Monday, December 29, 2008

Television Musings - Rants and Raves of a Romance Writer


By Kathy Carpenter

Momma’s Boy

Last Monday I watched what I thought was the first episode of Momma’s Boy a new reality show. The show was two hours and had potential. I was disappointed with this show.

I was lost right off the bat. There were no introductions of the players. No introductions of girls or how many there were. No introductions of the three men. And no introduction of the momma’s. No explaining of what the outcome is to be. It was kind of like I came into the middle of things. With one of the mother’s moving into the house. Actually it showed two and I wondered for a lng time what about the third one. The show had a lot of drama. I mean these mom’s are far worse than others woman, like on the Bachelor.

Did I tune back in tonight. Yes. Not much else is on. And I wanted to give the show a chance. I sort of want to see who the guys will chose. But it’s difficult. They don’t really show enough of the girl’s to let you have a favorite or get to know them. Mainly it focuses on the girls the mom’s don’t want for their sons. Of course those are the men’s favorite. They may be momma’s boys but they still want to have a good time.
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Monday Morning Motivators to Slay Your Creative Dragons

By CJ Lyons and Margie Lawson

SWITCHING GEARS: from CJ


Ever feel like your brain is just plain tuckered out? The writing goes stale, nothing you read is pulling you in….heck, even your fav authors aren’t engaging you, much less inspiring you to get back to work.

What to do?

Try taking a break from processing words and switch gears to more visual pursuits.

Grab some paints or crayons and create some art (no one has to see it except you). Or re-cycle those old magazines by cutting out photos and creating a collage. For those more computer savvy, make a video.

Think of your story as you work, use it as your inspiration. Relax. Have fun. After all, it’s not writing, it’s playtime.

You might be surprised by your results! I know I was.

Using a free, fun-filled site called Animoto, designed for cyber-klutzes like me, I created this video Took me maybe ten minutes--and I could "re-mix" it as often as I wanted.

I think it nicely captures the romance, suspense, medical elements and that these books focus on the women characters. But mainly it was fun! If I ever try again, I can do something different to fit my mood or put the emphasis on a different element--I might even try to do one as a brainstorming exercise!

Obviously, it's not professional quality--it's just me, having fun. But it did inspired me to hire Circle of Seven to make a real video in time for WARNING SIGNS' release on January 27th—and now I can't wait to see how the professional version turns out!

Bottom line: Switch gears and return to your writing rejuvenated and refreshed!


As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a national bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller." The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, is due out January, 2009. Contact her at http://www.cjlyons.net

Margie Lawson -- presenter, psychotherapist, writer -- lives at the top of a Colorado mountain west of Denver. Margie merged her two worlds, psychology and writing, to develop psychologically anchored editing systems and techniques that teach writers how to write page turners. A former college professor, Margie works as a psychotherapist, writes fiction and nonfiction, and presents full day master classes for writers internationally. Go to http://www.margielawson.com for more information.


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Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Year-End Review for this Artist Entrepreneur

Well, what a ride it's been, like Lisa Canning of Entrepreneur the Arts, says in her post "My 2009, and Yours?"

Creativity doesn't gush forth in a straight line or logical way. So, in the spirit of the nonlinear and emotional intuitive I am, I'm listing my successes in order of appearance and excitement in my life.

My 2008 Successes
I'm most proud of the products I created this year: one e-book, one e-course with workbook and audio -- the Writer's Adventure Guide, and one card deck, the Writer's Tarot.

I am proud that I launched my Artist Entrepreneurs Unite project that is growing and morphing as we speak.

I am also very grateful to have been able to help clients edit their book proposals, namely, Karen Lodrick, and Elizabeth Pagayonan. And I'm grateful to have been able to coach and consult with writers throughout the year, both in person, over the phone, and online.

And thank you to the awesome writer ladies with whom I co-created the anthology, Writing Romance.

Last, but by no means least, I have enjoyed weekly (and sometimes more frequent) powwows with three fabulous people, and have created awesome projects with them, and continue to do so.
  • With Cheryl Liquori, Marketing Coach extraordinaire, I'm grateful for our weekly coffee klatches and heart-to-hearts, and for the awesome project we're creating: Breakfast Blogging Club of the East Bay, to launch the beginning of February 2009.
  • Grateful for our weekly phone klatches and in awe of the delicious creativity of my web support guy and blog designer, Peter J. Ferguson. Peter designed my Writer's Fun Zone blog. And has created a wonderful peace-centered blog and site of his own, My Moment of Peace.
  • And how could I forget my sometimes graphic designer, and always cheerleader and husband, Ezra Barany. He designed the cover for my Writer's Adventure Guide program, edited the audio for the course, and is an all-around great guy. Creative too! (Check out his book trailer here.)
Still to Accomplish
I'm still working on getting organized; my database continues to live in a few places. I think I need a Rolodex. I love the feel of business cards. That's why I have boxes of them.

My 2008 Lessons
I learned A LOT this year. Mostly about how to stay in the present and find the joy and sometimes heartbreak in every moment. Through getting back in touch with meditation, connecting with the divine (I call it the Divine Nothingness/Universe), and by journaling more, I have seen how I'd previously been so driven by fear, anxiety, nameless flutters.

So thank you to my meditation teacher, Jeri. And thank you to the universe. I know that you will always catch me if I fall. And that falling is okay, and part of this amazing adventure called life.

For 2009
I will always appear to bite off more than I can chew, so my resolution and plan for 2009 is to chew  a little less and:
  1. Finish my novel, The Dragon Stone
  2. Create the the physical version of the Writer's Adventure Guide
  3. Mass produce and distribute the Writer's Tarot
  4. Speak/do workshops at least once a month
  5. Have a lot of fun running my business(es)
  6. Expand and launch my Artist Entrepreneurs Unite to the next level
  7. And be open to wonderful opportunities!
And You?
What are your successes in 2008?

What have you learned from your 2008 successes and failures?

What would you like to accomplish in 2009?


---
Beth Barany is a Certified Creativity Coach for Writers, Book Consultant, and Artist Entrepreneur. 


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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Snow on Queens Boulevard, Sandra Lee Schubert 2008

Wild Woman of Queens
: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Sandra Lee Schubert

Sun on Mars

A friend sent a photo of snow falling in Las Vegas. This was not snow in the upper regions where there are heavy storms, but in the city itself. Another friend said they were seeing snow in Texas where snow does not normally fall. Reports of snow were all over the place. Snow was even found on Mars,where scientists have been searching for any possibility of life. Microbes can live in extreme temperatures. Having the presence of water means the possibility of life can exist.

The reports of snow in odd places made me think, not of global climate change, but of possibility.

