What’s poetry mean to you? You can find definitions, but to be honest, I’m the “I know it when I see it, and only then I think maybe I know it,” sort. Could that be part of why my novels are taking so long (tell me about it)?
In today’s case, the “own” belongs to Joseph Mayo Wristen. Born in Toppenish, Washington, he’s mostly lived in the U.S. North West. From ages 17 to 26, he traveled all over Europe and North America, working odd jobs and meeting interesting people. He’s attended college and film school, sold encyclopedias and children’s books, and currently works in the solar energy.
It took a while for him to share his poetry, but since his youngest daughter told him he should, he’s published a bunch!
His Facebook page includes videos of him reading aloud. Here’s one of his that Nopoet JaArtist uploaded to their Youtube site.
Onward I march, two steps forward and one step back, wearing my new hat of “podcaster.” This week I accomplished a little more on my novels (h-e-r-e) than last week, but I’m still wishing for a time when I’m not so green at podcasting and I can get back to my books. Read further down for the latest on what I’ve learned about this new audio angle I’ll use later with my fiction storytelling.
Very fun news is that podcaster Sherry Mitchell invited me to be a guest on her show, “Reach the Unreachable”! The show is on her site, so for this week, I decided to promote hers rather than release a new show at my podcast.
Sherry Mitchell is the founder and owner of Glorified Fitness Incorporated (GFI) (visit her site h-e-r-e). After working in IT for more than 30 years, she retired to fulfill the vision she received from God six (6) years prior. GFI is a Fitness and Learning Center located in North Columbus, OH where holistic fitness for the body, mind, and spirit enables clients and staff members to Reach the Unreachable in their fitness goals.
Note: The interview lives on Sherry’s site, so for this week, I decided to promote her show rather than release a new episode at my podcast. Notice any sound glitches? See the “Guesting” and “Sound” bullets further down.
Questions, Notes, & Tips (for blogging, turning blogs into podcasts, and more)
Guesting: As a guest on Sherry’s show, I was so nervous that it took me several moments longer than I anticipated to collect myself and I was late. If I ever am a guest again on a show, it would help if not only was I on time — but if I was early. That way we could chat and get comfortable, as well as test how my end of the phone connection sounds.
Sound: My nice earbuds broke, so I bought some really cheap ones. Hmmm… I’m wondering if earbuds make a difference in terms of sound recording quality…
Facebook groups: Have you used those and have you found them helpful for promoting your blogging (or anything else)?
Apple: They have a page where podcasters can ask to be considered by them for promoting. Now that I filled it out, I’m wondering if I also need to create a whole website presence at their site, beyond what automatically loads there about my show via anchor…
Equipment: Someone asked me whether what I use is expensive. Fortunately not at all, if you consider that I already had a closet to double as a sound booth, an ancient iPhone 5s to record my voice on via the free version of Voice Record app, a 2017 iPad for a teleprompter and to light the inside of my closet, a 2015 iMac, iMovie to edit and use their free sound effects and music breaks, the free editing app and music within AnchorFM. What I bought recently was a Blue Yeti mic (around $100), a cheap set of gizmos to help it along, including foam stuff, cords, and a tripod to hold it up.
Monetizing Part 3 (parts one and 2 are in t-h-i-s post): Yay! I reached the minimum “unique listeners” Anchor requires for them to send me ads to earn money from — but where are they?!
Junk mail: now as a podcaster, I get even more than ever. One says I’m extra popular in Japan, but I don’t know what they mean by that and I have my doubts that it would be worth forking over cash to find out.
AI: A friend hates Anchor’s automated voice… so if she listened with her sound off so it’ll get me higher ratings, would that be naughty?…
Overcast: I first wrote of my frustration with them h-e-r-e and now have given up on ever seeing my show there — dunno how to even log in, no matter what I do…
Wonderful Book on Podcasting: Here’s the review I did for it on Amazon and Goodreads: “Profit From Your Podcast: Proven Strategies to Turn Listeners into a Livelihood,” by Dave Jackson, founder and host, School of Podcasting. Having recently started my own podcast show, I know from experience that this book offers far more than any of the other ones I’ve read. Outstanding tips, not just the handful of worn-out ones you get everywhere else. Jackson offers practical, real-life advice, from his own experiences and those of other seasoned podcasters. He goes miles beyond “how to get your first 1k listeners,” to discuss how to branch way, way out. There are chapters on how to give seminars, retreats, juggle real life with work, set financial goals rather than just listenership ones, and lots more. Down-to-earth inspiring, neither outrageous nor overwhelming.
