You want to be a writer? Now what?

You want to be a writer? Now what?

How do you do this writing thing?

I kind of fell into writing fiction by accident. You see, I’m an artist (a painter) and for many, many years I was an interior designer and taught design and architecture as well. I was always an avid reader. But a writer? No way! Until I was inspired by painter Albert Bierstadt and I wanted to tell a story inspired by his life.

I know, I said to myself, I’ll write a book. After all, I had written a chapter for a history book and been wooed by a publisher. I wrote up school catalogs, wrote course curriculum, wrote up interior design and architectural history lectures, proposals for jobs, poetry and love letters. Surely writing a book would be a piece of cake. Sure, right.

I sat down, pen in hand, put pen down—booted up my trusty Mac, surely that would inspire me . . . but that didn’t help. This is not going to work. What do I write first, the end? What words do I use? How do I find my characters? Where does all this come from? It shouldn’t be any different than giving a lecture. OK, I though smugly, I’ll approach it like a lecture. I could talk for hours about interior design, lighting, space planning, history, architectural anything. Still nothing. I remember the emptiness, the confusion, the lack of words. I didn’t think I had this gift to tell a story, never mind, writing one.

Tommy the train to NYC

Then I met Brenda on a train ride into New York. We were both on our way to a Michael Hauge workshop. Hauge is a screenwriter who teaches writing courses. Brenda and I became friends after that class. I learned a great deal from Hauge but also from Brenda who helped me get my thoughts together and helped me formulate my story. But Brenda was busy with her growing family and her full time job as an attorney, so I had to continue my search for help. During a CTRWA Fiction Fest, in 2009, “Inspiration for Writers” offered free editing service for the auction. I bought enough tickets to win it. Yay, That’s how I found Charl, who is an editor for them.

Creativity is a right brain activity. Have you explored your creativity? Do you remember being creative as a kid? I sure do. Comic books were the rage when I was growing up. (They still are). I would sit at my desk and draw what I saw in the comic books. Wonder Woman was my hero. As I got older, I drew all kinds of things. I played the piano, I took dance lessons, voice lessons, sang in school shows, sang in school choir, took my mother’s dresses apart and remade them. Took my radio apart and my clock apart and put them back together, well, with Daddy’s happy help, it was my curiosity that pushed me to explore. The list goes on, and I wrote little poems and notes to friends and family. I realized that I had always had that passion for storytelling inside me all along. I had just been using different mediums to tell my stories.

I didn’t just want to think of a story, I wanted to write that book, and in spite of myself, i did.  I took enough workshops and writing courses to earn a PhD in “workshop-taking”. And with the help of Charl I was able to complete my very first book, Indigo Sky.  I am a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, where writers gather and help each other. Being a member of the CTRWA, I was exposed to many different publishing companies, big and small and with Jamie S’s help where to submit. I landed a publishing contract with Soul Mate Publishing. With the help of my editor, Tammie, at Soul Mate, who worked very hard with me, I completed the re-writes and the book was published in 2015.

My book can be found in three formats, paperback, eBook and Audiobook. I even have a book trailer! Two things have changed in my life since that fateful day I decided to start writing: 1. I became a published author. 2. I have made so many wonderful friends along the way. I wish you all the same creative journey.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

 

 

Why Tennis Matters

Why Tennis Matters

Grand Slam in Melbourne, AU

Celebrating two great champions

Tom and I love tennis so much that we were willing to get up at 3:30 in the morning to watch this year’s Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. There’s a sixteen-hour time difference between Melbourne and Connecticut. The afternoon matches started at 9 pm our time, while the evening matches started at 3:30 a.m. It was a two-week tournament, and let me tell you, getting up at 3:30 am was a challenge. I’m no spring chicken anymore. But it was worth it. The caliber of play was amazing. The dedication and commitment that these athletes have to raise the bar each and every time, was inspiring. I’m no stranger to the game of tennis, I played for many years, and I coached. It was one of my true passions. Tom was an excellent player as well, and we loved playing together. Tennis is a great way to communicate with your spouse or partner whether through a gentle lob or a fierce serve.