I am always surprised by life, something I thought was one way turns out to have a whole other point of view.

Creation becomes this vital thing. Mapping out my life in I realize the path I was taking could be better served going in another direction. For many years I considered myself first and foremost a poet. when I started writing longer pieces I discovered a dark and Gothic voice. It was a surprise to me. Who is this person writing these words? I couldn't even say it was a female voice. There was a voice that came from a place I didn't know existed.

Occasionally I hear people resist another point of view. They have dedicated themselves to creating a comfortable persona. You can hear the subtle horror in their tone when their worldview is challenged. The rest of us listening may recognize the resistance because we know it in ourselves.

I would like to say I am open to all possibilities but I more fearful then adventuresome. I still surprise myself. There is snow on Mars and the possibility for life. I find some hope in that news.



Sandra Lee Schubert is a creative vagabond, a poet, writer and online entrepreneur. She co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Sandra leads people to create their life stories as the creator of the e-course, Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own.
Visit her blog: Email her info@writing4life.com or @writing4life via twitter.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Garden Views: Rekindling an Old Flame


I’ve been writing a series of posts for novice gardeners about the process of creating, or revitalizing, a garden (see http://loisdevries.blogspot.com/2008/12/gardening-as-process-dreaming-it-into.html). In doing so, I’ve fallen in love all over again with working on my own garden.

Having to think through the steps in order to explain them to would-be gardeners has forced me to consciously attend to them, rather than whizzing through what now comes automatically to me.

I felt all warm and fuzzy as I described the ideal conditions for dreaming a garden into existence. But I also realized how much of that esoteric experience I had missed lately. I’m looking forward to a cup of cider to warm my hands, a fire in the fireplace, a fuzzy throw to snuggle under, a pile of books and magazines to stimulate ideas, and notebooks or sketchbooks to capture my thoughts.

I had to pull my own bubble diagrams out of the drawer in order to explain how to draw one and what it should contain. They reminded me how much I had already accomplished, but that there was still much to do. It was satisfying to realize that the space was actually working as it had been intended --- dogs here, dining there, seeds and water for birds, and flowers pretty much anywhere something else isn’t happening.

I started itching to stretch the garden out past the fence and get out my landscape template to sketch in plants and colors.

Drawing is not my strong suit, but I’ve always loved the varied textures of art papers, colored pencils, and tubes of paint. Bubble diagrams and landscape designs are not high art, but they provide the opportunity for me to dabble and play with these media without any pressure to produce something beautiful, or saleable. After all, these are only maps to show me the way to my own idea of buried treasure --- painting with plants.

We all need to slow down a little and sink into some of the sensory, mental, and emotional pleasures that we associate with our art. Those are the built-in rewards of our work.

Lois de Vries' thoughts on gardening and environmental issues run the gamut from gardening in her own back yard to promoting land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth. Lois is seeking a publisher for her book, The Transformational Power of Gardening. Visit her blog at http://loisdevries.blogspot.com.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Television Musings - Rants and Raves of a Romance Writer


By Kathy Carpenter


Cancelled Shows

Not news we like to hear this time of year but my sister read my a list of shows that are cancelled. Though I can not remember all I thought I would spread the word on the ones I do. A lot of these were some of the ones I’ve mentioned in this blog as being creative. I guess Americans are not into creative television at least some of it. Here we go. Pushing up Daisies. The show where the hero can touch a dead person and bring them back to life for a minute - told in storybook fashion. Eli Stone. Where Eli see visions from God that help solve his cases and tell which cases to take. My own worst Enemy. I did not talk about this one. But it was where the same guy played duo personality, one a homebody, the other a spy. Dirty, Sexy, Money. Another big, rich family drama. One that was just starting to get good. Where the good lawyer, who was actually part of the family, was starting to become a little less moral and more like his dirty family he represented. Always and interesting concept.

We also lost Ex List and Valentine the two cutesy romance type shows. Lipstick Jungle which I really enjoy and Caruso which I dit see as a long time show. I mean the same things happen every time people come to island, and Caruso remains or the show is over.

Merry Christmas!

Till next time
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Monday, December 15, 2008


Sculpting a life
Susan Gallacher-Turner’s turn in the Pacific Northwest.

GIVING THANKS
AFTER THANKSGIVING
.

Thanksgiving – a holiday, a simple phrase – that means to give thanks. This year it’s been hard to do. Not that there aren’t many things to be thankful for – love, health, food, shelter, creativity and support. Family that is really family and friends who are really friends.

So why am I having difficulty? Because my husband’s new job isn’t paying as much, with health benefits and 401K? Because I’m scared. Yes. Because he deserves the recognition of his talents with the appropriate salary and benefits. Yes. Because I can’t make up the difference right now. Yes. Because I don’t want to work at a job I don’t like for that reason. Yes. Because I want to work at my art, writing and teaching. Yes.


Truth be told, there’ve been years of guilt that I wasn’t pulling my weight financially. And yet, I know that being a full-time Mom means more than dollar signs. Last week, my children told me it’s been priceless to them. It’s been priceless to me, too. I know the guilt of not doing that would far out weigh what I feel now.

But now, things are different. Both of my children are ‘grown up’. My husband’s job has changed. And I’m different, too. Or am I? Or is it?

Sitting here at 5 am, tears running down my cheeks, I connect with me here. And with my past and all those nights I got up, wrote and cried and worried. And my feelings were the same then as they are right now. His job, the kids, my guilt at not having a ‘real’ job, one that paid money, one that gave a sense of security, of financial independence for me as well as my family.

Then and now, I am faced with the same choice really – choose fear or choose love. Is it really that simple? Yes.

Then – I chose to do what I knew in my heart was right – love. I chose to work as a full-time mother to my young children in spite of my fear of living on only one income. We made it.

Again – I chose to do what I knew in my heart was right – love. I chose to go back to school, taking classes in art with the goal of showing and selling my work, doing artist residencies in the schools and being there for my children in spite of my fears. We made it, again.

Now – I choose to do what I know in my heart is right – love. I’m choosing to do my art, writing and teaching in spite of my fear and all the changes. Once again, we are making it.

For all of this, I give thanks.
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THE ARTFUL LIFE – A HOLISTIC APPROACH

Divine Discontent

by Lisa A. Riley


Discover your own discontent, and be grateful, for without 
divine discontent there would be no creative force.
– Deepak Chopra

We all suffer to some degree of a chronic, low-grade discontent. So, we seek out the next goal to achieve, a new relationship, a new job, perhaps the next rush of adrenaline or the next “something else” that will bring fulfillment to our lives. The very thing we need to rid us of this unceasing desire and bring contentment. We even chant to ourselves a silent mantra, “When I get there, I can relax, enjoy life and then I will be happy.” Yet when we get there or obtain the object of our desire it only seems to temporarily quiet the hungry voice and before we know it, the gnawing starts up again.

