so into this, that I gave a pep-talk workshop two weeks ago, at our local library. I still have some October blogs up my sleeve, and I can always take photos. No matter what, I’ll be there again at the end of the ordeal. It’s time to finish novel number three, my Michigan novel. How about you? Anyone up for the challenge?

Past Challenges= The Emma Caites Way and The Gift of Guylaine Claire

Current Challenge= The Trial of Trudy Castor

The Tyranny of Round Numbers

A.V. Walters

This is my 200th blog. Next week, I’m coming up on my third anniversary of blogging. I’ve been stuck on this momentous event. Somehow, it felt like I was supposed to be profound, or something. Oh well, what you see is what you get.

I was a conscripted blogger. “They” said that indie writers and publishers needed to blog. Apparently, we need an online presence in order to sell books. Ha!

I bellied up to the bar, and started blogging. What does a fiction writer blog about? Everything, and nothing. I followed my nose, tried to stay away from politics (a stretch for me) and focused on chronicling the rich parts of the everyday. I cannot honestly say that the blog has ever sold a book. And then, after about eighteen months, they said, “Oh, never mind the blogging, it doesn’t work for fiction.”

But, by then, it was too late. Like most writers, I live in my head. I am probably most comfortable in writing. In this funny, online world, I have made friends. Political friends (even when I pledged not to go there,) artist friends, gardeners, organic farmers, people who keep bees, people who can vegetables, celiacs, funny people, other writers, editors, ne’er-do-wells and goody-two-shoes. In short, I have found community.

They are everywhere. My “regulars” are as far flung as Australia, Singapore, France, United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, New Zealand, and all corners of these United States. In the blogosphere, I travel all over, too. Over the course of three years, I’ve been visited by over seventy countries. I am continually amazed that we can connect across the ether. These connections give me hope. Even as governments fail us, and corporations sell us, we can all be ambassadors of civility, humor and peace.

Not that I’d be considered a “successful” blogger. My numbers remain relatively low. I refuse to play SEO games. I refuse to do internet marketing or advertising. (Aren’t these scams?) I refuse to amend how I title my blogs, just to capture more “hits.” Indeed, learning that the blog wasn’t going to sell books, anyway, was liberating. I am free to be stubborn! I can do whatever I want in this forum; it is my world! (And welcome, by the way.) Despite what my trusty editor, Rick, says, I am even free to use semi-colons.

Our most popular topics are about season and gardening (oh, yeah, and emus.) The single most enduring blog is still Naming Emus. Stories about living on the chicken farm in Two Rock are popular, too. The shock of relocation is wearing off; we’re comfortable in Northern Michigan and revel in seasons (and snow removal.) It’s been an adventure. And you’ve been there, all the way.

We’re hovering on many exciting new ventures for the next year. We’ll finish the cabin and move in (gypsies, no more)—we’ll get the garden started (already I’m up to my ears in seed catalogs), I’ll finally try my hand at beekeeping (after wanting and waiting for five decades!) and, if there’s time and energy, we’ll get chickens. I’ll keep blogging, and sharing, though I may slow down just a bit this spring. I’m trying to get my head back into writing—I have an unfinished novel haunting me.

So, thank you all for following, sharing, commenting and enriching my life. Raise a glass—Happy 200!
(Next time, pictures, I promise.)

 

ooops, here’s the link to the most visited blog, https://two-rock-chronicles.com/2013/03/10/naming-emus/

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving!

Guylaine Claire Cover jpg

On Monday. And I forgot to send a card.

No, really, usually I celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with a turkey and the whole traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is my favorite of all holidays. What’s not to like, eh? A day in which we get to reflect on the good we have in our lives—and to share it with those around us. (Of course I do American Thanksgiving the very next month.)

This year there’s just no time. Rick and I are struggling to get as much building done as we can, while the weather holds. There’s an oversized helping of thanksgiving in that, too. So what is missed, is sharing.

So, to share the day, for Canadian Thanksgiving, I’m offering my most Canadian novel, The Gift of Guylaine Claire*, as a free Kindle download on Amazon. It’s available, Monday only at:

http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Guylaine-Claire-V-Walters-ebook/dp/B00CMYC8LG/ref=la_B008AL153M_1_2_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413081503&sr=1-2

You don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy this offer. Because everything is marketing, if you enjoy the book, please let me know, or post a review on Amazon or GoodReads. In the spirit of the day, feel free to share the link.

Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday.

 

*Readers’ alert, my sister says this is a two-box-of-Kleenex book, but maybe she’s just a sap.

 

 

 

Spam, Spam, the Menu Plan

A.V. Walters

 

Hey bloggers, we all get spam, right? Do you read yours? Sometimes, it’s tough to tell whether it is spam. After all, you’d feel bad thwarting some poor commenter–for bad grammar or other minor sin. (Though I’d love to have a chat with all those folks who want to convince me that I could make oodles, if only I’d stoop to online marketing.) We want to be inclusive. We just don’t want spam.

A few days ago, I received the spam shown below. Hell, somebody made a mistake. They sent out their whole playbook–complete with optional fact inserts. (You know, so you can personalize your spam.) I laughed so hard, I almost peed my panties. Of course, I’d seen most of these–just not the whole list. I goes to show you that the spam forces out there are organized. They speak the language of ambivalence (and flattery.) To keep our blogs clean of the senseless blather of marketing hitchhikers, we must be vigilant!

Because I never want to be guilty of failure to attribute someone else’s work, I will disclose that this compendium of spam comes courtesy of

http://topfunnyweddingcaketoppers.com/
topfunnyweddingcaketoppers.comx
cheribracker@hotmail.com
192.230.42.130

 

And here it is, in excruciating detail….

{
{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
{It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if
all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers
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than ever before.|
I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.

{Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch}
your {rss|rss feed} as I {can not|can’t} {in finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink} or {newsletter|e-newsletter} service.
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Thanks.|
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{approximately|about} it!|
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{much more|a lot more} {useful|helpful} than ever before.|
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topic of} this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} {here|at this
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{nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} on building up new
{blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}.|
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{Saved as a favorite|bookmarked!!}, {I really like|I like|I love} {your blog|your site|your web site|your website}!|
Way cool! Some {very|extremely} valid points!
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also the|plus the} rest of the {site is|website is} {also very|extremely|very|also really|really} good.|
Hi, {I do believe|I do think} {this is an excellent|this is a great}
{blog|website|web site|site}. I stumbledupon it 😉 {I
will|I am going to|I’m going to|I may} {come back|return|revisit} {once again|yet again} {since I|since i have} {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved as a favorite} it.

Money and freedom {is the best|is the greatest} way to change, may you be
rich and continue to {help|guide} {other people|others}.|
Woah! I’m really {loving|enjoying|digging} the
template/theme of this {site|website|blog}. It’s simple, yet effective.
A lot of times it’s {very hard|very difficult|challenging|tough|difficult|hard}
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I must say {that you’ve|you have|you’ve} done a
{awesome|amazing|very good|superb|fantastic|excellent|great} job with this.
{In addition|Additionally|Also}, the blog loads {very|extremely|super} {fast|quick} for
me on {Safari|Internet explorer|Chrome|Opera|Firefox}. {Superb|Exceptional|Outstanding|Excellent} Blog!|
These are {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {great|enormous|impressive|wonderful|fantastic} ideas
in {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic of} blogging. You have
touched some {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {points|factors|things} here.
Any way keep up wrinting.|
{I love|I really like|I enjoy|I like|Everyone loves} what you guys {are|are usually|tend to be} up
too. {This sort of|This type of|Such|This kind of} clever work and {exposure|coverage|reporting}!
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guys I’ve {incorporated||added|included} you guys to {|my|our||my personal|my own} blogroll.|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey}! Someone in my {Myspace|Facebook} group shared this {site|website} with
us so I came to {give it a look|look it over|take a look|check it out}.
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{Terrific|Wonderful|Great|Fantastic|Outstanding|Exceptional|Superb|Excellent} blog and {wonderful|terrific|brilliant|amazing|great|excellent|fantastic|outstanding|superb} {style and design|design and style|design}.|
{I love|I really like|I enjoy|I like|Everyone loves} what you guys {are|are usually|tend to be} up too.
{This sort of|This type of|Such|This kind of} clever work and {exposure|coverage|reporting}!
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you guys to {|my|our|my personal|my own} blogroll.|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey} would you mind
{stating|sharing} which blog platform you’re {working with|using}?
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The reason I ask is because your {design and style|design|layout} seems different
then most blogs and I’m looking for something {completely unique|unique}.
P.S {My apologies|Apologies|Sorry} for {getting|being} off-topic
but I had to ask!|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hey there|Hello|Hey} would you mind letting me know which {webhost|hosting company|web host} you’re
{utilizing|working with|using}? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 {completely different|different} {internet browsers|web browsers|browsers} and I must say this blog loads a lot {quicker|faster} then most.
Can you {suggest|recommend} a good {internet hosting|web hosting|hosting} provider at
a {honest|reasonable|fair} price? {Thanks a lot|Kudos|Cheers|Thank you|Many thanks|Thanks}, I appreciate it!|
{I love|I really like|I like|Everyone loves} it {when people|when individuals|when folks|whenever people} {come together|get together} and share {opinions|thoughts|views|ideas}.
Great {blog|website|site}, {keep it up|continue the good work|stick with it}!|
Thank you for the {auspicious|good} writeup. It in fact was
a amusement account it. Look advanced to {far|more} added agreeable from you!
{By the way|However}, how {can|could} we communicate?|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hello|Hey} just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

