Friday, April 25, 2014

This Writing Life


Ernest Hemingway had it right when he said "There is nothing much to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed."

My husband has also observed that I do much more "writing" when I'm not actually sitting at the computer. At odd moments while eating or driving the car or cleaning the bathroom, ideas that eventually go into making up my next novel spring up like dandelions and I need to write them down before they go away. Those little scribblings give me my jumping off point so that I leap into writing a scene as opposed to leaping off the nearest ten-story building. It's not easy to sit down at the computer and bleed.

So I am now feeling my way into working on a series. I had never meant to write one. I've always done stand-alone novels and coming up with new stories for the same characters is both easier (the story universe is already in place) and harder (now what do I want them to do?) My little struggles make me wonder what goes on in the head of someone like George R. R. Martin, who can write entire reams about his universe and not show even the slightest sign of drying up. How does he do that?

And then there was this blog thing. Back when I  submitted and sold my very first e-published story, Hunting Spirits, my editor said that I should expand my cyber-presence by starting a blog. Okay. A weekly blog. That sounded like a good idea. Not that difficult. HA! Trying to meet a weekly blog deadline with, at first, writing, school, and a grandson, and now with writing, jobs, and a grandson, is quite the challenge. I'm not always able to pick up the gauntlet that circumstances have tossed into my path. Not to mention slapping me across the face with it first.

But I keep trying.

So maybe what I'll start doing, as I once did, is write a list of possible blog subjects to discuss on a weekly basis. I want a blog entitled "Ubiquitous Ghosts" to live up to that title. And I do love scary stories.

So okay. I'll start working on that list and see if I can get better at this weekly appointment. Especially since my books keep advertising this site.

Thanks for your patience and for reading my work. I'll try to keep up my end of the bargain, too. But damn, that Hemingway sure knew what he was talking about.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I'm Baaaccckkk!

So it turns out that people don't like reading the same blog post for four months solid! Go figure!

I wish I could say I had one big dandy excuse for my four-month absence, but actually it was a bunch of little excuses instead: finishing up the latest novel, Dead Voices; thumb surgery that precluded all writing including keyboarding; 1.5 other procedures; life. I know, I know, writers get around all this sort of thing and produce anyhow, but I had a choice between the novel and the blog and I sacrificed the blog to get the novel finished. And I hope you like it!

But back to my normal topics of conversation. Scary stuff.

Last month, I signed Jim and myself up for a two-part class with Ursula Bielski, author of Chicago Haunts and co-author of Graveyards of Chicago. Like me, Ms. Bielski grew up in a haunted house on the north side of Chicago. Like me, she is passionately devoted to all things paranormal and enjoys getting together with other like-minded individuals. Unlike me, she runs tours and also does paranormal investigation. Her presentations were interesting those two nights, especially with the added attraction of an overhead light that would blink, go off, or flare-up on its own while she lectured. Undoubtedly this was a faulty light bulb but it made things more fun!

But Ms. Bielski's class was just one of the many events I've got going the first part of this year, to feed my obsession and hopefully to inspire future books, as well. In a couple of weeks, I'm dragging Jim to see Jason Hawes and Steve Gonsalves of Ghost Hunters at the (haunted) Rialto Theater in Joliet. I watch the show, I've read their books, and I can't wait! Hopefully they are as entertaining in person as they are on TV. And Jim and I are sitting up in the balcony: maybe we'll get a visit from someone on the other side?

Also, I've been invited to share a book-selling table with colleague Sylvia Shults, author of Fractured Spirits, at the Quad Cities Psychic and Paranormal Expo in Moline on May 3. Fractured Spirits is the story of the Peoria State Hospital, a facility for the mentally ill, that closed its doors in 1973. Sylvia, who is a paranormal investigator as well as a writer, has researched, visited, investigated, and generally become an expert in both the physical and the supernatural history of the extremely haunted grounds of the old hospital. She's a great speaker and a terrific writer. Come and see us if you're around! We love to chat. We love to swap ghost stories. And as always, I offer a basic 10-minute or so palm analysis (okay, okay, palm-reading) to anyone who buys one of my books! Maybe one of Sylvia's books, too, depending on time.

Some time after that, during the summer, Jim and I have been invited to visit Williamsburg, Virginia. Can't wait to get there! The history, the site, the ghosts! And yes, they do ghost tours, and yes, you bet Jim and I are going on one or two.

So hopefully, with all this going on, there will be more regular posts to this site. I know people are stopping by to check it out and I am rightfully embarrassed that I haven't been good about putting up new material. So please take this as my apology and hopefully, I can get this blog back on its very haunted path!

Oh, and one more thing: read Dead Voices!