I guess you could call me a Renaissance Woman or just a Jill-of-All-Trades. I haven't mastered any yet. The operative word is 'yet.' Because I am now trying my hand at blogging. Another way to avoid writing my novels. Yes, I said novels. I am the reluctant author of 2 novels to date. Hopefully this blog will give me a push towards finishing at least one of those ambitious tomes. We can only see.
Yeppers, I do, cause I just did a critique of a friends almost finished book and it makes me want to fling money at her so she could quit her day job and write full time.
Wish someone would do that for me.
I receive emails everyday from various self-help writers groups/blogs/companies. Writers Digest saturates my inbox with multiple emails touting various books, webinars, articles, blogs...all aimed at helping the would be writer find an agent and have that agent hook a publishing deal...oh and also they want to part you from your meager funds too.
I read the blogs, pass on the books and look askance at the princely cost of writing courses and webinars. Why spend good money on stuff you can go down to your local library and check out, for free. Or I just surf the web to find the info I need. Like how to write a sword fight scene. That was one I queried google on and found a plethora of articles. I also shopped Amazon and downloaded samples from interestingly titled books that would help me spruce up my plot or they had the secret formula to writing a best seller.
But I didn't want to write a formula book...I wanted to write a unique take on a very old subject. Trouble is...so are a lot of other writers and they are all self publishing their ebooks on Amazon. I seem to be late to the parade.
So, back to the title of this blog. I want to be a publisher and publish my own book and those of my friends, cause they are good writers, just stuck on the hamster wheel of work, bill paying, work, bill paying. Just like me.
The title of my blog is The Reluctant Author and I have emulated it fairly well, if I say so myself. But the time has come to put up or shut up.
My current WIP is now 23k words and the end is in sight. It is now time to start creating an author platform to promote my book. Wow... a real book, complete and readable, who would have thunk? So I must create a blog that reflects my professional status. This reluctant stuff was fun but that is all is has been...fun.
My new blog will be serious and informative and full of contests and interviews and all that wonderful stuff that a serious author needs to have. I will be keeping this blog but it will continue to be my sounding board, a place for me to come to muse and complain and just blow off steam.
So what is going to be the name of my new blog? After careful consideration (not really, I am doing this all by the seat of my pants!) I guess I should use my name so that my new fans will be able to find me. But should I remain on Blogspot or move to Wordpress? That is the next decision I have to make. Do any of you know which is a better platform? I have a Wordpress presence but I am having a difficult time getting into to it.
So my question of the day is this:
What blog platform is better: Wordpress or Blogspot and why did you choose it?
What a wonderful thing to happen today. I looked at my blogs and found that I had missed a nomination! What fun! Wonderful, brave, and talented Jo Murphy nominated me for the Shine On Award. The logo is below, as are the rules for the recipient and my revelations and my own nominations.
Here are the Rules:
Display the award logo on your blog.
Link back to the person who nominated you.
State 7 things about yourself
Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award requirements.
Seven things about myself:
I taught myself to read using My Book House books. They were a series of wonderful books that was a part of World Book Encyclopedia. My parents had purchased them when I was born. The story that I read all by myself at the age of 3 and a half was The Little Red Hen.
I have wanted to be when I grew up (in order): A horse, the first female jockey, the first female astronaut, a radio announcer, an interpreter, a poet, a professional artist, a Disc Jockey, an author of romance novels, a horse trainer, an author of historical novels.
My occupations included: Bank Vault Teller, Disc Jockey, Bartender, Pastry Chef, Short-Order Cook, Horse Barn Manager, Professional Dressage Groom, Graphic Designer for a XXX movie company, Administrative Assistant to various forms of business, Faux Finish Painter, House Painter, Portrait Artist, T-Shirt Designer, computer programmer, marketing assistant, insurance sales person, car sales person, and now would be author.
I have been writing one of my current WIP for 7 years.
I currently am the caretaker of a beautiful blue merle collie, a Bengal-cross (I think) cat, two Arabian geldings and 8 chickens, 3 of which are little red hens!