Novel writers: Just finished a great novel with a writer for a protagonist by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout. “My Name is Lucy Barton” gives us writers wonderful encouragement to “be ruthless” and not to worry about protecting others with our work.
What platform do you listen to music and podcasts on?
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What do the following three things have in common?
Grooming, or the lack of it.
Words from other countries so unique yet essential, such as “schadenfreude,” that languages like English borrow them.
What they all share is that they pertain to activities now common as a result of Covid sheltering-in-place and masking up.
With people staying closer to home, pajamas became workwear. In the case of hair, many people I know let theirs grow wild and long, whether on their scalp, faces, or legs. Others experimented in totally the opposite direction and now know how they look totally smooth-skinned. Some friends tinted rainbows into their manes and others did away with coloring altogether.
Are you sprouting something under your mask that you didn’t have before the need to mask up was a thing?
One friend’s working-from-home mustache was so cool that I had to grow one my own, albeit one I doctored up on the computer. Check out the photo of us sporting cookie dusters at the Happiness Between Tails blog post that corresponds with this podcast by typing “27 Blog Tips” into the search bar.
Statistics indicate that the slower pace of staying home also reignited people’s love of reading and writing. In addition, Donald Trump’s presidential run boosted the word “schadenfreude” into everyday reading. It’s an English noun borrowed from two German words. “Schaden” means “harm,” and “freude” means “joy.” Combined into “schadenfreude,” they refer to the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.
When I discovered the word, I invited friends at my Facebook page to riff off of “Schadenfreude”…
Carol Snyder Jarvela: I prefer the southern belle term “mean bitch thrill.” It’s easier to spell and is self-explanatory.
Peter Basson: Me and my friend, Sigmund, were very hot so we stood in the schadenfreude.
Susan Sobon: Trump is a master of schadenfreude.
Lastly, the onset of the Covid pandemic got people more involved in blogging, vlogging, and podcasting!
I listed some of what I’ve learned about blogging in a prior post. In no particular order, here are more tips I’ve gathered while working on my own blog and visiting other sites. Feel free to add your own insights in the comments section.
Nothing detracts from a post as much as poor writing. The software that comes with a word processor isn’t enough. Fortunately, lots of useful apps like Grammarly have decent free versions.
Reading aloud helps tremendously. Sometimes I even have my word processor read to me. That way, I can hear how my writing sounds without my own inflections.
Finding an empty ‘about’ page feels like maybe there isn’t a real person managing the site. And when there’s no photo, I hope the blogger isn’t worried that their looks will frighten people.
It doesn’t take much to keep a site’s background theme from looking cookie-cutter by adding photos and changing colors.
Composing a post: sometimes WordPress leaves important messages in the right-hand column.
Ideas are precious. I capture mine by texting myself or jotting them into the notes section of my smartphone.
Before publishing a post, I check how it looks on a smartphone, desktop, and tablet. Sometimes I need to replace a photo and break up my text more.
Featured photos: When it comes to selecting a featured photo for a post, alwaysbe sure to select one. Also, people who’re successful on social media always add text to their main pictures. Canva’s free version of their graphics editor does a great job.
Workspace: clutter saps my creativity and efficiency. I try to keep only what I’m working on in front of me, and every night I tidy up.
Sound: A fan, such as the one inside my compact space heater, is impressive at muting noise pollution.
SEO, a.k.a. “search engine optimization”: to help get at the top of internet searches, use keywords in post headings and first sentences.
Heading: again for SEO, keep them 65 characters or shorter.
Categories: select less than ten.