Simona Halep

Caroline Wozniack

The women’s final was played at 3:30 a.m. last Saturday. Simona Halep and Caroline Woznicaki played the best women’s final I’ve ever seen. And I’ve watched many. The rallies were long, the balls were struck with force, and the timing was impeccable.

Each point was a challenge. The three sets went on for almost three hours. Both women were magnificent and either could have won. In the final set, Simona found herself one point away from losing the match at 4-5, 15-40, but she won the next 2 points to even the game at deuce; the rallies were long and magnificent for each point. Both players were running from side-to-side chasing outstanding well-placed balls.

Caroline Wozniack & the Cup

Caroline won the next point set up by an awesome backhand crosscourt shot, giving her another match point. The next point was another extended, long rally, ending when Simona hit a short backhand into the net, giving Caroline her first Grand Slam victory.

The Men’s final on Sunday morning between Roger Federer, a 19-time Grand Slam winner, and Marin Čilić, a one-time winner, was also exciting and entertaining. Roger could have won in 3 straight sets AND he could have lost in 5 sets. He won 2 of the first 3 sets and was leading in the fourth, 3-1, when Marin won 5 straight games to even the match at 2 sets apiece.

Marin Chilic

Roger Federer

The momentum was clearly favoring Marin, starting in the fifth set, but he lost his serve in the first game of the 5th set and never really recovered. The next few games were very close, but in the end, Roger prevailed 6-1 for his 20th Grand Slam victory.

So we send our congratulations to two great champions, one winning her first Grand Slam and the other continuing to set the all-time mark for Grand Slam wins by a man. Besides being champions, both are great people and wonderful ambassadors for the sport of tennis. May they continue to be both for years to come. We love watching them play and look forward to watching them at the other Grand Slam events this

Roger Federer

year. Tennis is considered an “individual” sport but it brings us together – lovers of the game – who admire the amazing talent of these fine athletes. With the Olympics around the corner, we look forward to rooting for our own country’s athletes while still cheering on the extraordinary achievements by athletes from around the world. Watching and learning and being inspired. And isn’t that what matters?

Wimbledon Tennis on grass is coming in July!

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A Romantic Summer Read

A Romantic Summer Read

Sea Lust

I was fortunate to receive an ARC of the contemporary romance, Sea Lust by Joy Smith in exchange for a review, and I devoured it in one night. Joy Smith’s writing is dramatic, descriptive and tight. She wastes no words—each one carries the story forward. Marty, aka Martha Chase, was a strong, independent woman but life had cheated on her. Known for her excellent reputation as a seafaring captain, she temporarily worked in a shipyard as a painter until someone discovered her availability. Joe Carella had his own set of issues to be a proper sailor. His father, Gino, and his woman lost their lives when on their yacht a squall came up and pitched his father into the ocean, and the woman dived in to save him. Joe was desperate to get his father’s yacht out of a Miami boatyard. A skilled seaman was needed to take charge. He knew of Marty but wasn’t sure a woman was the right person. At the time there was no other skilled sailor available, so Joe hired her. I cheered for Marty as she went about doing her job as captain with great perseverance. Nothing ran smoothly from the get-go. On the open waters of the Atlantic, they were vulnerable to evildoers and were left in a raft in open waters. A beam of light, apparently help from the great beyond, was the alerting factor to the coastguard. Each step of the journey was thrilling as Marty and Joe grew together in compassion and understanding. I loved this book. WOW!

Joy Smith

Joy’s writing is inspiring and upbeat. Her work has a contemporary, twenty-first-century rhythm. I finished the book lickity split, I keep going back to read sections that are dripping with creativity.

Tagline: To prove their worth, the cowardly son of a famous yachtsman and a shunned female sea captain set out on a boat delivery traversing the dangerous waters of the Atlantic Ocean, not realizing they might never make it back.