I have been married once, divorced and am currently living in sin with a man for the past 17 years...I think.
While doing research for my current work in progress "The Beautiful Woman has Come" I found out that my name, Debra, may have its roots in Ancient Egyptian and instead of meaning The Bee in Hebrew it is from the word for Hippopotamus, which is dby (or Debbie!) in Ancient Egyptian! How rude!
I know that isn't very many nominees, but I realized that my blogfriend Jo nominated most of the blogs I follow! Go figure *smile*. Anyway the three ladies that I did recognize are fellow authors of Ancient Egyptian fiction so they are near and dear to my heart. They all have novels that just came out and are available on Amazon and all three are excellent reads. I would suggest you high tail it over to Amazon and buy them. Yes, right now. *smile* Once again, thank you Jo, you are my hero.
This past week a new friend, who is a fellow author, published her second book and it is available on Amazon. I had the good fortune to be a beta reader for it and hopefully my puny contribution helped.
L.M. Ironside is the authors moniker and she just published her ebook Crook and Flail. It is the second book in her She-King series about Hatshepsut. It is wonderful to read. I encourage all those Ancient Egyptian historical fiction readers to pop over to Amazon and check it out. The reviews are great.
Which brings me to my WIP. I need to finish it. Libbe (L.M. Ironside) was good enough to give my new book a glance and she gave me some wonderful tips and a lot of food for thought. So now I have to hurry up and get it done and available. You see...she is writing her third book and it is on Akhenaten...Ack!
So the race is on to see who is first to get their book up. Of course I don't want just any old thing up, I want a perfect piece...so perhaps Libbe will be the winner in the speed competition. I have this awful tendency to constantly edit my edits. If I remember correctly a fellow blogger once wrote a wonderful post on turning off that awful inner editor...time to reread that post and put the suggestions to work.
It is the middle of February and the sky had large cottony looking clouds floating in a sea of vivid blue. This morning saw those clouds dark and threatening and spilling a bit of rain on the dry parched desert.
The weathers precariousness is causing me to delay planting my garden. My poor little seedlings are growing spindlely and pale. I really need a length of good weather. Maybe next week.
Now to my writing...I have been doing some much needed editing on The Beautiful Woman Has Come. Several people have been encouraging me to "get cracking" and finish it. I agree with them, so I am giving what I have written a hard look and plotting out the rest. Right now I have over 12k words written, a good start, but far from finished.
I thought I'd post a wee snip of the beginning...just a tickle.
The Beautiful Woman Has Come, copyright 2013 Debra Giuffrida, all rights reserved.
A sweet scented breeze blew against my face as we walked down the main corridor of the palace of the Good God, the Aegyptos king. The air was full of the aroma of honey and burning incense and roasting meat. Servants, their arms laden with folded linen, painted amphores or baskets full of ripe fruit, passed us giving our party only cursory glances. Armed guards stood watch at doorways and the light of the sun streamed through openings high up on the walls, twinkling off their bronze spear tips. We approached a large open gathering hall filled with men and women dressed in all manner of clothing from lands far and wide, come, no doubt, to pay homage to the Aegyptos royal pair. These foreigners stood about in clusters of two or more and the stench from their bodies caused me to pause. My guardian stopped, waiting for me to continue, but leopard skin did not have such patience.
“You must not keep the Good God waiting, hurry along, child,” he said with a rap of his staff.
Now I was a child? It took all my strength to keep from shouting at this little man. Refugee or no refugee I would be treated with respect due a queen. But I dared not test my position, yet. So with set jaw and hands tight fisted I followed leopard skin but neither hurried my steps nor hung back.
At the far end of the hall sat the Good God upon a golden throne, his golden sandaled feet resting upon an equally golden stool. He wore a blue and gold helmet and held the symbols of his royal power crossed over his chest. Next to him sat a small stern looking woman with a huge black wig that dwarfed her. It hung down past her narrow shoulders and had gold beads interwoven within the braids. Upon it she wore a strange looking helmet-like crown, also made entirely of gold, with a sun disk between a pair of large upright horns. My hand absently went up to my windblown tangled locks and at that moment the Aegyptos queen looked straight at me. It was only then that I wished I could have had time to repair my appearance before being presented. Would this fellow queen see me as her equal, a young girl of 16 summers, old before her time, or would she, like leopard skin, look down her nose and treat me as the poor refugee that I truly was?
