“Schneeballs?”

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Cold morning out here in the real west (no surprise). I’m sad that one cup of coffee is (for good reasons, not the least of which the second doesn’t taste that good) the limit. That one cup is so good…

The chilly draft in my 90 year old house swirls around my wool-socked feet. I have two manuscripts on the table here, and one has been printed into a book. The best part of that is that I spelled the faux title of my own novel wrong. Never mind it’s the name of members of my own family. I’m an endless sense of amusement and frustration to myself.

The thing of printing a manuscript into a book is that it’s very helpful to me in the proofreading process. This isn’t a legit book in terms of formatting and other stuff, but it’s book-like.

It’s been edited professionally, something I wish I had been wise enough to do for Martin of Gfenn. Every subsequent book has had that advantage and it’s major. There’s also the thing (with a self-published book) that each time you need to deal with the manuscript you risk typos. At this point with Martin of Gfenn the typos are mostly spacing problems, still, who wants that?

In any case, yesterday when the book-like-thing arrived I thumbed through it and realized (for the first time) that I like the story. I saw what I have done — I have written a love story that’s not smarmy and predictable. I have created a complex female protagonist with integrity, passion, and genuine feelings. My male protagonist (antagonist?) never overcomes his flaws or sees them; he’s consistently himself and worthy of Aescylus or some guy like that.

When I started this book, I fought it all the way. I didn’t want to write about a woman, and there was nothing about the male hero that I liked.

One thing that happens when a person writes fiction is they soon discover that the people in the stories are not “their creations” at all but the emerge all on their own and demand to be themselves.

But they’re pretty loose about how you spell their names…

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/rdp-thursday-loose/

Progress… and Audiences

I’ve finished (finished? ha ha ha ha) the edits on The Schneebelis Go to America aka The Price. It’s been a long haul but I don’t think I can bitch with any justification because no one is making me do this and it’s a purely elective and rather minor activity in the grand scheme. In the scheme of my life, though, it’s pretty important, I guess.

I don’t think the book is very good, but I’ve done what I often do, I’ve gone to a self-publishing platform and I’m “publishing” one copy so I can see it as a book and do a read through in a different format than this screen or 8 1/2 x 11 pages.

I’m still not sure if I’ll go to the trouble of trying to sell it. The books I’ve already written didn’t (and don’t) sell so why would I?

Am I discouraged? No, not in the least. Since 1998 when I began writing Martin of Gfenn (that’s 20 years ago) I’ve gone through a very wide range of experiences as a writer. I suppose it’s a kind of maturation. Martin of Gfenn is my best book, but it still has typos. The other two novels benefited from professional editing. And I consider My Everest to be another thing completely.

I can’t answer for why other people write. I write because I like to, that’s the biggest thing. If it works it’s just a lot of fun. When I was teaching, writing was a thing apart from hours and hours in the classroom, and it was something at which I could succeed on some level. Teaching remained a career where I never got tenure and constantly taught part-time — not my fault, it didn’t mean I was a bad teacher, it just made more sense economically for schools to hire part-time vs. tenured faculty. That frustration and relentless impotence about my future was good training for submitting novels to agents.

But there are other audiences and different successes. A few years ago I decided I wanted my one remaining (in her right mind) aunt, the youngest of my mother’s sisters, to know who I am. I had a very intense feeling she needed to know that I was OK, that I have a good life and a little something about what I do. I sent her Martin of Gfenn which she loved. I followed it with Savior and The Brothers Path and explained that those two novels were fiction based on what I knew about my grandma’s family — my Aunt Dickie’s mother’s family. — our family. She loved The Brothers Path and had her church book club read it.

Her last letter to me was March 2017, and in it, she told me how the book club had liked the book and what was going on in her life. And she asked me to keep writing the story of my grandma’s family. Whether this book is any good or not, my Aunt Dickie would have liked it. She died just before Thanksgiving last year.

 

Slogging Along

Since my hip replacement roughly two months ago, I’ve made a lot of progress. I’m at the point with my Blessed Airdyne that I’m riding 10 miles in about 30 minutes, and I do intervals which is challenging and keeps it from being completely boring. Since the biggest problem I’m contending with now is a knee as bad as was my hip — and the non-surgical solution to that is weight loss (and I’m absolutely willing) — I did some research to find out what I have to do to make the Airdyne a weightloss tool. You know, besides, basically, ride it. 🙂 I have arthritic knees which makes a bike (stationary or otherwise) a perfect tool for rehab and fitness especially as I HATE the other good exercise, swimming. I even found a video of some buff guy working out (doing intervals) on a machine exactly like mine:

But when I researched how FAR I need to ride to lose weight, I got useless information. “Ride 60 to 90 minutes five days a week for weight loss.” This means NOTHING. A person can go 1 mph and that’s not going to work. The question is HOW FAR? (Or, alternatively, how fast for how long).

