Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Getting it Right...almost always starts with Getting it Wrong

Getting is right almost always starts with getting it wrong.  Unless we put ourselves or someone else into danger, the only bad thing about making mistakes is failing to try again.  And again.  And again.  And as many times as it takes to get it right.

That process, of trying it over and over until it works, has been my mantra in life, and in writing.  How many times have we said, or heard, ‘we learn from our mistakes,’ or perhaps, if we’re lucky, ‘we learn from the mistakes of others.’ 

As a writer, I often read, to see what others are writing.  I read what is selling and I read what is getting good reviews.  I also read what is new, or does not have good reviews, or what might not be selling, yet.  I read what appeals to me.  This is how I learn from others’ mistakes, and successes.

As I writer, I look at my own work.  I put my work out there.  I see which of my books sell, and which of them earn good reviews.  This is how I learn from my own mistakes, and possibly, from my own successes.

Getting it right, as an author, can be a long process.  It almost certainly very unlikely that the first novel we write is going to be a great success.  Almost any author will tell you that they did a lot of writing before they ended up with a work that they were happy with, or that sold well, or that got good reviews.  But, the key is to keep trying.  That means to keep writing.

In my case, I write because I want to write. I write because I need to write. I write what I want to write.  I write for myself.  But; I share my writing in the hope that some will like it, and perhaps, the hope that I might somehow tell a story that will have an impact.  

But, most importantly, I realize that it’s okay to get it wrong, if I keep trying to get it right.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Those who answer the call of 'Dad'..... this is for you!

This video is a great addition to the 'Must Sees' and 'Must Reads' for Father's Day...

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Father's Day essay - what kind of a Father?

As a person, I have observed many examples of ‘fathers’ and regrettably more bad than good.  On a positive note, I was particularly struck by two recent* pieces related to fatherhood, one by LZGranderson at cnn.com, and the other by Dominic Utton at the Mail Online.

As an author, I have often created characters in a father role.  In certain of my books, the father is described after his death. In Playing the Baseball Card, the protagonist describes his father as a man who ‘made sure that his children were the most important part of his life.

In Aiden’s Arrival: Honor Before Gold, a now-grown son describes a man who assumed a father’s role by marrying a women with two young children.  “None of us; my mother, my sister, my nephew, my niece; were related to our father and grandfather by blood, but that didn’t matter to him.  He showed us, by his example, that family is about loving people, and caring about people, and living together in a supportive way.  Not always in harmony, but always caring about your family more than anything else.  He lived that kind of life, and today we carry on with that legacy.

In Zac and the Reluctant Prince, Book 1 of the Prince David series, the father is described this way:  “The example of his life teaches us the lessons of responsibility, obligation, commitment, dedication, loyalty, patriotism and also compassion.  In his life, he strove to be the best son he could be, the best husband he could be, the best father he could be, the best officer he could be, and the best man he could be.”

If you know your father, what do you think of him? If you knew your father, how do you remember him?

I believe a real father is one who looks into the eyes of his children, and says to them, “My life improved the day you came into my life, and my life gets better every day that you are still in my life.”  I also believe a real father is the kind of role model I’ve described in the excerpts from my books, above. 

If you have the chance to be a father, or if you are a father, how do you want to be remembered? 

To all fathers, everywhere, Happy Fathers’ Day.

*This essay was originally posted for Father's Day 2012. It has proven to be the most-viewed of my blog posts of all time, and so I re-post it again this year to honor the memory of those who filled a father-like role in my life: my dad and my granddad.  


Friday, June 6, 2014

helping a Dad be a Dad on Father's Day... a must-watch

This is, of course, a great story for Father's Day. What's your story?

- How many are watching this, wishing they had a Dad on Father's Day?

- How many are watching this, wishing they still had a Dad on Father's Day?

- How many are watching this, wishing they'd had a Dad, at any time in their lives?

- - - How many fathers are watching this, wishing they had done more to be a Dad, when they had a chance?

- - - How many Dads are watching this, realizing they can much more easily be a Dad... on Father's Day?

If you can be more of a Dad, on Father's Day, why don't you?


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Free eBooks for Young Adults

Looking for Free eBooks for Young Adults? In January 2010, I started another blog, entitled Free eBooks for Young Adults, with occasional assistance from another Smashwords author.  I've listed over 170 free eBooks.  I have read most (and at least looked at the rest) of the books I've listed, and there are truly some gems among them. I would not hesitate to recommend any of the books I've listed. 
I hope the blog has helped many readers find books by my fellow YA authors. What I do know is that the blog has been viewed more than 40,000 times. 

There are many, many good reads for Young Adults out there, and there are more free today than ever.  I will continue to search them out, and list them at Free eBooks for Young Adults.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

humanizing the tragedy of International Child Abduction - another work in progress

The world is a difficult and scary place when children of a multi-national marriage are taken by one parent to a country where the other parent loses de facto custody, or loses the ability to visit the child, or cannot even enter the country or contact the child. If you think it's bad for the losing parent, think how bad it must be for the children.

My new work in progress, as yet unnamed, is based upon this subject. Although fiction, it is inspired by a true story and told from the child's point of view, it described many years of separation between a father and child, where the child was removed from their home county with no warning.

Now, as strange as this may seem, there are many countries of the world where there is no legal recourse for the losing parent. None at all. (The non-blue countries, below.)

In some cases, the practices of the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction apply. And, even those countries, the return of an abducted child is not at all certain and can take countless years, often with child aging out (at age 16) of the provisions of the Hague Convention.

If I paint a dark picture, where many children never see the losing parent again, this is the reality. My work will try and humanize international child abduction, with a rarely viewed children's perception of this terrible kind of event.

In the meantime, I hope you keep reading my other books.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Another earthquake very close to home

There’s nothing like living near a fault line. If you don’t remember an earthquake, just wait, because they’ll be one soon. Even on the northern California coast, seismic activity seems frequent – or the effects of seismic activity. When Japan had the big quake back in March 2011, the port of Crescent City was really hit with a tsunami, and the damage isn’t fully repaired yet.

The latest quake was Sunday night, March 9th, and it was an event that could not be missed by anyone in the coastal area of northern California or southern Oregon.  After this latest shaking, including a quake and aftershocks, I’m thinking it’s about time I wrote a quake into one of my novels.

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