Today is an amazing day. Not only did I wake up to a beautiful sunny day but I found that I had been nominated for an award. How awesome is that? I don't win many unsolicited awards. I win the occasional random drawing and have been lucky enough to place first in art competitions. But never has anyone nominated me for an online award for my writing (blog or otherwise).
So thank you Lara! Below I have attempted to fulfill my obligations to the Liebster Award!
1. What's your favorite writing/reading snack?
I don't eat while I write. But I do drink wine occasionally, coffee mostly but only in the mornings.
2. Where have you always wanted to visit?
Egypt and Scotland, desperately!
3. What's your favorite accent?
Scottish for men, but I also enjoy a French accent and a well bred (posh) English accent.
4. What movie do you always watch when you find it on TV?
Several...Dirty Dancing, Casablanca and Young Frankenstein.
5. What's your favorite hobby?
All of my hobbies are my favorites: horseback riding, reading, drawing, knitting, baking, gardening...it is difficult to nail down just one.
6. Say you can quit your day job and do whatever you want. What would you do?
Ahem, I did and I am doing whatever I want which is taking care of horses, riding occasionally, writing my novels and gardening and enjoying my collie and my cat.
7. What made you want to start writing?
I think the writing bug bit me back in the 1970's, my first foray was a really bad piece of romance. But I have been a poet since I was in my teens. Published too!
8. What is your favorite genre?
I adore Historical Fiction.
9. Where is your writing/reading nook?
I don't have one. I write in the living room, sitting on the couch with my laptop perched on my lap.
10. What book do you wish you had written?
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
11. Early bird, night owl, or something in between?
All of the above as the need arises.
I also understand that I must nominate 5 blogs with a following of 200 or under, well, now that is something of a problem. I have little time to follow blogs and most of them are well over the 200 mark, but I did find these favorite seven cause I couldn't stop at 5! So here they are. Wonderful doesn't describe them well enough. And below these nominees are the 11 questions that they need to answer. Oh...and they have to, in turn, nominate 11 more blogs and ask 11 other questions. A huge cycle of recognition! I found the rules on another blog and here they are:
If you receive the award, you should:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you've sent the award to forward it to their five favourite bloggers and keep it going!
Questions for the nominees:
1. What prompted you to start your blog?
2. Have you ever published anything, and if so what?
3. Do you belong to a writers group (if you are a writer)?
4. If you could only take one book with you on a desert island, which would it be?
5. What is your favorite time in history and why?
6. If you could live anywhere on earth, where would it be?
7. What is your favorite beverage?
8. Who is your favorite person in history and why?
9. What book are you currently reading?
10. What season is your favorite and why?
11. If you could go back and change anything in your life what would it be?
So there it is. Thank you very much Lara for nominating me and good luck to my nominees!
Today was beautiful, all clear blue skies and warm temperatures. The Las Vegas valley weather is dicey this time of year. One day it is spring-like the next it has wind gusts up to 25 mph. But for today I am enjoying 70 degrees and a balmy breeze.
I have been tweaking my new WIP, stuck on this one scene between my MC and another important character. Trying not only to get the emotions correct but the tempo and flow of the prose. There is something missing from this scene which I will post below for you to see for yourself. It is a bit of a spoiler but that is OK. Sometimes you have to let the cat out of the bag, at least for a moment or two. *smile*
This past week I have had the honor of being included as a beta reader for the second book in a series. The first book was well received as an ebook and is not going to paperback -- exciting times, exciting time. The second book is looking better than the first, at least IMHO. The MC is younger than the first MC but more mature in more ways than one. I also think the author likes this particular MC better. At least that is what is coming across. The prose and story structure of this second book is better than the first too. The author has grown.
Anyway, I'm liking it.
So now for this weeks scene.
