72 and Counting

A few random thoughts about how I came to be publishing my first novel at age 72.

by Nikki Everts

A few random thoughts about how I came to be publishing my first novel at age 72.

I have always written – mostly for myself in journals where I bemoan my fate, rant against those closest to me and try to sort out the confusion of my life. These journals are confined to a dusty box and while I dread the thought of my children reading them when I’m dead, I cannot yet bring myself to throw them away. They are embarrassingly dull and depict a person going round and round the same mulberry bush of problems year after year. However, writing down my thoughts and feelings when I knew no one would be watching gave me a fluidity and freedom in writing that has been very helpful. So when the real authors advise us newbies to just keep writing, they are on to something.

I’d still be writing only for myself if it weren’t for writers’ groups, gatherings and workshops. The first one I dared to participate in was led by an off the wall, erudite bibliophile named Gord Jones who made me believe that my writing was worthy of being read by others. That gift of confidence gave me the impetus to actually write one of the two stories I’d been playing around with. A novel writing course offered at a local college was my next step. The teacher insisted at our first meeting that we break into groups based on genre. Naturally, I panicked – I had to choose between my two darlings: mystery or sci-fi? I simply could not decide. Then a woman burst into the classroom late. I immediately liked her and she sat down beside me. She had no qualms about choosing a genre – mystery it was. And there you are; my decision was made. There were three mystery writers and we persisted meeting together long after the course was over. Those monthly meetings motivated me to keep writing chapter after chapter, if only to have something to read to the group. Although I enjoy the process of writing I am not disciplined and need extrinsic motivation. So, know yourself and put in place whatever you need to keep walking, running, crawling or limping towards your writing goal.

I’d imagined the life of a writer in an ivory tower sort of way. Perhaps this works for some, but the encouragement, feedback and contributions of others have made my writing much better than it ever could’ve been had I gone it alone. The novel I just published with Arboretum Press, Evidence of Uncertain Origin, began thirty years ago when, for reasons I do not remember, I daydreamed a vivid scene that became the climax of the story. I spent a very long time figuring out who the people were in the scene and how they got there and what happened to them afterwards. The story shifted and morphed as I shared it with others and became a better story than the one I started with. I know it is terrifying to share your writing with others – it is a tender shoot of your very own tender soul – but taking the risk really is worth it.

Stay true to your story. Don’t take short cuts or try to be clever. Don’t fall in love with your own words. Integrity makes or breaks a story. If a sub plot or character or those well-crafted words do not harmonize with the whole, be ruthless and kill them off. You know the ones I mean.

I’m not sure I could’ve completed a novel any earlier in my life than I have now. I truly do believe that it is never too late to find out what you love to do and do it. So go for it!

Graduating in in 1969 from the University of California, Berkeley, Nikki travelled for several months, arriving in Montréal in April, 1970 where she lived until 1992. Nikki came of age in California during the sixties and held a sympathetic view of the Front de libération du Québec until the October Crisis. The events leading up to the FLQ’s kidnapping and murder of Pierre Laporte, the beauty of Montréal and the complexity of Québec politics inspired the setting and backdrop of Evidence of Uncertain Origin, Nikki’s first mystery novel.

Nikki lives and writes in Guelph, Ontario. She has self-published a book of poetry, connect dis connect with the help of Vocamus Press and developed writing workshops under the auspices of her small business, Scripted Images. She is working on a second mystery novel.

Purchase links for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sources here.

Trillium: an author interview with M.L. Holton

Trillium, a multi-generational saga set in Ontario’s fruit-growing Niagara Peninsula.

I recently reviewed M.L. Holton’s novel Trillium, a multi-generational saga set in Ontario’s fruit-growing Niagara Peninsula. I live less than an hour north of this area, and local history has always been an interest of mine. I thoroughly enjoyed the book (my full review is here), so I asked the author to talk a little bit more about the work.

Tell us about what inspired Trillium.

I had been thinking for awhile about how I wanted to focus on a rural environment rather than an urban one as per my last two novels, Economic Sex and The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous.

Small farming communities are tightly-bound social networks of multi-generational cross-breeding. They are, in the main, supportive and stable. In North America, they are rapidly becoming a thing of the past as the young move to the cities for better employment opportunities and generational farmers, with miniscule profit-margins, sell-out to larger agri-business concerns. The migration is undercutting the bedrock of our uniquely Canadian society.