Tags: five is plenty. What’s most important is that your total categories and tags don’t number over fifteen.
Visitors enjoy interacting with their fave bloggers. Ask readers to subscribe and share. End posts with something they can comment on.
Invite visitors to look around your site by linking posts to other posts.
Images: only use ones you have legal rights for (such ones you took or that are classified as royalty-free) and always credit where you got them from.
Befriend other sites like yours — visit, comment, link, and meet their fans.
Reblogs from someone else’s sites to yours are lovely — and even nicer when introduced with comments of your own. Add your thoughts when you click “reblog” or later within your site’s editor.
Composing Posts: Begin them with a sense of where you’re going, and conclude them with a quick review.
It takes time and care (a.k.a. love) to compose a blog post people will want to read and come back to.
Good writing is all about rewriting. Let a post sit, then review it a couple of hours later or the next day.
Continually study how to use social media more effectively.
Hosting: Self-hosting works for some. In my case, I use WordPress.com, and find that having them host my site is inexpensive and easy.
It’s never too early to start collecting an email list — ugh! — in my case, I’m learning this far too late, so I’m now researching how best to start mine.
Poetry, for me, lies somewhere between blissful and excruciating. When I take the time to read a piece, which is seldom due to the reasons above, I marvel at how only a few precise words can haul a truckload of soul. More often than not, though, it makes me antsy at best, question my intelligence at worst. Never mind trying to write some of it myself.
I was born in London, UK, in 1942 but have lived most of my life in Hoole, a Victorian suburb of Chester, a city in the north west of England.
I have been writing poetry since I was 14. In the summer holidays of 1957, I was on a day trip with my Auntie Renee to Llandudno, a town in North Wales. We were sitting on the steep slope above St Tudno’s church. Two things happened. Inspired by a poem, about the terrors of a nuclear holocaust, written by a sixth former and published in that summer term’s school magazine, I decided that I should be a poet. It seemed a grand thing to write about important subjects and be read by hundreds of people. (I hadn’t at that point actually written anything).
Before or after the decision, I can’t remember which, a group of nuns, in the long, black habits they wore then, left the church and climbed along one of the sheep tracks up the slope. My aunt would have commented on it, I’m sure, but I can’t remember what she said. The pristine image has stayed with me. I used it in a poem more than twenty years later, and in a screenplay nearly forty years later.
Poetry in some ways is the easiest of the arts. It is solitary, and comparatively economical in terms of time-over-task. The technology needed is minimal — just a pencil and some paper. No violins or blocks of Carrara marble.
I have always had things I want to say about love and death, and human history, pictures I wanted to create, stories I wanted to tell. Making poetry has been part of my life for more than sixty years. It is a compulsion. I cannot imagine ever saying to myself, I shall write no more poems.
In 2009, I came to the conclusion that, in order for most poetry to reach as wide a readership as possible –- and a readership which, if it chooses, can truly interact with the writer — publication on the web rather than in book form is the way forward. My website was launched in April of that year.
The first poem to be published on the site was:
A Short History
For a generation, like weather cocks,
their skeletons swung near the highway.
James Price and Thomas Brown had robbed the Mail.
Years turned. The Gowy flooded and the heath
flowered. Travellers noted the bones
hanging in chains by the Warrington road.
Justices ordered the gibbet removed,
the remains disposed of. In Price’s skull,
while Napoleon was crossing the Alps
or Telford building bridges or Hegel
defining Historical Necessity
or Goya painting Wellington’s portrait,
a robin made its nest.
The latest to be published (i.e. as of June 25th 2020) is:
The Colston Bun
‘And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.’ DEUTERONOMY 12.3
‘Black deaths do not have a good press, especially when they occur in the custody of our custodians. The media leads the public to believe that our guardians can do no wrong. Racism leads them to believe that blacks can do no right. The silence of the custodial system is compounded by the silences of racism.’ DEADLY SILENCE: BLACK DEATHS IN CUSTODY, Institute of Race Relations, London, 1991
Anger, one Sunday in June, overcame
decorum in that diverse city,
and – no doubt, inspired by the toppling
of other graven tyrants – righteously
pulled down the effigy, with a thump of stone
and a hollow gong of metal, and tossed it
from the quay into the harbour water.