The Beautiful Woman Has Come, copyright 2013, by Debra J. Giuffrida, all rights reserved.
The royal stables was a vast complex of several buildings surrounding a large arena divided into sections. Within the largest section, horses were being worked, in long reins or in hand or behind the small light chariot that Kemet was known, by sun-browned military men, their short white kilts gleaming in the sun.
Hotpi led me towards one of the buildings away from the arena.
As we walked into the dim coolness of the mud brick stable, I inhaled deeply. The air smelled of hay and dung, leather and urine. Horses nickered softly as we passed. When I was a young girl I had spent most of my days within my father’s royal stables. It had been the only place I had felt completely safe, completely at peace. Sadness gripped my heart as I spied a dappled grey horse, its head hung over a short wall separating it from the aisle. It yawned, exposing great ivory colored teeth.
“Apolloiana,” I whispered.
“What did you say?” Hotpi asked not slowing his stride.
“That one, there, has the looks of my horse ... from before,” my voice thickened. Hotpi stopped when we were opposite the grey.
“This one? He is mine,” Hotpi said running his hand along the horses glossy neck.
We both turned. Hotpi stiffened then relaxed.
“WerAt!” Hotpi addressed the old man walking towards us. “This is Nefertiti, Lord Aye’s ward,” he said pulling me around to face the old man. “She is the one I told you of.”
The old man nodded his head and looked me over.
“She is as beautiful as you said. From Sparta, you say?”
I stiffened. “Yes, I am Sparta’s Queen, my husband, Menelaus, is King,” I said before Hotpi could answer for me.
“You told me not that she was wed.” The old man turned towards Hotpi, a deep frown creasing his age lined forehead. Hotpi brushed off the statement with a wave of his hand.
“He has no claim on her.”
“By her own words he does,” the old man glared at Hotpi.
“That will do, WerAt,” Hotpi said in a low threatening voice and the old man took a step back with a quick nod of his head.
“Forgive,” he said.
“Fix Heru’s Pride and Anate is Blessed to my racing chariot, I wish to show Nefertiti the raceway.”
I wanted to rip my hand out of his and spit at him. Once again I was just a commodity to be talked about, bartered, used and then thrown away.
Hotpi fixed me with those liquid brown eyes of his.
“Is everything all right?” He cocked his head to the side and smiled. “WerAt is my grandfather. Forgive my rudeness. He is Lord Yuya, the Master of Horse, Aye’s father, your guardian,” his voice rose at the end along with his eyebrows.
I must have appeared puzzled as he continued to add description upon description. I wet my lips and took a breath.
“I am Helen, Queen of Sparta, daughter of a god and will be treated as such.” A chill ran over me as I spoke the words. Hotpi dropped my hand and took a step back, then bowed deeply at the waist.
“Forgive me, Nefertiti,” he said remaining bent over.
“You will not call me Nefertiti, I am Helen,” I said my voice quivering with suppressed emotion. I swallowed. Hotpi stood up and looked me in the eyes. The urge to turn and run caused my leg muscles to bunch up preparing to do just that, but his eyes, his eyes held me fast.
“As you wish, but I still want to show you the raceway. That is why my family stays here in MenNefer, to race,” he said a smile curling his full lips, the skin around his eyes crinkling. “Come Helen,” he said reaching out for my hand.
Today is the first day of February. Look at your calendar, your cell phone, even your computer screen...it's right there for all to see. One whole month into the new year...one whole month of avoiding my resolutions. What about you? I try to keep my resolution list as short as possible and this year my list is two resolutions long. Just two....
Oh goody, my current just walked out the door so I can finally turn off the TV. Wow, the quiet is deafening. Now I can work on the other project I have on my plate. The secret project.
Last month, on a horse rescue Facebook page, a black Arabian gelding was posted who was available for adoption. His pictures showed him before rescue and after rescue. My heart was touched by this poor boy. Currently I have a horse, but he is 26 years old and suffering from Cushings disease which is debilitating. I can only arrest his condition and make him comfortable, not reverse it. So, with a heavy heart, I retired my boy and am allowing him to just be a horse for the remainder of his life. Currently he is fat, happy and pain free.
