Bunny Win 12×12″ oil-on-aluminum
Suspended . . . Coney Island painting project. The beach, Washington Baths, swimming, blackball, cool sand under the boardwalk, with friends, watching Tuesday night fireworks, Nathan’s hotdogs, French fries and steamed corn.
I didn’t get to choose between writing and painting until I decided to paint Bierstadt’s Domes of Yosemite in 2009. Captivated by how the painting came to life, Indigo Sky is an historic romantic adventure inspired by Bierstadt’s journey from the Catskills to Yosemite.
Indigo Sky Bookcover
After extensive studies and writing workshops, among many was Carol Dannhauser’s Memoir writing and Michael Hauge’s, A Hero’s Journey. I realized that I could never get this book written while I was still painting. My writing hijacked me and held me prisoner until the ‘end.’ The time flew by, those several years. Consider, I could have acquired a PhD in writing! Metaphors and similes, the tools serious writers need made a difference, I learned and I loved writing . . . Truly!!!
One day, I looked up—Soul Mate Publishing published my book—suddenly, I was a published author.
You see, I had been painting full time, everyday, three workshops every week, sketching, photographing, scanning, framing, it is a full time job. Writing is the same. I did a ton of research before I even began to write. Then I wrote everyday, researched when necessary. Writing is rewriting. First draft, second draft, edit, edit and more edit. Then when the publisher’s editor got hold of it, we did more editing. We deleted down from 86k to 82k. It was not scary or sad. It was good. I knew it needed more editing, always, especially when a professional looks at your work.
Domes of Yosemite (Ode to Bierstadt) 24×36″ acrylic on canvas
Finally, when the book was published, I finished my painting project. I love to paint! Now, literally, with the show on the road, I am seriously thinking about writing my next historical romance, maybe in and around Coney Island. This blog sees the culmination of my Coney Island painting project, on view, until September 30 at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk, CT. Come party with us on Thursday, September 8, from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Clap along with us as we demo a swing dance (Lindy) just like in Coney Island way back when, to the big band mix of, ‘In the Mood, Sweet Sue, Rockin’ the Rock named “Jive Bunny.” See the invitation here:
Coney Island: Visions from the Boardwalk
Meet Artist-Writer Gail Ingis Claus at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
Artist Reception and Book Signing Party, Thursday, September 8, 2016, 5:30-7:30 pm Enjoy exotic aged cheeses, grapes, berries, and veggie crudites generously provided by Susan Kane, Catering
Coney Island’s Cyclone: Oh What a Ride 12×24 Oil-on-Anodized-Aluminum
Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is pleased to present more than 25 paintings
from artist-writer Gail Ingis-Claus. The artist will be signing copies of her new
book entitled INDIGO SKY. During the reception, the Lockwood-Mathews
Mansion Museum will be offering the book at a special show price.
Unique Offer: Enter at the reception to Win A FREE Book and a Coney Island
print! Attendees of the Artist Reception and Book Signing Party on Thursday,
September 8, 2016, will be entered to win a complimentary copy of Gail’s novel in
paperback and a Coney Island print from her art collection. The drawing will take place
shortly before closing at 7:15 pm. The winning ticket holder must be present to
receive the free book, bookmark, and print of Coney Island.
The Estate of Mrs. Cynthia Clark Brown
2016 Distinguished Benefactors:
The Maurice Goodman Foundation
RSVP by Friday, Sept 2, 2016
203-838-9799 ext. 4 Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850
Free, win an Indigo Sky eBook download. Winner chosen from those who comment! Deadline, Wednesday, August 17th at midnight.
K.M. Weiland lives in Make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was twelve and published a small newsletter throughout high school. I independently published my first novel, the western A Man Called Outlaw when I was twenty. But I didn’t really take it seriously as a business until my next book, the medieval historical Behold the Dawn, came out three years later. And now, here I am publishing my fourth novel! Storming, my action-adventure aviation novel about a barnstorming pilot in 1920 just came out this month.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
A Man Called Outlaw
As a novelist, I am inspired by countless excellent authors and filmmakers. Specifically, Brent Weeks’s epicness, Margaret Atwood’s prose, and Patrick O’Brian’s sheer genius speak to me and urge me on. As a blogger, I’m inspired by the professionalism and creativity of people such as Joanna Penn, Porter Anderson, and Jody Hedlund.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Write for the love of it, first and foremost. As Anne Lamott says, “Being published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But writing is.” Write the stories of your heart, not the stories you think the market wants. Write the story you’d want to read if you were one of your own readers.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Behold the Dawn
Oh, a plotter, definitely. My writing flows much easier when I have a roadmap to follow. I need to know where I’m headed if I’m going to reach my destination. My outlining process has evolved into a pretty time-intensive routine that usually takes about six months. I do all my outlining longhand in a notebook, simply because something about my sloppy handwriting seems to free my creativity. I start out by jotting down what I already know about my story (which has typically been kicking around in my head for a couple years already) and then asking myself “what if” questions to fill in the blanks. Then I progress to character sketches, using a list of “interview questions” I’ve collected over the years. (Anyone interested in the interview sheet can find it in my free ebook Crafting Unforgettable Characters.) Then I progress to a lengthy, plot-point-by-plot-point outline. Once that’s done, I organize it using the amazing writing software Scrivener—and move on to researching.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A Man Called Outlaw
You mean other than a satellite phone? A boatload of coffee, a generator to recharge my Kindle, and a good pair of sunglasses. Who wants to be rescued, right?
