September 13th, 2010
Friends and acquaintances have reacted differently when the subject of writing a book comes up. Some are impressed, stating they’ve always had in mind to write one. Others, to varying degrees, are unimpressed.
As a bored teenager (normal for the immature), my mother kept pressing me to read, as I hadn’t been attracted much to reading, enjoying outdoor sports instead.
Books can be exciting adventures, she insisted. So, finally (and I recall the day and time clearly), one summer afternoon, I relented because I had no other options. I gave in and asked her to recommend one. She took Green Mansions by W. H. Hudson and handed it to me
Once curled up in the easy chair by the living room fireplace, I started to read. I was fascinated. I couldn’t put the book down. As a reader, I was hooked. I’ve been a reader ever since.
What does it have to do with being a writer? EVERYTHING !
You learn to be a writer by first being a reader. Then, all you have to do is (quote the cliché) “apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair” and write. You’ll learn by doing. Like everything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it.
September 8th, 2010
One of the readers of my book, Her Mother’s Diary, emailed me, and opined it would make a great TV drama on the Hallmark Hall of Fame.
Frankly, it hadn’t occurred to me, but after thinking about it, I agree. It is an inspiring story, just the sort of thing they do.
I’d like to get your opinion. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Don’t hesitate to send in your reply.
Who would you cast as Allison? I think Natalie Portman would work. There are lots of young, good looking actors who could fit the bill for young doctor Mark. As for Sam Cohen, I can’t think of anyone at the moment. To my mind, a perfect fit for his friend Evita would be Alana De La Garza of the Law And Order series. She has her own web site. Look her up and see if you agree with me.
Go to the “comments” at the website and let me hear from you. If enough of you think it’s a good fit, I’ll contact them.
July 7th, 2010
As an novelist, I often visualize the characters in my book using real-life acquaintances as models. Case in point: Sam Cohen. Eons ago, I was a member of the downtown YMCA, exercising to stay in good health.
I remember two people I’d often see at the gym. There was Sam, a strapping, six-footer and another was a wizened little guy who was 100 years old. He didn’t figure in the story, but I do recall his comment when I asked him what it was like to be 100. He said it was lonely because all of his friends were dead.
Sam was different. He was big-boned, angular, well-muscled, always pleasant, outgoing, joking, and fun to be around. I can still see his shiny bald dome with its little scars caused by removed skin cancers; and his generous-sized nose and hearty laugh. He was a warm-hearted “people-person.” When the narrative included him, I could actually see him. He’s long gone now. He helped me write my story.
July 1st, 2010
The most gratifying thing that could happen to me as a writer is to get a strong “thumbs-up” response from a highly respected book reviewer. Others, I’m sure, find satisfaction in other ways, such as number of sales, being on a “best-seller” list, the notoriety that goes with being a published author, etc. etc.
I was surprised (just a bit) and more than pleased when I read Glenda Bixler’s review of Her Mother’s Diary on Amazon. She is considered among the very best in her field and she gave my book 5 Stars, the very best rating there is. Her comments included in her review were highly complimentary. I was so happy about it that I telephoned her- she lives in Pennsylvania- and thanked her.
June 28th, 2010
One reader commented to me about something he had enjoyed reading in the book- something Doctor Mark had said about a conversation that happened while he was working on a ranch during a summer break from college. The ranch was a manicured, masterful development in rural Oregon and Mark said to the owner, “God surely must have been good to you,- your having such a beautiful place!” The owner replied, “Oh yeah? You should have seen this place when God had it.”
That actually happened. It happened to me while I was working in rural Oregon, so I put it in the book. There’s an important lesson here about only relying on the person you see in the mirror when something has to get done.
June 23rd, 2010
Readers of Her Mother’s Diary have asked me how I came to write the story… what was the starting point that triggered its genesis?
Here’s the answer. In my mind’s eye, I saw an ashtray in a dark and empty living room. It sat on the arm on a lounge chair and it had a couple of crushed butts in it. On the footstool in front of it there was an open book with a pair of reading glasses, temples extended, as though some had been interrupted and intended to return to continue reading.
I thought: what if that someone had been killed in an accident and the husband/wife/partner, being crushed by the loss, had kept it as a silent sanctuary for his/her memories, unable to let go. The story of how they suffered through it, to finally overcome it was the beginning of the story.
It’s in the book and how it developed from there is another story.
May 17th, 2010
I think there isn’t enough simple good-natured humor going around these days. Times are tough, they’ve been tough before and we’ve survived. So, we can make it easier on ourselves we can get a good chuckle now and then.
What comes to mind- a friend told me he was sitting on his front porch when an elderly man came walking by, being led by a little dog on a leash. He called to the man, “Hey! That’s sure is a cute puppy you got there!” And the man replied, “I got it for my wife!” And my friend commented, “Boy! How did you make a trade like that?”
May 10th, 2010
People should try to be more considerate of others. My case in point- which is really the height of consideration- is the story of the lady on trial for murder. She had killed her husband.
The D. A. asked her, “Please explain to the jury, why did you shoot your husband with a bow and arrow?”
She replied, “I didn’t want to wake the children.”
Now, that’s what I call being considerate.
May 3rd, 2010
I’ve been asked how did I come up with the name Allison Etcheverry? as my heroine in the book. Well, more years ago than we can readily count, when I was a kid in southeastern Michigan, (I’m 89) I knew an Etcheverry family. They had moved to Detroit from Ontario, Canada. They had the cutest daughter, her name was Alice, and I guess I had a schoolboy crush on her. I must have been thinking of her when I started the book. Alice to Allison isn’t much of a stretch.
April 26th, 2010
Years ago, I was on an east coast vacation and took a tour on one of those ships anchored in the harbor for the tourists to enjoy. It was a replica of a British schooner from the time of the original colonies. A feisty little old lady kept bugging the guide with questions, so much so that it became fun for the rest of us. She asked, “What the hell is that thing sticking up on the deck?”
The guide replied, “That is a commemorative plaque, madam.”
“So, what does that mean?”
“It commemorates where our gallant admiral fell,” the guide replied.
“I’m not surprised,” the L O L snapped back, “I almost tripped over the damn thing myself!”