The Royal African Company received
its charter from Charles II and James,
his brother, hence the US east coast seaports
Jamestown and Charleston. It was established
by the restored royals to provide them,
free of interference from the Commons,
with their own spending money. Board members
included the philosopher, John Locke.
The company’s profits came mostly
from enslaving West African men, women
and children, and transporting them across
the North Atlantic’s turbulence. More than
two hundred thousand were taken, and nearly
fifty thousand died on the journey,
the firm’s double entry bookkeeping shows.
One prominent member of the board
was Edward Colston, a Bristol merchant,
the city from whose harbour the slavers sailed,
and which, in due course, would make chocolates
and cigarettes. His philanthropy
inveigled the streets like a bad conscience,
almost a rebuke of victimhood:
his name on a hospital, a school,
a bun flavoured with dried currants and allspice
topped with sugar, given to the poor yearly
and still made for sale by local bakeries –
and himself looking thoughtful in bronze
with a periwig and a walking stick.
Apologists who claim he was merely
of his time, an accidental racist,
and collateral ethical damage,
like Henry Wills and Elizabeth Fry,
should remember John Locke, his damascene
moment unrecorded, who threw his shares
into the fire. ‘Slavery is so vile and
miserable an estate of man …that ’tis
hardly to be conceived’. That June Sunday
civic anger overcame decorum.
To my surprise, one of the most read poems is:
Marjorie Beebe’s Bottom
For Ian Craine (Note from da-Al: here’s a guest post by Ian Craine here.)
‘Marjorie Beebe is the greatest comic possibility
that ever worked in my studio. I think she is
destined to become the finest comedienne
the screen has ever seen.’ Mack Sennett
Her bottom was a serious matter:
the butt, as it were, of numerous pratfalls
in many Mack Sennett two reelers – like
The Chumps, Campus Crushes and The Cowcatcher’s
Daughter – in which she was a capricious,
lubricious Columbine with witty eyes
and good teeth and various Harlequins,
who ended invariably as losers.
From Kansas City, her mother took her
on the Yellow Brick Road to Tinsel Town.
Beebe and Sennett became lovers, despite
or because of the thirty year difference,
so he knew her asset first hand so to speak.
From silents to talkies, slapsticks to wise cracks,
her Mid West accent playing well, then Mack goes bust
Is a great novel the one you had the most fun reading? One that transported you to a whole new situation, a new land, a new time? Or did that story unlock new insights? How about one that allowed you to feel understood and less alone? What about the books of childhood, which stripped away all the anguish of being small and vulnerable? Is your favorite one that’s compelled you to read it more than once?
The desire to read
I was born ready, jumping out of my diapers with eagerness to comprehend how written language worked.
My reading list from the start
All printed words that came my way. Food wrappers, cereal boxes, and street signs were intermingled with picture books.
Fourth-grade outings with my best friend were bike rides to the library. There I would tick off readings from the Newberry Medal list (the highest esteemed American children’s books). Kids’ magazines with fiction, grown-up mags that featured stories, books lying about the house, I was starved for reading no matter how much I learned. That included Playboy Magazines, The Godfather, Marquis de Sade. That last one fascinated eleven-year-old me not for the sex (it went over my head), but for how sadomasochism mirrored the day-to-day I saw. Later in high school, Shakespeare taught me how stories can tap numerous levels beyond surface and deep.
My idea of “best” has more to do with whatever I’ve recently read that left an impression. Since embarking upon novel-writing, much of my fiction is via audiobooks. Minutes spent sitting is time I could be writing. The books I select are for enjoyment as well as for learning. Since the books I’m writing, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” and “Tango & the Sitting Cat,” are epistolary (correspondence or diary), I’m apt to download books of that style. That includes the historically latent “Frankenstein” and “Dracula,” the contemporary “Queenie,” the fizzy “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” and “The Roxy Letters.” Non-epistolary includes anything by authors like Anne Patchett, and Anne Tyler, who’s endings are complex. Elizabeth Gilbert’s recent protagonist encourages us to never regret losing our virginity. Now I’m dizzy with memories of beautiful reads, too many to note here but irresistible to type: “Little,” “A Tale for the Time Being,” “Kindred”… I can’t wait to read Kathleen Rooney’s latest (she was so very kind to be a Happiness Between Tails guest here).
