Saturday, May 24, 2014

Author Presentations, Speaking Instead of Writing

As soon as I began following my dream of being a writer, I realized that it had many parts I loved, but also many parts that were scary, and unrewarding, and completely out of synch with my personality.
I am an introvert.  I hate talking on the phone, and being social in a big group may be fun for awhile but it doesn't energize me, it leaves me exhausted.  My favorite activities involve small groups of people, my family or a couple of close friends, and even then, I prefer to linger at the edges, listening and taking pictures and writing in my notebooks instead of diving in to the center of the board games or sledding or other pursuits my favorite people indulge in when together.

enjoying spring and the Rhododendron at home
And I don't just LOVE being alone, I need it more than sleep or food, so that on extremely hectic days I may be exhausted but I'll choose locking myself in the bathroom in a hot bath with only bubbles and a book over dropping in between the sheets.  On my own, I write letters and stories and poetry, I take pictures and play with editing them, I cuddle my cat or my sons dog while I watch NCIS or I put on my old Record albums from the 70's and sing along at the top of my voice while painting or drawing or even mopping the floor and doing laundry.

I traded a copy of my book for Clint Brill's Sci Fi thriller and loved it
But writing in a vacuum is not effective. Without interaction I would never sell a book, or share an idea, or even write convincingly abut how humans relate to each other.  So I have to do more than exchange facebook and twitter posts with other authors and read their books.  I have to get out and talk to the people I think might love my stories as much as I do but I am not comfortable with only marketing my books, I don't want to join all the other voices with nothing to say except, "Buy MY Book NOW.  It is a Must Read!!!!"

So I have begun reading and talking with classes and working on what I want to share with the young people of today.  I want to combat the constant negative news and violence that they are surrounded by, I want to let them know that constant connection to an electronic device is not a substitute for hugging and LOL doesn't hold a candle to really laughing out loud, rolling on the grass and giggling until your belly hurts with a best friend.

I want to tell them that my dream of writing didn't happen until I was willing to put time into it several times a week, and that it may never make a living and allow me to quit my day job, but it is still worth it, because it allows me to be the best me, I can be.  it allows me to have something to share with the world that might make a few other people smile for a moment, and realize that if I can be a writer, they can also ignore the people telling them their dreams are impossible, and realize that yes, you have to be able to support yourself with rent and groceries, but you also have to support your emotional needs with fun and with something that lets you be happy, even while dragging to work every day.

So I went to Pine Grove School, and presented as an author, to kids I know as a substitute teacher, and they were attentive and curious, and most of all they were willing to share that they were dreamers on the verge of being doers too.

And then I came home, visited my beautiful new granddaughter

Celebrated my 30th anniversary

Hugged the toddler who is like a granddaughter to me and looked at my broken down furniture and my ancient Dodge caravan, and laughed out loud.

because my life is full, and my dreams have come true mostly, though not always like I envisioned,

Then I got on facebook and found a post tagging me, from a teacher who had been at my presentation. She said an incredibly well-written article reminded her of the talk I had given.  I read her link, and only wish I had said it so well

part of that post is below

“Listen to your heart when you hold that basketball. Listen to your heart when you take that pencil in your hand and can’t stop writing. Think about what it feels like to sing at the top of your lungs. Think about what it feels like to do something you love to do. But don’t stop there. Share that incredible feeling with someone else. Because if we share OUR remarkable thing, someone else might notice his or her remarkable thing.

So maybe you don’t make it to The Voice. Maybe you don’t make the pros or land a book deal. That doesn’t mean you didn’t succeed. Maybe sharing your journey, your dream, or what excites your heart IS the achievement. Maybe inspiring someone else to see his or her life differently IS the success.”

As I walked out of the school holding my daughter's hand, I decided now, more than ever, we must speak of remarkable things … now, when undivided attention is a rare and priceless commodity … now, when we too often choose glowing screens over shining sunlight … now, when digital notifications take precedence over soul-to-soul connection. Now more than ever, we must speak of the remarkable things that make our heart sing … that fill our eyes with tears … that bring beauty, comfort, and joy to our ordinary, mundane lives. 


