The trials & tribulations of a writer

maltese-greenstreetAfter the unmitigated triumph of my novel STRANGLERS IN THE NIGHT some twenty plus years ago, I strode purposefully forward in my Bali Manic shoes and Chanel suit, inhaling the sweet smell (No.5) of success, sipping champagne en route to a glittering literary future. And then the cookie crumbled, as they say…
The head Judge in the competition which led to my book’s meteoric rise, was foolhardy enough to admit having bribed the other judge as he was hopelessly in love with me… Sales ceased, interest flagged, and talk of a film was out the window. I was totally flabbergasted and cast down; as was the overweight, aged Judge who managed to bankrupt himself. A deep abyss yawned before both of us. I was vaguely flattered, but how could he have done such a thing?!

If you believe that, you’ll believe anything! I don’t even know where it came from… Do us writers EVER know? There must be some mysterious conduit into our psyches. Who cares, as long as it happens and continues.

Now the semi-true bit…

I woke up at 4.30 am thinking about characterization, but obviously, lines were somehow crossed.

Having worked hard on a collection of short stories, I had five in the bag. All eclectic and a bit zany. One was titled TAKING TIME & OTHER THINGS (confessions of a kleptomaniac), another HARD FEELINGS (the intimate memoir of a concrete manufacturer). The sixth was proving a problem. I tapped my teeth with a pen, as writers do, and realised it was just limping along, (the story that is)…Why? That trusty light bulb then pinged on. Of course, it was my antagonist!. He had as much menace as a new-born baby. Totally unsuitable. There lay a teaser…What to do? I’d interviewed a few ‘baddies’ before he arrived and begged me for the role. In a weak moment, being a soft touch, I said yes. He was in my office awaiting further instructions and I felt deep dismay at what I was about to do. But it had to be done.

Morning, Kevin, I said. You okay? How’s your mother’s leg now?

Mornin;’ better. He replied, looking crestfallen as if anticipating the worst, took a pristine hanky from a pocket and blew his nose. Loudly. He then drew himself up to his full five two height, sniffed and said:

You’re gonna fire me, aren’t you?

Afraid so…

Was that a tear in the corner of his pale blue eye?

Fuck it! he said, mildly shocking me. He never swore… and continued…

I’ve played the role of Tiny Tim on the stage … been someone’s cowardly younger brother and died of tuberculosis in a film, but I’ve never been a hero or a villain. Thanks for nothing! And he marched out of the room, missing my pathetic Sorry, Kev!

willemdafoe_7_rgb-470x335There were two more hopeful candidates sitting outside my office, I invited the ugliest one in. He was chewing gum.

Morning! Please take a seat. Name?

Hank James

American?

Yeah, ma’am.

Any acting experience?

Yep, was in HOW RED WAS MY VALLEY and VAMPIRE LEADER, he told me, still chewing.

I took in his shifty, dark eyes, his tall, rangy, but wiry build, and his cauliflower ear and quickly said:

You’re hired!

 

 

Ciao for now.

Joy x

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The Sandwich Thief

That really made me giggle…Continued good luck with your poetry. Best wishes to you and Seumas…

FictionPals

Yesterday I read a post on Facebook (someone else’s post) that I then placed on my FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/RohiniSunderamAuthor

The post is an amusing account of two colleagues and a spat they have over a turkey & rye sandwich. I mentioned that it reminded me of some of the poems in Corpoetry, like The Water Cooler. One friend said she’d like to see what I’d make of that situation in a poem.

And so, here it is!

‘Twas in an office, I heard tell

Of a prankster ne’er do well

He stole, it seems, a colleague’s lunch

And the outcome was a bunch

Of laughs for folk like me and you

But from the posts, it seems ‘twas true

And this is how it went:

“Oh sandwich thief, I know you keep

Stealing my sandwiches, why oh why?

The latest one’s turkey on rye.

Grow up you thief, you sandwich…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – D.Wallace Peach, Mary Smith and Victoria Zigler

I looked up Diana Wallace Peach after she OK’d something I wrote, and was immediately smitten by her style and flair with words. So original and funny too.I really enjoyed the whole blog, Sally! There’s a LOT of talent ‘out there.’ !