The {text|words} in your {content|post|article} seem to be running off the screen in {Ie|Internet
explorer|Chrome|Firefox|Safari|Opera}. I’m not sure if this is
a {format|formatting} issue or something to do with {web browser|internet browser|browser} compatibility but I {thought|figured} I’d post to let you know.
The {style and design|design and style|layout|design}
look great though! Hope you get the {problem|issue} {solved|resolved|fixed} soon. {Kudos|Cheers|Many thanks|Thanks}|
This is a topic {that is|that’s|which is} {close to|near to} my heart…

{Cheers|Many thanks|Best wishes|Take care|Thank you}!
{Where|Exactly where} are your contact details though?|
It’s very {easy|simple|trouble-free|straightforward|effortless} to find out any {topic|matter} on {net|web} as compared to
{books|textbooks}, as I found this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} at this {website|web site|site|web
page}.|
Does your {site|website|blog} have a contact page?
I’m having {a tough time|problems|trouble} locating it but,
I’d like to {send|shoot} you an {e-mail|email}.
I’ve got some {creative ideas|recommendations|suggestions|ideas} for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
Either way, great {site|website|blog} and I look forward to seeing it {develop|improve|expand|grow} over time.|
{Hola|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Greetings}! I’ve been {following|reading} your {site|web site|website|weblog|blog} for
{a long time|a while|some time} now and finally got the {bravery|courage} to go ahead and give you a shout out from {New Caney|Kingwood|Huffman|Porter|Houston|Dallas|Austin|Lubbock|Humble|Atascocita}
{Tx|Texas}! Just wanted to {tell you|mention|say} keep
up the {fantastic|excellent|great|good} {job|work}!|
Greetings from {Idaho|Carolina|Ohio|Colorado|Florida|Los angeles|California}!
I’m {bored to tears|bored to death|bored} at work so I decided to {check out|browse} your {site|website|blog} on my iphone during
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phone|phone} .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G ..

{Anyhow|Anyways}, {awesome|amazing|very good|superb|good|wonderful|fantastic|excellent|great} {site|blog}!|
Its {like you|such as you} {read|learn} my {mind|thoughts}!

You {seem|appear} {to understand|to know|to grasp} {so much|a lot} {approximately|about} this, {like you|such as you} wrote the {book|e-book|guide|ebook|e book} in it or something.
{I think|I feel|I believe} {that you|that you simply|that you
just} {could|can} do with {some|a few} {%|p.c.|percent} to {force|pressure|drive|power} the message {house|home} {a bit|a little bit}, {however|but} {other than|instead of} that, {this
is|that is} {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent}
blog. {A great|An excellent|A fantastic} read. {I’ll|I will} {definitely|certainly} be
back.|
I visited {multiple|many|several|various} {websites|sites|web sites|web pages|blogs} {but|except|however} the audio {quality|feature} for audio songs {current|present|existing} at this
{website|web site|site|web page} is {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {marvelous|wonderful|excellent|fabulous|superb}.|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hello}, i read your blog {occasionally|from time to time} and i own a similar
one and i was just {wondering|curious} if you get a lot of spam {comments|responses|feedback|remarks}?
If so how do you {prevent|reduce|stop|protect against} it, any plugin or anything you can {advise|suggest|recommend}?
I get so much lately it’s driving me {mad|insane|crazy} so any {assistance|help|support} is very much appreciated.|
Greetings! {Very helpful|Very useful} advice {within this|in this particular} {article|post}!
{It is the|It’s the} little changes {that make|which will
make|that produce|that will make} {the biggest|the largest|the greatest|the most important|the
most significant} changes. {Thanks a lot|Thanks|Many thanks} for sharing!|
{I really|I truly|I seriously|I absolutely} love {your blog|your site|your website}..
{Very nice|Excellent|Pleasant|Great} colors & theme. Did you {create|develop|make|build} {this
website|this site|this web site|this amazing site} yourself?
Please reply back as I’m {looking to|trying
to|planning to|wanting to|hoping to|attempting to} create {my
own|my very own|my own personal} {blog|website|site}
and {would like to|want to|would love to} {know|learn|find
out} where you got this from or {what the|exactly what the|just what the} theme {is called|is named}.

{Thanks|Many thanks|Thank you|Cheers|Appreciate it|Kudos}!|
{Hi there|Hello there|Howdy}! This {post|article|blog post} {couldn’t|could not} be written {any better|much better}!
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Add Your Voice–

A.V. Walters–

The deadline for comments to the FCC regarding net neutrality is July 15. The head of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, has indicated that he’ll give more weight to those comments that are unique and personal. This is not a “click” opportunity. For those of us who feel that net neutrality is critical to free speech–now is the time to add your voice. (Do it while we still can!) You can email your comments to Docket Number:14-28 Protecting an Open Internet at the FCC (OpenInternet@fcc.gov) Or you can call at 888-225-5322. You don’t need to write a lengthy tome, but we all need to express the importance of Net Neutrality. If we hand the keys of the internet over to the corporate interests that would like to make it a toll road, we can kiss our free speech goodbye. This is way more important than cute cat videos. Write and tell them why a free and open internet is important to you. Here’s my two bits:

 

There is an inner kernel to the internet–maybe it’s the core of what’s wonderful about it. It isn’t photo swapping on facebook. It isn’t shopping on Amazon, or downloading movies. These are pedestrian and commercial uses. The important stuff is the inner core, the “small d” democratic use–like what I’m doing right now.

Over the past few decades, there has been unprecedented consolidation in the media. Maybe even because of the internet, newspapers have failed or merged. Increasingly, we are left with fewer and fewer real voices. If one’s position isn’t that championed by major media (who are increasingly co-opted by corporate interests) there are few forums for free speech. The internet is that free speech forum. Keeping it neutral guarantees that there will continue to be an avenue of opposition and dissent. In this country we cherish our freedoms. Unfortunately, too few of us actually exercise them. Those who do become the fulcrum of democracy. Given an opportunity to be heard, they are our collective conscience and are often the inspiration for the rest of us to wake up and act. Without that speech opportunity, we are lost. Without it, there will be no true marketplace of ideas, there will only be those voices that have corporate or government support. We cannot let the ideas that drive the nation be reduced to the occasional tweet. In a world where our politicians and process are for sale to the highest bidder, we need to preserve citizen speech.

Net neutrality guarantees us an outlet of democratic access. If the internet is a toll road, if there are prepaid “fast lanes,” the rest will fall to disrepair. The internet lets us meet, online, to discuss the issues that are central to our today. Net neutrality ensures that those voices can be found, and heard. Out there, in the din of corporate and commercial messages, is the real soul of our nation–the blogger who protests government or corporate tyranny–the witness whose photo goes viral and forces us all to look in the mirror at oppression–the artist whose work isn’t pretty but graphically makes us look in our hearts to see whether we are part of the problem or part of the solution. True free speech isn’t pretty or popular. It’s not likely to garner corporate sponsorship or the internet fast lane.

Even more worrisome is that, in the hands of a corporate fast lane, there is no incentive to protect true speech. Their interests are to sell, to entertain, to market. Despite frightening recent court rulings that corporations have rights, we all know that the driving force in the world of business is money. There is no business interest in the small conscientious voices among us. Indeed, the voices we most have to protect frequently challenge government or corporate authority. Ideas like equality and fairness do not have price tags associated with them, yet they are the most valuable currency this country has. That’s why we need net neutrality.

We all learned this as children. Basic fairness and etiquette don’t give the advantage to the dollar. Net neutrality is a simple proposition, and one that’s difficult to argue against–first come, first served.