With that, dear readers, let’s meet Ian Craine — he often blogs on his wife’s site (Roberta Franklin is a writer of romantic fiction). He’s a Brit currently living in London who hopes to move to Wales and has worked as a lawyer, a book indexer, and a writer. He enjoys history, books, writing, walking, travel, horse racing, cinema, and music.
About writing, he notes, “…to write, one first of all, has to be able to read. Our life experiences, as Borges once said, include both the things we have done and the books we have read. Reading needs to be a balance between fiction and non-fiction, both from the reader’s and the writer’s point of view.”
Ian has written screenplays in various genres, novellas, stage plays, articles, short stories, flash and poetry. As for novels, he says, “…I confess I have always signally failed there. Somehow I just cannot write that many words. Perhaps I just haven’t got enough to say. But I admire anybody who can from Miguel Cervantes to my own wife.”
A lover of good novels, here are the ones he regards as the best six…
Six Great Novels: Ian Craine’s picks (in chronological order)
“Don Quixote” byMiguel Cervantes: This is where the novel began, this is the template. It may never have been bettered since. It’s wonderfully layered, whose story are we hearing? This is a world that contains all worlds- those of dream, of memory and of imagination, of bawdy and elegy, the fantastical and the prosaic. This satire of romance now bears its own warm romantic glow. It has inspired many of the world’s greatest writers — Diderot, Mark Twain, Borges, Graham Greene, Nabokov, Carlos Fuentes — as it was inspired by Homer’s majestic Odyssey.
“The Black Arrow” by Robert Louis Stevenson: Stevenson was a man for all seasons from the early spring of childhood with tales like Treasure Island to winter’s disillusionment of old age in South Seas Island novellas such as Ebb Tide. My choice is in the earlier category, a stirring tale of derring-do from “The Wars of the Roses.” I am sure it was as fun to write as it is to read.
“The Alexandrian Quartet” by Laurence Durrell: These are four linked tales, the first three told contemporaneously but from different points of view; the fourth is subsequent to the earlier events. To me, nobody has combined a sense of place with a sense of the human condition as perfectly as Durrell. Alexandria is described on every page as the essential witness to all the characters do — their affairs, relationships, journeys, and desires. Beautiful descriptive writing effortlessly merges with a keen post-Freudian feel for humanity. It’s an object lesson too, in the primacy of the novel in describing human behaviour. This is rich beyond anything Freud himself ever wrote.
“Downriver” byIain Sinclair: As Durrell wrote of a city, so Sinclair wrote of a river. The river is the Thames. The starting point is Thatcher’s London, the “revival” of the dockland with bijou apartments for bracered brokers, and it takes place largely downriver of the City, where such folk “earned” their commissions. The book, told in ten chapters, brings us an incredibly rich mix of deeply eccentric characters and allusions to episodes in London’s history over the centuries. Sinclair was a walker (till age put paid to his excursions) with a sharp eye for the topography and architecture of London, and the effects of crushing change on those left behind by the sudden hysteria orchestrated by “The Widow.”
“The Blind Man’s Garden” byNadeem Aslam: It’s 2001 and 9/11 has come and gone. But this is not about its effect on the West. This is what happened afterwards in Afghanistan. A beautifully evoked Pakistani family, each with their problems and preoccupations, are torn apart when the son decides to go to Afghanistan as a medic. An adopted “cousin” goes along for the ride. But they are too naive (perhaps a modern version of our old friends, the Quixote and Sancho Panza) and those they think are helping are out for their own cut- they are sold to the Taliban. Now they have to tread with care amidst their new “owners” while the other enemy, the Americans, fill their skies with terror and destruction. But like all serious novels about conflict, this is about trying to find common ground, mutual respect and reconciliation amid the chaos. Only “Sancho” survives because only he would have been equipped to survive. And this tremendous book, beautifully written, a tale of redemption amid horror, is his Odyssey. New ways of telling old tales.
