Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tragedy and Triumph

Dear Mom,

Last week, it was the one year anniversary of Joplin’s devastating disaster when an EF5 tornado wiped away a good portion of the town, killing over 150 people and destroying businesses and homes. One home demolished was my friend's, Geoffrey.

The anniversary slipped by since I was all excited about Rita’s movie, "Maison Des Rêveurs" being shown on the Video Wall in CityGarden, which by the way… just in my humble opinion, she should’ve placed 2nd or 3rd. You can see it on Rita's blog now.

But what do I know about film? I didn’t get the 2nd place film, which would’ve bumped 3rd up to 2nd, putting Rita’s film at the very least to 3rd. But then, I am her mother. I can guarantee you this—Rita’s film had a ton more work in her film than the 2nd place film. However, Rita triumphed in the fact she received honorable mention, showed up for the event and dressed up to boot—her outfit coordinated with the main character in her film.

Rita, family and friends were the only ones there when it started. Another couple came a little later that I assumed made one of the films. I found it odd that no one else was there. Maybe they’ve done this so many times, it wasn’t a big deal? Or maybe a disaster struck in their own personal lives—who am I to judge?

Back to Joplin’s tragedy…Claudia Mundell came up with the idea to create an anthology. Deb Marshall, then president of Missouri Writers' Guild got the ball rolling. Now published by Mozark Press is Storm Country. All proceeds from the sale of this book goes to the Joplin School District libraries. Even though Joplin is rebuilding, more help is always needed.

Behind Storm Country is a huge supportive group of people who rally together whether picking up the pieces and putting things back together again or applauding for the success of those around them and for that, I say thank you.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Maison Des Rêveurs"

Dear Mom,

Your granddaughter, Rita (my baby) received Honorable Mention in the CityGarden/Cinema St. Louis Competition. I saw this contest on Donna's blog (thank you, Donna) and I passed the information on to Rita as she had mentioned wanting to make a film some day.

Rita got to work on it right away. I was blown away when she told me her story idea. The theme for the film per the contest was "nature."

Since Rita is Egabrag Crafts, she made the birds in her film. They are so darn cute, you just wanted to reach in and grab them and give them a big kiss. Seriously.

Rita's film, "Maison Des Rêveurs" will be playing on the Video Wall in CityGarden May 25th! She will also be featured in the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase in July and her film will be playing on the Big Screen at the Tivoli!

The title of her film came from the song that her friend, Rebekah wrote, composed, played the ukulele and sang - just for the film. It's beautiful. I could listen to it all day.

I took a tiny bit of French a few years back, but that certainly doesn't mean I know what "Maison Des Rêveurs" means. According to google translate - "Maison Des Rêveurs" means "House of Dreamers" and that makes me love the title even more.

Needless to say, I'm a proud momma. What I'm most proud of though is the fact that she started it, completed it, and turned it in! This was her first film, so that's pretty remarkable to have placed.

Don't need to tell you where I'll be on May 25th!

Congratulations Rita, you little stinker.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Most Beautiful Bride

Dear Mom,

On Saturday, May 12, my step-son, Todd was married to Sam. I know all brides are beautiful, but Sam had to be the most beautiful bride I've ever seen. She truly glowed. There was no 'look how beautiful I am' going on, she was just her sweet adorable self.

I worried during the ceremony that Sam or Todd would pass out from nerves, but they held it together. Then they each read their vows, that they wrote. Todd opened everyone's hearts with his raw honesty proclaiming how Sam's love made him whole. I doubt there was a dry eye in the place. Then Sam opened those hearts even further with her promises of love to Todd. I really can't remember hearing more beautiful sentiments being said to one another.

I couldn't help but think after I listened to their words that, as a writer, as long as one speaks from the heart, it can only touch one's heart.

Congratulations to Todd and Sam - may you touch one another's heart for the rest of your lives.