Of Books and Blogs

A.V. Walters

ec coverGuylaine Claire Cover jpg

I’ve written both. I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, so the rhythm of it feels natural. The books feel more like chess, plotting and planning to get the story out, in a way that’s more like a natural unfolding. In a blog, I want to give just enough story to create a mental image, and then to make my point. It’s photorealism versus impressionism. I admit that I am often guilty of subtle. Even too subtle.

A few blogs ago, I wrote about training cats. The point, albeit understated, was that, except for very small kittens, I don’t believe that anyone can train cats. They train you. You go to great efforts to change their bad behaviors, mostly changing your own conduct to minimize the opportunity for their transgressions. It raises the question, who’s training whom? I’m not sure that my point came across through the text. I thought it was wildly funny—in a Canadian restrained kind of way. Unfortunately, nobody noticed. In that, I failed.

Those readers (that didn’t get it) probably think I’m just another middle-aged woman with cats. I’m a relatively recent FaceBook conscript. There, I notice that there’s an endless supply of middle-aged women with cats. Even some of my same-age male cohorts have begun posting “cute” cat videos. Oh stop. You know who you are.

Anyway, from a writing perspective, a blog ought to be short and, well, glib. And I struggle with shorter. I note that there are a great many blogs that use no words at all. What are we coming to? Maybe less is more, but I can’t tell. I just write until the vignette is complete.

First, I wrote the two novels. Then, the blog was supposed to be a vehicle to build platform. I admit that with some shame—shame, because I know how to put those words together in a way that conveys the lingo of shameless-self-promotion. Along the way, I learned that I liked blogging. I like the challenge of brevity, with connection. So, perhaps I’ve taken it away from what it was supposed to be—marketing—and I’ve aligned it more into the mode of reflective, journal writing.

My mother is a potter (as in ceramics.) From the time when I was very little, she would explain her pots like stories. Every pot, she contended, had to have a top, a middle, and a bottom. Each part had to define itself, and still relate to the whole. We’d go to art fairs, and she’d (discreetly) show me pots that had failed this basic design requirement. I was trained to be a ceramic snob.

It’s what I try to do with each blog. It’s not haiku, but it’s distilled, hopefully with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Some hit. Some miss. Recently though, after about a year of personal uproar, I’ve returned to working on novels. But, blogging has changed me. I used to sit down to write, throwing myself into the abyss—the only agenda was to move the story forward with every chapter. I had checklists, and l didn’t concern myself with the niceties, beyond letting every character speak in his, or her, own voice. The rest of it I left for editing. Now, I’ve become fussy in a chapter-by-chapter kind of way, and it’s slowed me down. I’m like a cross-country runner who’s over-trained doing wind-sprints. (We used to call that ‘running the telephone poles.’)

I’m not displeased with the result, only the pace. Does blogging do this to other writers? I can only wonder. This is all strange territory for me—new speech modalities defined by technology and delivery. I can only re-double my efforts. These characters are far enough along that I’m compelled to finish their story. Anything less, would strand them in the in-between. Again, I’m left to wonder—do other bloggers have this problem?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.V. Walters–

ec cover

Many years ago, I worked waiting table. The head waitress at the restaurant was a very funny woman with an incredible sense of presence. One day, she used the restroom on break and, unbeknownst to her, she got the back of her skirt caught in the waistband to her pantyhose. She returned to the dining room floor with one side of her ass exposed to the world. The woman had class. When a patron called it to her attention, she turned, looked, and without missing a beat, she said, “I suppose now you want me to turn the other cheek?”

I would have died on the spot. I’m not sure I’ve confessed to this before, but I am not a technical person. I struggle with it–especially so since Two Rock Press is a small concern and I try to be professional about it. You can only imagine my mortification when I discovered (thanks to a kindly reader) that the Amazon download for The Emma Caites Way was bollixed. We’d accidentally uploaded the wrong file. Folks who downloaded it ended up with a version that was not fully edited–once they hit the later chapters, it was all highlights and alternate wording. My deepest apologies. So, if you are one that downloaded previous version, throw that trash away. There is another free download day for The Emma Caites Way on December 2. (You may receive a notice from Amazon.)

If you haven’t previously taken advantage of the free Amazon download (Kindle version)–lucky you, you missed the muddle! Feel free to enjoy it now. Hey, tell a friend. I’m feeling so relieved that this was an easy fix, I feel like celebrating. So, come on and celebrate with me. Enjoy a free copy of my award-winning, life-affirming, deliciously fun, romp and triumph of a novel, The Emma Caites Way.

What, now you want me to turn the other cheek?

ec coverGuylaine Claire Cover jpg

I lived in a border town as a kid. In Canada, we had Dominion Day, followed in quick succession with Independence Day. The two cities, Windsor and Detroit, made a big deal out of that double birthday party. We celebrated together–art fairs, music, junk food, topped off by an amazing display of international fireworks over the Detroit River. It was always an event that defined summer, and defined the international flavor of our home. My parents were Americans, living just over the border in Canada. Three of five kids were born in the states, but the last two (me and my little sister), were the Canadians in the crowd.

My writing reflects my dual roots. In celebration of Dominion Day (okay, so now they changed it to Canada Day) and the Fourth of July, my books will be available as free downloads on Amazon for the entire four day Freedom Festival. July 1 through July 4, enjoy two free books that will make you laugh, cry, and taste the various flavors of the North American culture clash. Let your summer read include a stroll through turn of the last century art with The Emma Caites Way or a more reflective, and very Canadian, The Gift of Guylaine Claire. Don’t let this award-winning offer slip by. Check me out on Amazon–A.V. Walters, or click this link, http://www.amazon.com/A.-V.-Walters/e/B008AL153M/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1372540421&sr=1-1

It’s blistering hot here in Two Rock, perfect summer weather to settle back with a great book.

Online Timing

A.V. Walters

I cannot tell you how many friends have been after me to go online with social media. I always resisted, citing my privacy concerns. So, finally I did it, just in time for the Edward Snowden revelations and this blizzard of media attention to privacy issues. No, I’m not happy about it. And now all those same friends are laughing and emailing me about having chosen the worst possible environment in which to “go public.” What nobody is mentioning is that, while the government is a problem, multinational corporations have NO constitutional limitations on what they do with your private information and they are out there, swapping your personal info like bubble gum cards. (Buy Them, Trade Them, Collect the Whole Set)

I heard on the radio yesterday that Orwell’s book, 1984, has been an overnight success in sales in the past few days. Too bad George missed the peak. Everybody’s trying to find a way to sell their novels.

Social Media Angst

A.V. Walters

They say you’ve got to do it. An author, especially a self-published author, has to have an online presence. I have resisted. Not that you’d notice from this blog, but I’m shy. (Really, you can be opinionated and shy, at the same time.) I have an inherent distrust of corporate ethics and, to engage in social media, you have to trust them with your personal information. They said I had to blog, so I blogged. Not that I regret it, but later when they acknowledged that a blog don’t do diddly for a fiction writer, I felt some relief. Now they say I’ve got to go on social media. I blanche. My chest tightens and my brain becomes waterproof, impervious to new information. Facebook. LinkedIn. Google+. I shudder.

Toe in the water, I’m now on Facebook and Google+. (Check it out, AV Walters) I know that registering is just the first step. I’m supposed to post regularly, to engage with the world through technology. Sheesh. I see them, my friends, with their faces glued to the screen. They’re following the cartoons and Youtube links sent by their friends. But, the day is beautiful. And, there’s gardening to be done. Still, the steady glow from the screen has them in its grip.

I don’t know. Just all part of the grand experiment, I guess. I still think you need to actually live a life in order to report on it. If this enhances the experience of living—I’m all for it. If it’s a substitute for living, well, I’ll see you in the garden.

And, here’s the irony of it—I’ll be blogging my impressions. Go figure.

 

 

 

And now… on Kindle…

A.V. Walters

I attended a business conference this week. Most of the presentations were dry as dust, except for one woman, who is an expert on the psychology of purchasing behaviors. From a larger, societal, perspective, what she was saying gives me the shivers. She studies people and their shopping behaviors, which are increasingly happening on-line. There is an ever-increasing shortness of attention span, nowadays, (hello, are you still with me?) that can take your breath away—in a nanosecond kind of interval. She analyzed the time spent researching (reading other customer reviews or perusing manufacturer’s sites) and how long it takes to complete the purchase-cycle. Once a decision has been made, people react in a split-second. The difference between a sale and losing a customer’s attention can literally be a question of how few clicks it takes. Too many clicks, or too much text… and you’ve lost them. Alas.

