The Write Stuff
September, 2019

COME PLAY WITH US

Susan Leonard

Whew! The end of summer is always such a wacky time, no? It sure has been here.

I’m elbow deep in revisions of the new novel, which I just love. Based on real events, the main character is propelled into an alternate existence when her fantasy lover comes to life.

I know—it sounds just crazy. Welcome to my world!
So while my agent shops The Angels’ Share, I’m in another universe entirely . . .Thank goodness for literary agents!

Our second Texas Trinkets Giveaway was so much fun! We had another ton of entries, and Susan Leonard, a Labrador show breeder, won the Dog Days’ Giveaway! Appropriate, no?

This time Wicked chose the winner! Her real name is CH Bearpaw’s Wicked Sister, JH, CD.  Yes—she’s titled in 3 different AKC venues, and because of that earned the AKC title of Achiever Dog.

If you’re a writer, we’d love to hear what you’re working on. If you’re a reader, we’d love to know what you’re reading.

So, come play with us and don’t forget to protect the bees!

Ms. Wicked’s Winner!

And of course you can join us

WORDS FROM A FRIEND

Steven D. Malone

The Sensual Savor Palette of
Texas History

(Steven D. Malone, a 5th generation Texan, writes Historical Fiction and Historical Mystery that takes place in the state he loves. And he’s no relation to me!)

Sensual as in the embrace of the senses that all humans share. Throw in a few extrasensory, even paranormal, perceptions as well.

Search out the Paleolithic flora fossils in the oldest of Earth’s granite found up in the Llano country. The juniper-tanged breeze caresses you as you push aside this native shrub to see them, careful of the green prickly pear cacti with its sweet purple fruit and blazing yellow flower. Be sure to listen for the hissing rattle of the diamondback serpent.
Ease into the old storefront musk, amid the aromas of fresh-baked ciabatta muffulettas, in Maceo Spice & Import Company. The Maceo brothers’ mob ruled Galveston during Prohibition. News reports of their derring-do line the walls. Scratch marks note hurricane flood levels the place survived.
Late on the right winter’s night, far out on the Island’s western beaches, look down on the nocturnally bluish dunes. You will see that you have two – yes, two – shadows. One blunt, vibrant, dark. The other long, willowy, ethereal. Look up. High above stands a proud, nearly full moon. Off east, stands Venus, brighter than any star. On that magic night, if you are lucky, you can cavort with the laughing ghosts of pirates and bootleggers.
Texas flames with a vast and visceral history. Johnson Space Center. Frontier ghost towns on the edge of the Big Thicket. The ruins of Spanish mission chapels 300 or more years old. Native American Pictographs dating back to the 1300s B.C.E.
And all the forces or people of the Texas past (that trigger the words I write) smell the smells, taste the tastes, then as I do now. This ‘sensuality’ seeds my work. And, I hope, makes it live.

www.stevenspen.com

WINE DOWN

Susan Mary Malone and Nancy Stewart

So, see—it’s been hot here. I mean, really hot. If you live in Texas, this is not news! Even in mid-September, the heat goes on. And on . . . Although hark—did they say rain and cooler temps later in the week?

And like you, I’ve been up to my eyebrows working. Lots of writing and editing, lots of fun putting together the Blue Bonnet Gift Boxes (will link when that’s up), crazy fun promoting all of that, and oh, yes, the dog family demands daily attention.

Oh! I might just have maternity news next time.

THE WRITERS’ CORNER

Are you thinking about writing a book?  Author and Editor Joseph Epstein says, “81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them — and should write it.”

That’s a lot of folks!  So, how do you begin? 

Here are 6 ways to get you started: 

1. First off, decide what you’re writing. 
I know, that sounds like a no-brainer, right? You have a story and characters and. . .
But in what genre will your story be?
Hint: Focus on what sort of books you love to read. That’s most likely where you will fit!

2. Research and read in your genre.
Check the specs to see how long it should be, the tone of it, and so many other nuances.
Hint: Follow your heart, write what you love, and learn the specs. .

3. Start keeping a notebook and write down thoughts as they come.
Hint: Write it down at the time. Otherwise you’ll forget!

4. Devise an outline.
An outline provides you not only with a framework for fashioning your story, but it’ll show you up front where the storyline holes are. Where you’re deviating from the genre (see #2!). That saves a ton of revisions down the road.
Hint: You don’t have to stick to it. This is for your benefit, not to be a constriction.

5. Carve out a writing schedule. 
Identify the block of hours you can carve out when you’re most likely to be undisturbed.
Hint: There’s a reason so many write at midnight or 4 AM

6.  Sit your butt down and begin it. Commit to it.
Writing is about doing. Don’t talk about it—write it!
Hint: Sit there every day and write—even if it’s only a sentence or paragraph.
Because one of the most satisfying feelings in the world is to type:
The End.
See a fuller discussion of this here!

GOOD NEWS

Photo courtesy of National Honey Board

SEPTEMBER TEXAS TRINKETS GIVEAWAY
BEES KNEES

Don’t forget to enter our September Bees-Knees Giveaway! Since September is National Honey Month, along with our usual goodies, we have a vintage tea/wine glass from England, orange spice tea and a glass muth jar of Wildflower Honey from Walker Honey Farm in Rogers, Texas, along with bee wine charms, an autographed book, and more!

We’re also preparing for our December giveaway, and all I can say is it is going to be awesome. The one hint I’ll give is that 12 people will have a chance to win…

Photo courtesy of National Honey Board

NATIONAL HONEY MONTH
 
We’re excited to be celebrating National Honey Month, and since we’ve included products from Walker’s Honey Farm in our Texas Trinkets Giveaway package I thought we’d share some interesting tidbits of information on all things honey.  
 
According to the National Honey Board, the story of honey is older than history itself. An 8,000-year-old cave painting1 in Spain depicts honey harvesting, and we know it’s been used for food, medicine and more by cultures all over the world since.
 
But honey isn’t about humans. It’s the natural product made from bees—one of our planet’s most important animals. Honey bees visit millions of blossoms in their lifetimes, making pollination of plants possible and collecting nectar to bring back to the hive.
 
Lots of information about bees and honey can be found on their website National Honey Board.

 

American Beekeeping Federation
 
How do I find beekeeping associations or publications?
The American Beekeeping Federation provides a list of common beekeeping associations and publications.
 

How can I find a beekeeper to come and speak to my classroom?

Please contact your local beekeeping association. You can find a list of associations in your area by clicking on the link below, then searching under your state.

www.abfnet.org

Texas Beekeeper Association
 
The Texas Beekeepers Association Honey Locator interactive web page assists consumers in locating real Texas beekeepers selling honey in specific areas of the state.  Click here to find Texas Honey.
 
According to the Texas Beekeepers Association, Honey Bee swarms are a natural biological event.  Although swarms normally occur during the spring months of April and May in Texas, they could happen in other months as well.  Click here to learn more about swarms in your area.
 

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You can see a fuller discussion of this here.
I’d love to hear about your own writing challenges. And let me know any topics you’d like to see discussed! 

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