Monday, July 29, 2013

DOES SHE REALLY KNOW?


My daughter Faith presents me with many opportunities to write about her, like going to the local library, which became a Saturday ritual for us.  We’d eagerly race to the nearest round table in the children’s section.  The table reached my kneecaps as I sat hunched over in the small chair looking at the books she’d selected. One particular Saturday, Faith picked out a book about boats. 

            “Look, Mommy, this is a bi-i-i-i-g boat!”  Her eyes widened to match the exaggeration.

            “Yes, it is big,” I stated.  “It’s called a ship.  Mommy and Daddy took a trip on a similar ship when we went to the Bahamas.”

            “Where was I when you went?”

            Oh, boy.  I walked into that one, I thought to myself. 

            “Well . . . you weren’t born yet,” I told her. 

            “Oh, this was before you and daddy got me.”

            “Yes,” I responded, surprised.

            My heart sank because for the longest, my husband and I weren’t sure if Faith understood she’d been adopted.  We agreed that we wouldn’t keep the adoption from her.  However, while we wanted Faith to know where she came from, we didn’t want her to feel inundated or saddened by the information.  

I watched her as she nonchalantly turned the pages to her book, making attempts to read every word.   Now five years old, and already a bundle of head-strong opinions; she warmed my heart to the point it ached.  I found myself often staring at her while she slept, still overwhelmed with joy that she is with me as it had been a long two-year journey of needles and failed fertility attempts. 

Faith approached me a few days later after talking with a friend.

            “Mommy, did it hurt your stomach when you had me?”

            I had my answer.  Adoption had merely been a word and nothing more.

            “You know you didn’t come from my stomach, right?”

            “Well, whose stomach did I come from, Grandma’s?”

            Her forehead creased with confusion, which stopped me short from laughing out loud.  I didn’t know a delicate way to put it.    When she named another grandparent, her mix-up had become too painful to witness.

            “I’m your mommy, Faith, even though you came from someone else’s stomach.”

 I wanted to cry, looking into her little innocent face.  If only she knew I lived vicariously through her.  Every time she leaped into bed with my husband and me, smiling with contentment over her face, I could only imagine her joy.    Our family nights consist of games and tea parties and listening to made up stories involving characters who were friends with a fairy princess named Faith.  Dance sessions with mommy were typical experiences she relished in, and I cherished endlessly, vowing privately to keep them in my mental Rolodex.  If only she knew that every time she gave me a bright smile or reaffirmed that she’s “my best girl,” it gave me peace even when I’d had a day filled with stress.
 
I decided that the subject of adoption would take care of itself and that in due time, as she matures, so would her understanding.

            A few weeks later, Faith took to cutting out pictures from magazines.  A particular one-dimensional celebrity cut-out prompted me to say, “Faith she’s adopted just like you.”

            She looked up at me with delight.  I took the opportunity to ask her again.

            “Faith do you know what being adopted means?”

            “Ummm, I’m not sure,” she said, bouncing the paper cut-out on my head.

            “Adoption is when someone picks you to live with them and become a part of their family.  That’s just how special you are.”

I felt a bit anxious because I didn’t know if she would cry or feel down.

            She smiled broadly, pleased with the explanation.  Then with much thought she said, “I’m glad you and daddy adopted me.  Of course you picked me, I’m beautiful.”

 

*Faith is an unwavering belief that does not require proof or evidence.

 

 

           

Monday, July 22, 2013

NO SECOND FIRST IMPRESSIONS


Nothing can surpass the feeling of being on your A-game when you meet the public and/or an agent. Yet, the opposite is true when you miss the mark.  There are surefire steps to help authors’ first impression remain a lasting and positive one.

Create a polished manuscript.

Use a 1-inch margin, all around, and a font that is 12 points. The style, Times Roman is a good one to use.  Double-space, please.  If you print out your manuscript, your paper size should be 8.5x11. Make sure the quality of the paper is good and the color is plain white with no patterns.