This is particularly surprising when the product is a book. Consumers who cannot instantly obtain the book they want will be drawn and diverted by “People who purchased this item also purchased that item”—and off they go! In a product that will take them hours to read, and from which they should derive many more hours enjoyment and contemplation, they’ll change their minds (or simply lose interest) if they cannot have it… now!

She reported that Amazon knows this, and designs it into their interface. Amazon now sells more books than any other outlet in this country. Industry pundits claim that in a few scant years, Amazon will be the biggest retailer in the world. And, we’re not just talking books, either—Amazon sells everything.

I guess I’m old fashioned. Apparently, I frequently stand in my own way—the only thing between me and success is… well, me. My books are on Amazon. I’m a POD (print on demand) author, so Amazon is the best distribution vehicle for the small or self publisher.  But I have never listed my e-books with Amazon. I’ve been loyal to smashwords.com.  Something about its counter-culture approach has always appealed to me. And, I’ve been offended by the war of the Goliaths—the major players in the publishing industry who seek to turn authors into “content providers.” I see the squeeze between retailers and publishers and note that more often than not, the losers in that battle are the authors.

I know that the publishing world is in flux. It is both a curse and an opportunity for authors. Caught in the new age of information, the old stuffy publishing houses have pulled in, more than ever. They are reticent to take a risk on new talent. The only sure-fire books these days are celebrity tell-alls, diet books, or Clancy-type thrillers. Oh, yeah, and anything with vampires.  Literature is lost in the mix. And yet, in the corners of the maelstrom, good books are peeking out. There is a chance that an elegant or beautiful story can find its audience. Oh yes, your story has a chance, if it can find its nanosecond.

And so, I announce that my books are now available as e-books on Amazon for its Kindle readers. For the moment, I have stopped tilting at windmills and will go with the mainstream (read–tsunami.) My sister loves her Kindle. She reminds me of this, all the time. I see it in the grocery store, people reading in line. The marketing experts tell us that gum, candy and tabloid purchases are down, because folks in the queue are busy with their smartphones. The impulse purchase has moved online. And now, for better or worse, so have I.

So, if you have a nanosecond or two, check them out—The Emma Caites Way and The Gift of Guylaine Claire—now available, instantaneously, at an on-line retailer near you.

 

 

 

 

Revealing

A.V. Walters

Skov painting

After almost a decade of owning it, I finally cleaned a painting today. I haven’t done that in a while, but once you learn the technique, you’ve got it. The painting needed cleaning the whole time but I was afraid. Sometimes you buy a painting, liking the muted hues you see, only to clean it and find it garish, or not just right anymore. I wish I’d taken a “before” picture. This painting has a lot of pinks in the sky and I was concerned that, cleaned, they’d overtake the canvas. I needn’t have worried. Even ninety years ago, the artist had more sense than that.

If you read The Emma Caites Way, you’ll see that art restoration is actually a part of my background. It’s an interesting way to learn more about art. I’m taken with the plein air paintings of the Arts & Crafts period. I like how the artist, on the fly, can suggest light and space with a few deft strokes, or even just a well-informed line or a perfectly placed splash of color.

Generally cleaning a painting brightens it and more clearly reveals the artist’s original intent. It removes accumulated oils, dirt and smoke residue, helping to protect the canvas over the long haul. In the process you become almost intimate with the work. You have to work within the artist’s original brush strokes, gently wiping clean the grooves left by the bristles in his brush. If you work the surface too hard—or scrub—you can damage the original paint. The work is painstaking. When you’re satisfied that you’ve done as much as you can (or as much as the canvas will endure) you protect it with a thin layer of conservation varnish. By the time you finish, you really know the painting.

This Danish painting is from 1923, apparently painted in Tuscany—I don’t think there are olive trees in Denmark. The artist, Marius Skov, is a “listed” Danish artist, meaning that he was recognized in his time. The cleaning lifted nearly a century of grime and funk from his canvas. It’s brighter and clearer than I would have guessed. Indeed there’s a roadway (or maybe a river) in the foreground that I never saw before. It’s a surprise.

With a good cleaning, you expect to see more features in the bright areas. What surprises me is how much new detail is revealed in the shadows. The trees in the center, once just a blob of dark green, now reveal new colors and brushstrokes that weren’t visible before. And now the countryside is dotted with neighboring villas and farm buildings, previously lost in the haze. Even the distant hills undulate in new distinct shades of blue and purple.

Once, years ago, I cleaned a painting of a waterfall and pond, and found that it’d been partially painted over–a figure, a man fly-fishing, had been painted out, covered with bushes and shrubs to convert the painting to an elegant and simple landscape. Some research on the artist showed that his specialty was paintings of fishermen. The part of the painting that made it the most valuable as an example of this artist’s work had been obscured. Worse yet, the owner of the painting had liked it as a landscape and was disappointed by the appearance of this new interloper. I was torn–how was I to be faithful to the intent of the original artist and satisfy the owner?

It makes me think about writing. It’s easy to move the plot along “in the light,” to reveal the obvious. It’s another thing entirely to look into the dark parts of the story and to reveal the texture that informs how things go wrong. It might be enough to let your readers know that a character has done something vile, or selfish. Yet, the story is more telling if we can see the brushstrokes in that life that consummate in that act. I need to remember to look hard at both the light and the dark in my writing. (And the painting turned out okay, too.)

Digital Pickpockets

They say that you should check now and then. I didn’t really believe it, but, because they say you should, from time to time I do a Google search on my own book titles. Really, to be extra careful, one ought to Google a section of text, which might be a better test.

So it’s the end of the month and I ran through the Smashwords standard SEO search on both The Emma Caites Way and The Gift of Guylaine Claire. I didn’t expect to find anything unusual, just the routine references to my blog and the on-line booksellers who carry the books. In all honesty, it’s a rote thing; I’m not even sure what I’m looking for.

And then, there it was! An on-line retailer (who, until this is fully resolved, shall remain nameless) that was listing The Emma Caites Way for download as a PDF. Looking closer it gave the online “handle” for the individual who “shared” it, and that person was not me. Somebody was actually stealing my book and making it available for online download. Can you say copyright? A few more clicks confirmed my suspicions. I don’t know whether to be outraged or flattered.

It wasn’t even a very sophisticated theft. The Emma Caites Way is a particularly distinctive title. I did that on purpose. They didn’t change it—I guess because that way they ride my negligible marketing coattails. Nor did they remove my name from the PDF (a not impossible task.) One has to wonder how this can pay. I’m a pretty small-scale target, a self-published author with only a couple of books. That leads to the inescapable conclusion that they didn’t select me specifically. It’s no measure of the quality of the product. To make such a violation financially viable, this character would have to hit many, many authors and let the numbers do their work.

This must be pretty common. The website has a message to copyright holders who contend that their work has been illegally listed. There’s a form you fill out, the DMCA Complaint Form. (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) I guess that with this kind of theft so common, one needs to streamline the process. That’s another argument that this is about the numbers, not about someone who picked me, because of the content and quality of my work. I suppose it’s an argument against smashwords free downloads, but I hate to restrict that as a marketing option for a new author.

I filled out the form and submitted it. Someone on the other end will look at the information and no doubt delete the pirated listing for my “document.” And that will be that. There was a time when theft of copyright was at least a compliment.

Heads up out there. It’s probably not about the dollars and sense of it, but you do need to watch your back. Constant diligence, in this, and in everything.