Here they are after the ceremony

Here's Todd's oldest son, Jack

And the twin's, Lucas and Lily

Here's Lily and her cousin, Logan during the ceremony

P.S. Sam, seriously, you were the most beautiful bride.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Guest Interview: Mary Carroll Moore

Dear Mom,

Today I'm interviewing a special guest - author and artist, Mary Carroll Moore. I met Mary at my first writing workshop that Mary presented in 1994. It was then and there that I became inspired to take myself seriously as a writer. I've been a fan of Mary ever since. Mary is as gracious as they come and it has been an honor and a privilege to interview her.

Lynn: You have an extensive writing career from being a nationally syndicated columnist to publishing over 12 books—your most recent nonfiction, Your Book Starts Here: Create, Craft, and Sell Your First Novel, Memoir, or Nonfiction Book and your fiction novel, Qualities of Light. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and how did you get started?

Mary: I always loved writing but never dreamed I’d build a career from it. It started after my final undergraduate year. I lived in Paris, studying French and taking cooking lessons. When I returned to the States, the local community college asked me to teach French cooking classes using healthy ingredients. Next, a regional magazine heard about the classes. I began writing a monthly food column which led to opening a cooking school in the San Francisco Bay Area. The school was reviewed in USA Today. A cookbook publisher contracted with me to write a book, which won a national book award, and so my career as a writer was launched. For twelve years I wrote a weekly column on healthy cooking. Eventually the column was bought by the Los Angeles Times syndicate and syndicated to 86 newspapers around the U.S..

I wrote and co-wrote a number of books on diet and health, worked on a medical team studying heart disease, and learned a lot about the publishing industry and how books were crafted. Eventually I published two books that were memoir/self-help hybrids, a novel, and a book on how to write a book.

Lynn: What has been the most fulfilling in your career as a writer?

Mary: Receiving letters from readers whose lives were changed in some way by my books.

My three most successful books in that regard have been How to Master Change in Your Life, Qualities of Light, and Your Book Starts Here. Three different genres, and very different readerships, but I have file folders of letters and emails that came from each. I share my own story, my characters’ stories, in an effort to bring light into the world, so it’s wonderful when the writing touches someone.

Lynn: Not only do you write, but you’re an artist as well. You teach, edit, coach, and probably something else I haven’t named. How do you balance it all especially now with all the social media? Do you stick to a schedule or what is your routine like? How much emphasis do you put on social media? What’s your secret with discipline in juggling all that you do?

Mary: My writing and art are very seasonal. I tend to write in winter and paint in summer (I paint outdoors as well as in my studio). The writing works with the language part of the brain, and the painting with the wordless part, so they complement each other. When I am stuck for words, I often go to the easel and paint for an hour or so until the ideas begin to flow--the creative well is filled again.

I tend to write in the early morning, fresh from sleep, before my family is up and my teaching day begins. Ideas are clearer then. I also like to take a break from the writing when I am in full flow—rather than when I feel stuck—so I feel the pull to come back to it and finish the scene. Stopping when I’m stuck usually just makes me stay stuck longer.

Lynn: Which do you find easier to write, fiction or nonfiction? And why?

Mary: Nonfiction is easier for me, since it’s very logical and I can work from an overall plan which often stays intact during the development process. I also have years of experience and training as a journalist. Fiction is a completely different language. It demands a lot of letting go, of listening and following very thin threads that become a good scene or chapter. I work much harder with my fiction.

Lynn: As a writer, what do you struggle with the most?

Mary: The overwhelm of a book, when it is drafted and in revision. I use lists and charts to help me keep the overview when I am lost in the words.

Lynn: Is there anything you wish you could “do over” in your writing career? Is there some hindsight that would help others avoid the same issue?

Mary: I wish I had known earlier about writing in “islands” (unconnected scenes and snippets that are later threaded together) versus writing with an outline. We’re trained in school to use outlines, but they are left-brain creatures and do not allow the random images of the right brain. I also wish I’d learned storyboarding early on. Luckily, the editors I worked with at my first publishers’ were trained in this and helped teach me. Writing in islands and using storyboards are two techniques I teach in my workshops and online classes. They have saved many writers many years of struggle.

Lynn: I know this is a question frequently asked of professionals, but I always find it interesting. What’s the number one advice you can give to a writer?