Today we are interviewing Sandy Tritt of Inspiration for Writers, Inc.
Sandy Tritt, President Inspiration for Writers
Gail: Good morning, Sandy.
Sandy: Good morning, Gail.
Gail: What can you tell us about Inspiration for Writers, Inc.?
Sandy: IFW is my heartbeat. We’ve been in business since 1999, and, at first, “we” consisted of “me.” Now we’ve grown and we have twelve editors and writers onboard. We’re different than most editing companies because we never bid on projects or give projects to the highest bidder. Instead, I handpick the editor best qualified to work on each project.
Gail: What genres do you edit?
Sandy: Just about anything! Our editors have quite the variety of backgrounds. Jimmy Carl is a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major and university professor. He has an EdD in history. After three tours in Vietnam, he’s a great resource for war scenes. Charlotte Firbank-King is the author of fourteen books, most of which are historical romance. She’s also a world-renowned artist. Rhonda has a background in medicine (as well as a master’s of fine arts in creative writing). Sherry teaches creative writing both online and locally. And on and on. Our editors represent every age group and cover every genre. We live or have lived in five different countries. We all give workshops. We’ve all been published.
Gail: I wanted to interview you because of a blog you posted on the Inspiration for Writers, Inc., site. Is it okay for me to print that here?
Gail: Then we can finish up with the rest of your questions.
Sandy: Thank you.
GRRR . . .
And Sandy frowned. In one page–in approximately 250 words–the characters in this manuscript have smiled seven times, laughed four, grinned twice, and frowned once. Oh, and between all that smiling and laughing, there were four sighs. FOUR SIGHS! (Not counting the ones coming from me).
And, no, these characters were not in the audience of Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, or any other show. They were eating dinner and discussing a recent murder.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common problems I see in manuscripts. In fact, I’d be willing to say that at least 90% of the fiction manuscripts I see overuse the common actions of smiling (always the worst offender), laughing, frowning, nodding, shaking a head, and grinning.
Most writers are not aware they do this. They’ve been told to use action, use body language. They’ve been told to cut passive verbs like was, were, is, are and so forth. They’ve been told to omit helping verbs like could have, would’ve, beginning to, starting to and so on. They dutifully have scanned their manuscript and cut back on these things.
I challenge you to do a FIND for the word “smiled.” See how many times you’ve used that word. Surprised? Try “laughed.” “Grinned.” “Frowned.” “Shook.” “Nodded.” Oh, oh, oh. One more. “Felt.”
I challenge you to replace as many as you can with more descriptive body language. First, consider the emotion this character is actually feeling. Is he bored? Joyous? Frustrated? Then, figure out a unique way to show your reader this emotion. (Or, cheat. Pick up a great book like The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi or Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Dr. Linda Edelstein). Then, have your characters scratch a mole until it bleeds or drop pieces of steak on the floor when no one is watching or polish the diamond on their rings. Or growl.
“Doing this one thing will bring your writing up to the next level,” Sandy said and smiled. “I promise.”
Gail: Thanks, Sandy.
Sandy: You’re welcome.
Gail: Shall we get to the rest of the questions?
Gail: What do you love about being an editor?
Sandy: Everything! It is my dream job. After more than 15 years in this business, I wake up each morning and think, “Yes! Another day to work!” I can’t wait to get on my computer. This company is my heartbeat. Why? First, the people. I get to work with talented people from all over the globe. So many of our clients—and all our editors—have become personal friends. Second, the work itself. Editing is a combination of everything I love doing—writing, reading, and teaching. Third, I get to hold in my hands the books my clients published. What a thrill! Fourth, did I mention the people?
Gail: What annoys you most about the publishing industry at the moment?
Sandy: I try my best never to be annoyed. So, let me put a spin on this question. What do I love about the publishing industry? That it is changing, that it is evolving, that today, writers have so many choices. Just a few years ago, there was only one way to publishing success, and that was to score a high profile literary agent who could, in turn, unlock the doors to the NYC publishing houses. But today, there are many ways writers can have publishing success. The e-book phenomenon has sprung open the doors for writers. Additionally, mid-level publishers, who were once swept to the corners, have become viable and approachable alternatives to the agent-protected Big Six. Today is a great day to be a writer.