And then, there’s the jacket…the not-so-straight-jacket

A.V. Walters

I don’t usually give it much thought, as I walk around—but occasionally I get remarks, and sometimes stares. It’s… about the jacket. From time to time in my life, I have engaged in transformational art. It isn’t capital A art, it’s somewhere in the cracks—between art, craft and therapy. Years ago, during a particularly tough period, I did a self-portrait doll. I was trying to work out just who I’d been, how circumstances had changed my life’s plans, and exactly who it is I wanted to be, going forward. The doll had helped me focus on the rebuilding efforts; it let me crystalize who that doll-person had been and honor her, and her dreams, as I went forward with my life.

doll

When I moved to Two Rock, my life was in tatters. The one thing I had most invested my energies in, and my self-image, was my marriage. And it had proved to be unsustainable. I was, once again, at a crossroads in my life and I needed a project to help me work all that through. Of course, I had taken up writing and I suppose that could’ve been ‘it.’ But the writing was fiction and, intentionally, it wasn’t about me. Even though I believe that you can really only tell the truth, in fiction, I was too fragile at that time for scrutiny, even in make-believe. I’d thought about doing another doll, but it felt too much like a duplication—not enough breaking of new ground. By chance, my sister gave me a hand-me-down jacket—a denim jacket that she’d worn as much as she’d cared to. It was frayed a little and stained and, like me, had seen better days but still had a lot of life left in it. And, that’s how the project started.

jacket4

I decided it was going to be a symbolic self-portrait. I thought that a hand-decorated jacket could tell a story, my story. It would be a moving target of who I’d been and where it took me. I decided to include even the bad, in symbols that I would wear as badges of courage and survival. I once read that embroidery was the closest form of decoration to tattoos. I have no formal training in sewing or embroidery, so I’ve had to make it up as I go. The jacket is a WIP (a work in progress) and I’ve joked that we’ll know that it’s finished, when I’m dead. In the meantime, I’m not dead yet, and it’s been a cool project that I can pick up from time to time, when the spirit moves me. (Or, for that matter, when the spirits move me.)

jacket1

It’s also, well, a jacket. In fact, it’s my only real coat. Our Two Rock winters are fairly mild, so a jean jacket is just about right. Sometimes, if it’s really cold, I’ll wear a down vest under the jacket. So, it’s my everyday wear, forgetting that it’s not something people experience everyday. I’m reminded of that when I get a reaction.

jacket2

Some people love it—they’ll ask me what it’s all about, the meaning of the images and patches. Sometimes they want to know how they’d go about making one for themselves. Did you take a class? Where did you buy that patch? And then, there are those who won’t even look directly at me. They steal a sideways glance, and then quickly look away, as if it might be contagious. Occasionally, I’ll get a really negative comment, almost hissed with scorn. They might suggest, Aren’t you a little old for that? Or, What are you, some kind of hippy? I’ve learned to welcome it, and it’s all become part of the experience. Their reactions reveal as much (if not more) about them, as the jacket does about me. I know, I’m a bit of an odd duck. I stopped fighting that, a long time ago. So, what about you?

jacket3

Now Ya Tell Me

(Not that I shouldn’t have noticed)

A.V. Walters

I’ve just logged over a year of blogging, and I‘ve been looking for a way to commemorate the passage, accounting for it, now that I’m no longer a newbie. The assessment isn’t an easy one. I broke my own rule when I started. Usually when I begin a new endeavor, I first ask myself the critical question—what’s the objective? If you don’t do that, then you’re left with no way to measure the results.

I confess that I blogged because people kept telling me I had to do it. I’d already self-published my first novel, (The Emma Caites Way) with another in the pipeline, and my writing compatriots kept saying, “You need an online presence, you need to blog.” Because I have privacy issues, I have steadfastly resisted having anything to do with Facebook. I can’t bring myself to hand over my personally identifiable information to a company hell-bent on constantly changing the ground rules, and often without meaningful notice. (Now they tell me that I’m suspect because of my failure to have a Facebook page!) Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

Conventional wisdom told me I had to have a presence; I had to play the game. It was, they said, the way to sell books. So I gave in and blogged. It’s been like starting out on a journey without a clear destination, a little bit of a ramble, but if you pay attention along the way, not without its rewards. I’ve come to realize that I enjoy blogging. It gives voice to my gardener, rural alter-ego, something I haven’t explored in my other writing. I’ve come to know some wonderful people (and a few, slightly off-center) along the way—all over the globe. Who knew? But I cannot say that the blog has sold a single book. If it has, there’s certainly no evidence of it.

I follow a number of other bloggers. Many of them are gardeners, science geeks, or (like me) wannabee writers. I think we quietly blog for each other, lulled into the rhythms of it, like a very exclusive, private club.

Maybe I’m a failure as a blogger. But this week I made a discovery. I regularly read the newsletter from CreateSpace. I especially read anything by Joel Friedlander. He’s affiliated with BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association) where I’m a member (and an award winner for The Emma Caites Way—Hey, it’s all about self-promotion, isn’t it?) His presentations are always informative and substantive. So after reading his headline article this month, I clicked on another selection, Is Blogging Good for Fiction Writers? (https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-2031)

Oh my! He nailed me (and many of you, as well.) I’ve been blogging away for a year, apparently without a clue. Yes, most of my readers are other struggling fiction authors; and yes, many of the blogs I follow are self-publishers and writers. Since my books (Yes, I finished and published the second one, The Gift of Guylaine Claire, and a third is in the works), don’t have a clearly defined, common theme, (and if they did, it’s not what’s in my blog) this lovely ramble has been just that.  It’s a clear demonstration of the blind leading the blind. And, given the fiction writer’s conundrum, a blog isn’t likely to achieve any results beyond that warm and fuzzy sense of community that I’ve come to enjoy.

I’m not sure where this all leads. I can’t imagine abandoning the blog after all this—after all, there are relationships in it now. All I can say is, Now ya tell me!

 

 

 

A.V. Walters

The rains have come. Those first showers over a week ago, have worked their magic. At first it was just a blush–a wisp of color if you caught it at the right angle. Now there’s no question, our hills are turning green. It’s a funny dynamic that our gardening season is the opposite of our green season. Still, after months of dead brown hills it’s a relief to the eye to see this transformation. There are still goodies from the garden, they’ll go on until the hard frosts hit. This is the seasonal pause, the green relief in still fine weather, before the storms and cold come. It’s a pleasure to work outside in the cool, sometimes grey days.

I’ll be posting a little less frequently this month. I am, after all, fully committed to NaNoWriMo. It could be that Editor Rick picks up the slack. He’s undertaking those end-of-season projects, readying for winter, seed-saving (he’s so organized), tool management, and soon, pulling buckets. All that stuff that I let lag until the storms force my hand. My head is miles and decades away, weaving the fabric of a 1931 speakeasy in Detroit. Outside, the creeping green is putting me in the mood with the intense colors of my childhood. While California is lovely, it is difficult to go without green for five or six months of the year. I’m not saying I miss snow (though sometimes, I do) but I do welcome the return of green.

It’s less than a week to the election–don’t forget to vote. If you’re here in California, and if you value good food and informed choice, remember to vote for Proposition 37. Let’s get those GMO foods labeled.

I’ll pull my head out of fiction at least once a week, to give you the what’s up in Two Rock.

Another View of Saint Kateri

A.V. Walters

Today, the Vatican is Canonizing a fresh batch of Saints. It’s sort of the “Hall of Fame” of the truly faithful. It’s interesting to note the blend of those selected–they don’t make new saints everyday, ya know. Among them is Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, “The Lily of the Mohawk.” This is notable because it’s the first time a North American, indigenous person has ever been granted saintly status. It seems that every 350 years, or so, they get it right.

A closer look at Kateri reveals that she presents with many attributes similar to the female saints of the middle ages. She was a young woman–of high rank (the daughter of a chief and then, when her parents succumbed to a small pox epidemic, the adopted daughter of her uncle, the new chief.) Small pox had left her scarred and partially blind–yet she still had opportunities for marriage, which she declined. Like many of the early European saints, the level of commitment to her faith was out of step with the expectations of her community. It was not regarded with favor, at least not during her lifetime. Kateri left her home and tribe, alone, and walked hundreds of miles north, to a tribe where she would be welcome because that tribe had fully adopted the new Christian faith. Disturbingly, she advocated harsh self-abdication–even to the point of endangering her already compromised health. She was a great friend to all, and dedicated herself to a life of service and toil. She died young–in her early twenties. On her deathbed, the first of her miracles was reported by the Jesuits who attended her. With her last breath, the disfiguring scars of smallpox were reported to have disappeared from her face. In the eyes of God, everyone is beautiful and equal.

It’s a story about finding a place for smart, uppity, young women. Scholars have noted the similarity between the female saints of the middle ages and young women of the modern era who suffer from anorexia or cutting behaviors. From a psychological perspective, unusually saintly behavior is coupled with refusal to adhere to the gender-determined norms of the day. It’s a narrow avenue of control by those whose social options were more limited than the powers of their intellectual, or spiritual, capacity. Not that I want to discourage selfless devotion to a cause–that being one of the hallmarks of humanity–but today I hope that the pathways to self-realization for young people are more open than, well, martyrdom.

I discovered Kateri during my research for The Gift of Guylaine Claire. Her story was the perfect counterpoint to the title character–who was herself an odd fit in society. Guylaine had been raised in a loving home, one that, almost accidentally, found space for her to bloom creatively. Kateri’s tale mirrored the pivotal story of Guylaine’s indigenous grandmother, Claire, and tied into some of the central themes of my book. Kateri was so perfect, that if I hadn’t found her, I would have had to invent her. Her actual role in the book, as the subject of one of Guylaine’s sculptures, is minor but thematically she is woven in throughout the story in terms of forgiveness, transcendence and making one’s own way. Kateri was drawn to her faith, despite the fact that her tribe blamed the “Black Robe” Jesuits for the very epidemic that had taken her family. In an odd way, both she and her tribe were correct in their convictions. So, today we celebrate the recognition of a young woman challenged by personal circumstance and race. Maybe we can all learn from it.

