National Author's Day

In addition to being the start of National Novel Writing Month, November 1 has additional significance for American writers: it’s National Author’s Day! Here is some of the history, as supplied by NationalDayCalendar.com:

The idea of setting aside a day to celebrate American authors came from Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Bement (Illinois) Women’s Club in 1928. McPherson was a teacher and an avid reader throughout her life. During World War I, when she was recuperating in a hospital, she wrote a fan letter to fiction writer Irving Bacheller, telling him how much she had enjoyed his story, “Eben Holden’s Last Day A’Fishin.” Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of another story, and McPherson realized that she could never adequately thank him for his gift. Instead, she showed her appreciation by submitting an idea for a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, which passed a resolution setting aside November 1 as a day to honor American writers. In 1949 the day was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

If you follow the link, you can also read about how you can observe this holiday and support your favorite authors!

I may not be a “real” author – as my in-laws remind me so often, since I’ve only self-published one novel, and it was a fan fiction novel, at that – but I like to think that this day can at least sort of be for me, as well, since writing is such an integral part of my life. I’m also lucky to know personally so many talented published authors and aspiring-to-be-published authors, and I wanted to give a little shout-out to them. If you’ve got a moment, check out their blogs to read about their journeys, and, while you’re there, give them a comment or even click on one of their books to purchase!

Kate Johnston @ 4amwriter.com : writer, coach, editor with several handbooks to guide you in your writing journey

Kourtney Heintz @ kourtneyheintz.com : author of The Six Train to Wisconsin, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, and the brand new Highway Thirteen to Manhattan!

Vanessa Chapman @ vanessa-chapman.com : writer with multiple skilful blogs and several articles (at lifehack!) to read

JM McDowell @ jmmcdowell.com : writer (and archaeologist!) of the delightful Meghan Bode series of mysteries, which you can read on her blog

George McNeese @ Project Blacklight : writer with several articles, reviews, and even short stories to share

ShadeTheRaven @ Shade The Raven : writer with lots of short stories to fill your days

Make sure to send a little bit of love to YOUR favorite author, today!

Out of Decline

Earlier this week, I updated the main header image on this blog. The last image was a photo I’d taken a few years ago in La Jolla, and its setting sun scene was pretty, but, over time, I came to associate it too much with decline. Decline of readers, decline of interaction, decline of my self.

A header image is rather like a book cover. It should say something about the writer, and that “declining” feeling of the old header image wasn’t what I wanted to project as indicative of me or my work. So, I went through my drawing archives and picked out a bunch of pictures that represent me and the stories – or attempts at stories – I’ve made over the years. Long-time readers may recognize one or more of the characters and stories on display, but, from current left to right, they are:

  • My adulterer/lovers, from many 100 Word Challenges for Grown-Ups and Five Sentence Fiction entries
  • Amber, from Fearless
  • Chie and Yousuke, from 1 More Chance!
  • Nev, from Fearless
  • Fram, who is the only one not from a story, but whose helmet I spent too long researching and drawing not to include here
  • Sally, from “Slave Girls and Shining Knights”
  • Ross, from Fearless
    and
  • Zera, from “Anywhere but Here”

These selections may change over time, as I hope to develop my drawing skills along with my writing, because I really want to get some representation for my Borderlands From Hell (A Love Story) continuity up there. Someone or someones from my “Finding Mister Wright” stories needs to be up there, too, because even as I write this post, I’m finishing up yet another tale of love, growth, and honesty with the Wrights and McAllisters. But, for right now, this is what I’ve got.

This is me.

Changing it up

In the year I’ve had this little blog space, I’ve tried to keep to an update schedule of three times per week: I reserved Mondays for talking about and posting some pages from the Fearless novel, I kept Wednesdays for creative writing prompts (usually 100-Word Challenges for Grown-Ups or Five Sentence Fictions), and on Saturdays, I’ve been posting about my writing process in general. In going over my annual statistics report, though (and looking at the hits and comments I get), I’m wondering if three regular topics is too many.

Number 3

The (overwhelming?) power of 3

I enjoy doing writing prompt challenges, but I don’t always have time for them they don’t always interest me. I like giving readers insight into Fearless (which I’ve taken to calling my beautiful mess), but I often use it as an example for my Saturday process posts…and, most readers around here have their own stories they want to tell, so I’m thinking my posting parts of the novel on Mondays is just plain old boring for them. Plus, many of us have made new year resolutions to buckle down with our own writing this year (I know I’ve done), so maybe three times a week is simply too much to take in.

In light of these considerations, I’ve decided to try updates twice a week, instead of three times per week (at least for the next six months). Since my photo/art blog already posts on Mondays, starting this week, Process posts (about writing and the current work in progress/WIP) will occur on Wednesdays, and writing prompt responses/original short fiction posts will occur on Saturdays.

Weekly-Calendar

Hopefully, this will help me write better posts, read/comment on more of your posts, and let me concentrate a bit more on my storytelling.

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What schedule do you keep for your blogging? Do you keep a schedule? How many updates do you consider not enough, too many, or just right?

My first (WordPress) blog year

I’ve kept blogs for a few years, now, but this marks the first year I’ve been with WordPress. I have to say, it’s been the most rewarding blogging experience I’ve had, yet. Not that Blogger didn’t make me feel welcome, but it didn’t exactly allow for the free and lush exchange of ideas that WP has done.

A year into starting this writing blog, I’ve accumulated a bit over 4200 hits, 81 followers, and 886 comments (though about half of those are my replies). There are many professionals who likely say I should thus consider this a failure, because my hits and followers haven’t grown exponentially over the time I’ve been posting. My blog doesn’t do or say or inform about anything unique, aside from it being uniquely my own.

But, it’s been a place where I’ve stretched my writing boundaries with the 100-word and five sentence fiction challenges, and the annual rush of yet another NaNoWriMo. I found a welcoming audience for not just my fan fiction stories, but my original ones, as well. It’s also been the place where I’ve gotten to know so many new, wonderful writer friends for the first time, and gotten to know a few old mates a bit better. And, it’s been the place where I’ve laughed and been driven to deeper thought, where I’ve learned about others and myself equally as much.

So, I think I’ll keep doing this little experiment. I might not be the most popular blog around here, but then, I’ve never been the most popular anywhere. And I might not be the most talented, but I’ve never been ashamed to share a stage with folks of greater talent.

Here’s to another year full of new faces, new places, and new ideas. I hope you’ll join me.

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