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the first Cafe and Bookstore Update of the week and two new releases and news of an audio book.  The first author with exciting news is D.Wallace Peach with the release of her first children’s book, Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters. Not only written by Diana but illustrated by her too. An amazing amount of work but as you will see from the cover it is fantastic. Available in print only in US, UK and Canada.

About the book

Grumpy Ana Goblyn is sour, dour, and cranky. Her lips droop in a frown. She’s bored with every place and person in her friendly town. With the help of her father, she builds a spaceship and travels to a soggy planet where she meets her perfect monster playmates. But there’s a problem! The monsters see her grouchy frown and think she’s a monster. In this children’s space…

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The Important Things Don’t Change

A Teacher's Reflections

Today was the first day back to school for teachers.  You’d think that I would be drained and overwhelmed with all the teacher work that needs to be done.

Nope.  Not at all.  We talked about growing; both children and ourselves as teachers.  We watched a flower bloom.  We listened to a TED Talk on children learning.  The message encouraged learning by challenging children.  What if? and Why not? questions are critical.  Ask, question, learn.

The very first thing I wrote as a teacher thirty years ago spoke to the same subject:

Process Vs Product

When your child proudly shows you his/her art creation, and you can’t even begin to see or guess at what your child has made (“Oh, that’s a boat?  I thought it was a penguin!”), trust that his/her finished product is far better than if it really looked like a boat.  How can that be?…

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Come and be interviewed

Hi Aurora, You can interview me any time you like! It would be much appreciated. The more exposure us writers get the better (ooh duckie…) Best wishes. Joy x

Author Don Massenzio

interview-3Hello,

I’ve been running my weekly ‘Perfect 10’ interview series this year. Every Monday, I run an interview with an author and ask them a series of 10 thought-provoking questions. As I look toward the end of the year, I still have about 10 slots open.

If you’re releasing a book for the holidays or trying to get more exposure and meet other authors and bloggers, this is a great opportunity. Just email me at don@donmassenzio.com and I’ll send you the necessary instructions.

This is a great opportunity and there are only 10 slots left until the end of the year.

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy Bell

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Book Bears

now, Hi Jennie, In my more advanced years, I was a helper at a Junior school in the UK and took several children for basic poetry and reading ability, and LOVED IT! The above is a delight to read for I feel as much excitement for words now, even tho’ I”m ancient! That magic never goes away. Best wishesto you.

A Teacher's Reflections

Book Bears started yesterday.  It’s my library reading group, mostly second graders.  Yesterday we met each other and  shared our favorite summer read.  ‘Meet and Greet’, with books.  Some children were nervous.  Some were outgoing.  I could see a wide disparity with their books, from Harry Potter, to Frog and Toad, to an American Girl Doll book.  A typical gathering of children.  Thirty minutes later, we were bonded at the hip, BFFs.  This is what happened:

I greeted every child, making sure I said something important to each one; Haley and I had the same earrings, Jonah went to sleep-over camp this summer, and so on.  Then I passed out the snack, walking around the table to every child.  My conversation went something like this:

“I love books.  This is so cool to share our favorite books.  But I have to tell you something.  When I was your age” .. pause

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Muse for Hire

Surely inspired by ‘the Gods’?! Fabulous. Best seller material.

Myths of the Mirror

Amazing artwork by Peter Pham

The day is half over and I open the door to my writing room. My coffee sloshes over the rim at my sudden halt. The man’s jaw swivels my way, and I swallow. “Um…Who are you?”

“Your muse,” he growls.

“Oh.” I edge into the room and leave the door cracked for a quick escape. “Where’s my other one? You know, the… usual one?”

He stares at me like I’m a bug. “She hired me.”

“You’re a mercenary muse?” I trap a nervous laugh behind my lips. The guy looks cranky. Dried sweat coats his bulging muscles, and bloody grit etches the gold lions adorning his skimpy outfit.

He points a finger at a wooden chair, my humming laptop on the table beside it. “I’m here to make sure you keep your commitments.”

“What commitments?” I sit, my smile as shaky as my hands.

“Summer off, then a…

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