NaNoWriMo– Cheaper Than Therapy
A.V. Walters

So, what finally got me writing? I’d meant to do it, literally for decades. I had outlines, ideas, concepts…you name it. Two things finally turned the corner for me. The first was the complete unraveling of my life. Convinced that there had to be more–maybe even something in it for me–I walked out of a twenty-eight year marriage. I moved to the middle of nowhere, in part because I sought to recover the rhythms of my rural childhood and in part because I was broke and couldn’t afford to stay in the city where I was. And there I was. If ever you thought that you were held back by the cloying demands of a relationship, freedom comes with the hefty realization that if you don’t do it now, you have no excuse. If you don’t do it now, you might just as well have stayed, stayed to dedicate your every breath to the needs of someone else and let the creative spark within you suffocate and die. So there’s a pretty good incentive.

But, how do you start? Admittedly, for a little while, drinking helped. But the real impetus was NaNoWriMo.

What the hell is that? National Novel Writing Month. (NaNoWriMo.org) It’s a nonprofit group on the net that sets aside the month of November to challenge anyone brave enough to try, to write a novel in thirty days. A friend turned me on to it. The goal is to write every day with the objective of completing 50,000 words by the end of the month. There is no prize, only a lot of support, nagging, wonderful and dreaded email updates and writing for the sake of it. Really, check it out. Honestly, I never finished the 50,000 words in a month. Too much for me–but I got far enough in that I couldn’t stop and the end result of that first NaNoWriMo effort was The Emma Caites Way, an award-winning 400+ page novel. My second attempt–still without being able to finish the challenge of 50,000 words–was The Gift of Guylaine Claire, the novel I just published (though that one took two NaNo cycles to complete, even though it’s shorter.)

I’m gearing up again for November–and I hope to substantially complete my current manuscript, The Trial of Trudy Castor (again, a second time around Nano effort.) If you’ve ever dreamed of trying your hand at writing, I totally recommend it. It’s a maniac vacation (especially if, like most of us, there’s still the day job and Thanksgiving to distract you) into a self-inflicted world of angst, release, charging on–regardless and losing oneself totally in the story. It’s wonderful and hell, all in one. Its pressures (about 1,700 words per day) shake you free of the inclination to dither and sharpen your pencils relentlessly. You have to just do it.

For me, it came at just the right (write?) time. I was phenomenally depressed. I didn’t know where my life was going. I did know that I could weave stories and thus it started. Now, this is not the best option if you’re thinking that becoming an author is the path to wealth and fame. (That’s really fiction.) Writing is worthy in and of itself. It lets you explore the you of you. It helps you sort out your story and your characters and gives you insight into the you who created them. It is centering and terrifying. Here I am, five years later and I still don’t know where my life is going. Don’t expect NaNoWriMo to solve all your problems. But I have written two perfectly acceptable novels. I am a writer. I find that in a lifetime of experience, the only place you can really tell the truth is in fiction. I will continue with this, because I enjoy it, and because it allows me to explore and express. It turns out there was more to the me of me.

And so, if you ever thought that there was a story in you, I invite you to give it a try. November is coming. Sharpen your pencils. Breathe deep and ….. go!

If you’re from a small town, you’re always from a small town. They don’t let go of you, they welcome you home when you visit and they celebrate your triumphs with you, even from afar.

 

http://www.mininggazette.com/page/content.detail/id/526936/In-the-Catbird-Seat-Joe-Kirkish.html

Serendipity

A.V. Walters

How curious, that something I researched years ago, intended to play a small part in The Gift of Guylaine Claire, would surface as a current events issue simultaneously with the publication of the book.

I was looking for a concept sculpture, something to tie Guylaine to her indigenous roots and to Canadian history. (Something beyond the famous Maisonneuve monument in Montreal.) Even in fiction I like to find actual historical events that give my work texture and depth. In my search, I found Kateri Tekakwitha. Kateri was perfect. Her story mirrored the story I’d created for Guylaine’s grandmother, Claire, in that she was a native Christian convert, whose family and tribe ostracized her for her conversion. And, like Claire, her faith was deeper than that of those who’d lead her to it. Her childhood affliction with smallpox left her partially blind and disfigured and yet she was not bitter. She traveled hundreds of miles alone through the wilderness to find a community that would accept her. There, she lived a short life of service. Kateri is historically documented, as are many of the miracles attributed to her. In short, Kateri was a dream story come true as a subject for my fictional French-Canadian/Métis sculptor. She became a small part of the Guylaine Claire story.

It turns out that, after three and a half centuries, Kateri is about to finally achieve the ultimate recognition for her toil. On October 21, the Roman Catholic Church will canonize her as Saint Kateri. She will be the only First Nations individual to ever be so recognized. (Saints don’t just come along every day, you know.) Her story straddles the current day borders of New York and Quebec so she will be celebrated as an American, Canadian and First Nations Saint.

The Gift of Guylaine Claire is not exactly a glowing endorsement of traditional Catholicism. It is, however, a tribute to finding one’s own transcendent path regardless of any specific belief system or circumstance, in an atmosphere of forgiveness, loving and tolerance.

And with that, I announce the print release of The Gift of Guylaine Claire. It is now available* at your online retailer or, by request, at many fine brick-and-mortar book stores.

 

*also available as an ebook through Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other ebook outlets.

 

 

 

A Busy Week

A.V. Walters

It’s been a busy week. Not only is this high season for the garden (and gophers) we are preparing for the print release of The Gift of Guylaine Claire.  We had to enter the last of the edits and then check to see that the ebook and the print version were both fully edited, and textually identical. After that, those last details, editing the new Acknowledgements, getting the ISBN and Library of Congress numbers in, and the bar codes ready, the final tweaking on the front and back covers, and I’m sure that even now I’m forgetting things. Editor Rick is the technical guy, and he wrestles with that end of it—getting the Smashwords final version through the dreaded auto-vetting process (again!) and finessing the cover colors and interior images—hopefully in a way that Lightning Source won’t overly darken the cover images this time. He takes his graphic responsibilities very seriously and the end results show it. Yesterday the files went off to be printed, and now we’ll nervously await that exciting proof copy. It will be a relief to have it finally finished, and listed for sale with the POD retailers.

Late summer has extra chores as well. The other day we re-stacked the firewood (from a loose drying stack to a tight, ready to go for winter, stack), checking for winter readiness. (We think we’re set with two solid cords of walnut, some apple and pine for kindling.) This could have waited, but it’s cool in August. September is traditionally our hottest month, so it’s nice to do the heavy lifting in the cool. We picked up a load of pine, for kindling, and I started splitting it. A little each day and it’ll be done in a week or so. Meanwhile, the temperatures are heating up and I’m wiping my brow in relief that the heavy lifting is complete.

And, of course, there’ll always be the day job.

Unlike most of the country, where mid-summer is the hottest, many areas of Northern California have a searing September. The lag has to do with ocean currents and how their “season” is a step slower to shift. The result is that in September we lose the fog that pours in from the coast, morning and evening, filling the valley, with moist, cool air. When that natural air conditioning shuts down, we get a glimpse of what they see all summer in the inland valleys.

That’s why I’m not sweating the myriad of still-green tomatoes, peeking out from under their leaves. If the butternuts are still blooming—well, let them take their shot. I’ve been in this valley long enough to know that September will turn it around. Even with this year’s late start, I’m sure we’ll bring in the crop. Don (whose advice has devalued since he abandoned his zucchini/pumpkin patch) is trying to spook me. “What you need is them floating, row covers. Winter’s just around the corner. Could happen any day, ya know!” Right.

Not that I’m against row covers as an experiment in lengthening our already long late season. In a mild year I can harvest tomatoes well into November. With row covers, maybe we could go to December or even into January. But I’m not buying into the fear factor. The season is what it is, and there’s still much to do.

 

 

A.V. Walters

I’ve been tapped…

I’ve been blogging away, quietly, for months now and, suddenly, I’ve been tapped for a bloggers’ award. (A Bloggie?) I’m a little surprised, since my blogging efforts have been, well, quiet. It is very sweet to have someone you’ve never met (but yet, have come to know) reach out and give you the nod to let you know that your efforts are appreciated. Thank you Sarah—half a world away and still a part of this strange, new kind of community.