In our eyes, such a recurring yearn can easily be interpret as a deficiency in our life or lack in our character that needs to be remedied. When we interpret feelings of dissatisfaction in a negative light and succumb to the urgency for instant gratification, we are often left with an even greater longing for the next thing.

Religions and philosophies have often referred to this as “A Divine Discontent.” They recognize its gift as a fountain of energy, which prompts us to take the next step towards becoming our full potential. In his book, The Path of Least Resistance, Robert Fritz, compares this process to a rubber band that is stretched back to a point of tension. Within that tension manifest a natural tendency to return to its previous form. According to Fritz this results when the place we’re currently at does not match up to where we desire to be. Therefore, what wells up is a strong urge to resolve it. Within this tension lives an energy, which commonly occurs prior to a major breakthrough or epiphany.

How does divine discontent play out in the creative process? It rears its face in the initial stages of an idea and then transforms into a sudden urge to bring the vision into fruition. It can be the motivation that drives the artist to return to the sculpture, painting or novel daily. Or it surfaces in the aftermath of its completion as a desire still yet not fulfilled. Once again ignites the birth of another idea.

In Mark Epstein’s book, Open to Desire he describes this restlessness. He writes, “But allowing oneself to fall into the space that desire cannot span makes the experience complete. The little bit of lack that remains, after even the most satisfying resolution of desire, is a window into something important, something true.”

Experiencing the Divine Discontent is part of being human and even a natural quality of being an artist. It can drive us to push through moments of creative block and seek out innovative ideas. That said, let us embrace and welcome the presence of our Divine Discontent and let it become a muse that is channeled towards developing a productive artful life.

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Monday Morning Motivators to Slay Your Creative Dragons


By CJ Lyons and Margie Lawson

More Healthy Eating: from CJ

In preparation for the holidays and all those New Years' resolutions, here are some more tips for healthy eating.

We already talked about serving sizes (palm of your hand, remember?) and proportioning the types of food you eat.

Now, let’s talk about reading labels. All too often we buy supposedly healthy food based on the pictures or words on the front of the package.

Guess what? They’re often just as fictional as our writing!


Here’s what to look for:

–in breads, you want whole grains, not just whole wheat. A slice should provide 2-3 grams of fibre.

–in prepared foods (like those Lean Cuisines you keep on hand for emergencies) look for no more than twice as much carbohydrates than protein. So if there are 20 grams of carbs, then there should be at least 10 grams of protein

–avoid trans fat, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats as much as possible.

–other things to avoid are corn syrup, sugar, fructose, or sucrose in the first ingredients listed

Have fun and eat healthy so you can power up your writing!

As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a national bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller." The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, is due out January, 2009. Contact her at http://www.cjlyons.net

Margie Lawson -- presenter, psychotherapist, writer -- lives at the top of a Colorado mountain west of Denver. Margie merged her two worlds, psychology and writing, to develop psychologically anchored editing systems and techniques that teach writers how to write page turners. A former college professor, Margie works as a psychotherapist, writes fiction and nonfiction, and presents full day master classes for writers internationally. Go to http://www.margielawson.com for more information.


Read more!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Crazy dreams by Sandra Lee Schubert 2008

Wild Woman of Queens
: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Sandra Lee Schubert


Creative Dreams


A group of researchers have developed a technique to interpret brainwaves that occur during dream states and display images based off of the data.

Count me in. Last night I dreamt I was responsible for separating people into pair's at a park. Each pair would have a particular task to do. There were hundreds of people for me separate. In the process I befriended a young married couple. The husband and I became partners in a foreclosed apartment building in Manhattan. It had previously been bought by a corporation that had rudely kicked all the tenants out. My business partner and I had to clean out the left behind possessions.

The next scene I was living in Ireland, trying to buy food in a Irish fast food place. I kept trying to get potatoes to go with my meat but just got more meat. I was walking to my new home and decided to stop by and look at people hanging out by a body of water. It was a happening place. The water came right up to the sidewalk. People were swimming in the water and there were fish and giant bullfrogs. I asked a couple of women what they called this body of water. Was it a river? An ocean? They answered me in such a thick Irish brogue I couldn't understand a word they said. No matter, we had a fabulous time and I was liking my new adventure. I walked on and came across a church that was the building i had bought in Manhattan. My partner had converted the building into a thriving seminary and bustling church. I felt bad about being left out of all of this considering I was an Interfaith minister.

I could use that dream software. Imagine if I could take all those scenes and bring the visuals to life. Giant Bullfrogs? Walking through a city in Ireland, a place I have never seen, I felt oddly at home and happy. But wouldn't it be fun to see if any of the images had relevance for other people? Dreams hold so much possibility. My own dreams are always rich and full of elaborate imagery. They stay with me throughout the day, sometimes so vivid they become more like a real memory then just a dream. The dreams become rich fodder for me to pull images and stories out of them.


Would our lives be easier if we could take our visions and put them right on paper or a canvas? There is always this struggle to bring creation into being. What would we lose if we didn't have to engage in this particular kind of struggle? I am not sure. All I know is that I have this rich playground to play in. Sleep is my artistic retreat.


Sandra Lee Schubert is a creative vagabond, a poet, writer and dabbler in the arts and online entrepreneur. She co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. She is also the creator of the e-course, Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Email her info@writing4life.com or @writing4life via twitter.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Career Inklings from Columbia



Time to Recharge
by Janet M. Ruck

As the weather on the east coast encourages me to turn inward, I can take this opportunity to regroup, recharge and reframe my focus on what comes next. There is definitely change in the air, certainly in the weather, but also in the atmosphere and in the environment. So much upheaval in the world, some days it’s difficult to look beyond what comforts me.

Mother Nature knows that it’s time to slow down and regroup. Today it is a cold, rainy, unpleasant day. But, it’s all in how I view it, isn’t it? The sales person in the department store called it “liquid sunshine” when I commented on how dreary the weather is. Forced inward, I welcome the respite from the day. There is so much to do to prepare me for the rest of my life.

On days like these, I can take the time to focus on myself. Sometimes it’s difficult to do so, because then I become aware that I have rushed through so many moments. My life has always been about doing, and about going. This time of year, and days like these are gifts in their reminders to slow down, to breathe and to reframe. Once I get used to it, I really can relax! I wonder why I fight it so?
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Monday, December 08, 2008

Television Musings - Rants and Raves of a Romance Writer


By Kathy Carpenter


Sugerplums and Scandal


Sugarplums and Scandal
is a Christmas Anthology by six authors. I like to read a few Christmas books this time of year. The story I’m on is “Holly Go-Lighty” by Suzanne Macpherson.