“The Professor and the Bird” byRoberta Franklin: This is a beautiful story, again with a strong sense of place, and like The Quartet set in the Mediterranean by a writer deeply conversant with the rhythms of life of Greeks and Turks and the Levant generally. She tells a lovely tale of May and November. A sparky young Irish girl on a motorbike meets an ageing Greek archaeologist. They would appear to have little in common at first, but a love of history, the sort buried deep beneath the sands and sea of the Med, begins to bring them together. She is friendly and open, he kind but academic and diffident. Their burgeoning relationship is told with warmth and humour, and the supporting crew on the dig all have their own stories to tell.
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This is an exciting post for me because — hurrah! — today you’ll listen to my first ever podcast! Please help make it a success by subscribing to it, sharing it, commenting on it, and liking it.
(For an only-audio podcast-player version of this post, click H-E-R-E.)
Tale-telling has been around for eons, yet we can never get enough of stories. Drawings to hieroglyphs, scribes to printing presses, photography to film to radio to TV… am I leaving anything out?
Enter podcasts! Do you listen to any that are dedicated to novels? If you do, how did you learn of them chose, and how do you listen to them?
I’m asking because eventually, hopefully, sooner than later, I’ll podcast my novels, starting with “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat.” With that as my plan, I’ve spent the last several weeks of my ‘sheltering in place time’ taking an internet class on podcasting. It’s offered online with a professional Gale Courses teacher at the other end — for free! Thank you, Los Angeles County Library, for which I’ve sung the praises of numerous times, most prominently here and here.
Perhaps you have a podcast of your own? If you do, share your hands-on insights: your do’s, your don’ts, your money-making tips, your platforms, and what has worked best for you, especially when it comes to getting people to listen.
The class I took recommending starting with Podbean as a podcast host. In addition to that, I’ve uploaded this first-ever of mine to Youtube. I’ve already got an account there for the shorts I’ve featured already like this baby chick one and this amazing cat one. Plus, Youtube commands a heck of a lot of traffic.
My first podcast guest is Dwayne Sharpe. He’s the generous member of a local library writing group. I’d only just discovered it in real life — but— that was right before the COVID19 crisis knocked us sideways. First, we bumbled about with convoluted email lists. Recently, fingers crossed that we haven’t already lost all our members — we’re experimenting with Facebook.
Listen to Dwayne perform his chilling short story, “Another Day in the Twilight Zone,” for the podcast. When this post was first published, a player block around here allowed you to hear the audio. A year and a half later, it’s now updated — at the very bottom of this post, you’ll find the link to where it resides at AnchorFM. Read on for the text version…
“Another Day in the Twilight Zone,” a short story by Dwayne Sharpe
Wow! The sun is shining, and a few cumulus clouds drift around the morning sky. Dressed in a light sweater, I venture out. The need to stretch the legs fills me with energy to bound down the steps and take a deep breath. The concrete walkways entice my exploration traits as I trudge north, then west in a zig-zag pattern of streets and alleyways. Time has no meaning while the feet are moving, now east, and again north.
Where is everyone? My journey passed many homes and a few businesses, but no one in sight. Nary a vehicle is heard, only a few birds. I begin a closer inspection of the houses I pass, seeking movement behind curtains and blinds. Surely a child’s scream of laughter will break the silence. A breeze causes a few leaves to bristle, nothing substantial.
A pocket park lies ahead. Surely there will be kids playing on the swings or giggling down a slide. Alas, the park is empty, not even a dog walker. The picnic table sits empty, with an inviting BBQ standing next to it. I take the path where a sign reads, “Quarter-mile fitness walk.” Pine trees stand guard along the narrow gravel path. A pine cone lies in wait for me, and a swift kick sends it along.