I understand that there are rules about these things—which has delayed my response, a little. So, for those people that I will, in turn, nominate, the summary of those rules is:

a) You must thank the individual who has nominated you;

b) You have to turn around and tap ten others, to recognize them with the same award;

c) You need to tell seven things about yourself that you haven’t already revealed in your blog, and;

d) You must post the award symbol somewhere in your blog.

For me, the most difficult will be the seven revelations. Blogging was a challenge, for me, from the start because I so jealously guard my online privacy. I don’t do Facebook or the kind of personal, social media that is readily available. Some years ago I had an unfortunate experience with a stalker and I learned how cautiously one had to guard one’s sense of privacy. All the writers and self-publishing folks said I had to Facebook, and tweet, and blog (oh my!)  There was no way I would do Facebook (or, the pictorial kinds of “sharing.” I hate to break it to the Facebook folks, but those aren’t real friends. It took me almost a year to agree to do an author photo and, even then, I did it as a spoof. So, I decided to try blogging instead.

In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, I was dragged into it—but you wouldn’t know it once I started. I’ve found that I really enjoy sharing that one little corner of my life—a rural/gardening perspective. It’s an important sliver of who I am. I find solace and warmth and humor in the everyday of rural life. It has almost nothing to do with my more formal writing, so far there’s not even a gardener in any of my books. (What’s up with that, eh?)

I’m not a very good blogger. I am forever getting notices that tell me I need to “optimize my online presence.” I just shudder. I’m not technical, can’t even figure out how to post photos—there’s no way I could do all that technical stuff to “reach out to a wider audience.” I can’t even get the Twitter feed thing going. I have no idea how the people who did find me, did so. I laugh when I read the word searches that brought people to my blog—usually about gophers, or bucket farming, or some poor soul desperate for a solution to those damned noisy mourning doves. (And I have no remedies to offer that don’t come from the end of a double-barrel. Sorry.) But blogging seems to have stuck and, whether it sells books or not, I seem to be here, to stay.

Thank you

As for this award, I’m touched to have been recognized. (“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”) So, thank you, Sarah the Gardener. I’ve loved watching and hearing about your garden, in its Down Under oppositeness. I’ve learned from you just as I hope others may have picked up a tidbit or two from me. (For example, until your last entry I didn’t know pepper and eggplants were so temperature fussy for germination. I thought I had bad seeds! One of this year’s eggplants seedlings came up after eight weeks, and there was Sarah, explaining to me just why.) So thank you, thank you, thank you (and the seedlings thank you, too.)

There are others…

I have come to enjoy many other bloggers. I’ll nominate the ten, but there are more. These ones are special because they showed me that there are others who take the garden pleasures seriously. I am not the only one whose very favorite thing is to go out to the garden to see what’s for dinner. There are some blogs that I follow just because they make me laugh, sometimes uncomfortably so. And finally there are blogs from whom I learn and enjoy a little different perspective, even wickedly so. They are, in no particular order:

1) Soulsby Farm, A Very Small Farm—for giving me faith that there are younger people out there reaching back into our agricultural heritage. http://soulsbyfarm.wordpress.com/

2) Planthoarder—for a glimpse of gardening and what’s in the weather back home and totally luscious photos. http://planthoarder.wordpress.com/

3) A Stay at-home Scientist—for a touch of gardening and a spoonful of science that speaks directly to the heart of this wonk. http://stayathomescientist.com/

4) Cristian, because he’s very, very, young, and yet runs full tilt at writing what matters to him, and because he has his own aesthetic. http://cristianmihai.net/

5) Catherine Caffeinated because she gives out pep talks and dispenses the self-publishing scoop (at least her version) unselfishly and with a dollop of humor. (Though the pink is a little much.) http://catherineryanhoward.com/

6) All the fearless contributors at Fresh Ink, for their bravery and for providing and using a platform to showcase new writers. http://fresh1nk.wordpress.com/

7) For the chronicler of Joe’s Shitty Ideas, because you make me laugh and sometimes wince. http://joesshittyideas.com/

8) Clotilda Jamcracker, because she gardens, she has a wild perspective, she’s a hoot and makes me think. http://www.clotildajamcracker.com/

9) Dianne Gray, because she writes, and writes about writing and takes her characters as seriously as other people. http://diannegray.wordpress.com/

10)  A French Garden, because she has lovely photos, she gardens with sincerity and she’s so brave to have picked up and followed a dream. http://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/

And now the damnable revelations……

1. I have a cat named Kilo (No, not that! Because when I rescued him he weighed 2.2 pounds) and my cat has a cat, named Bob.

2. I’ve known all about the Hispano-Suiza since was about four because my dad thought it was important and loved to hear us little kids say it. Excellence at all cost!

3. I just learned that you can eat pumpkin greens! (Not that I’ve tried them, yet.)It’s a good use for those creeping vines once you know that you’ve got all the pumpkins you need (and, then a little, in case the gophers get them.) One year we went to harvest a lovely pumpkin, only to find the gophers had hollowed it out and eaten the interior then, stuffed it full of dirt! (It was actually, pretty impressive.)

4. I am a news junkie and a policy wonk. Moving to the farm helped a lot because it made me cut back on my news sources. Of course, you could keep busy full-time, just on the net… At least I got rid of the television.

5. I am not a technical person. I can’t even put a photo in the blog! (I don’t have a camera, and couldn’t transfer the photos if I did. (There’s only so much begging one can do… Rick?) I almost rejected this award because of the requirement that you post the award logo on your blog. I’ll have to figure it out.

6. I just sent two pounds of Manzanita ash to my mother in Michigan.

7. In 1974, I was an E.C.S.S.A. cross-country running champion. (Yeah, go a ahead, figure that one out.)

And, that’s it. I addressed all the responsibilities of this awesome honor and I can now go back to regular blogging… once I figure out how to post that darn picture. (Rick?)

 

Today is the last day that The Gift of Guylaine Claire will be a free smashwords download. (Just go to smashwords.com and enter the book title) Coupon codes will be available in the future for reviewers, but you might want to dust off some space on the old hard drive. Tomorrow we’ll do the final edits (because someone from Australia kindly pointed out a few minor tweaks)(and thank you to the sharp-eyed folks Down Under, who’re snuggling up with a good book because it’s winter there) and then it joins the ranks of Not Really Recent News and takes its place on the shelf next to The Emma Caites Way. A print version will be out by the end of August.
After that, you’ll have to wait for January for the next release, The Trial of Trudy Castor.
Thanks again.

A.V. Walters

The July free download of my second novel, The Gift of Guylaine Claire, is ticking by! Check it out at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/177928

Enjoy it now, before it goes to print and gets a hefty price tag! Pages and pages of characters and plot! All available now. And, if you like it, you can leave a review. (Well, I suppose you can leave a review either way, eh?)

 

 

Canada Day

A.V. Walters

In the old days we called it Dominion Day. Just days before the Fourth of July, it was a huge summer celebration in our border town. Both sides of the border joined forces for a combined Freedom Festival affair that said as much about reveling in summer as it did about the countries’ respective national holidays. There were art fairs and barbeques, music and, of course, rides to shake up all that junk food and soda-pop on a hot day. We loved it.

The kick-off event was the fireworks. Funded by the J.L. Hudson Company in Detroit, the show lasted near an hour in the mid-summer late evening of the first of July. Though held on Dominion Day, the fireworks were a joint celebration for both countries, fired off over the border that separated them, the Detroit River. Spectators lined the shores on both sides of the river for about a mile, tens of thousands of us milling about waiting for darkness to fall. The downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit stopped for an evening of oohs and aaahs and cotton candy and hot dogs on sticks.

I was from a mixed family. My American parents were landed immigrants in Canada. Only my little sister and I were actually Canadian—a circumstance of birth location. We celebrated a motley mix of combined holidays. We never missed the fireworks. I was always impressed that though the pyrotechnics were donated by businesses on the American side, the fireworks display was always held on the Canadian holiday. Even more, as I didn’t understand the physics of fireworks, I was captivated by the generosity of the American donors, because, from our Windsor perch on the river it seemed that we, on the Canadian side, always got to enjoy the front side of the of the annual display.

And so it is, with the release of my second novel, The Gift of Guylaine Claire. Canada Day is the perfect day to launch this, most Canadian, of explorations. Like those fireworks of long ago, it comes from an American or outsider perspective, but one that has always had a foot in each camp. While the focus, the front side of it, is specifically Canadian and French-Canadian, I hope my readers will find that the real focus is universal. So, check it out at

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/177928

The print release will be in August, but for the curious, or for those who arrive early at the river’s edge for the good seats, the ebook release should provide its own oohs and aaahs, in anticipation of paper.

