Flowers, Books, and NANOWRIMO

Flowers, Books, and NANOWRIMO

Flowers for that added love and color from Tom

November is an exciting month for writers and authors. NANOWRIMO. Every November – newbie writers and multi-published authors from all over the world make a commitment to write a 50,000-word novel. The GOAL is to write 50k words for the month. Essentially a first draft. Some might go on to write more words but the goal is to get that 50k. I’ll be joining in the fun on my own, as I revise my WIP (Work in Progress) The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin.

For the writers out there you know the saying that “good writing is all about rewriting.” I’m currently on my tenth draft of my next book. This one’s a big revision – more than fine-tuning the romantic bits and bobs. Writers are always looking to improve our craft. With that in mind, I signed up for the Westport’s Advanced Fiction Writing Group. This is a great critique group led by the talented editor, Adele Annesi. The critiques are mega helpful. I also took an amazing online course October 1-4  with New York Times Bestselling author, Kristan Higgins, Setting as CharacterFantastic. If you’re interested, you can check out the online courses on the CTRWA (Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers of America).

But writers also know that in between the rewrites you need to regenerate your imagination and your body. I like to play my guitar—I’m working on building those old calluses again. And my piano too, even if it’s only to tickle the ivories for a few minutes. Walk every day with Tom Claus (my hubby) and Ed, our ninety-three-year-old inspiration, and ballroom dance with my instructor, Henry, sometimes with Tom, that’s the best, really gets my heart pumping. And of course, Tom gives me flowers to inspire me as I write.

Oh, was I talking about writing?

My work-in-progress or WIP, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin has taken about two years (and counting). One day at a time, one scene at a time. I am also constantly reading one of my hundreds, but who’s counting, craft books, like all those Thesaurus books and Emotional Beats by Nicholas C. Rossis. Which sometimes sends me down a different path in my writing. I will let you know when my Gilded Age Mistresses: The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin is ready for you.

I will be delirious when I type THE END.

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

A work of art

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

You know that frustration you feel when your computer is behaving badly but you’re so in love, you can’t bear to break up with it? Turns out that relationships, including the ones we have with our computers, are very complicated.

Tha’s how I”m feeling right now about my Mac. It’s a MacBook Air and I’ve had it for about 8 years which is like 70 human years. Computer years are even tougher than dog years.

If my computer was a PC, I would have been through two more by now, but not with Mac.

So, while I’m still trying to hang onto my “best” computer companion, I’ve reached out to Apple Tech Support and any geek/nerd I can find.

One of my problems is that my MacBook is not “going to sleep” when I want it to. Which makes it really tough to get updates. Yup, you heard me, Mac will not go to bed! I have to hold down that little button on the top right until it finally goes to sleep. Then after I count ten seconds, I push that button down again, Mac turns on, but not before it flashes a notice at me, The computer shut down because of a problem, it will continue starting up in sixty seconds. Don’t touch any buttons the tech guy said. I touch nothing, and it boots up. Then the next day there’s a message waiting for me on my computer that says, Mac could not install updates, if you want to, blah, blah, blah, the routine starts over again.

Mac is operating, but it has 23,000 emails that I am having difficulty deleting. I’ve taken off most of my photos, and that’s tough for the artwork I do. I guess I have to visit the Apple Store or call Apple Tech Support tomorrow. I want my computer to be nice to me and treat me the way I expect to be treated. I do some pretty important stuff on it, and I don’t want to worry it will have a Mac attack on me while I’m on the last chapter of my book.

So, should I break up with my Mac or keep getting “counseling” from Apple Tech Support? I’ll keep you posted . . .

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

 

 

 

 

 

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

Tag, You’re It.

Tag, You’re It.

Brite Brilliance  16×20″

When I was a kid, hearing the word “tag” meant it was my turn to find and tag the kids who were hiding, with ‘you’re it’. In baseball, if you get tagged running the bases, uh-oh, you’re out.