Mary: Get good help early on; don’t believe you can go it alone, especially if you’re a first-time author. You need to know the basic guidelines of how books are structured. Then, in the later stages, get good support to keep going—a writing partner, writing group, mentor, online class. It’s impossible to do this solo, despite the myths we hear about great writers from the past. Most of them had mentors and companions for the journey.

Lynn: And for fun, if you could ask yourself a question, what would it be? And how would you answer it?

Mary: I have a list of questions that I keep adding to. They are about my current novel-in-progress. My question is: What is the prevalent image in this story, that ties all three characters’ lives together? I don’t have an answer yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

Mary, I want to thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview.

Mary Carroll Moore Bio
Mary Carroll Moore is a writing coach and teacher, book doctor for major publishing houses, the award-winning author of thirteen books in three genres, and a former nationally syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and other newspapers. Her latest book, Your Book Starts Here: Create, Craft, and Sell Your First Novel, Memoir, or Nonfiction Book, won the People’s Choice award in the 2011 New Hampshire Literary Awards and her novel, Qualities of Light, was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award. Over 200 of her articles, essays, short stories, and poetry have appeared in publications such as American Health, Boston Globe, American Artist, and View from the Loft and her short stories have won awards in national fiction contests with Glimmer Train Press, Santa Fe Writers, and other publications. “Breathing Room,” a chapter of her second novel (forthcoming), was a finalist in the 2001 Loft Mentor Series Awards and won an honorable mention in the 2005 McKnight Awards for creative prose.

You can find Mary at:

website: www.marycarrollmoore.com
blog: http://HowtoPlanWriteandDevelopaBook.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/YourBookStartsHere
Twitter: @writeabook


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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Dear Mom,

I’ve met a bazillion people through the April Platform Challenge from the notorious My Name Is Not Bob. An award has been going around and I’ve been awarded, not by just one person, but two!

First from Michelle Pond at MAPoet and then from Bonnie Vesely at Right Livelihood, JustVentures. I would like to thank these two lovely ladies and you should check out their blogs.

Part of this Liebster Blog Award, and oh, I heard Liebster means beloved. That’s what I read somewhere, so I hope that’s right. And so part of this award is to award five others. I’ve been wanting to check out other MNINBer’s blogs and this gave me the push I needed to do so.

In staying with the MNINBer’s community, here are my nominees:

Lisa Romeo, Lisa Romeo Writes http://lisaromeo.blogspot.com/
Kirra Antrobus, Thoughtful http://kirraantrobus.blogspot.com
Emily E. McGee, One Trailing Spouse http://www.onetrailingspouse.com
Lori Sailiata (pen name Lara Britt), Writing Space http://www.larabritt.com
Jane Ann McLachlan, The Flight of Happiness http://janeannmclachlan.wordpress.com/

Here are the Liebster Blogger Award nominee responsibilities:
1. Thank the one who nominated you by linking back.
2. Nominate five blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Let your nominees know by leaving a comment on their sites.
4. Add the award image to your site.

Check back on Tuesday to read my guest interview... especially if you're a writer.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Accomplished: April Platform Challenge

Dear Mom,

I've never been so excited to see the month of May! I'm pretty sure I'm going to rest today. Oh wait, can't do that because My Name Is Not Bob had us make a schedule for the month of May and I don't think I included rest. What was I thinking? Somebody in the MNINB group mentioned adding rest to the schedule. Great idea. Think I'll change my schedule.

Robert Brewer put a lot of us through the ringer and back with his April Platform Challenge. If anyone wants to know something about how to build a platform, I suggest you take a look at My Name Is Not Bob or just take a look at the blog anyway, there's a wealth of information for writers.

Do you think the term "through the ringer and back" is referring to the old days when you washed your clothes and put them through the ringer to rinse them? Mom, you did laundry like that. I remember thinking when I was little that if I was put through the ringer, I'd be flat as a pancake just like cartoon characters. Right now, my brain feels flat.

I'm glad I took the challenge, but I'm also glad it is over... well sort of... I think it has just begun. I've connected with a lot of different writers in this MNINB and what's not to love about that?

For completing the challenge, my name will be in a drawing to win this:

I'll keep you posted on the winner.


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