Friday, October 29, 2010

The Ghost Speaks

~~What do you do when a ghost refuses to shut up? If you're a writer, you take dictation. I thought I'd tell you about my ghost. It is nearly Halloween, after all.
~~During the Cherry Hill House Party on the Forum--Here, we found some of the characters in the past of my mythical west Georgia town of Cherry Hill. My novel-in-progress, Friendly Fire, is set in the present, but as I created back story for the other writers, I created a history for Laura Grace Chandler's hometown. That history included the founder, Lawton Cherry or "The Law." As we wrote, he became more than than just a name in the "history book" of Cherry Hill to me. Law Cherry began to speak and tell me his story. I thought you might enjoy reading two snips about my ghost. Who knows, someday I might have to write his story.
~~Lawton Cherry was six foot eight and weighed a bit over two hundred pounds. It was the ranginess that fooled them into thinking Cherry was weak. That mistake was apparent the minute they challenged him. Law Cherry could out reach and out punch anyone. For one man, it was his last mistake. But he wasn't worth a cuss any way.
~~"Law, I know you is prodigiously wealthy," Josiah Barnes spat a brown stream dangerously close to the large mud-caked shoes, "but why you won't buy a slave that's cheaper than any 'cropper is beyond me."
~~The light brows drew down over the slate blue blue eyes. Anyone else knowing the man well, would have run then.
~~"I might consider it, Josiah, if I needed all my money for 'bacca and lightning like you do." The voice was quiet, but full of disdain.
~~There were only two vices in Lawton Cherry's book--wasting time and wasting his money.
~~Have a happy Halloween. May your ghosts all give you good stories. ; )

Monday, October 18, 2010

Entitled To Be the Best

~~If every sentence of your novel's elevator pitch--the four or five sentence synopsis--doesn't tie back to your title's image and theme, it may not be the right title for your novel. That's what I've discovered was the problem with my novel-in-progress' original working title. Mother's Day referred directly to Laura Grace Chandler, my main character, and indirectly to her daughter, Samantha. The novel is so much deeper and broader and the title wasn't big enough to cover it.
~~Before you remind me that a novel's title isn't set in stone (or ink) until a publisher prints it, let me assure you, I know. My need for the best working title is all for me. When a friend, who knows the story of the novel commented that she wouldn't pick it up if all she knew was the title, I knew something was wrong. In fact, I think I already knew that. I'd been having trouble answering the question, "What is your novel about?" for some time. As I mentioned the characters Rosemary, Dean, and Mack, my subconscious was telling me that Mother's Day didn't fit. So, I went on a title hunt.
~~My first try was Lady in Waiting. At least I could tie this title to Laura Grace, Samantha, and Rosemary. Some of my fellow CCWC members liked it better than Mother's Day, but something was still wrong. Lady in Waiting sounded like a historical romance. And my book isn't either. It's a contemporary and not a romance at all. So, back to the drawing board.
~~On the Forum, the October Exercise in the Writers Exercise folder proved to be fertile ground. And yet, I still didn't see it. John did. The exercise centered on Mack Singer, a retired Marine, now teacher. As he spoke through the free association exercise on physical and emotional abuse of Dean, he used the term "friendly fire" and it was perfect. It just took me a week to realize it.
~~During MeccaFest, I was asked constantly about what I was writing. As I used Friendly Fire to describe my novel, I was struck by how easy it had become to explain my theme. In other words, the perfect title had appeared.
~~So, here it is--my new elevator pitch for Friendly Fire. Tell me what you think. ; )
Our deepest wounds come from the friendly fire of those around us who should be our strongest support. Laura Grace Chandler, a retired, recently widowed teacher, finds her friendly fire comes from losing her husband of many years and childlessness. The foster child she adopts has been sexually abused. Laura Grace's best friend and her son are abused by their husband and father. Healing must come by helping each other. Their new friend, a retired Marine, has wounds from his own friendly fire. Together they will learn to heal and love again. Friendly Fire is the first of two novels set in Cherry Hill, Georgia.
~~By the way, as an added bonus, I've found the title for Friendly Fire's sequel as well--Line of Fire. I'll save that story for another day. ; )

Friday, October 15, 2010

What a Weekend at MeccaFest!

What a weekend! MeccaFest was a blast, a wonderful weekend, and a great couple of days for the Carrollton Creative Writers Club. The photos above come from our tents where T. L. Gray, Diana Black, Mary Cunningham, and I sold our books. The second photo is of Amanda from Bowdon, one of my customers. I sold a lot of books--more than I really dreamed I would. It's a really good feeling to simply tell someone about your work. When they turn right around and buy a copy, it's beyond good. ; )

Along with selling our books outside amid the art, CCWC also read our works in the Mabry Threatre. Here's a shot of me reading from my novel in progress, Friendly Fire. Applause is as good as a purchased book for a writer's ego.

Penny Lewis, Director of the Carrollton Cultural Art Center, had warned us that there would be some subtle performance art on Sunday. She wasn't fooling! Our 'Bronze Man' was wonderful! He moved through the crowd with deliberate stealth and began interacting. One time I watched him turn a shy 4-year-old ballerina into a fast friend without a word, simply by mimicking her dance positions.
All in all, MeccaFest 2010 was beyond all my expectations. Great job, CCWC and the Artist Guild of the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center. On to next year. ; )

Sunday, October 3, 2010


It's coming this weekend--October 9 and 10, from 10-5, MeccaFest 2010. If you like good books, come by the CCWC tents near the steps for children's books, devotionals, and novels. Throw in a little women's humor and you have a great selection. My devotionals--An Easter Walk and A Christmas Walk will be on sale both days. Members of the Carrollton Creative Writers Club will be presenting "Local Voices" in the Mabry Theatre of both days. Saturday is 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM and Sunday's readings will be 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM. We will read excerpts from novels and memoirs, poetry, and children's stories. I'm reading at 11:30 on Saturday and at 1:00 on Sunday. Both days will be excerpts from my novel in progress, Mother's Day. Be sure and stop by and say hello.