A long long time ago when I was a kid I had like a baby science book. In that book was an illustration of two chairs, both nailed to the floor, each with a feather on the seat. In picture one, a guy (in a toga, no one knows why) struggled to lift the chair off the floor. Sweat sprayed from his face and body (ah, that explains the toga; it helped show how hard he was endeavoring to lift the chair). The other toga-clad lad had lifted the feather from the seat of the chair. THAT was the physics definition of work. He had succeeded in lifting the feather and transporting it somewhere. That stuck in my mind.  The first guy struggled; the second guy worked, so when I googled “How far should I ride my bike for weightloss” in other words how many miles (real or virtual) do I need to move this feather if I hope to lose weight. I got,

As you get comfortable spending more time in the saddle, schedule longer rides during the week. If you do three cycling workouts each week, complete one short ride (30 minutes), make one ride a moderate duration (45 minutes), and set a goal to ride one longtour (60 to 120 minutes) each week

I kept googling questions involving “how far” for both stationary and actual bicycles and kept getting the same answers. No mention of “distance.”

Therefore, to lose body fat, you want to burn as many calories as possible during your stationary bike workouts. Increasing your workouts from 30 to 60 minutes is ideal. According to Harvard Health, a 155 pound person will burn about 520 calories per hour of bicycling at a moderate pace. The stationary bike is not the most effective cardio activity to burn calories, so longer workouts are more ideal.

Added to that absurdity is the phrase “more ideal.” Ideal is the, uh, ideal. There’s nothing above it.

So… long long ago I remember learning an equation that 1 mile walking is roughly equal to two miles riding a bike AT ANY SPEED. Because what matters is how far you take the damned feather.

Soon I’ll be taking the real bike out of the garage and riding it. It’s pretty boring to ride a stationary bike all the time. My dog walks aren’t going to be very far for a while, and I really really really want to put off knee surgery as long as I can.

The other slog is the Schneebelis. I spent part of the morning describing their log cabins and gardens. I have to say this about my upbringing. I grew up out here in the last frontier (other than space)  and log cabins are still common sights everywhere I’ve lived (except downtown Denver and San Diego). All I have to do if I want to see a log cabin is saddle up Bear or Dusty and head across the golf course, so there is a dirth of excitement in this writing about log cabins and pioneer kitchen gardens, but I’m doing it. It must be done and after it’s done it will be edited (yay!) so perhaps readers will not have to slog as I am through the historical remnants of Schneebelian life.

Oh, the cabin in the photo up top was built by one of my ancestors, a guy named Jacob Leber. He was from the mountain area near Lucerne. It was built in York County, PA but moved in the 1980s. He built it over a stream which was apparently a common thing to do. All I can say is the streams back east must be a lot more predictable than the streams out here.

Slogging is OK. I just requires patience and faith. Also the understanding that maybe it won’t work, but at least you don’t have to live without having given it a shot. I’ve gotten pretty skillful at slogging by now.

As for the word of the day? Forgive me but I have no clue what to do with clew in any of its meanings. At least now I know it for if someday I need it.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/07/08/rdp-38-clew/

Schneebeli News

I contacted my wonderful editor, Beth Bruno, about “The Schneebelis Go to America” (working title). I knew something was missing and, deep down, I knew what, but I didn’t want to write it. Sometimes…

I didn’t even know if the book said what I was trying to say — it’s been a tough one to write as the protagonist is unsympathetic, and the destination was not one I would choose. But when I looked at it earlier this spring I saw it is a good story, the people seemed real to me (after months of not looking at it) and I wanted to give my Aunt Dickie the last wish she expressed to me, “Keep telling the story of my mother’s family.”

So I asked for help.

An editor your hire is your ally. Beth has worked with me on two books — Savior and  The  Brothers Path.  We’ve worked on my manuscripts at all levels. I knew if she could see what I am doing, she would support that. If it wasn’t clear to her, she’d let me know. A good editor is a skillful reader.

Today I heard from her. I am so happy I contacted her. She read what I hoped to write.