I also wanted to explore and expand on the on-going controversy between ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’. How do we become who we are?

Trillium spans a period of 250 years, from early settlement on the Niagara Peninsula to the early 2000. This timeframe gave me a much larger canvas to work.

❖ How has your life influenced your writing, specifically in this book?

There’s no question that I have pulled on my life experiences to craft this work.

I grew up on the fringe of a farming community in Halton County. We raised sheep and fowl on a small scale. As a child, I watched and learned from my enterprising father, (born and raised in the area), as he constantly interacted with the landscape and livestock on our property. Nature was omnipresent – dictating birth, life and death. Working outside with my brothers and my father was always fun and pleasurable. Wind in our hair, dirt up our fingernails. This quasi-bucolic country lifestyle was very far removed from the social lifestyle that my mother managed to create for our family. She was involved with various local charities, sport associations and social clubs ‘in the city’. That activity widened our community circle and life experiences. My father’s family business was involved with the early development of a yarn company in Hamilton during the 19th century. But, by the mid 1980s, this century-old family firm experienced an acute downturn as a result of cheaper South American and Asian imports. We all had to adjust.

As example, I was removed from a distanced private school of 600 students and started attending a nearby public high school of 3000 students. Rather than getting picked up by a bus, I walked to school. To a wide-eyed teen, the differences between the two learning institutions were acute. Coordinated school uniforms were replaced by the media-driven trends of ‘fashion’. Individual ‘popularity’ was valued more than team work or basic ‘competence’.

These kinds of juxtapositions caught my eye and ear and became a kind of foundation about my evolving observations about the ‘otherness’ of people. I seemed a perpetual ‘outsider’, and did not fully integrate into any group ‘clique’ after the transition.

I believe this ‘outsider’ status has served me well, long term.  It gives me not only an individualistic perception of ‘what’s going on’ but it provides a critical emotional distance to ‘assess’. I have always thought of myself as a ‘witness’ more than a participant. It is a good vantage point and strong starting point for any writer: distanced observation.

❖The cover is your own art work! Tell us about it.

I wanted a cover image that amplified the central idea of natural growth in the story. In this instance, the focus was on a regional grape vine. Initially, I started with a stark photo image but it was too hard. I then tried a stylized graphic but it was too ephemeral. I finally settled on a close-up detail from an oil painting I had done some years ago ~ of a man’s hand holding a grape cluster. To my mind, the image is perfect. It is a human hand connected to the growing land.

❖What do you hope readers will take from Trillium?

My intent was to write an entertaining as well as enlightening book about the evolving rural area around the southern end of Lake Ontario, in Canada.  

In order to do that, I crafted the bedlam and chaos of a ‘good story’, filled with emotional arcs and empathy etc,, but interwove the story around fascinating pieces of local history from the Greater Hamilton and Niagara area. The medley of colourful characters is also influenced by larger global events, like the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930s and the two World Wars of the twentieth century. I wanted to make this fictional story ‘believable’ to the contemporary reader. As far as I know, no-one in the vicinity has attempted a similarly ambitious ‘grassroots’ construct.

I think my voice is rather unique in the telling. But, ultimately, readers must determine if that is true or not.

What is odd or quirky or engaging about your story or characters?

There’s plenty of quirk in this work, primarily because each character has an early failing or foible that manifests later. These insights drive the story forward so that there are ‘aha’ moments when a later incident clicks into place. It’s basic ‘cause & effect’ that amplifies the intimate causality of human interactions.

Character names were chosen to reflect the ethnic origins of their families and to help readers keep the large cast of characters clear in their minds. As example, Gregorio is clearly not part of the O’Sullivan clan …

One outstanding quirk was the development of the simpleton savant Anna. Illiterate and sheltered from the world by her protective Italian family, Anna, untethered from normal social conventions, has an uncanny knack with plants. She can grow anything. Her simplistic yet attuned capability irreversibly alters the course of her family’s evolution. To say more may ruin the story for some, so I’ll stop there except to say, readers do seem to resonate with her. She’s a peach, so to speak.

To whom would you recommend this book to? Are there any trigger warnings or age restrictions?