These days, I’m dealing with different kinds of tags – dialog tags in my writing. Let me tell you that the hide and seek tags were a whole lot easier than these pesky dialog ones. When I first began writing, I was told that tags are meant to let the reader know who is talking: he said, she said, etc. But having written and published one book, and writing my second, I decided to review the system. In my efforts to be a better writer I began wondering about all the rules and when and how to break them.

The “Less is More” motto has always been my mantra. It’s touched all parts of my life including my career as an interior designer and my work as an artist/painter. My painting Brite Brilliance (on the left) could have included a lot more in the foreground like a tree or trees, people, animals, taller plants, and shrubs,. But I decided that “less is more”. I wanted the eye to focus on “the big picture” and so this is the result. And guess what? I sold Brite Brilliance in no time at all.

Thumbs up! For Johnson’s tags.

Here’s the scoop. According to an article by D.M Johnson, He Said, She Said: Dialog Tags and Using them Effectively, on Scribophile. Simplicity is key. Johnson writes that the “less is more” approach is better than all the alternative creative ways of saying “said” i.e. “agreed”, “countered”, “offered”, “argued”.  Let alone those pesky adverbs: gently, quietly, softly – she said softly, he said quietly. Dialog tags like “he growled”, “she exclaimed, he replied, etc. Tags that try to be heroic are deceptively dragging your reader out of the story. Those tags are stopgaps, disruptions and a way to ensure that an editor, agent or publisher will toss your manuscript into the garbage. They usually check your dialog first, if they see all those fancy tags, they go no further. You’ve been tagged a reject.

A way to see: How does your brain see this image? Is this about two profiles in black or a goblet in white?

Johnson says that dialogue tags (or speech tags) are like signposts, attributing written dialogue to characters. Dialogue tags don’t need to be fancy, splashy, or self-conscious. Their primary purpose is to show which characters speak and when. The greater the number of characters involved in a scene, the more important the frequency and positioning of tags becomes.

Adding adjectives and adverbs to tags to provide specific information about the speaker or the speech—she asked warily; he said innocently. These are called adverbial tags. Sometimes adding an adverb to a tag can be useful, a quick way to indicate a mannerism or emotion (she said quickly; he said coldly) without drawing it into a longer, descriptive sentence. As a caveat, it’s frequently suggested in writing advice columns and books that such tags be used with a careful hand; an adverb can make a tag more obvious and remind people they’re reading a story instead of experiencing it. Still, published authors use them when it fits the situation.

You can apply this motto to everyday life. When you’re organizing your home office, decorating your living room, putting together an outfit for a job interview or a night on the town. Remember, “less is more”.

For more information on dialogue tags check out DM Johnson’s article. She has a ton of great stuff to say.

D.M. Johnson is a published author and an editor dedicated to helping writers achieve their goals. Her background includes a BS in English and marketing. She provides editing and critique services through Word-Edge.com, offers specialty publishing for unique projects, and teaches writing classes online.

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.

Click the image! Linked to my Amazon author page

 

Click the image!. A work of art, linked to my Facebook page

 

 

 

 

Reaching for your own star by Gail Ingis

Reaching for your own star by Gail Ingis

Brite Brilliance Acrylic/Canvas | 16×20″

As a kid, my creativity took the form of re-creating. I took clothes apart and remade them into something different. I turned my mother’s gown into a dress. Mom was horrified. I also took apart radios and clocks and put them back together. Dad was supportive. I sometimes needed his help. I also began drawing when I was a kid. I drew faces and comic book characters, like Wonder Woman. Everything around me was an inspiration – to create.

Music has always been a joy. I love to play piano and guitar. If only there was more time in a day to create new things, including all the ones in my dreams. Then there’s my professional life as an interior designer where I photographed the spaces I created. The interior design school I founded gave others a way to expand their horizons. Currently, my  passion is writing and painting. Painting landscapes has been a way of connecting to nature and to explore the beauty of a sky, a sunset, sunrise, a body of water, a wave. I see a painting in everything, even a building, a portrait of my grandchildren, and a snowy Christmas tree. Everyone loves the creativity Christmas offers. Just look around you, it’s all there for you to enjoy and participate in. There are so many ways of creating beauty. Many of us have past times that give us peace of mind and help us to reconnect to our inner lives. Some of us love to garden, others love to cook, but what we all have in common is a desire to create. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Reach for your star and you will find your own truth path.