Gail: What do you think new writers should know that they don’t seem to?
Sandy: Writing is a craft. Writing is something we get better at the more we study and the more we practice. If a writer is serious about writing, he/she will invest in his/her career—take classes, attend workshops, read books on the craft of writing, and practice. Writers conferences are a great place to meet other writers, attend workshops, and learn about what is going on in the publishing world.
Gail: What mistakes do you see new writers making?
Sandy: (laughs). When I first started editing, I found myself telling writers the same things, over and over. So, I wrote some “tip sheets” and included these in the package when I returned the manuscript (In the 1990s, editing was done through snail mail. Now, 99.8% of our edits are done through email). Eventually, I put the tip sheets on the Inspiration for Writers website. Later, I combined all the tip sheets, added in some worksheets, and created the Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook. I’m happy to give a free download of our e-workbook to the first ten of your readers who email me at IFWeditors@gmail.com and ask for it.
Gail: Thanks, Sandy. One last question. What kind of plot do you think has been done to death?
Sandy: Since long before Shakespeare, writers have worried about plots. Some academics say there are only three plots: man vs. man, man vs. machine, and man vs. himself. Others say there are seven. The one thing no one argues is that truly, there is a very limited number of plots. They ALL have been overdone. And, yet, at the same time, any one of them can be new all over again. What makes the difference? The writer. A skilled writer can take any plot, no matter how many times it’s been done, and make it fresh all over again by using an intriguing writer’s voice, sharp dialogue, and just plain excellent writing skills.
Gail: Thank you, Sandy. I appreciate our time here today.
Sandy: You’re welcome, Gail. It’s always a pleasure to visit with you. If any of your followers have a question for me, I’m happy to answer. Ask away! And don’t forget to email me to receive a free download of our Tips and Techniques Workbook. Thanks for having me on your site today.
Gail: My pleasure, Sandy. I have your Tips and Techniques Workbook, thank you. If it were a hard copy it would be in tatters from use. Every writer should have one!
Yay! Its Thursday and I have some good news to share.
Beautiful Blogger Award
Marian Lanouette, writer, has passed The Beautiful Blogger Award to me. I am pleased, honored and grateful. Thank you for poking me Marian! Marian writes mysteries with romantic elements. Her first novel and the first in the series, If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery, will be released in September 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing. Marian is from Brooklyn like me. Yay Brooklyn. Check out Marian at www.marian-l.blogspot.com.
And another thank you to Casey Wyatt, whom I think awarded it to me a few months ago. But I wasn’t ready to accept such a distinguished standing. She publishes two posts every Friday. If you have a chance check out her blog at CaseyWyatt.com and Secrets of 7 Scribes blog, you’ll be glad you did.
Life is busy for me, always; great and grinding, I seem to find it easy to dig my own grave. Digging out is difficult, but not when you are creating and sharing like when I am doing this blog.
And here are the rules for the award, which I’m not going to follow to the letter. I like to create my own rules now and then.
Rule 1 – Share seven things about me. I’ll do six.
1. The first is above. I like to tailor the rules from time-to-time.
2. I am bionic. Pins hold me together at the hip and my tennis-serving arm.
3. But I maintain my membership in the professional tennis teaching United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA). I taught tennis for twenty years. The painting below is in the USPTA Houston headquarters.
USPTA Watercolor by Gail Ingis Claus
4. We own three cars, but there are only two of us.
5. I failed history in High School, but I founded a school of interior design and had to teach it!
6. My favorite book is “Gone with the Wind.” And I am writing an Historic Romance.
Gone With the Wind image from the movie
Rule 2 – The next rule is to pass the award to seven bloggers. I am passing it on to five.
The award is passed to:
1. Katy Lee, Katy is a published writer and hard working dedicated home-school teacher. See more here: www.katyleebooks.com.
2. Kate Rothwell, Kate is a multi-talented published author. She has worked as a service manager/parts runner in a Saab garage, and much, much more. See more here: www.katerothwell.com.
3.Thea Devine,Thea is the author whose books defined erotic historical romance. Romantic Times calls her “The Queen of Erotic Romance,” Affaire de Coeur: “… the divine mistress of sensual writing …” www.theadevine.com
4. Julianne Stirling, ASID, (American Society of Interior Designers). Julianne is an interior designer extraordinaire, President of her own company. You can find her blog in her website links. www.stirlingdesignassociates.com.
5. David Dunlop, David is an amazing artist, lecturer and teacher. He shares his knowledge and artistic skills with his students. His students follow him here in the USA and across the seas. www.paintingclass.net/blog.
Do you have a favorite most beautiful blog?
This was fun and a change of blog direction. Last week was the start of color, come back next week for more.