I would recommend this story to anyone who loves rambling family sagas, epic storytelling, and historical fiction that rides the vicissitudes of human logic and emotions. There’s a lot going on in this story: good, bad, ugly and even, at times, indifference as the narrative voice pulls back to ‘observe’.

As each generation matures into adulthood, Trillium could be seen as an adult ‘coming-of-age’ tale. As for warnings, there are three sex scenes that are rather graphic. Their violence is an integral part of the story, so that’s that.

Would Trillium translate well to the screen? If so, who should make it or star in it?

Ideally, I think this would make an engaging Canadian series ~ a timely cross between the British drama, ‘Peaky Blinders’ and the well-scripted American family drama, ‘Bloodline’, set in Florida.

Trillium would, of course, have to be 100% Canadian. Why? Because Canada is still very young on the world stage. We are in desperate need of these in-depth local stories to explain the unique evolution of our own particular civil society. Otherwise, we’ll continue to be swamped by better told English-speaking stories from elsewhere.

My dream team would be a co-production between Anglo-Canadian, Irish and Italian producers (to achieve maximum market share), with a well-rounded cast from each ethnic origin. The director, showrunners and crew would be Canadian. It could all be shot on location around the southern end of Lake Ontario – from hovels to mansions.

I have done a preliminary casting, just for fun. In the end though, that’s a pipedream for a writer. If the title was optioned by an established production company, all those casting and location decisions would be their responsibility. Yes, I am the originator of this story, but a team of seasoned scriptwriters would have to flush it out to make it truly noteworthy as well as globally marketable. The story is all there, for the right team.

What genre is Trillium? Is this your preferred genre to write in? What do you read?

I call this a hybrid historical fiction. As I explained above, I wrote a ‘good story’ around many current and timely issues.

In the past, I have written poetry, social history, journalism, and two other long-form fictional works. I love the nuances of languages and the endless possibilities that they offer to an open imagination.

My reading, as a human on the planet, has always been ferocious.

Tell us about your writing process.

For this title, I followed a strict regimen. From February to October of 2018, I did nothing but write, edit, re-craft and finalize the work. Literally, 10am to 6pm, 5 days a week. I took weekends off to recharge and took hourly lunches during the writing week to refresh myself.

It may interest your readers to know that I wrote a detailed outline for Trillium almost a decade ago. That outline smouldered in my writing box until I found the key to access the story. The key was ‘technology’.

Technology has transformed our lives over a very short period of time. I wanted to ‘document’ that evolution and could do that quite clearly within a historical context.

I stopped this story before the internet became ubiquitous.

LINKS – CA Amazon – https://amzn.to/2q0iEeL

US Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Trillium-Margaret-Lindsay-Holton/dp/0992127289

The Healing Power of Words: Audrey Semprum on finding your way through writing.

Words have the power to bring about healing if allowed to flow out of a painful or confusing situation

Time and circumstance have a way of challenging a person beyond what they feel like they can endure or overcome. As a seasoned writer, the greatest breakthrough I have ever experienced is when I came to the realization that there is viable healing that can be gleaned from addressing a situation with the power and permanence of words.

I have discovered time and again that using words as an anchor grounds me, and helps me come to the place of peace – knowing that somehow everything is going to be okay. I had been a leader for several years in different capacities in my local church, but I had never been so challenged. It was during this time of great trial that I first realized the power of overcoming adversity with words. I was dealt a harsh life blow and I had nothing to stabilize me – mentally and emotionally. I was caught in a perpetual state of anguish and despair. I couldn’t change a thing. The whole situation was out of my control, and just awful.

With great effort on my husband’s part, I was coaxed to come out of my room. I had stowed away in despair and felt powerless to battle the hopelessness that was enveloping me. My husband convinced me to take a ride with him.  As my husband and I quietly headed down the highway, which was our norm, I began to feel a song rise up in my spirit. I wasn’t trying to create anything. I was just trying to survive. I grabbed a pen and a notebook and I began to write down the song. As the words flowed onto the paper a healing washed over me.

When I returned home that day I was changed by the power of the words in the song that I had penned. I had discovered that as I released the hope and the words that were tucked down deep inside that I was able to actualize them as I applied my stored faith from deep within. It wasn’t a momentary breakthrough, but a monumental breakthrough. When I returned home that day I was able to pick up the shattered pieces of my life and move on – no longer broken beyond repair.