Holly well that’s Christmas and what else would I be watching? I watched four made for Television Christmas movies last week. I can’t remember the names of the first two ( weeks are long this time of year if you know what I mean) But the last two were Comfort and Joy and Flirting With Forty. The Magic of Christmas what can I say? I try to watch as many of these movies as I can fit in.

Once Christmas is past, well at least in January, it’s no Christmas movies for me. I don’t like to watch things out of season. I especially hate watching Christmas movies in the summer.

These days everything is such a rush. In California we don’t even have our real summer weather until September and October. At the end of September I like to enjoy the fall season of decorating for about three weeks. Then Halloween maybe three weeks, after that some more Fall Thanksgiving stuff for about three weeks. And then Christmas. Not jumping ahead but enjoying each as it’s own special time period.

Until next week,
Kathy Read more!

WRITING NEW YORK



A Writer Takes on Grad School and New York City… and Lives To Tell About It

Deonne Kahler





I'M THINKING I INTRODUCE SOME FLESH-EATING ALIENS

After multiple flip-flops, I’d finally decided to write a book-length memoir as my thesis project, the story of my childhood and its attendant issues – sexuality, disobedience, self-esteem, male-female relationships (girls and boys, girls and fathers, girls and men, wives and husbands) – all as an exploration about what it means to “grow up.”

I’m most comfortable writing nonfiction, so dammit, that’s what I was going to do. None of this making up imaginary people with imaginary lives for me, I was going to lay the true story naked on the page. Just the facts, ma’am.

Until this weekend. Don’t kill me, but I may write it as a novel after all. I realize I’m like a jittery bride on the eve of her wedding: Do I commit to this flesh and blood man, the bird in the hand, the known thing (the memoir)? Or do I ditch the poufy white dress and pursue my single life a little longer, not knowing what the future (plot) holds or what new characters might appear (in the novel)?

I met with a few writer friends on Saturday. I presented my memoir piece, a series of linked scenes from my childhood. The good news: everyone loved the writing. The bad news: it might be better served as fiction.

People like my memoir idea, the story of a difficult (to say the least) father-daughter relationship. That isn’t written about nearly as often as mothers-daughters or fathers-sons, so it has a unique angle. Okay. But since I don’t have anything more dramatic in my past than most law-abiding, non-addicted, non-celebrity, non-crazy (well, that’s up for debate), never raised by wolves or held captive by sadistic mimes people do, it might be hard to differentiate my memoir from other coming of age stories.

What I do have are interesting characters (my family and friends) and setting (suburban San Diego in the ‘70s and ‘80s), plus a good eye for detail and a willingness to be entirely honest about how embarrassing and painful it is to be human.

The obvious thing about memoir is both its beauty and its curse: It’s true. (In theory. I’m looking at you, James Frey et al.) The people I’m writing about are very much alive, and even though my mother has given me her blessing for this project, I can’t help but worry. I’m fine metaphorically stripping in public, but I don’t know that I’m comfortable forcing my mom to do it too.

So. The novel. Yesterday I wrote three paragraphs I’m pretty happy with. (Three paragraphs! I know! Makes you want to quit your job and become a full-time writer, doesn’t it? The progress is overwhelming.)

The only big questions for me are the major dramatic events, the crises that all good novels throw at you along the way. I have no idea what mine will be. I’m great on character development, setting, and detail, but plot is my weak point. And a novel needs a plot.

No matter. I’m going to use my life as the outline but push the characters and events further than they were in real life. I need to let go of my fear that “I’m not good at fiction,” because in reality I have the chops to tell my story either way – nonfiction or novel. But I reserve the right to flip back to memoir at any point in the future. Think of it as part of the prenup.

Deonne Kahler has been a freelance writer for seven years, and decided it was time to move to New York and get her MFA. And really, why not? Contact her at deonne [at] deonnekahler [dot] com, or check out her blog at www.lifeonthehighwire.com.
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Sunday, December 07, 2008

London Calling


Today I have to visit a friend in hospital. The hospital is on the other side of London – the other side of the river, in fact. In London, you’re either a South London girl or a North London girl. Large swathes of the population do not cross the River Thames by choice, even though they may holiday in Spain, or Florida, and cheerfully visit long-lost relatives in Australia every three years. To get to the hospital, I catch a red London bus to Golders Green and then, at Golders Green I get out, and change to another bus. At London Bridge, I change again. By this means, using a plastic monthly ticket we Londoners call an Oyster, I can travel across the whole wide city. I barely notice that I’m in South London. That’s the journey of a writer – from known territory to the great unknown, and all in the space of forty minutes. My friend’s symptoms are not good. I cry a little, take solace in a capuccino and write a little of my novel. I look up, and the bus is outside the cafĂ©.

Jennifer Pittam blogs about the writer's life every Tuesday on http://weaversofdreams.blogspot.com. She recently won first prize in the ‘Coast to Coast’ Writing Competition with her short story, ‘I Remember Very Well.' Read more!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Rededication Sandra Lee Schubert 2008


Wild Woman of Queens
: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Sandra Lee Schubert


Rededication


Sunday, November 30, 2008 my beloved Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine was fully open after a devastating fire nearly destroyed it seven years ago. The service of rededication was grand, sweeping spectacle of ritual. Maybe religion isn't your thing yet one couldn't help but be awed by the sight of the fully open and sparkly cleaned Cathedral.

As a physical space it is amazing. It is still being created, unfinished, it holds both the foundation of creation and its possibilities. That got me thinking about creation and do we need a service of rededication in our own lives?

There is so much change going on in world right now. The US will have a completely new administration, basing itself on the platform of change. The economy has pulled the proverbial rug from under us and many are in a financial free fall.

Panic would be easy and reasonable at the moment but may not be the most helpful response to recreating our lives. Faced with devastation we can rebuild our lives one day at a time. Dealing with my own layoff I had to make a choice about how I was going to deal with it. I opted to take the track of the Cathedral and use the opportunity to create myself anew.

To that end I am rededicating myself to my creative life. What can you do as a part of a rededication ritual? Maybe you would like to rededicate yourself to your art, your family or to a favorite cause.

We are coming up to a new year and it is a perfect time to reclaim your life and rededicate yourself to a brighter future.

Sandra Lee Schubert is a creative vagabond, a poet, writer and dabbler in the arts and online entrepreneur. She co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. She is also the creator of the e-course, Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Email her info@writing4life.com or @writing4life via twitter.