Sending your work to the editor.

Confirm you have the up-to-date listing of the staff members.  By all means, have the correct spelling of the person’s name you’re sending your manuscript to!

Your polished manuscript.

You can make all the right moves towards marketing your book; however, a less than stellar manuscript can destroy your efforts. Write your best!

Dress for Success.

When you are making public appearances, you want to feel your best.  This can be achieved by dressing comfortably, yet, in a manner that states you are professional.

Connecting with your readers.

You are the product just as much as the books you’re trying to sell.  Don’t be afraid to shake hands and stand during book events.  A simple “hello” and a smile can win someone over, thus, resulting in a book purchase.

What first impression tidbits do you recommend?

 

Monday, July 15, 2013

HOW TO PICK A TITLE FOR YOUR BOOK


Choosing a book title should echo the theme of your narrative. Yet, coming up with a name for your story can be just as challenging as producing the plot itself. Oftentimes, publishers focus on your book manuscript, ignoring the title altogether, as it may very well be changed. For the self-publishing author, these tips may prove useful:

1)     Brainstorming should be limitless when it comes to picking a title.  Write down a list of words and phrases that reflect your characters’ plight. Maintain the list until a title clicks.

2)     Keep your reading audience in mind when making your selection.

3)     Get feedback from your writers’ group as to what they think the title should be.

4)     Go to your local library and look through book titles.

5)     Check Amazon.com for book titles already published to avoid duplication.

How do you choose your book titles?

 

Monday, July 8, 2013

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LITERARY FICTION AND FICTION

 

The term literary fiction, introduced over fifty years ago, simply divides fiction into categories of specific works. While the true definition may get skewed from time-to-time, there are distinct differences.

 
Literary fiction.

This branch of fiction is deemed as artful and more serious or complex, generally appealing to a smaller reading audience.

It’s driven by a psychological meaning and delves into the complexities of the characters opposed to a plot. The style is more sophisticated and expressive with a slower pace.

Literary works are more lyrical and profound as far as form, often thought-provoking in nature, leaving the reader with an enlightened perspective on the book’s given subject.

Fiction.

This element of writing, which often has unreal details and places, covers a broad spectrum of genres such as: sci-fi, romance, western, mystery and humor.

While the speech of fiction is less reserved, it is driven by the plot, which means the story is built around the action.

This body of work, generally imaginative with pretend worlds and loose speech, is meant to entertain creatively.

For additional reading, check out: Wikidifference, http://www.wikidifference.com/difference-between-fiction-and-literary-fiction/.


 
Which works do you prefer to write or read?

 

 

 

Monday, July 1, 2013

SETTING MONEY ASIDE FOR YOUR CRAFT


There are various self-publishing sites that propose little to no out-of-pocket costs.  The most popular sites offer print on demand, which means books aren’t printed unless they are ordered.

The printed paper.

We are in a paperless era, yet, there are avenues necessary for traditional manuscripts.  Some proof readers and editors favor tangible manuscripts over attachments and/or disks.

The editor.

Whether you are going with a traditional publisher or you choose to self-publish, there’s no way around paying for an editor. While the most reasonable fees can take a chunk out of your wallet, the service is well-worth it for a superb product.

The book cover.

A graphic designer is essential for the cover of your book. With direction from you, the designer will come up with an image that best projects the theme of your book.

Publishing your book.

Using a traditional publisher eliminates upfront fees.  Costs due to book sales are contractual, along with other legalities. The same is true for companies that offer no out-of-pocket publishing such as Createspace, (www.createspace.com.)

Getting the word out.

This is where the real work begins.  Preparing the public for the release of your book takes organization, which includes paying for marketing assistance. This means libraries; book clubs, major websites and bookstores are made aware of your book and your schedule for book signings.

Your website.

Having a personal website is crucial because it showcases your book/s and calendar of events.  It also gives the viewing audience information on how to order your book!

Are you investing money in your book?