…this is a touching story about family with its focus on marriage and how two people in love can still find it impossible to move ahead because their life goals are so different. Love doesn’t conquer all after all. They explore difficult issues of love, loyalty, compromise and taking risks at various choice points in their lives.
The reason I think it deserves a longer ending that allows the story to develop further is that I don’t think enough happens after the family reaches America to give the reader some sense of whether the trip was worth it or not. The fact that their passage wound up being on a death ship only makes letting the survivors cope for a few weeks that much more important. Otherwise, the loss of Verena and Elisabethli is for naught and teaches Hans Kaspar nothing at all. The part about the ending that I do like is seeing Conrad come into his own and go forth into the future with a sense of purpose and readiness to create a family that honors Verena’s memory.
Again, I found myself caring deeply about these people because what they are going through is so real — not only from the standpoint of your wonderful writing but also from the historical truths they portray.

 

Her edits couldn’t come back to me at a better time, either. My hip rehab has hit the next level which I recognize from last time. I’m at the “I feel pretty good; I get tired and need to nap; I take short walks that wear me out; God this is boring,” moment. My body is interested in healing the physical trauma now that the shock is over. I can fall into a deep nap at any point in the day, “Sorry sweet cheeks, we need a nap,” says the incision, the joint, the bone, “move over.”

Opening of “The Schneebelis Go to America” (Working [or not working] title)

Currant Jelly

“Verena!” Hans Kaspar called through the open door. Inside, he saw Verena and Katarina, the kitchen maid, making jelly. It bubbled in the copper kettle like liquid rubies.

Hearing his voice, Verena’s heart filled the sky. “I will be right back.” She handed the wooden spoon to Katarina. Hans Kaspar stood in the shade of the apple tree, a traveling bag over his shoulder.

“Come with me,” he said. “Now.” He reached for her hand and pulled her close.

“We’re in the middle of making jelly.”

“Jelly?” Hans Kaspar sighed in exasperation. “Verena.” he looked into her blue eyes. “I’ve missed you so much, and — JELLY?”

“Come help us. We’re about to pour it.”

Hans Kaspar followed her, ducking to escape a head-banging on the low lintel. He was useful. He was strong and tall enough to lift the copper kettle high and pour the boiling liquid into the jars.

When they were finished tying oiled paper to the top of each small jar, Hans Kaspar took Verena’s hand and led her outside.“I brought you something.” He held out a linen packet tied with string. “Open it.”

“What…?”

“Open it.”

Verena untied the string. Inside was a shift made of linen so fine she could almost see through it. It was edged in subtle cutwork that had come from Bruges. It laced up the back with a blue ribbon.

“Hans Kaspar. It’s beautiful. Where did you…?” Verena blushed.

“A customer paid me with that lace. I had the linen left from a shirt I made for someone or another.”

It was an intimate gift, saying many things that had not been spoken between them. Verena did not know what to think. He’d thought of her, imagined her wearing this, made it. She held the fine linen to her cheek, feeling deeply happy and deeply confused at the same time.

He took her hand and held it to his chest. “Come with me now, Verena. There’s a meeting in the forest, half a dozen or so people who are also interested in going America. It won’t be long. Then we can go to my rooms.”

Verena’s heart sank. Hans Kaspar had been gone for six months. He’d traveled with his brothers, Othmar and Kleinhans, to help them settle in the Alsace, the first stepping stone to their great plan of life in America. They planned to emigrate within the year. America was Hans Kaspar’s obsession, but he was not ready, not financially, and not yet settled in his heart, so he had come home. Verena let go of his hand.

“Verena!”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Hans Kaspar, if you come by, and I am home.” She handed him the shift and turned toward the house.

“Verena, you are unfair,” he called after her, grabbing her arm. “I do not say I’m going to America, but I have pamphlets and letters for those who are. And this is yours.” He put the package back into in her hands.

She shook her arm loose from his grip, but she took the linen blouse with her.

Love-making

Hans Kaspar lifted Verena’s long, brown hair and kissed the back of her neck. He found her hand, entwined his fingers with hers and pulled her down beside him. She sighed deeply in the warmth of love returned.

He held her close on the narrow bed in the cubby in his room upstairs from the tailor shop. “Would you, Verena? Would you come with me to America?”

Shaken from the warmth of their intimacy, she sat up.

“Verena, please! If you truly love me, you would want us to share this adventure. Our children growing up in a new world, free to worship and to live as they please. We could be happy there, Verena.”

“How can you think that I could leave my father, Hans Kaspar?”