Through the years I have applied the same principle when I am faced with other challenging situations. I sit down and I start writing, and as I face my adversities by writing about them I find answers that I hadn’t previously been able to see because of the circumstances. As I write away my problems I find a great release. I am able to tap into an inner strength and peace.  Words indeed, have the power to bring about healing if allowed to flow out of a painful or confusing situation. As a writer, I am grateful for the opportunity that writing allows and I am always amazed at the healing power of words.

Twitter: @audreysemprun

Blog hub – Singular Multiplicities in Art   – links to several online social media sites:  https://audreysemprun.wordpress.com

Pinterest:    https://www.pinterest.com/joyfulnoizministries/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/joyfulnoizministries/

Book Link:  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/creativepreacher 

Email for Public: audrey@audreysemprun.com 


Brief Biography:

Audrey Semprun lives with her husband in the high desert terrain of Prescott, Arizona. Audrey enjoys the peacefulness that living in a small mountain community allows. She gleans inspiration from not only the small town atmosphere, but also from the beauty that surrounds her. She is passionate about her faith, her large family, and about writing. Audrey uses her creativity to relay life lessons in a down to earth and meaningful way – always trying to bring light, love, and hope by means of the poetry and the stories that she shares.

Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt: J.C. Salazar on the journey to become a writer.

I published my first book at the age of 61. So what took me so long? Fear and self-doubt.

I want to write. I have always wanted to write. I published my first book at the age of 61. So what took me so long? Fear and self-doubt. I’ll explain later. I am a late bloomer. As such, I came late to writing. My path to the place where I could don the title of writer with full confidence was a long and frustrating one.

I won’t go into the myriad of personal setbacks, though there were many, so I will just give an overview of my journey. I was an immigrant child at the age of nine. I arrived in Houston, along with my family of seven, in 1965. My life seemingly began that summer.

In reality I had been a dreamer of a child, with notions of creativity since infancy in my family’s farm in Mexico. I discovered this, along with a richness of other facts about myself and other family members once I embarked in writing my first book in earnest. I wrote Of Dreams & Thorns much later than 1965. It wasn’t till after my retirement as a college professor and administrator of a federal college program that I was able to clear my head and heart of all negativity regarding my proclamation that I was indeed a writer.

Of course, in reality I had been writing Dreams since my adolescence, at least. It came to me as vague notions of something that ought to be written down and shared. Aspects of it, bits and pieces, phrases, images, characters speaking their mind, shouting out for attention. I kept telling them I wasn’t ready, or I wasn’t the one. I was afraid to let them down if I lacked skill. After all, I had studied the best writers in the world. How could I presume to join their ranks?

I studied writing even as I taught freshman composition. I eventually learned about a pathetic disconnection between academic and creative writing. I studied poetry (last year I published my book of poems, states of unitedness) and I attended a couple of courses in fiction, taught by members of our University of Houston’s award-winning creative writing program. Alas, it seemed the more I studied, formally and independently, the more I knew that the best way to write and finish a book is to just do it, to borrow from Nike. So I began my book in 2017.

Before that, I wrote lots of poetry and ideas that I never threw away. Forty years wasted, it seems like sometimes. But more often than not, I believe that, for me with my history and circumstances, those 40 years were necessary preparation. Of course, I could have cut that time in half had I made a conscious assessment and decision to just get started. By the time of my retirement, and finally embracing my total freedom of choice, it was 2014.

It took a year to get reacquainted with myself and sort out all types of elements that defined me. All that assessment pointed indubitably to my being a writer. I finally had no more excuses not to act on my truest impulses. I wrote the book in six months, but in reality I had been writing it for forty years, at least at some basic level. The writing experience unleashed a pent-up craving to master the novel form. I made myself go beyond most basic writing book advice, and I assumed the mantle of writer in my own right.

With that, it was as if I gave myself permission to never again let self-doubt or fear of criticism slow me down. When you are a Mexican immigrant child, when you see yourself as a poor country peasant, when you doubt if you have mastered the English language enough to use it creatively, it builds up self-doubt and insecurities. Well, I somehow managed to shed all that garbage. I was well accomplished in many other areas, after all; I certainly had the wherewithal to do it.