The sun has moved behind darkening clouds, and a chilly wind has begun to blow. I travel south, then east, a different thoroughfare than before, hope fills my mind of seeing someone, anyone. Cars parked alongside the curb, abandoned, gasoline no longer available. Leaves piled up around the wheels. Weeds have grown tall, replacing the lush green grass of years past.
Today’s expedition ends as I approach the only house on the block, free of tall weeds. A weathered sign in my yard reads, “We are all in this together.” I inspect the sign and look up and down my block. There is no one left to speak these words to. I pull the picket sign and toss it into the growing pile of debris. Not even the sanitation engineers will come. Am I the last person alive?
About Dwayne Sharpe: In addition to his books listed above, he’s written over 50 short stories in subjects including Love, Crime, Adventure, and Fantasy. His hobbies include genealogy and geocaching. He lives with his wife in Long Beach, California. (Learn about geocaching here and here.)
Please support my 1st podcast ever by sharing, subscribing, liking, and commenting… And tell us about your experiences with podcasts for fiction books…
#ShortStories #Podcasting #Novels #WritingLife #Authors #Drama
This very first experimental installment premiered during the early days of the first COVID-19 lockdown in Los Angeles. First it discusses podcasting, then Dwayne Sharpe reads his sci-fi short story, “Another Day in the Twilight Zone.” As always, I welcome your insights and questions. Record them at my Anchor site — or comment at HappinessBetweenTails.com — or email me. And buymeacoffee.com/SupportHBT
Links referred to in this episode:
Video version of this episode.
Blog post with this episode in text form.
This episode first resided here at Podbean, a podcast host.
A Happiness Between Tails blog post where I sing public library praises and another one here.
A video with my honey and a super cute baby chick in New Zealand, and this amazing cat video I made in Spain.
Get Dwayne Sharpe’s books, "Thomas' 100 Cat Tales” and “Blaze Mysteries,” here. He also enjoys geocaching, which you can learn about here and here.)
Los Angeles County Library
Virtual writing groups offered through Shut Up & Write.
Photos available at the blog version of this show:
Dwayne Sharpe, the cover of his book, “Thomas’ 100 Cat Tales,” and the cover of another of his books “Blaze Mysteries.”
Time Stamps (where segments begin):
1) Happiness Between Tails intro
2) Background info about today’s show 1:09
3) How I started this show and about today’s guest 1:59
4) Dwayne Sharpe's Sci-Fi, "Another Day in the Twilight Zone” 4:49
5) Happiness Between Tails outro 7:53
Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/depe9/message
Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/depe9/support
Share + Like + Rate + Comment + Follow + Email me at ContactdaAL@gmail.com
Soon-to-be-self-published novelist that I am, I’m always looking to see what other authors are doing. You too?
Or maybe you’d like a bit of inspiration to complete your book and to self-publish it? Mr E has done just that — twice. His most poignant advice for me is that he did it because he wanted to lighten the days of as many people as he could!
“My Experience Writing Books, for Future Authors,” by Mr E
Hello, there. My name is Mr E. Now obviously, that’s just my pen name, as many authors tend to go by. I come from a little beach town in England where I write from on my good old MacBook. Originally not intending to become an author, I studied being a computer technician, obtaining a few degrees in my late teenage years.
Let’s Get Started
May I start off by saying that if you’re interested in writing your own books, go for it. You have absolutely nothing to lose but so much to gain. Let your passion run wide.
Even if you decide being an author isn’t for you, the amount you learn will stay with you forever.
I started off by making up silly short stories in my head and telling people about them, just to bring some smiles and laughs to our day-to-day lives. After a while, I ended up writing them down on the notes app on my iPhone. Accumulating quite a few, I wanted to share them with as many people as I could, remembering that one way of getting yourself out there is to release ebooks.
After learning about setting up my own publisher account on Amazon, I found my way forward. However, there are many more options out there, such as Apple Books, Google Play Books, and so on. All are relatively easy to get started with.
I thought with all these short stories, how could I put them all together? My answer was to create a narrative behind them, not only to make each story flow to the next but also to give them more personality.