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Garden Views: Art is a Personal Choice


As I shop my book, I’m learning how important it is to know one's own mind. In advance. Every time we begin a new piece of work, we make choices that determine the place we think our work should occupy in the world. If those choices are not made consciously and purposefully, we feel lost and indecisive when obstacles pop up.

For example, one editor explained that, for the immediate future, they are only acquiring more practical, informational books. The Transformational Power of Gardening is not that kind of book.

Should I try proposing a different book, one that is informational? I certainly have the knowledge, experience, background, and raw material to do so. If my motivation were only to see my name on a book cover, or to offer my book ideas as commodities, it would be a painless decision. One that would actually make my life easier.

But I have spent decades composing informational or practical content: Planetarium scripts that taught astronomical facts; radio scripts that told listeners about the latest developments in business; advertising blurbs for industrial products; corporate instructional manuals; a wastewater treatment monograph; operation manuals for equipment; do-it-yourself articles for magazines; specialized newspapers; newsletters; and in my current volunteer life, grant applications and environmental reports.

Now I want to tell the world about my own “big idea,” an aspect of gardening that has never been discussed before; one that reaches far beyond the mechanics of gardening and into the mind of the gardener. I chose this topic right from the very beginning because it intrigued me, and I knew that it would intrigue other gardeners.

This doesn’t mean that I’ll never write a practical gardening book. In fact, I have ideas for a half-dozen mainstream titles. They just don’t interest me nearly as much as The Transformational Power of Gardening does right now.

Artists of all stripes must choose, at some point, whether to “go commercial.” That is, perhaps, the easier route but it means writing, or painting, or sculpting according to a formula known to produce sales, rather than the uncertain, winding path of producing art that springs from our own creative core. More difficult, but much more satisfying.

Lois de Vries' thoughts on gardening and environmental issues run the gamut from gardening in her own back yard to promoting land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth. Lois is seeking a publisher for her book, The Transformational Power of Gardening. Visit her blog at http://loisdevries.blogspot.com.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Television Musings - Rant and Raves of a Romance Writer


By Kathy Carpenter

Dancing with the Stars Finale

After watching the finale for this year’s Dancing with the Stars Finale I felt strongly this should be my next blog. For those of you who watched you know Brooke won. I personally wanted either Lance or Warren.

My person has not won for seasons. Last Year I did feel like Kristi was good. Much better than Brooke this year. But although they are technically the best, maybe. They are boring. The do nothing for me. I would much rather be entertained by someone like Lance or Warren with a few flaws.
When you are entertained not being a professional dancer you don’t even notice the mistakes because you don’t know what they are you don’t see them. You just say to yourself I really enjoyed that number.

No one I know wanted Brooke to win which brings up the question who voted for her? My mom claims they cheat. The judges manipulate the people with their comments. I say would you vote for or against someone because of what they say? I say give people credit the will vote for who they like best. She also says they don’t really count the votes. I’m pretty sure they do. But who voted for Brooke?

Let me know where you stand on this dis you vote for Brooke or want her to win?

Kathy.carpenter4@gte.net
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

London Calling


Remembrance Sunday has gone and now we are deep into Autumn. The trees in London’s forests and parks have turned red and the air is crisp as I trot across the Common to the gym. I am deep in thought as I struggle across frost-encrusted grass and prickly gorse, for I am struggling with my novel at present. Everything in me wants to stay at home and sit by the laptop, battling. Yet, this is the worst thing I could do. Sometimes you have to walk away from your writing to walk deep into the heart of what you’re trying to say. As I come out from behind a tree I startle a deer – a magnificent stag. Because I am thinking about my hero Thomas and his battle to find himself, I’m not really looking where I’m going. I just blundered into his territory, a great, flat-footed human, not looking, not thinking. I must have come between the stag and his ladies, for he stands his ground and barks at me. This is dangerous stuff, potentially, but I don’t even notice because I am deep in the untamed, the wild mind. We look at each other. I see something in him, something that can never be broken. He bounds away. I run the last ten minutes to the gym.

Jennifer Pittam writes on the creative spirit and the ancient, magical forest that is her inspiration. Follow her column on http://weaversofdreams.blogspot.com/ Read more!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Hal cropped by Sandra Lee Schubert 2008

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Sandra Lee Schubert

Creating New

What do you do when life does not go as expected? How about when your favorite art project looks like hell? Creating can be a big pain. You have a vision. The vision and current reality does not fit. Paint goes bad, your brain dries up and not a word pours out. Can you keep creating despite the capricious nature of life?

Claim your right to create despite distractions, layoffs, no money and the bad news hitting you from all over the place. Let go of your force of will to demand art behave like you want and let creation happen.

I have just hired a new instructor for the writers group I facilitate. She shared her ideas about the class would be taught. But there I was judging it. I know these people they will never go for it. But who am I hiring? Has she done this before? Does it matter? Despite my opinions, I am willing to be surprised by what may happen. The group may hate it. OK. All of us have to break out of our set ways and shake things up a bit.

Think of some different ways to create. You could try to write standing up or in a different location. If you paint in the morning, try painting in the afternoon life. Claim your write to create no matter what happens. Let's see what can happen.


Sandra Lee Schubert
is a creative vagabond, a poet, writer and dabbler in the arts and online entrepreneur. She co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. She is also the creator of the e-course, Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Email her info@writing4life.com or @writing4life via twitter.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Creative Connections - Messy Writing

Oct 2007 Rocky Mountains 4

My fingertips are stained purple and red from experimenting with alcohol inks. Turquoise paint from redoing the hall bath rims my fingernails. My dining table is covered with newspapers, the inks and paint, brushes, and the glass bowl that I've ink painted a glowing transparent plum color. Creativity is messy.

Writing used to be messy. Think of wastebaskets overflowing with balled-up papers, the ink-stained fingers of authors, the splurts of fountain pens on manuscripts and desks. Now writing is cleaner, no correction fluid to drip white dots on my hands,no flowing ink, not even typewriter ribbons to change. I can type and backspace, delete, change wording, correct spelling, play with fonts and colors. My hands and desk stay clean.

I wonder though if these tidy words marching across the page between clean margins are not misleading. The words are not actually perfect. They may not look it, but they are smeared, misshapen, blemished. They need polishing, crossing out, moved around. And I realize that writing is still a messy process - even if my hands aren't usually ink stained.