I wrote, and I studied, and I wrote. I edited, and edited, and edited. I hired professional cover and book interior designers, and I hired two professional editors. I was investing in my book as if I were a minor “traditional” publisher. I learned the business, and it taught me that my route was to be an independent publisher. The aspects of publishing a book and getting it to market, or “in shelves,” end up falling into a category of business that we creative types seem to hate. I certainly do.

I will not expound much on the trials and tribulations of the modern status of publishing as regards novice writers, but I do recommend a thorough study of it if you are planning to embark in a writing career or adventure of your own.

So there it is — My short version of how I became a writer late in life as opposed to the more ideal time of my twenties through forties. I do regret that I started late, but only because with age come health issues and other things that slow me down. I have so many projects I want to complete. I have grown considerably as a writer since first publishing my two books, but that is part of the process.

Of Dreams and Thorns is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook formats.

You May Say that I’m a Dreamer

What was Dianna Hammond to think when she awoke one September morning after a dream with a title, characters and story arc in her head?

Like many baby-boomers, Dianna Hammond remembers watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Too young to really crush on them, she grew up appreciating the music, and their seemingly unlimited talent. She reads a lot, but mostly non-fiction. So what was she to think when she awoke one September morning after a dream with a title, characters and story arc in her head?

Time X 2 is a time travel love story involving Paul McCartney, pre-1966. Now, that date doesn’t mean a lot to some people, but others firmly believe Paul McCartney was killed in 1966 and replaced with the person currently portraying him. Dianna wasn’t in that camp when the dream came to her; she had to look up the term “PIDer” (one who believes Paul Is Dead), although she does remember thinking “That’s not Paul” when Sergeant Pepper came out in 1967.

Dianna began listening to interviews, watching videos, using the things she saw to make Paul as authentic as she could in her story. In the process, she became convinced that Paul is indeed dead, saying, “I can in seconds flat tell you which picture is Paul or his replacement. The mannerisms of Paul pre-1966 and the current one are inconsistent, as are their speaking voices.”

Why is this important so many years later?

It shows the cognitive dissonance that we all exhibit as we look at life. In the book I use John Lennon’s lyric, ‘Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.’ Written in late 1966 early 1967, coincidence?

What would you like people to take away from the book?

I hope to bring some ‘ah-ha’ moments to people who read it much as Dan Brown did with The DaVinci Code. Please understand, I am in no way comparing myself to him, just using the fact that his book sparked conversation.

Have your life experiences influenced what you are writing in any way?

Yes and no, Paul and Emily have a very healthy relationship even though they come from different times. Personally, my relationships have been one-sided. I’ve been married twice, but I am not sure I have ever been truly in love, so I observed couples who are, mainly my son and his wife, to understand what it must be like to give yourself to another but still hold on to your own individuality.

What do your family and friends think of this new venture? Are they supportive, dismissive, neutral?

My family and friends are very supportive and encouraging. Some (the younger generation) have mocked me for writing about Paul McCartney, but that’s alright, at least they know who he is. My son is currently reading the book to help in mechanics of it. I have had friends read it and they seem to enjoy it. My 91-year-old father says I’m the ‘Grandma Moses’ of writing. I don’t know about that but it has given me enjoyment and I feel as if Paul and Emily are my other children.

Do you have a real-life writing community? 

No, I don’t at the moment. I am looking to reach out to local writers here in Atlanta and join a group soon.

Are you going to pursue an agent, a traditional publishing contract, a smaller indie house, or self-publication…and what’s driving that choice? Or is it too soon to tell?

I am on the 4th draft and final editing. I plan to pursue traditional publishing through an agent. I think I would feel more comfortable with an agent guiding my way. Let the querying begin!.

What’s next?

I retired early at the age of 61, I am now 63. I am single so I have unlimited freedom to pursue this new adventure. I’ve been thankful that this has given me a purpose in retirement I am outlining the second in the series which will be called Time X 4. Keeping the theme going.

Dianna can be found on Twitter @DiannaHammond90

Critical Learnings: Eileen Curley Hammond on becoming an author after 60.

I realized I wanted to write. And if I didn’t have some semblance of writing in my life I’d be unhappy. It was a revelation.

Other writers: “I penned my first story at 13.” “I started writing at an early age.” “I always knew I wanted to write.”