Back Cover Copy: Time is of the essence. During the busiest boating season of the year, Joe Carella needs a delivery crew to transport his dead father’s prize sailing yacht home to Mystic, Connecticut from Florida, traversing one of the most dangerous areas of the Atlantic Ocean. Desperate, he hires a captain with an iffy reputation. Despite his lack of skill, confidence, and courage, Joe, who has always lived under the shadow of his famous father, feels obligated to go along to prove his worth.

Fishing boat captain Marty Chase’s career sank like the Titanic when she was made the scapegoat for a boating accident in Mystic. Determined to restore her tarnished reputation, she accepts Joe’s offer to captain the Carella’s boat home, despite her inexperience with sailing a large yacht in deep ocean waters.

They set sail just ahead of a hurricane brewing in the Caribbean, not realizing that the weather and seas will be the least of their worries. As they fight to survive, the fisherman’s daughter and the privileged son find strength in each other.

Teaser: The timid son of a famous yachtsman and a shunned female sea captain set out on a perilous sea voyage to prove their worth and must fight to survive.

Joy fixing lunch in the galley

About Joy: An experienced sailor, Joy Smith has cruised the same waters as her characters, and has an in-depth understanding of what it’s like to be on an ocean passage. She has published eight books, including several non-fiction how-to boating books. To buy Sea Lust, click here.

 
Writes books to learn from and enjoy…
FictionGreen Fire, Seagulls Don’t Eat Worms, Hear Me Roar, and Sea Lust (forthcoming)
Nonfiction: Oh, No, They’re Engaged!, The Empty Nest CookbookThe Perfect First MateLet’s Go Cruising,  Kitchen Afloat.

A work of art

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

New York City’s Grid

New York City’s Grid

It’s easier to determine in Manhattan since all the blocks here are designed on a numbered grid. From Street to street, it’s 20 blocks to a mile. So from say, 40th and 3rd avenue to 60th and 3rd, it’s one single mile. Avenue blocks don’t follow that sort of conformity, are much longer, and so miles divided by avenues tends to be problematic, depending on through which part of town you’re walking or running.

A good way to determine is how I was taught in the Marine Corps. Find a distance of 100 meters and measure out how many average paces it takes for you to cover that distance. Then count that number of paces 16 times in one direction. That’ll give you a mile. See more below.

Love, Gail

by  

This was posted in 2010, but these are the basics. While writing my new book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, my characters move about in New York City often. I find myself explaining to those who ask, so here’s some helpful information. Avenue blocks are longer than street blocks. Generally 10 blocks between the avenues equal one mile.

No matter where you are from, your hometown has streets. Maybe some avenues, parkways, calles, boulevards, roads, lanes or rues. In most cases, there is no real rhyme or reason behind why a road has a particular classifying name, it’s simply thrown up there by whoever happens to be planning the surrounding construction. In New York, however, the difference between streets and avenues is very critical and it’s definitely something everyone needs to understand. This post is focused mainly on navigating and understanding Manhattan because it’s very standardized.  Let’s hit the pavement.

The Basics

The most basic thing to remember is that avenues run north and south while streets run east and west (…ish, Manhattan does not a perfect compass make, but don’t try telling any New Yorker that). Most streets and avenues only accommodate one-way traffic, but there are some thoroughfares (14th, 23rd, 42nd, etc…) that do have two-way traffic and are a bit bigger (I’ll fill you in on the history in my next post). This might not seem all that important now, but eventually, you will be sending a text, reading a book or just generally not paying attention as you walk down the street and suddenly find yourself in the middle of two-way traffic because you only glanced down one direction. It happens.

Also, in case you don’t know already, most of Manhattan is a giant grid, so people will give you directions like “it’s on 52nd Street between 5th and 6th”. From that you know the exact block you are going to: the block of 52nd Street that falls between 5th and 6th Avenues. Having a grid is also pretty handy for measuring distance: . So, if you are on 50th Street and 6th Avenue and need to go to 30th Street and 2nd Avenue, you have about 1 mile to walk south and 1 mile to walk east. Remember this when judging whether or not a subway ride is worth it.

Gail Ingis is an author, artist, and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in summer 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

 

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