“He can come with us.”

“He is old, Hans Kaspar. He would not survive the voyage. We might not survive the voyage. Why can’t we be happy HERE?”

“If you would but read the words of Mr. Penn.” William Penn’s promise of religious freedom and land appealed to these people who — for six generations — had been hounded, imprisoned, killed; their property taken.

“I have read those promises. We all have. Father says if something seems too good to be true then it is too good to be true. How is risking your life that way better than taking your chances here? Your father is rich. You have a trade. With your brothers in America, you will be the only son still in Affoltern. Your father will need you.”

“Maybe you just need to think about it.”

“I have thought about it.” Verena sat on the edge of the bed.

“Let’s not think talk about it now. Come to sleep, my love,” he said, reaching for her. “Now we have each other, and we are alone.”

But for Verena the bed had grown cold.

Hans Kaspar had not even twenty-four hours for her and only her. She blinked away tears of frustration. Her beautiful linen shift, untied at the top, the remaining deshabille from their night together.

“Next time I’ll make you one that’s easier for you,” said Hans Kaspar in a soft voice, gently joking as he tied the laces himself.

Verena opened the curtain.

“Where are you going?”

“Home.”

“I thought you understood.”

Understanding is not enough,” she thought, pulling her shawl close around her.

“See you later?” he called out as Verena closed the door behind her.

“Not if I can help it,” she thought.

She ran down the stairs and stepped outside into the low fog of early morning. She was soon out of the village, on the road toward home.

Though the ash, alder and linden were still in summer green. The mist swirling from the hollows promised autumn. A pile of rocks overgrown with vines, all that remained of a long-fallen castle wall, marked her turning. The road led to her father’s half-timber farm house on a hilltop that dropped into a wide meadow, a barn and corral.

Verena hoped the long walk through the forest to the farm would soothe her aching heart, but anger had sped her along, and she’d had no chance to think. The sun broke in earnest against the horizon.

She sat down on the pile of rubble, took off her cap, and shook her hair loose in the breeze. The bottom of her skirt was soaked in dew. She picked up a loose stone and threw it at the rotting trunk of a fallen linden tree. “Who would care for my father? There is no one else. Hans Kaspar asks too much. He should stay here, care for his father and make a home with me. Why does he think America will fix anything?”

You have nothing left with which to persuade him,” whispered her heart.

“Oh why did I not hear him the first time?” she said, throwing another rock.

You did not want to,” said the same small voice.

Quotidian Notice, 4.5.1a — Bidness as Usual, Again…

I just want to wake up some morning, look at the news and NOT see something completely wack and absurd coming out of the Twittering “mouth” of the whatever that is occupying the White House. I say this without even being a liberal. I don’t ‘understand why anyone complains about His Grossness being at Mar-a-Lago playing golf.

In other news, I’ve resolved the question of the protagonist of my novel-in-progress. I think I knew all along, I just had reservations because I just don’t much like the guy. BUT what makes him unlikeable to ME is the same thing that makes him an interesting, compelling, character, so I am slogging along, trying to balance the background information my readers  need while (hopefully) writing an interesting story and creating, replicating a world. Always the problem of someone who writes historical fiction. It is not always fun. (What? Not always fun?)

Fortunately, I have my assistants to keep me on the right track and remind me that the really important stuff is feeding them, cleaning up the yard after them, taking them for a walk and generally arranging my life for their convenience. 😉

Mindy T

Mindy T.,

Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog

Polar Bear Yeti T. AND

Dusty

Dusty T. Dog

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/reservation/

Voyage to Hellnar

One of the greatest benefits to me of my travel this past spring was two days of horrible weather in Hellnar, Iceland, combined with seldom being able to get my iPad to go online.

I don’t believe in “writer’s block.” I think it’s a bad idea to identify that, and worse to claim it, particularly as writing is (even for people who sell books) pretty much an elective activity, meaning people who don’t write for a living don’t have to write AT ALL and people who do, can go write something else if they find they’re stuck. Nonetheless, I’ve been stuck on the novel I started last year and didn’t know where to go. I didn’t “feel” the characters or like them very much. I wasn’t thrilled about the inevitable trajectory of their story and I couldn’t figure out who the protagonist is/was. I plugged along, but with no inspiration or interest. The only chapter I felt rang true at all was the last chapter, the chapter where their voyage to America… I’m not telling.

Yeah. I think it’s good to know where you’re going.

