Monday, October 29, 2012

Tolstoy and "Anna Karenina"

I recently saw a movie trailer announcing the Nov 2012 release of Anna Karenina staring Keira Knightley and Jude Law. This prompted me to read Tolstoy's novel which was published in 1877; a 1,325 page tome written in long sentence structure reflecting the writing method of the time. I was daunted by the task before me that began about 10 days ago...not only the long, descriptive sentences, but the common names of the characters and the events of the day which Tolstoy was covering.

In my own journey as an author I have learned that writer's embed points and story lines they are trying to communicate to the readers. The Tsar issued an order freeing the serfs and ending the feudal system in Russia in 1861. Tolstoy was writing about, among many subplots, the changing cultural standing of the rich and powerful with the new found freedom of peasants and the challenges this brought to landowners in managing and operating their farms, of divorce laws, of relationships, and most of all, love and forgiveness. 

I am on page 715. The novel is enlightening in contrasting the long, descriptive writing of Tolstoy and the many points of view held within his chapters, to the shorter writing style pioneered by Hemingway and favored by more modern writers. I am learning a great deal.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grandest, Most Bizarre Book Club

I was asked to join the Grandest, Most Bizarre Book Club for their Third Anniversary luncheon this past Wednesday. The club consists of avid readers from the Helotes-Grey Forest-neighboring San Antonio area who meet monthly to discuss books. Grey-Forest artist and club founder is Natalie Bowman, an energetic and engaging spirit. Local award winning author, English prof and historian Cynthia Massey (of The Caballeros of Ruby, Texas fame) hosted the luncheon.

This book club of up to 15 participating members review a wide variety of literature which makes them Grand, and often over a glass of wine with languid discussion in a manner some describe as Bizarre. It was great fun to join these ladies and to talk about my journey as an author and to share stories together. Without readers like this book club, authors would not exist. Thanks again, Natalie, for the invitation and Best Wishes for continued Grand and Bizarre meetings well into the future!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Demands on Your Time

I face the same dilemma as most authors -- finding time to actually write when faced with living and with book promotions. I've heard from authors who devote most of their waking lives to their craft -- honing writing skills, plot and character research, interacting with agents and publishers -- often at the expense of less time with family and friends, much less with social contacts and organizations. Authors can become "hermits", separated from the world and immersed in their stories. The price paid is in fewer contacts, but their rewards could be great in terms of self-satisfaction, literary and financial success.

The majority of authors I know do not make their living from writing. That includes me. We try to schedule  time to write (which includes research), time for physical activity, time for family matters and for friends, etc. I am not always successful. This is especially true for authors who are independent publishers like many of us who have released our books as electronic publications. Some bloggers recommend e-book authors spend 80 percent of their time on publicity and 20 percent on writing. Getting your work noticed among over an estimated 3 million ebook releases a year is no simple feat. In the last couple of weeks I've sent electronic press releases about Ransomed Earth to hundreds of organizations hoping that the addressee will read it and not delete the information, or that it doesn't end up in the junk mail box. Included were releases to international organizations and eco-tourism companies given the plot themes in Ransomed Earth. It is very satisfying to see that over two dozen page visits were recorded on my web page from the international community -- primarily China and Norway. At least someone read the press release. Whether that ends up in a sale or spreading the word to others remain to be seen. But it is a payback for the many hours of work.

Most of the time my schedule becomes skewed as I am pulled to work in the yard because the weather is fine, or visit family because it's a birthday, or just to read. I have not accepted a schedule that is firm which is my own fault. I usually do better as the story takes shape and I am called by the characters or the muses to the keyboard very early in the morning....thank goodness for naps!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Web Page Update and Blog

Welcome to my new web page format! I've migrated from my old server to thanks to some hard work by my webmaster guru Kelly Kozlowsky. This new approach allows me to respond to questions or comments about my books, so I am very excited about that opportunity. Feel free to post a comment, or contact me via email address listed under the Contact page on my toolbar.

I will be talking with members of two book clubs this month and next (see calendar), and am excited about discussions with some of the most important people in the world -- READERS! Hooray for READERS!!! It is always good to get feedback -- likes and dislikes about plot, characters, etc. Thank you, Readers!!