But...and this is the worst but of all...when his feet become too laminatic (I don't know if that is a word...laminitis is a by product of Cushings and is the condition where his feet become so bad that the hoof wall separates from the rest of the foot...VERY painful, crippling!) I will then have to make the difficult decision to put him down.
I know that I will be a complete basket case when that time comes. He has been a part of my life for the past 17 years. The only way that I know of to soothe the pain of his loss (somewhat) would be to have another horse to love and ride. So, the search started and low and behold I saw the picture of JT Dark Knight.
I have been in contact with the rescue group in Eugene Oregon and the wonderful woman who runs the facility. We have been communicating through email only for the past month. Just this morning she asked if I had found any transportation companies that would could ship JT. Wow...my stomach muscles are all bunched up and my heart is racing and my palms are sweating. This is really happening! OMG!
I now have another project to use to avoid writing!
Do you ever have those kind of days that you want to shout at the world but then, luckily, your real brain kicks in and stops you? I'm having one of those months! There is a discussion going on over at Goodreads and I am in the middle of it. One side is emotionally defending an author and the other side is agreeing to disagree. That is fine. I can deal with emotional people. I just stay calm and let them rant on then leave in a huff because I won't rise to the bait. What I am having a problem with is the agreeable ones. The author in question wrote a HF set in the era nearest and dearest to my heart. Well, to put it mildly, I felt that she coped out. But that isn't the problem. Someone likened the book to, what she called, "chick lit" and I was offended. You are probably scratching your head about now and wondering why my dander is up. Well, it's like this...I am offended by the term "chick lit" because it infers that "chicks" aren't smart enough for true literature, we have to have the dumbed down version! Our language skills are in question here! I thought the book was written for 6th graders! (Gotta stop using exclamation points...) Is that the reading level that we must write at to get published? Has our vocabulary sunk so low that a typical book is thought of as a "bible-length book by some authors who take pride in decorating every page with language comparable to a university linguist professor."? What makes matters worse is the my own niece, who was educated in California schools, is using this verbal shorthand that is just undecipherable. "This single mom tired of livin in the fox, but what W2s in the mailbox. I'm out this bitch!!!!!! " So what does this mean? It was translated to me. She said that she is tired of living in her dumpy apartment and can't wait for her W2 to be mailed to her so she can move to somewhere better. OK...I can see that, can you?
This past November I partook in NaNoWriMo and failed to complete the 50k words. But I have an excuse! For the final two weeks of November and the first week of December I painted Christmas scenes on storefront windows. And here is the proof:
This is a simple window that I painted for a local gallery. This is the second year for them as clients, too bad it will be my last as they have since closed their doors. Very sad.
And this next window is one of several I painted for a local store:
Three elves carrying a candy cane. I had a blast painting that one.
This one is also for the same store. Santa and his reindeer with Rudolf at the front!
The above is for a local wine bar/restaurant named Sunset & Vines. I painted grapevine wreaths for them on both of their front and back doors. This is a long standing account as I used to work for them in both the wine bar and the restaurant!
It is now seven days into the month of January and the new year and I can tell you that I failed at NaNoWriMo. Failed...big time. I started off gungho and my keyboard smoked right up until Thanksgiving then nothing, nada...zilch.
My shoulders rise and fall with a huge sigh but it doesn't change the fact that I am afraid I will never finish any of my books! This is scary. I can laugh all I want and call myself a reluctant author but deep down I always believed that I would finish something.
All right, enough sobbing and whining. Do something about it. New Years resolutions are wonderful but they are made to be broken so instead I will make a checklist that I review daily. On this checklist will be only four things. The less I have to do the more likely I will be to accomplish them. My logic is frightening.
So here is my checklist:
Complete chores by 1pm
Check blogs, emails and Facebook
Work on one WIP and complete 500 words +/-
Take a nap
I like number four the best.
So what are your resolutions? Did you make a huge list with tons of stuff you are sure to break or did you keep yours short and sweet. I would love to know.