Writing your first book will take quite a bit of time, but as you go through the motions, eventually, you will get the hang of it and form your own style.
Take this picture, for example. I simply made this on my iPad by continually adding more and more detail to it by using a free drawing app. This particular design ended up being a background for my signature on the fronts of my books.
You want to write about things you enjoy in life. That could be horror, romance, comedy, and so on. If you’re solely going for the money, you’re in the wrong place. You won’t make a great book if your heart isn’t in it. But for the people whose hearts are, the amount of enjoyment that comes will be more worth it than any monetary gain.
You don’t have to be a master at photoshop to design a great front cover. Here’s the cover of my second book, “The Stories of 1542.” I believe it to be simple but effective.
A special thanks to da-AL For letting me guest blog on her site.
If you have any questions or just would like some advice on writing, my Twitter DMs are open at @AuthorMrE where we have an amazing writing community.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple This quote I share from someone who’s not with us anymore. Thank you for reading.
Are you writing a book?
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Communication is not easy. Whether I’m listening, reading, looking… all my interactions are colored by my perspective that’s shaped by my present and past. Sometimes my simplest, most straight-forward conversations are with my dear doggie.
Who do you interact with most easily? Blogger/writer Bryan Wagner presents workshops on Zen, Tao, and Shamanism. Here’s his take on relationships…
Communion is creating and embracing an emotional, spiritual, sharing of each other.
We can enter a state of communion if we are present and each of us has the desire, openness, and willingness to remain so.
We can also use that willingness of communication to build a more intimate exchange that leaves traces of each participant within the other. That is the act of communion. Communion is not just language and sharing. Communion is a process further than language, it is the art of complete communication in the moment. Genuine communion happens when things move between those in relationship that is grounded in the awareness of the moment.
I believe that the sharing of emotional content is important to the state of being in communion. That means to express emotional, non-verbal content, and then allow the receiver to process it in whatever form that action takes.
Communion happens inter-species because spoken language is only a very small part of communion. Some of my happiest moments are in communion with animals. I think in part because they are aware and painfully honest in how they respond. Being with animals has the effect of clearing the detritus and fog from my thinking and reference frame on life. I engage in the state of love so readily with animals!
I honor and value those that I commune with and actively seek out building those relationships that offer that place of intimacy. I encourage people to embrace the idea of communing with others and seek those relationships out in their own lives.
Today I will spend some time communing with Spike and P’nut and a horse named Anastasia. I can’t think of a better way to share life. – Bryan Wagner
Who do you interact with most easily?
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Writing is dear to my soon-to-be self-published heart! As a skill as well as a talent, writing benefits from frequent regular practice and ongoing education. Author Joseph Carrabis shares his thoughts about the craft…
“How to Use Atmosphere in Your Writing” by Joseph Carrabis
Writers are told to use atmosphere in their stories. What is atmosphere?
Writing texts define atmosphere as …the presenting of physical details so as to create an emotional reaction in the reader. Emotional reaction is what allows the reader to identify and empathize with characters in the story.
The details relevant to Atmosphere are “stopped” and “a copse of ancient, dark boled trees.” The word “stopped” tells us Eric doesn’t want to do something and what he doesn’t want to do is follow Julia into “a copse of ancient, dark boled trees.”
I hope readers experience some tension, some foreboding, and at the same time want to read more to learn 1) why Eric stops and 2) what happens to Julia in the copse.
Creating reader emotional reaction is important because you want the reader involved, engaged. The line Eric stopped as Julia entered a copse of ancient, dark boled trees should make the reader sympathize more with Eric than Julia because Eric is showing caution while Julia is entering that copse of ancient, dark boled trees and people (in their heart of hearts) tend to favor caution.
That sense of confinement, foreboding, discomfort, ill-at-easeness comes from the words copse (a dense growth of trees), ancient (anything ancient’s going to either be very, very good or very, very bad), dark (it’s going to be bad), and boled (even if you don’t know what the word means it just sounds like something that’ll hurt you) to create a malevolent atmosphere.