Not me. I was perfectly comfortable in the corporate world. Sure I dipped my toe in on occasion, when necessary, but I always kept my eye on the next most profitable move. Enter age 50: I lost my job.

Then a wonderful thing happened. They sent me to an outplacement service. The service made me focus on what was most important in my life. Through that I realized I wanted to write. And if I didn’t have some semblance of writing in my life I’d be unhappy. It was a revelation.

I’d like to tell you that I immediately whipped out pen and paper. No, I still had to pay the bills. But I found a great company for which to work. And in every venue, I strove to tell a succinct story well.

When I was 57 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was another turning point. Although I’ve now been cancer free for nearly six years (Yay!), it was time for some changes. I set a goal to retire from corporate life at 60 and to write a book after retirement. And I did.

While writing the first book in the Merry March cozy mystery series, I researched various publishing options. I bought books, attended writer conferences, and badgered everyone I knew. After examining all the options, (and reading Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry’s great book The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published) I decided that the independent route was best for me. Being older, I didn’t want to spend my time knocking on agents and then publishers’ doors.

Some critical learnings on my path to becoming an author:

Hire an editor. It was an investment, but it was a critical step. The old adage, you don’t know what you don’t know, was absolutely true in my case. Miranda from Editing Realm edited my first two books and she was wonderful.

Read Stephen King’s book On Writing. He writes 2,000 words a day, no matter what. And if he has a good day, he gets done early. He suggested that newbie writers hit a lower target, 1,000 words. Why was this so helpful? Because I always felt guilty. If I wasn’t writing, I felt bad. If I was writing, I felt I should be getting things done around the house. And worst of all, I retired, gosh darn it, and that meant I should be able to have some fun in my life. This one piece of advice made my life manageable again.

Understand that self publishing is hard. You are in charge of everything. Cover design selection, interior book formatting, copyright and Library of Congress applications, etc. Helen Sedwick’s book Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook helped me think about the steps I might need to take.

Where am I now? I’ve published three books in the Merry March series and am finalizing the first draft of the fourth. It’s been a struggle on occasion, but it’s also been incredibly fulfilling.

Follow Eileen Curley Hammond:

Twitter: @curleyhammcozy

Website: eileencurleyhammond.com

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2YdzKbw

Getting Those Stories out There: an interview with S.L. Partington

New Voices of Experience Part III

The dream of many writers is a publishing contract. But as author S.L. Partington has discovered over the last ten years, in many ways it is only the beginning, and there are many ways to define success.

I’m Sharon Partington. I live in Alberta, Canada, and I’m a retired uber nerd who plays video games when I’m not writing. I wrote my first story when I was nine or ten – Star Trek fan fiction. In high school I wrote an S.E. Hinton-inspired short story, which my teacher read to the class (I was thrilled and mortified). A high school creative writing course taught me to write an appreciate poetry. Then came the first fantasy novel, hand-written almost 30 years ago. Finally, in 2007, a contract with a small press, for Hunter, a science-fiction thriller.

All the feelings that come with that contract: elation, trepidation, disbelief: I’ve done it! I’m going to be a published author!  But publishers are in business, and business models change. My publisher decided to change from a multi-genre publisher to focus on romances, and Hunter didn’t fit. I requested my rights back, and they agreed.  The contract didn’t specify that they had to, so one piece of advice I’d give new writers is make sure your contract covers rights revision to the author, in case of a change of publisher focus, or if it goes out of business.

Hunter then went to a second publisher, one my editor was working for at the time. That didn’t work out either, due to communication problems and creative differences. But what I learned was that I can do this writing thing: my stories, and my storytelling abilities are good enough. I’ve chosen to go indie at this point so I have absolute creative control over my books. I don’t have to worry about whether or not Vampires or Zombies or whatever are hot or trending. I can write my own stories and put them out there myself. There’s a huge amount of freedom in that.

Marketing has been an enormous challenge – mostly finding strategies that don’t cost a lot (I have a very limited budget) and actually produce results. I do have a Twitter presence, and I also have a Facebook author page, although the Facebook page doesn’t get much traffic. I also have an author website. I have tried the Amazon ads, but didn’t get a great result. Navigating the keywords is very much a mystery for me – finding ones that work can be daunting. There are resources to help with that – from Amazon itself, and from other authors – and I have looked at a few of them. It’s very true that it takes money to make money and that can be a real challenge when your budget is so limited. I don’t think my age has anything to do with it really – I do know how the internet works and readers don’t know how old I am, they just know whether or not I’ve managed to tell a good story.