Because you never know who might be listening … and using your dream to envision her own.

© Rachel Macy Stafford 2014

Friends of The Hands Free Revolution perhaps you have had a lifelong dream, a passion, or some activity that makes your heart sing. And maybe you’ve never told anyone about it fearing you could never be “successful.” Well, today I hope you will rethink that secrecy, as well as your definition of success. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Last week blogger and writer of great stories for all ages, Rebecca Douglass, tagged me in the "My Writing Process" blog tour. My mission: to answer three questions about my writing process, and to tag three other writers. Life was going a bit insane at that point, actually doing a lot of joy and grief combined.

On April 27th, one of the Grand Dame's of my family died at the age of 91.  Aunt Sally was actually my Grandmother's first cousin and someone who had always been an important part of my life, even though she lived in Illinois while I was growing up in Wyoming, we visited and wrote and stayed in touch.
Sarah Manning

Then on Monday, April 28th I took my students to sea on a tall ship sail on the Lady Washington, a ship used in the Pirates of the Caribbean and in Star Trek. There were 32 students and 11 of them, and some crew members were puking seasick as the boat rolled and heaved and my phone buzzed.  My daughter-in-love texted the words which always stand out in the movies as the beginning of great drama, "My water broke."  So within 24 hours I lost my Grandma figure and became a Grandma!

So I haven't written on here recently and yet I am going to Pine Grove School on Tuesday as a guest author for Fine and Performing arts day, and I welcome the excuse to remember that among all the other title's people call me, Writer is one I struggled to earn for myself.

So Thank You Rebecca, and here is my post

BTW. Check out Rebecca's at 

First the questions:

1.  What am I working on?
Well, honestly working on any writing has been set aside briefly but will resume soon. The Grandma thing is my delighted focus but the stories are still there and insisting on being told.  I have two going now.  Double time: About to Erupt uses the same time twisted writing desk to share glimpses of journals and other objects as was there in my Double Time: On the Oregon Trail but it connects two boys, one living in Pompeii prior to Mt. Vesuvius erupting and one in Portland, Oregon 1901 years later.

The other book I am working on is the third book in the Tales of Uhrlin series about Duffy Barkley and his discovery of the strength's hidden within his own handicapped self. In this third book he has grown from 9 to 13 and has returned to Uhrlin after his sister and Aunt disappeared back in our world.
2.  Why do I write what I do?
I started writing what I do because I had two boys who shared their playtime and active imaginations with me, and when they were tucked in at night my imagination reuse to turn off. And I kept going because it was fun both to write it and to see the wonderful reactions of others as they discover my stories. I thought that I was writing just for me, but when I finished the first book and read it to my boys it amazed me that it sounded like a real book, and now I have people in other lands who have read it and tell me they love it, Like India and England.  I have students who study my books and teachers who share them at book clubs and people asking for sequels and it is just simply fun.  I haven't made much money so I still have to juggle bills and work in the real world - but being a writer just fits me, and I feel more complete than I do when I am not telling stories.

3.  How does my writing process work?
Does it work?  Well sometimes.  I start a novel in a mad rush of getting words on paper like I learned at NANOWRIMO. I do the quick and dirty first draft and if I can't get a new thought then I go back and reread until I find something I can say more about.  I read it over and over as I go and I leapfrog around in everything from the end to the middle to the beginning until all those bits connect and the story is complete.  Then I start rereading and asking others to read it, and I put it aside and start a new novel, or start reminding people to buy the ones that I have out there already.  Marketing is a never ending process because every time I stop, sales stop.

Now for the three writers I want to tag, to post about their own writing processes in the next week or two or so 

So I will get to the other authors now.
A book I really enjoyed is The Dominion Of Light by Nicole Murphy. She has a facebook Author's page at

An Author and wonderful woman whom I admire a lot is Betty Dravis

Check out Pure Control by Clint Brill If you like Science Fiction. I don't think he has a blog up and running yet but he is working on it, and his book is one I read recently with a lot of pleasure