You heard it here first. The Emma Caites Way has won the Best Literary Fiction Award by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA.) Formal Press releases and such needed, but we’re still at the jaw-hanging, stunned phase. I guess we should celebrate and, maybe, garden!

A.V. Walters

Trot out your crazies for the young folk,

The looney uncles or grandma with her spells.

Empty the closets of skeletons and bottles.

Raise up them kids to recognize peculiarities,

without obsessing on deviants,

To accept eccentricity with humanity,

without succumbing to the mutual degradation

of appeasement.

Gently divulge your family ghosts and bastards,

so they’ll recognize ghosts elsewhere.

Share the humor and history

and spare them from embracing some sitcom gestalt,

leaving them longing for Ike.

Trot out your crazies for the young folk,

so their stories are woven into the fabric of regular living

like the time when Geri went out on the roof.

Discuss diagnoses at dinner, and options. . .

intervention, therapy or fluoxetine

So they’ll speak the language

when they move

to California.

Today the first chapter of my second novel, The Gift of Guylaine Claire will be posted on the TwoRockPress.com website. For those of you who liked The Emma Caites Way, we hope you’ll also enjoy the new book. It is a very different book, about life, the connections we build and the losses we sustain, with its roots in Canadian and French-Canadian history, art and sculpture. This book gave me a chance to explore my own Canadian connections and history. Full publication is expected at the end of this month.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Emma Caites Way, Smashwords.com still has a sample download available, as well as ebook purchase.

A.V. Walters

We’re official! It’s probably long overdue, but Two Rock Press finally has a website. I can’t take any credit, I’m a technical idiot. But our editor, Rick (who also has technical issues but is braver and more diligent than me), and our friend Paul, (who is a total techie wizard, who just shakes his head and sighs about us), have prevailed! I’m sure there are still glitches to be worked out, but it’s up and running. For information about The Emma Caites Way, or the upcoming, Gift of Guylaine Claire, visit us at tworockpress.com.

The Emma Caites Way has it’s very first (media) review!
http://www.bohemian.com/northbay/a-sense-of-place/Content?oid=2283946

 

Paradise

 

I have lived

on the edge of paradise—

once in a small beach town

where you could smell

if not see, the ocean from every street,

walk to the beach from any part of town,

not wear shoes for days.

And later,

in an even smaller town

with only three side streets,

one gas station and seven bars,

mountain peaks so close

it looked as if you could touch

their smooth granite sides,

run your hand down

the soft curves of the forests

in their crevices.

And when you came out of the drugstore

with your aspirin or band-aids

you might see a single bison

staring at you, breathing white puffs

into the morning air

or a prong-horned antelope grazing

a few feet from where you parked your car

by the laundromat.

“You’re so lucky to actually live here!”

the tourists would say, their eyes shining.

Now I live in a place

surrounded by farms and  chickenhouses

where I sometimes have to stop my car

and wait, while dairy cows are escorted

across the road to milking barns.

No tourists here, no one

to tell me I’m lucky

except the voice in my head that says

you’re so lucky

to be alive, after the cancer,

the hospitals and doctors,

after waiting so many hours

in small curtained rooms

with sinks and needles,

stunned and mute.

And now a tourist myself

in a life I almost lost,

I walk outside

with my black and white dog,

move the sheep through the pasture,

watch the wind blow

through the tops of the pine trees,

look at the faces of my sheep

see the questioning look in their eyes

and the patience.

 

Copyright 2009 Ina Ray Scrocco

Ina Ray Scrocco lives in Two Rock. She is an award-winning poet from Sonoma County who has been published in several  anthologies, and is presently working on an upcoming book of poetry.  Her work has appeared in The Redbook, Brief Encounter and the Napa College “Conference ‘81” collection, among others.   She has given numerous readings in the area at Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma State University, Cinnabar Theatre, Copperfield’s Books, and the Vallejo Ferry Theatre in Sausalito.

A.V. Walters

I’m weaving again, after a lapse of 15 years. I’m working on rag rugs, always one of my favorite projects. Rag rugs are quintessential American frugal and still they come out beautiful. I like the idea of making something utilitarian and attractive out of materials that have already exhausted their useful lives. I’m not a skilled weaver. I’m anal and dyslexic and I have to think for almost every throw of the shuttle, “Under or over on the first thread?” Still there is a rhythm to it that is soothing. Time passes, your hands do the work and your mind wanders and solves problems you didn’t even know you were having. I started the weaving to remind me of the process. One of the characters in a book I’m writing is a weaver.

I’m stalled on the book, Victorian Rules of Grieving, so I’m going through the motions hoping to re-connect to the characters. The book is a sequel to The Emma Caites Way, which I wrote when I first came to Two Rock. From the start I knew the new book would address some issues about loss (hence the title) with largely the same cast of folks from Emma. Then, my dad got sick.

It’s tough to deal with the same issues in fiction and in life simultaneously. As his illness progressed, it became more and more difficult to work on the book. I couldn’t even edit the second book (The Gift of Guylaine Claire) let alone deal with his illness. A year ago my dad passed away and I’m finally ready to look back at the grieving process and incorporate it into a story that will probably end up richer for the experience. Trust me, this is no way to deepen your literary bench.

Shortly after he died, I had a very detailed and full dream, that came with characters, plot and even a title, The Trial of Trudy Castor. It’s a hoot, a depression era speakeasy-rumrunning tale of crime and intrigue. I started writing it immediately. My dad would laugh. He loved my grandfather’s stories about running booze on the Canadian border. I figure the dream was a kind of gift from my dad. So, for the first time I’m writing two books at the same time. Oh yeah, and helping with the edit of Guylaine. It doesn’t rain but it pours.

That’s what brings me back to weaving. Each day I go out to the loom (which is in an unheated room, formerly a balcony that was enclosed–and then another balcony added on–don’t get me started) and I weave four or five inches. This particular rug has a history to it. I made a comforter cover out of two sheets, back in the 70s. I used it for decades. It drove my sister crazy. She couldn’t believe that I was still using ‘that old thing.’ I’d tell her each time, “But it’s not worn out yet,” and she’d sigh. Finally it did wear out and I saved the fabric. I know it will drive her crazy to see this reincarnated rug. So I’m weaving. As I do so, the story returns and the characters become more solid. It’s a good way to make good use of a gloomy winter day. It’s too early to rifle through the seed catalogs. I have a million things to do, but this weaving is centering. In a week or so, I’ll have a rug. I’d show pictures, but I’ve never been able to figure out how to upload them.

A. V. Walters

Errata

This business of editing is a full time occupation. Just when you think it’s finished, something else comes along. The Emma Caites Way was edited a number of times, by me, and by others and finally by Rick Edwards (a number of times). Each time I was shocked by how many errors had slipped past our notice. Worse, sometimes editing actually added errors in a terrible dance of sentences mangled in the word processing mill.

Along the way of creating the story, some things changed. One of the characters, not a major one but certainly an identifiable person in the story, was originally named Rick. He wasn’t exactly a warm and fuzzy individual, so Rick (the editor) edited Rick (the character) out of existence and the character Rick, became Tom, a not exactly warm and fuzzy individual.  Except one of our readers contacted us and pointed out that there’s a place in the book where Rick (the character, not the editor) is still peeking out between the lines! (Well, actually, in a line.) Whatever happened to global changes through Word!?? Sigh.

When the print version of The Emma Caites Way came out, I (the author) almost immediately found two punctuation errors. Then Rick (the editor) found a mangled sentence. Then our reader found The Ghost of Rick, the character (not Rick, the very warm and fuzzy but not perfect editor.) To our readers: I’m really sorry, we keep working at it and we will correct the errors. Feel free to keep pointing them out. We’re compiling a list for our first (and, with any luck, the only) revision.

Thanks for your support, your patience, and your keen powers of observation

Two Rock Chronicles is the official blog of Two Rock Press. The blog will be a show place for our authors and editors. Check here to share with us what’s new at Two Rock Press.

Recently we published our first novel, The Emma Caites Way, by A.V. Walters. First released as an eBook on smashwords.com on November 1, 2011, it quickly became a smashwords bestseller. Following that demonstrated initial interest, The Emma Caites Way was released in print and is available through Amazon. We anticipate the release of A.V. Walters’ second novel, The Gift of Guylaine Claire, later this winter.

We hope that you’ll get to know our contributors through the pages of our blog.