I love vibrant colors. And if there is one common element in my work, it’s color. Outdoors, I look for the sun’s rays of pink and amber creeping across the meadow, catching the magic hour when lights are warm and reflected light is bouncing in the cool shadows. Sunrise and sunset sweep the rainbow colors across the skies. Atmospheric landscapes have a beauty that often goes unrealized. Rich purples, yellows and blues on a rainy, foggy day are subtle, but magnificent. God’s heaven on earth.

Portofino Charm Acrylic/Canvas 18×24″

Indoors, I have a myriad of subjects to paint. I have photos from my photography then and now. I record people, places and things that are inspirational. It is thrilling to watch a blank canvas evolve into work-of-art.

Next week, I’ll be taking part in a special art show where I’ll be featuring two of my paintings: Maine Boats and Coney Island Bumper Cars. If you want to see more of my work you can visit my website.

Maine Boats (formerly boat bunches)
Watercolor | 10×14″

Coney Island Bumper Cars
Pastel & Watercolor| 10×14

 

 

 

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.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

White Space is the Write Space by Gail Ingis

White Space is the Write Space by Gail Ingis

Allie Baldwin – a beautiful display of white space

There is something that I am paying attention to as I work on The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, the first book in The Baldwin Family Series set in New York in the late 1800s. This is something that authors don’t pay that much attention to, unless they are self-published and do their own formatting or hire a formatter. What I”m talking about is “spacing”.  Especially the “white space” around the words and paragraphs.

Whitespace is a fundamental building block of good design. It’s the first design aspect that any visual designer is taught. What is whitespace? Let me say that it’s not always white. This space may be a color or texture. For authors, white space is the space between blocks of text. Author reviews often mention that the book had lots of white space and they loved that, it gives the reader an enjoyable journey through the story. In this post I explain why whitespace matters. Design, a critically important element authors often overlook. Words on the page need balance, structure and white space. Maria Connor, Published Author and Author Assistant

IMPROVED LEGIBILITY:

The most obvious benefit of whitespace is that it increases legibility. You only need to compare the examples shown in Mark Boulton’s superb article on whitespace to see how a good use of whitespace can make an enormous difference to legibility.

HIGHER COMPRENSION:

Believe it or not whitespace between paragraphs and around blocks of text actually helps people better understand what they are reading. According to research in 2004, this kind of whitespace increases comprehension by almost 20%.

Before corrected with whitespace

After corrected with whitespace

 

 

 

 

Negative space fresh and open

CREATES THE RIGHT TONE:

Finally the use of whitespace can be a powerful way to communicate elegance, openness and freshness. Obviously this isn’t always the design look and feel you wish to communicate. However when it is, you can’t do better than having loads of whitespace.

For the visual arts, the phrase refers to negative space.  In my work, I have found the old adage, “Less is more,” to be true. A phrase used by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1947 as a precept for Minimalist design and architecture. The phrase has been used in other applications by the design community over the years. I use it in designing and painting all the time. It is part of my philosophy. The negative is as important as the positive.

Extra Whitespace Information: Did you know that your business card should have  at least one whitespace the size of a quarter?And the backside should have a flat finish so the recipient can write who, where and when.

Not everyone thinks whitespace is important. As the volume of content on the web grows, how do you stand out from the noise? Website owners find whitespace to be a waste, they fill every open spot on the page. Websites have become a way to market and promote product with lots of noise. Website owners demand that every space say something. I never know where to look and cannot find anything on those busy websites.

Whitespace . . . Is this about two profiles in black silhouette or a goblet in white?

Starbucks clever use of good graphic design with lots of whitespace

Thanks to Paul Boag, click whitespace to see his blog and be sure to click Mark Boulton’s article on whitespace.

How about you? What do you think about whitespace?

 

Indigo Sky is available on Amazon.
Follow me on Amazon.