I had put my novel on my iPad thinking I might find inspiration during the week I spent in Switzerland. I was staying in the valley where the characters in my novels — all except Martin of Gfenn — lived. But, no…

I know some facts about the characters. They are based on my ancestors — loosely because no one really knows anything about them except the bare facts of their lives — name, birthplace, death. That’s really a lot to have already set out for you.

So, in Hellnar, while my friend realized her dream (it was mine, too, but there was no way it was going to happen then or there) of riding Icelandic Horses, I sat at a table beside one of the pretty windows in the pretty cottage on the dramatic peninsula with the fabulous (hidden by fog; see photo above) glacier covered volcanic cone, the very volcano Jules Verne had chosen as the entry point in his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. 

Looking out on the bleak landscape, at the wet and wind-blown clothespins and the futile clothesline, I thought of the widescreen TV up the sadistic stairs/ladder that I could not climb, and I found the whole situation hilariously funny. At that point I opened the file on my iPad and wrote.

There was nothing else to do. 

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The thing about writing — art? is that sometimes it’s like a mad infatuation; sometimes it’s slogging through a boring Sunday with someone who (for the moment) sets your teeth on edge; sometimes you need couple’s counseling. I have thought a lot about being a writer and how that’s gone for me. If success means being commercially published and putting out one bestseller after another, I’m no success. If success means doing your best at what you do and not giving up and giving a few people pleasure when they read your novels, I’m a star. 🙂  I started very young — I couldn’t even read when I started writing stories. I scribbled and my dad read. I don’t know why I did that; I think because they read to me a lot and I enjoyed it, I got the idea early that writing a story was a very exciting thing to do.

I wrote a lot of things — poetry, editorials, articles, memoirs — some of it got published and some of it won prizes and one bit got me kicked out of school. In my late 20s, I spent happy snowy Saturdays working on a “novel” which now people would call “creative non-fiction.” I still plug away at that thing. I still love it. Then for a while I essentially transcribed my life; I wrote conversations I had had with people and cut out everything around them to bring the story out of the conversation, like a line drawing in which some of the lines are just implied. I recently found the notebook containing all those “stories” and there are 200 pages in there. I wrote my thoughts, my questions; I kept journals.

At one point in my life — in my 20s — my mom said, “You’re a good writer, but you don’t have a story yet.” It took a long time for me to find “my” story.

To be an artist means: not to calculate and count; to grow and ripen like a tree which does not hurry the flow of its sap and stands at ease in the spring gales without fearing that no summer may follow. It will come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are simply there in their vast, quiet tranquility, as if eternity lay before them. Rilke

I’m happy that now this story is coming along. It’s become fun to write.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/voyage/

Good News for the Schneebeli Brothers

Strasbourg_-_Ponts_Couverts_vus_de_la_terrasse_panoramique

Strasbourg, one city in the novel.

My newest novel, The Brothers Path (working title: The Schneebeli Brothers Go to Church) has been accepted by two publishers for publication.The first offer came with very clear information about the terms of the contract if I chose to go with them. The second didn’t come with any terms at all, just the information that they would have the book vetted by an expert historian and I might have to make changes. I emailed them back with questions the first publisher had answered and I’m waiting for their response.

As I was walking the dogs this afternoon, I thought about how teaching business communication changed me. When I wrote Martin of Gfenn I was primarily interested in the historical accuracy of the book. I even found a Swiss Medievalist Historian to help me and we became friends. When I was given an offer by an agent, I didn’t ask any questions. I just said, “Yes!” Now — almost 20 years later — I’m very concerned with the bottom line and I also get some information from the WAY people communicate with me. The first publisher was far more businesslike and that impressed me. I want business people in charge of my novel because I want it to be successful out there in the world. BUT they are also a “print on demand” company and that means they have little clout when it comes to getting books into actual brick and mortar store. They were up front about this which also impressed me.

So I feel a little disappointed and lonely at this moment. I guess I wanted — hoped — the second publisher would present something comparable so I could sit down and evaluate the opportunities in a businesslike way. It’s one thing to “love” a book it’s another to believe you can sell the book. The first publisher made no comments about liking the book or why. That was fine. By wanting to publish the book, I knew they liked the book. The second wrote, “This novel is very well done and hard to put down!” I’m happy about that but, at this moment, I want to know something about how they plan to sell it, where, my take, etc. Perhaps that’s information I would get by saying, “Yes,” but I can’t say “Yes” without knowing what I’m saying “Yes” to.