Lauri Griffin is a published short story writer who is currently revising some longer works. She holds degrees in educational psychology and gifted education, and is the instructional coordinator for a a literacy program. Lauri is fascinated by the many different ways our brains learn, and by the creative process. Visit Lauri's Reflections, for more thoughts on creativity, writing, lifelong learning, and parenting. Read more!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Sculpting a Life:
Susan Gallacher-Turner’s turn in the Pacific Northwest.
(Raven copper mask)
Life is like sculpting in so many ways. Some obvious and some not. What’s obvious to me right now relates to the process called subtractive sculpting.

What is subtractive sculpting? It’s starting with a block of stone, chunk of clay, piece of wood then chipping, pinching or carving bits of it away.

This is very different from additive sculpting. Additive sculpting is adding material or elements to form the sculpture.


My life seems to be mirroring the process of subtractive sculpture. Now, I realize that sounds bad. It isn’t.

Let’s say that I’m doing relief sculpture of a bird in clay. In this process, I’d start with a slab of clay. I would then carve away the parts of the clay that are not needed to form the bird. By taking away, subtracting the clay that is not part of the bird, I am leaving the clay that forms the bird. Get it?

I’m taking away, subtracting what I don’t need, I’m leaving what I do need and want. Hmm. Sounds like a good idea, don’t you think? Especially, considering the strained economic times we are riding through right now, this just might be a solution.

What I see is very simple. I am the sculptor of my life. All I have to do is see that life is good.

Carve away what I don’t need. Pinch out what is in my way. Chip out and around my life to sculpt the picture I want.
Then I keep what works. What’s good. What creates the life that I picture.

I am sculpting a life. Mine.

You can do it, too. You don’t have to be a sculptor to do it. All you have to do is take a good look at your life. See what’s good in your life. Decide you want to keep it. Then, start carving away those things, people, places and activities that you don’t want, need or that get in the way of the life you envision.

You can sculpt your life, too.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

London Calling


Well! I've come joint first in a writing Competition - 'Coast to Coast' October 2008. It was a great surprise, and a tremendous boost to my writing spirit. My short story was called 'I Remember Very Well' and it was written especially for Armistice Day, when here in London we remember the servicemen and women lost in every war since 1914.This year the ceremony was exceptionally poignant, and beautiful. There are whole new generations, of course - those mourning loved ones lost in Iraq or Afghanistan, and those who came to march past the Cenotaph in honour of a grandfather or great-uncle. The journey of bereavement is a long one indeed, and like the journey of a writing soul, you have to take it step by step. Read more!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Garden Views: Things Are Not Always What They Seem

This week on my personal blog, http://loisdevries.blogspot.com/2008/11/propane-tank-in-garden-revisited.html, I talk about our experience in moving our propane tank. I have lived on this property for most of my adult life, as well as for a large part of my childhood. I thought I understood it. I thought I knew where everything was. But when I wanted to move the propane tank, I discovered that what I had thought was a solid rock ledge (after all there is rock ledge on either side of it) turned out to be a respectable layer of topsoil. So too, with writing. Breathes there a writer anywhere who hasn’t attempted to read the editorial tea leaves? The meaning behind, “You have a lovely book, but ……?” I was sure that an editor who seemed enthusiastic about an article on native plants had changed his mind, only to have him assign it to me 14 months later. He had not responded to any of my follow-up e-mails, but things were not as they seemed.

I was certain my book would sell when the proposal made it all the way into the weekly editorial meeting of a huge publishing house. It didn’t. Two years later, I’ve recast it in a different format, based on the comments of editors who turned it down. One who declined it two years ago now “can’t wait to read it.” She revealed that she is an avid gardener. Another responded immediately with a request to see the proposal. Things are not always as they seem.

What does it all mean? It means I’ve made some progress. Because, in those intervening two years, I poked around. Just like I had my husband poke around the rock ledge with a crowbar to help us decide whether moving the propane tank was even a possibility. I poked around on gardening blogs, academic web sites, illustrator’s blogs, Publishers Weekly, Media Bistro, Publisher’s Lunch, and various gardening trade sites. I wasted a lot of time, but I also learned some things that are important to both writing and marketing my book (and myself). It looked as if I wasn’t doing anything, but things are not always as they seem.

Sometimes, things DO turn out to be the way they seem, and just in case THIS is that time, we’ve broken out champagne twice in the past week. Cheap champagne. We’re saving the Dom Perignon for the contract.

Lois de Vries' thoughts on gardening and environmental issues run the gamut from gardening in her own back yard to promoting land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth. Lois is seeking a publisher for her book, The Transformational Power of Gardening. Visit her blog at http://loisdevries.blogspot.com.

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THE ARTFUL LIFE – A HOLISTIC APPROACH

Grieving Through Art

by Lisa A. Riley

There might come a time when the safe cushion of our routine lives is suddenly jolted by a loss. It could be an unexpected loss of a job, an ending to a relationship, a death of a loved one or a dream we watched slip out of our reach. In either situation, grief can result and often consume our lives during such times. This can disrupt the flow of our routine especially in our artistic life. Startled and paralyzed, we are unable to tap into what was once a river of creativity. Although, grief is a natural remedy to move us towards healing and recovery, it can often put a suddenly halt to our creative process.

Grief may require us to shut down both physically and mentally in order to cope. The very same energy that once cultivated inspiration is now forced to focus on recuperating. This can often leave us feeling creatively dried up and dull. Yet, in the midst of suffering also lies an opportunity to heal from it and what better avenue then to try to express it through our art.

During grief, our creativity pulls from a different source, our own emotional suffering. Sometimes emotional pain and trials can force us to become more introspective, present and sensitive to our internal world, allowing feelings to be closer to the surface making it much easier to tap into. We can clearly see this occurring in the pieces of some of our old masters.

For example, Picasso’s well-known “Blue Period,” was prompted by the sudden suicide death of his friend Carlos Casadgemas. His grief can be felt through the blues and greens that dominated his paintings during this period. Picasso also painted multiple portraits of Casadgemas as an avenue to express the deep loss and yearning for his friend. Another example is a writer telling the story of his own trauma over and over again as a reoccurring theme in his writings. For instance, Shakespeare’s repeated theme of death that shows up in his plays can be attributed to witnessing multiple fatalities in his family. Because of the high mortality rate during his time, many of his brothers and sisters died at an early age.

The intense feelings of loss and grief can be overwhelming. Being able to process some of these feelings through our art can help lesson the intensity as well as bring some relief. Creatively expressing our grief can help us work through the pain and bring more meaning and depth to our experience.