GUEST AUTHOR SAMANTHYA WYATT

GUEST AUTHOR SAMANTHYA WYATT

Teaser Tuesday banner

Welcome. Yes, you are at Gail Ingis’s blog. I invited my friend and colleague, Samanthya Wyatt, to post her Teaser Event to share with my readers. Feel free to visit her website to sign up to win book(s) from many different authors who she has sponsored over the last three years. I was fortunate to have been one of the visiting authors and be included in this event. You will find my book, Indigo Sky, on the list.

Samanthya Wyatt Author

A teaser from the newsletter                             June 2017

Samanthya Wyatt

Wel­come to Teaser Tues­day!  Where we can get a snip­pet of a story that arouses the reader — hints at mys­ti­fi­ca­tion — a quick­en­ing that stirs the blood. Once I decided to cre­ate a newslet­ter, I had to give it a name. Teaser Tues­day sounded great for guest authors reveal­ing a para­graph or two of their book.Then I thought I’d like to fea­ture other items as well. Like: What’s hap­pen­ing in the world today? Are you an author — or do you just like to read?  What’s going on in your life? Sea­sonal changes —work­shops — con­tests – pitch opportunities.

On the first Tuesday of each month, my hope was to generate, prompt, motivate — all the things to inspire authors. And I thought it would be great to feature a guest. I ended up with at least three each month, posting a morsel of each guest author’s book. Don’t you just love it when you get a tidbit? You read faster, your heart races, and all of a sudden … cliffhanger.These authors, writing many different genres, are helping me celebrate by giving away copies of their books to romance readers.

TO FIND OUT MORE – Visit my web page and sign up to be entered for free books: http://samanthyawyatt.com/likes/

Indigo Sky for reader who enjoy historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

WRITE WITH DESIGN IN MIND

WRITE WITH DESIGN IN MIND

Whitespace . . . Is this about silhouettes or goblet?

Whitespace is a fundamental building block of good design. It’s the first design aspect that any visual designer is taught. What is whitespace? Let me say that it’s not always white. This space may be a color or texture. For authors, white space is the space between blocks of text. Author reviews often mention that the book had lots of white space and they loved that, it gives the reader an enjoyable journey through the story. In this post I explain why whitespace matters.

Design, a critically important element authors often overlook. Words on the page need balance, structure and white space. Maria Connor, Published Author and Author Assistant

Improved legibility

The most obvious benefit of whitespace is that it increases legibility. You only need to compare the examples shown in Mark Boulton’s superb article on whitespace to see how a good use of whitespace can make an enormous difference to legibility.

Before – without whitespace

 

 

 

After – with whitespace

Higher comprehension

Believe it or not whitespace between paragraphs and around blocks of text actually helps people better understand what they are reading. According to research in 2004, this kind of whitespace increases comprehension by almost 20%.

Architecture with negative space, fresh and open

Creates the right tone

Finally the use of whitespace can be a powerful way to communicate elegance, openness and freshness. Obviously this isn’t always the design look and feel you wish to communicate. However when it is, you can’t do better than having loads of whitespace.

For the visual arts, the phrase refers to negative space.  In my work, I have found the old adage, “Less is more,” to be true. A phrase used by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1947 as a precept for Minimalist design and architecture. The phrase has been used in other applications by the design community over the years. I use it in designing and painting all the time. It is part of my philosophy. The negative is as important as the positive.

Extra Whitespace Information: Did you know that your business card should have  at least one whitespace the size of a quarter?And the backside should have a flat finish so the recipient can write who, where and when.

Not everyone thinks whitespace is important. As the volume of content on the web grows, how do you stand out from the noise? Website owners find whitespace to be a waste, they fill every open spot on the page. Websites have become a way to market and promote product with lots of noise. Website owners demand that every space say something. I never know where to look and cannot find anything on those busy websites.

Starbucks clever use of good graphic design with lots of whitespace

Thanks to Paul Boag, click whitespace to see his blog and be sure to click Mark Boulton’s article on whitespace.

Do you give whitespace a thumbs up?

 

How about you? What do you think about whitespace?

Indigo Sky for reader who enjoy historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

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