Another development in my writing consciousness is that while I hope other people like the book (even love the book) the only love relationship that really matters to me is that between the idea and my mind leading to the creative effort to realize the idea. I also thought of last fall when I began the ill-fated (for me) writers workshop and dealt with comments from my uncomprehending “class”mates. “This is like Tolstoy. I don’t know how you’ll ever finish it.” “This reminds me of The Brothers Karamasov.” OK, I like Russian novels, but the book is NOTHING like Tolstoy OR Dostoyevsky.

I remember comments such as, “If I can’t keep track of the characters, no one can.” “These German names are impossible to remember. Change them to something your reader can identify with.” This was written by a young woman, an angry, lesbian social worker. I felt amused (and a little frustrated) that I couldn’t turn around write about her story, “Quit writing about lesbians. I can’t relate to that. Write about normal heterosexual relationships.’ It would have been petty “revenge” not a wake-up call to her. She would have called me insensitive to LGBT “issues.” (Which I am most certainly NOT.) My contempt for them led me to drop out with a lame excuse about “good news” about my book, good news I didn’t have, but hoped for without expecting it.

Maybe they were right and Heinrich, Hannes, Conrad, Peter, Andreas, Thomann along with Vreni, Verena, Katharina and Rudolf were names too alien and their intertwining stories too complex, but I also remember that snowy afternoon when I sat down at my drawing table with my 24 x 36 newsprint pad and charted out the lives of the brothers, their intersections with each other and with history. I believed any half intelligent reader could sort out both the family relationships and the names, that no real reader wants the same story they’ve read before. It seems I was right.

I should be excited — over the moon! — I’ve waited so long for this. All my life? Instead of excitement, I feel a coldness, that what matters most is that my book get its best shot and that things will soon change. At times like this I guess it’s natural to wish for someone who would say, “I’m so proud of you! Let me take you out for dinner! Champagne!” because it is really that kind of moment. I don’t feel sorry for myself because there is no such person in my life; that’s OK. If there were, maybe the Schneebeli brothers would never have gone to church?

I’m going to Switzerland next May. I decided to look for people with my family name in the village where I’m staying. There are three. One is the fire chief. And their names? Hans Peter. Hans Jorg. Uschi. I wonder? Should I find out?

Cutting My Losses??? Buy a Lawn Mower Instead???

http://www.wandersite.ch/Hoehenweg_Zuerich_Gotthard.html#1.

Pondering NOT attending the Historical Novel Society conference. In reading over the information about the agents who will be there, there’s no one who’s likely to be interested in my book. In looking at the offerings for sessions, nothing appeals to me at all. The only thing is I spent $$ on promotional materials for my book signing and I paid for the conference, but I could recoup the hotel costs and find something more fun to do with a weekend in June. I read a a couple of very honest and straightforward blog posts yesterday on why books don’t sell.

One key point was this, “15: Setting and storyline. If it’s fiction, having a setting outside of America, England or Ireland. “Because I love Russia (or Africa or Thailand)” just plain rarely sells well in America. Or having a storyline that is not entertaining—and very hard—to read (i.e. child abuse, sexual abuse, deaths of key characters).” My books 1) are not set in America, 2) are hard to read — they deal with tough subjects and key characters die.

Anyway, it’s a useful post by an agent whom, I thought, might be a fit for me. After looking at dozens of books — historical fiction — represented by his agency, he’s no fit at all.

The question comes back to why write. I think there are more reasons people write than they read. Not everything we write should be published. I’m the first to agree — but as the blog post points out, on any given day, 100,000 people start a blog on WordPress. Why? I wonder if that’s true or if it’s an exaggeration? I started keeping a blog here — a public blog — because I read a book that said an aspiring novelist needed to build a platform on WordPress. So, I did.

The blog posts (WordPress blogs, by the way) go on to say that bad words are, uh, bad  and that people who use them risk not being published or selling. I don’t like that world. I am as morally opposed to THAT as people who hate bad words are morally opposed to bad words. Imagine! Yet in none of my novels are there any “bad” words. Why? They don’t fit the characters, the time or the place. Fuck no. It’s got nothing to do with whether I “like” bad words or not. It has to do with the story. The scale, though. I’m opposed to censorship; they’re opposed to a few words. Which is the larger world view? And what world do I want to live in? And then…what world DO I live in?

I feel like a stranger in a strange land. Anyway, here are link 1 and  link 2 to these useful posts for anyone who’d like some straight-from-the hip commentary from an extremely successful agent with one foot heavily in the Christian book “genre”.