Authors make good friends

 One of the things I love about being an author is meeting other authors! Writers are a welcoming lot. They understand the ups and downs of the profession. They are always there to cheer the successes and offer support in the failures. I have author friends that live right here in Indiana. Ones I’ve meet at book events and others I’ve only meet online. I love connecting with all of them. So I thought I’d share books from some of my friends.

And a recipe!

Robin’s book has some persistent peacocks trying to get their wings on some mac ‘n cheese. Once they do they’re not so sure they like. That made me think of a recipe I enjoy

WAFFLED MACARONI AND CHEESE

Maybe the peacocks would have liked their mac ‘n cheese this way!

Wishing for Author Visits

We are all hoping that back-to-school this year means a return to something normal. School may never be the same as the pandemic will leave an indelible mark, both good and bad. As an author I hope that this year means a return to in-person author visits!

I had an opportunity to whet my appetite for this when I presented at the Appleseed Writing Camp. This a local camp for students interested in writing. They meet for 3 hours each morning for 2 weeks. I was lucky to spend a morning with 25 rising 4th, 5th and 6th graders. You think an author visit is all about the author inspiring the students. And certainly, that is the goal, but it’s no secret that authors benefit too.

An author spends a lot of time alone, well their characters are there, but … So visiting with students is a welcome change of pace. Authors get lots of rejections of their work, so when students look at your with those “you’re a rock star” eyes the affirmation is welcome. Students have wonderful ideas. If you share a work in progress, they might just provide the spark you are looking for to raise the story to a new level.

Slipped into my hand by a student

But the MOST important thing students give me is HOPE. To see them collaborating with each other, cheering each other on, pulling ideas out of nowhere, tells me this world will survive. There will be people to lead, people with imaginations big enough to find the answers, and people who will bring joy.

A student’s story start

Authors Study Too

Depending on where you live school may have already begun or it will start soon. Some students love school, others dread it. For the most part I always liked school. I like learning. I had to work, but things were easier for me than for some. There was the pressure of good grades, the drama of friends and the dread of a “bad” teacher. But all in all, from Kindergarten through grad school, I had good experiences.

craftsWhen you’re a kid you think, when school is done I’m done studying, but in time you realize the most successful people are always learning. Want to be good at baking-read (now days watch) about it. In fact just about any skill can be improved from gardening to car maintenance. And most professions involve continued study.

0414181745_HDRIt’s no different for authors. Yes it’s a creative process that involves ideas in our brains, but we read books, attend conferences and workshops. Successful authors are always learning not just about writing but also about the publishing business.

So as students and teachers head back to school think of your favorite authors and know that they may be opening a book, completing a lesson or listening to a lecture too!

Punctuation & Grammar-Ugh!

I’ve been thinking about school this month. All students have favorite subjects and subjects they dread. I was no different. While I loved the reading/writing/analyzing part of English I did not like the spelling or grammar. Diagraming sentences and rules of punctuation could be mastered for a test, but then were quickly forgotten. When I was in college studying to be a speech therapist those old parts of speech rules came back to haunt me because they are important when we look at language development. Fortunately for me, as I gravitated toward the adult medical population there was less need for this knowledge.

20210706_105246Then I began writing and punctuation, word use, sentence structure were important. Still as quickly as I looked up something, say punctuating dialogue it was gone. Overtime some rules stuck but I still second guess myself. Certainly, authors take creative license with some rules but not without a good reason.

English is a very difficult language to learn as a second language. Our rules are full of exceptions. Many words sound the same with different spellings and meaning. The same letter or letter combinations can have a different sound. Because we learn so much of this from birth, we muddle through without realizing just how difficult it is. As a speech therapist, when I began to work with people who speak English as a second language, I saw the difficulty first hand.

20210706_105338Now most of us can Google a rule if we are in doubt. If you prefer a book. Woe is I by Patricia T. O’Connor and Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss are both informative and more fun than a textbook!

 

I Love to Walk

I’ve always loved to walk. I enjoy walking with others, if we can match our pace, but mostly I love to walk alone. I’ve done it since I was old enough to venture out on my own. Growing up I often walked in large, peaceful, tree-filled cemetery. If I’m at the beach I prefer a walk to lying on a towel. Although sitting in a chair to people watch is fun too. Walking is a great way to think or not. To listen to nature’s conversation-the wind, the leaves, the birds.

41H0vAA7cdL._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_I was a runner/jogger for years beginning in grad school when I found it a great way to combat stress. George Sheehan’s book, On Running and Being was popular at that time. Later with work and a family, running was a great way to get in a quick exercise when life was busy.  I still preferred outside to a treadmill or the indoor track at the Y. Many of my story idea seeds in those years grew when I was running.  

In recent years I’ve gone back to walking after these old knees and hips protested. I love to walk early. Not many cars or people and the chance to see a sunrise during the walk.

Our children get most of their exercise these days in organized sports. I wish they had more time to be alone with their thoughts. Time to listen to nature instead of the electronic voices that follow us everywhere. Time to hear their own inner voice.

It’s Exercise with a Child Week. Please consider talking your child on a walk. Model listening to nature, and being content with silence, quietly point out the beauty, admire the vastness of the sky and the intricacies of clouds. Maybe you’ll find something interesting that tickles the imagination. Maybe stories will start to grow.

20210310_071918One day I saw something that made me ask What If! I went back to snap a picture. The ideas are sprouting!!

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