Just as Picasso began his Rose Period soon after his Blue Period, we too can have hope that there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

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Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Build Your Foundation photo by Sandra Lee Schubert 2008

Wild Woman of Queens
: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Sandra Lee Schubert


Building a Foundation


I don't know how to build a building. When I saw the walls of one going up without a foundation I thought it didn't seem right. What would hold the walls in place? It would seem even with a one story place you would want it anchored into something more solid then dirt. The walls looked unsettled. Am I wrong?
Maybe I don't know anything about construction but I do know about living on shaky ground. When last week I ended up 90 miles away from home at the right place at the wrong time I was shaken for a moment. But I was able to bounce back and laugh at myself. This week I lost my job. Wow. I must admit to a bit of a headache.

Things happen. Challenges and successes move through your life. What do you do with them? How do you keep to creating in spite of circumstances.

The people I admire most are the ones who can work no matter what. I would like to say I got up and began to write, write, write. I didn't. But I will write. There is a space of time open before me with new possibilities. Build your foundation, then build your walls, giving your life and creativity someplace to thrive.

Sandra Lee Schubert is a creative vagabond, a poet, writer and dabbler in the arts and online entrepreneur. She co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. She is also the creator of the e-course, Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Email her info@writing4life.com or @writing4life via twitter.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Television Musings - Rants and Raves of a Romance Writer


By Kathy Carpenter

Privileged

I’m back. Sorry I know it’s been a few weeks, but it’s just been a crazy busy time for me. I have a lot of those by the way. Anyway, yes, since I’ve been busy I’m still reading “Hex Appeal” So, this weeks comment is on a show I watched this week.

If anybody saw this weeks episode of Privileged I thought one of the writers wrote something very creative. Personally I feel television writers are becoming more and more creative these days.

As for Privileged for you who have not watched the show. It’s about a college graduate who had a writing job in New York and I believe got fired. Somehow she got the opportunity to tutor a set a super rich twins in Florida ( where she grew up ). The twins do not look alike. Anyway she was hired to see they have grades which will get them into the best collages. The twin who could care less about grades, naturally has the ability to learn easily. The one who wants to go to collage with or without her sister struggles with grades. In this episode the twin who struggles received a D on a final. She knew she needed to pass all her other exams. (She is also the most moral of the two) Anyway, she bought the next exam she needed to pass. Her sister is not happy with this. But (and her is where the creative part comes in) decideed to help her out. She stole the test (which is a fifty question multiple choice questions) from her sister and had the answers made into a purse.

The purse had randem colored letters all over in a trendy design. Of course the letters could not be laid in order. So the design was a secret code. Something like every third letter starting at the bullseye. I thought this very clever. Does it work? Well we did not see what happens yet. But I do think something like this could be pulled off. That’s what makes it creative.

Who says there are no new ideas?

Feel free to comment anytime.

I can also be reached at kathy.carpenter4@gte.net
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Iowa Writing Coach: For Creative Energy, Get Moving


I’m guessing I’m not the only one right now who struggles this time of year with shorter days, lack of sunlight, and the impending cold. Every year I have to remind myself that to keep my creative spirit alive in November, I have to face the bogeyman. I’m talking about literally facing the monster by getting out into the cold, rain, and slush.

I’m talking about getting outside and moving around – vigorously, as in a half-hour jog or fast hike. And not just once in awhile. I’m talking six days a week. Getting outdoors, year round but especially in the winter, is my best protection against creative doldrums and the self-doubt that can accompany them.

For me, it’s not if I’ll exercise today; it’s when. Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, MD, argue in Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You’re 80 and Beyond that as we hit middle age, our bodies will start to decay. Basically, our bodies start to go into hibernation unless we signal to them to keep growing. The signal? Vigorous exercise, six days a week. Exercising tells our bodies to keep repairing and renewing. It also releases chemicals that bathe our brains in positive feelings.

“Being sedentary is the most important signal for decay,” say Crowley and Lodge. Thus, “Decay is optional.” And since aging is largely about decaying, we can slow our aging process by being physically active. That’s why, as they say, “Exercise is magic.”

And as I have discovered, going outdoors for exercise is part of the magic – even in the cold, rain, slush, and snow. Getting out into the elements causes nature’s beauty to trump the cold, taming the face of the winter monster and minimizing self-doubt about creativity in the process. Plus there’s all that Vitamin D to soak up during the daylight.

“Exercise is the opposite of crazy. It is the thing you use to drive craziness away,” write Crowley and Lodge. I agree. And for extra protection from the creativity crazies, bundle up and get outside while you move your beautiful body.

Need extra motivation to get moving outdoors? Try listening to music on an Ipod. And check out my essay, "Running through Life," about the joys of jogging to music.

As a writing coach, writer, editor, and visual artist from Eastern Iowa, Suzanne Kelsey tries to inspire people to live their passions and find miracles even in the mundane. She blogs about the freelancing life, Midwest Bohemia, nature, creativity, visual journaling, and living large in a small town. Check out her web site at www.suzannekelsey.com. Visit her blog at www.iowawritingcoach.blogspot.com. Email her at suzannekelsey@msn.com.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Funny Thing in Vegas- Graphic Novels


The Vegas Valley Book Fair featured imagery that bounced off the pages this year in words illustrated by color, texture, and panels rather than paragraphs. In the last twenty years, comic books have become far more than a trip to Krypton and a laugh with Archie. They are hand held films, with rich plots, scintillating sub-plots, and a surreal walk away from the literary page. Characters aren't just sculpted idealistic visions of what the human form must be. They are well-spoken, deeply intelligent, and highly emotional personalities that take on the world with the intricacies of the most well-written Dickens novel, and the drama of a Shakespearean archetype.

Neil Gaiman, known for his motion picture scripts, young adult novels, novels, and innumerable other projects spoke at the Festival this year, about the work he has a passion for- the graphic novel. He spoke of the world being too focused on passing by us for anyone to absorb words for any length of time. But he also spoke to the idea that vision is beyond the written word for many writers, and his decision to be involved in theater, film, and children's books are as a large part of his life as his best selling novels. Sometimes showing someone what you are talking about gives the imagination a larger canvas to run amuck, play, and the opportunities for creativity are vast and ever-changing.

Storyboard novels are not a new medium. Egyptian tombs are filled with stories and legends told in pictures. Cave drawings give viewers the stories of large hunts, horrible weather fiascoes, and daily life. Most motion picture studios have storyboard artists on staff who help directors map out the vision for the feature- with museums carrying this artwork throughout the world. But over the last twenty years, the idea that writers could use illustrations in a format that was different that standard children's book art has taken on enormous financial potential with the success of Hell Boy, Sin City, and dozens of other shows, plays, music, and movies.

Why create a visual version of written words? Our society has transformed greatly from one that would absorb hours of storytelling, radio, and even movies, to one which has a passion for the remote control, a fascination for Japanese Anime, and the desire to have things microwaved, downloaded, and delivered in moments. We have lost our love for simply sitting and enjoying, and have gained a need for the NOW. Graphic novels offer fast reading for some. Others devour images for days at a time, transforming the stories past the imagery and short paragraphs into full mind-movies. They also offer a taste of art, and all that art encompasses.

Not all graphics are dark, nor are they always about super-heroes or super-humans. Some are written as Alternative Role Playing Games, (ARG's), and are interactive. The reader only learns the answer to a mystery, for example, by playing a part in the story. Some are playful, and mirror the lives we lead. There are graphic novels that are historically based, and feature such characters as Benjamin Franklin and Marie Antoinette. Still more feature serials of tales, following a time line of a character or even a location. A large growing market is that of Romance, and sexually based stories.

Another form of graphic novel is Manga. This is a style of drawing developed in Japan, that is a 4.4 Billion Dollar business. The market includes horror stories, as well as fantasy, historical, and science fiction. This form of imagery has inundated Western markets. Large eyed, rounded characters appear on sparsely decorated backgrounds which is in contrast to the finely detailed, crisp lined images which appear in books published by companies like DC and Marvel. Like any book, the market is dependent upon the stories told, and some are definitely not the g-rated images you would find in some comic books.

In Las Vegas, there are nearly a dozen specialty graphic novel stores. This is in contrast to the dwindling number of mom and pop book stores, and smaller used book shops. While standard literary options seem to be disappearing from the Valley, great numbers of art based stores are moving in. On the First Friday event, which takes place in the Charleston District near Downtown, more art galleries are featuring Graphic Novel imagery in their regular scheduling. Even spoken word shows are now showcases for those who are drawing stories rather than telling them. The artform is so popular that the Clark County Library System now features graphic novelists in their authors panels.

The future for writing in Southern Nevada may be not just in the craft of using adjectives and verbs. There is a great, visually starved reading public here. It's part of what's funny about Vegas- we're becoming the graphic novel center for the Southwestern United States, with small publishing houses popping up every day. We may have lost our Star Trek Experience, but we are fast becoming the sci-fi mecca beyond the desert. Next time- The Interloper!
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Artists Entrepreneurs Unite!

Another step in the Artist Entrepreneurship Adventure is reaching out to my fellow adventurers. This post is a quick shout out to them. Check out their sites. Comment on their blogs.
That's it for now. For those of you wondering, connecting with our brethren is part of Stage 4: It Takes a Community. I'm doing the 12 Stages of the Artist Entrepreneurship Adventure out of order. In fact we really don't travel our adventurous route in any logical manner. Though it can look that way in hindsight when we try to explain it.

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Beth Barany is a Certified Creativity Coach for Writers and Book Consultant. She combines the intuitive, empathic approach, with her analytical, systematic mind to offer structure, support and accountability to writers at all stages of their writing adventure. Creator of the Writer's Adventure Guide, and author of Overcome Writer's Block, Beth strives to find better ways to make writing fun and adventurous. Check out her blog, Writer's Fun Zone on tips and musings. She loves to hear from you!
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Morning Motivators to Slay Your Creative Dragons

By CJ Lyons and Margie Lawson


Healthy Eating: from CJ

Okay, I know we’re all writers and always talking about ways to make our writing lives better, but one thing we often forget is how to eat right to give our minds the energy they need.

So, with the holidays coming, I thought it would be a good time to discuss simple rules to healthy eating.


Here in the US, we’re plagued by an epidemic of obesity and overweight, so here’s a primer on healthy eating for your mind and body.

A portion size = the palm of your hand. No, the fingers do not count!

Each meal should have one portion of protein (meat, fish, chicken, etc), two portions of colored stuff (fruits and veggies with color), and one portion of the white, starchy stuff (rice, corn, potatoes, bread, pasta, etc)

An easy way to remember this is to mentally divide your plate into quarters:

–1 protein

–2 colored veggies and fruit

–1 starch

It’s that simple. Start with that and next time I’ll throw out some other easy and healthy tips.


As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a national bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller." The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, is due out January, 2009. Contact her at http://www.cjlyons.net

Margie Lawson -- presenter, psychotherapist, writer -- lives at the top of a Colorado mountain west of Denver. Margie merged her two worlds, psychology and writing, to develop psychologically anchored editing systems and techniques that teach writers how to write page turners. A former college professor, Margie works as a psychotherapist, writes fiction and nonfiction, and presents full day master classes for writers internationally. Go to http://www.margielawson.com for more information.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Creating and the Economy


Even though there are many levels, I think everyone can say that they have been in some way affected by our recent tough economy. My situation is not as bad as others. I do have a job, but it has been more of a challenge to make ends meet. I remember hearing my mother use that term back in the 1970’s when I was very young. That was another tumultuous economic time. The funny thing though was I heard the phrase as make ends meat. It still made sense. I figured these were the least desirable parts of meat, which would therefore make them the cheapest. If you couldn’t earn enough money to buy ends meat, times must truly be bad! In the past few months, I’ve tried applying for seasonal retail work. I’ve also looked into work I could do on the side at home. Soon, the title of my blog may be, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job Or Your Night Job”! When I’m already finding it a challenge to create after putting in a forty-hour week, how will I ever fit in my writing if I’m working sixty hours a week?

Hours aside, there’s also the question of how economic stress can stifle the creative process. I’ve worked hard over the past year to bring my writing to the forefront of my life. Although I’m far from my personal goals, writing is more prevalent in my life than ever. Yet I can’t help feeling frivolous, banging away on my keyboard when I should be scouring Craigslist.

Maybe I’ll be one of those stories, “the chips were down, she persevered and now you’re reading her profile in Writer’s Digest.” Hey, if fantasy keeps me going then I say do what works.

The reality is, I yet again have to re-prioritize and find a way to work more and pair down my writing. Emotionally, it’s difficult to accept because I already don’t have as much time to write as I would like. The best case scenario is that sometimes when you have so many responsibilities to juggle, you can end up being more productive than ever. I certainly hope this is one of those times.

As to the constant guilt and frivolity I feel in indulging my writing endeavors…that’s probably going to be a tougher task. Not only is there so much stress involved in trying to keep your family life and finances all together, how can you block all that out when you come to writing? I can write about my feelings or use my writing to problem solve. The challenge comes in the works I have in progress. I like to think I can use my writing to whisk me away from my daily problems. The unfortunate reality is that I’m not quite there yet. I use to think my only obstacle was time. As I peel away the layers of living a creative life, I see that there are as many unique combinations of making ends meet as their creative thoughts. If I keep trying, I find what works for me. There will be successes and failures, but hopefully along the way I will find that balance and maybe pick up a few recipes for ends meat!
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