Recognizing the Weeds in Your Garden

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Lessons are sometimes hard to accept especially when they beat up your pride. Recently, I submitted a story to an anthology. It was a story about vampires and werewolves. Not my usual topic of horror, but it was for a good cause. I wrote the story in a few short days, read it over, edited, and proofread. Had a buddy read it, and he loved it. I loved it. I submitted and then saw a problem. I was jumping from one tense to the other…sometimes in the same sentence. Some of my earlier works were the same way and I thought I had pulled that weed from my garden a long time ago. No, there it was. I rewrote and resubmitted thinking I had a very well written story. Weeds hide.

A few weeks later the story was edited and I received a personal message from the editor. She liked the story but said my mechanics were all wrong. She was exhausted from all the edits she was finding. In the business they call this type of story, dirty. Not because of smut but because of edits. Lots of them. She was making it bleed. I pictured my story dripping red blood and a vampire sucking in all the droplets. No way could she be editing my story, I thought. