Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I got tagged by my friend Amy Jareckiwww.amyjarecki.comamyjarecki.blogspot.comto participate in a writer's blogfest “The Next Big Thing” where authors answer questions about their WIPs (Work in Progress).  I've taken you through my month of writing a novel (NaNoWriMo). This blog gives you some information about my WIP that is being edited, polished, validated for time and place,  and overall  in review.  

What is your working title of your book?

Change of Habit

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Growing up in Chicago in the 1950s it wasn’t uncommon that women of my generation had a few unsavory characters cross their paths.

What genre does your book fall under?

Adult Fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Joseph Gordon Leavitt, Ryan Gosling, Angie Harmon, and Anne Hathaway easily could portray the main characters in this story.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  
While on a date, Sophie Janiewski, 25 year old school teacher becomes a key witness in a gangland shooting and is sent to Ogden, Utah with a body guard disguised as a nun in the witness protection program until the trial.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

An agency can find a book written about the early days of the witness protection program and its flaws with several ethnic slants appealing in several markets.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Change of Habit was the book that I wrote during National Novel Writing Month, 28 days of “butt to seat writing.”

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  •  Light on the Snow by Anita Shreve
  •  The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My son Richard told me to write about life as I saw or heard growing up in the Fifties and Sixties.
My Aunt Janet told me  that some stories need to be told.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Undercover as a Holy Cross nun in an Ogden parochial school seemed boring and so out of touch the danger that threatened Sophie. Early one morning her tranquil world was turned upside down when her cover was discovered. She and her bodyguard began their flight from the mob.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Past - Muses New Ideas

       Each time I attempt to write about a holiday memory I am stymied by my choices. Do I write about my childhood memories? The baking of cookies with my mother. The staying up late and watching television with my brother while my parents attend midnight mass.
       Do I write about my memories as a teen? Do I tell about working in my grandmother's bakery? The preparation of special baked goods made only for the holiday. The joy of participating in the musical productions at my high school. The challenges of learning to master new songs and recipes simultaneously.
        Should I share my experiences as an adult in the retail industry preparing for the big holiday? The hiring, training, extended hours, the joyful customers and the not so happy customers.
        Or better yet, I could pick a story about the holiday season and its impact on the many students I  had the privilege of teaching.  The preparations for school assemblies, classroom parties, the joy of that prevails throughout a school during the holiday season and the trying times.
        Then, of course, there are the memories of the holidays past with my children as they were growing up. Watching the wonder and awe of the Santa Claus years. Hearing the cry "Santa has come, wake up, wake up." Experiencing the joy of the school pageants and volunteering projects. The hosting of the big Christmas Eve open house so my children could experience the tradition of welcoming all to our home so we could honor Christ in all that entered our home that night.
       Perhaps what I am really feeling is not the lack of ideas, but maybe a new book brewing within my psyche. It seems when I can't narrow a topic down to a single idea. I follow the flow ideas to see if there is a pattern. I cluster the patterns and begin to outline. The outline becomes the beginning of a new and glorious book or short story.  Christmas past becomes a muse.
    Happy holiday season to all. Enjoy and remember to keep the holiday season well. Keep your loved ones close to you. Remember the good times of Christmas present and past and all who are your life today and have been in your life.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Twenty-Seven Empty Chairs

This holiday season 27 families have an empty chair.
They have lost a singer of carols,
A gift opener, a eggnog drinker, a cookie crumb maker.

A family member lost through unexplainable actions 
Of a gun toting man set on an unknown mission.
A child, sister, brother, best friend, teacher, aunt, uncle
Who left before the holiday season begun.

The nation stunned yet again with senselessness shooting.
It is difficult to speak aloud about this great rendering of innocents.
Adults trying to help children understand when they hardly can contain their own feelings.

Storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes destroy property. 
Those types of losses are devasatating and hard to bare.
The senseless robbery of human life is a travesty that none of us can phantom.
Yet 27 families are feeling pain that never can be described. 
Their chasm of the heart is bottomless and forever.

Pray for the families and friends of the children and teachers lost.
Pray for the students and faculty who endured the horror.
Kiss your loved ones daily in the morning every day.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fourth Week - NaNoWriMo Results

It was with great disbelief when I tallied my words on Wednesday, November 28, and the total "shouted" to me 50,661 words. It’s done. A novel completed in a month (well,the first draft), a novel consisting of more than 50,000 words. My last attempt at novel writing was tedious, painful, and after several months I could only eek out 35,000 words.

Word count was not the only success I experienced during National Novel Writing Month. Consider some of my new learnings and successes:
1. Branching out and meeting new people at the meet ups and write ins were helpful for my psyche and work ethic during the challenge.  The joy and duty of a writer is to meet and interactive with new people. (Hey, you never know when you might meet that new character you were searching for your next book.)
2. Establishing boundaries for your writing time is key to successful writing. It became very clear during NaNoWriMo that I had a writing goal. (It is especially helpful if you remind your loved ones how many words you have completed and how many more you have to write.)
3Exploring new methods for overcoming writers block and sustaining creativity.  (Daily pep talks and writing tips are available from both NaNoWriMo staffers, Municipal Leaders, and veteran writers.) 
4Participating in an activity with not only individuals in your community, but the entire world allows you to feel that there are more people like you trying to be heard and read. (More than 365,000 individuals wrote this year and more than 3.2 billion words were written. (Yes, the word is billion.) These words were produced in the month of November.
5. Announcing that I was going to write 50,000 words in a month created a few skeptics. To all who may have doubted my ability, I say, next time you will believe me.

Writing is a passion with me. Books, ideas, poems, jingles, greeting cards, letters, newsletters, programs, catalogues, technical manuals, scripts, blogs, emails, and yes even love notes are all part of my writing repertoire. I am a writer. I proudly wear my NaNoWriMo 2012 Winner's shirt proudly.