Success for me has more to do with getting those stories out there as opposed to being on the best seller’s list. I write the stories that I want to read. That’s the main reason I chose to go the Indie route. I don’t have the patience (at the moment) to query traditional publishers and/or agents. That’s not to say it will never happen – just for now it’s not the way I want to go. There are lots of roads that lead to the same destination.

Hunter is the first of a series – there are 4 books planned. I also have a fantasy series in the works, but it’s still in the planning stage. Fantasy and science fiction have always been my genres of choice. Hunter began as a first line prompt that took on a life of its own. I write (and read) to escape reality for a while. Fantasy and scifi allow me to do that.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/canadianscifiauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonLorraine2?lang=en

Website: https://sharonpartington19.wixsite.com/authorslp2

Blog: https://authorslp.blogspot.com/

Deal with the Pain


Øle Ø is a former member (retired 2016) of SAG-AFTRA – the Actors’ union, and has a B. A. in Theatre and a minor in communication from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.(2000). He’s also worked in the construction trades in NYC (carpenter’s union) and many other various jobs in the Mid-West – too numerous to list. He puts memories on paper in humorous, sometimes sad ways.

“I’ve recently started calling my memories: “Bones,” after reading Natalie Goldberg’s book – Writing Down The Bones and when I write, I consider my writing as: “Crushing Bones”.

Think about being worried, in a hospital or going to the doctor “AGAIN.” Dealing with bad times or unexpected times – life issues stopping you cold from that deadline.

Why should I start writing again? I mean, I go from one uncompleted project for three weeks to another, because of my health.

I’ve been on crutches and can’t go to the bathroom without – excruciating pain. Who can write?!

But wait, I can deal with the pain. No one knows the pain I’ve been through. A small virus in my intestines is nothing like having your chest cracked open 3 times since you were 5 years old. OMG. No one knows that pain.

I swear at my parents. I swear at my doctors. I swear at myself. I swear at the gods that did this to me and realize I can’t do a fucking thing about it.

I AM THE PAIN. I LEARN THE PAIN. I DEAL WITH THE PAIN. (then I thank the doctors and nurses for the meds that temporarily stop my pain…)

My leg or arm wasn’t blown off in a bomb attack. I can’t think of that type of pain. Yet, pain is pain. It impedes a good writing session.  No argument – hands down.

When I’m healthy, I can work – either with my hands or my head. Things are much easier then. Much simpler. AND, all those teachers and professors since the third grade saying to me: “You Should Write!”


It’s difficult when I can’t feel creative or looking at my heart rate monitor in a hospital and I’m being held hostage for four days because they can’t figure out what the hell is going on with my heart rhythm.

Yet I feel fine. They try to convince me otherwise and I start to wonder if I’m in a Twilight-Zone episode. Everyone in the hospital – especially the administration idiots in pig masks are messing with my head. Most of all, they’re LIARS. I threaten legal action and they take their masks off.

They can’t wait to sign me out.

But I won’t sign a damn thing. I get back at them for messing with my creative writing. Making them pay for their lack of knowledge.

I know my body better than anyone.

I get home and self-doubt enters my consciousness as I worry about my blood pressure rising every time I take it, 5 times in a row, starting to think I should call 911, when I’m trying to write.

But, I stop and rest and think hard.

Yes – I ate 5 pieces of bacon at the Windmill restaurant. They made a mistake with the “small order” of sausage links and brought five delicious, smelly bacon slices and my wife is on a plane to Denver for a week and she won’t know I’m eating them and the waitress swore allegiance to me and won’t tell.

I love her.

Did she know it could kill you? No. Anyway – It’s not her fault. She doesn’t know I’m a writer. Where are the words?

American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) working at a portable table while on a big game hunt in Kenya, September 1952. (Photo by Earl Theisen/Getty Images)

Reblogged from: https://storiesofoleo.blog/2019/07/10/challenges-in-writing-at-sixty-or-older/

Follow Øle Ø on Twitter: https://twitter.com/doleolesen