Friday, July 07, 2017

How to Be An Author And Preserve Your Writing Time

It's the best of times -- having a book or two or more out in the world, for people to read. It's the worst of times -- feeling the constant pressure to get books into readers' hands and Be An Author, publicly.

I'm feeling the best and worst times right now, as I prepare to have two new books launched in 2018. What to do today? That's the first thing I think of, not the new novel or poem I'm working on. And since I've pledged to write two hours first thing in the morning, the question now is, do I blog or tweet or Facebook about a book already out -- or do I close the curtains and the doors, pretend I'm a mushroom hidden under the forest floor, and plunge into the solitary delight of creation.

The truth is, the creative process can get lost in the marketing part of Being An Author. And that's a shame. Writing should be the core thing.

I need to not know what comes next in my writing, so I don't outline. I just set aside two hours first thing every morning to find inspiration. I can paint my nails, watch the leaves stir in the trees, tend my roses, but I have to be thinking creatively and feeling the creative wind blowing. For me, this is the magic spell. Make the time, and things come. Your time might be midnight or dinner hour or noon, but see if a schedule works for you.

Of course blogging and posting on social media is also writing. Sometimes the muse inclines her head toward one or another platform and says, "Go talk to them." And then you can be both Author and Writer and maybe mention your book while you're at it. (The Renaissance Club, forthcoming in January 2018 from Fiery Seas Publishing.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017


Happy Fourth! But this post isn't about our national celebration of Independence -- unless I can conflate America's with my own independence as a writer. There. Done that. I'm celebrating today and in general because 2018 will see TWO OF MY BOOKS PUBLISHED! Both my fourth book of poetry and my novel The Renaissance Club (forthcoming from Fiery Seas Publishing, 2018) will appear next year on Amazon and other places you can buy books, in formats for bookshelves and ereaders.

In rocketry, they call it lighting the candle -- when they fire up the missile for launch. I feel my launch as a writer will truly be 2018, with my fourth poetry collection and first novel on the launch pad and ready to light both candles. Maybe it's the fault of my stars to have two come out in one year -- or maybe it's because I've been busy writing these two books for seven years. Interestingly, both books have taken that long.

But with further drumrolls or sky rockets, I'm extremely pleased to announce that FutureCycle Press will publish my poetry collection Arabesque in August 2018. Thanks to Editor in Chief Diane Kistner and the editorial team for selecting my manuscript. I don't yet have a cover, but here's a poem from the book -- for all who are celebrating the holiday and summer at the beach -- with thanks to Editor Richard Peabody and Gargoyle for first publishing this:

A View of Life from the Beach

On a stretch of powdered shells
where the surf flops and the horizon sways,
I wrestle my towel and nap, counting
each wave’s smack and long dreaming
myself more awake to each
sand grain’s crystal splendor.

After a race into the sea
and a tussle with a towel,
I plan a long slide into the deep water.
Gusts of evening halfway-arc
my life’s bridge. I am old but the sea

sighs softly all night in my pillow,
like the sounds of lovers
who keep reaching for each other
and the tides of years roll me
over onto my back. I otter
on each wave’s foamy tip
and again slip beneath.

Every morning, half-drowned,
I open a mango under a local palm
and read the news like a seaweed tangle,
then pop the pods
as a child does, merely for
the pleasurable whoosh
as they release salt water.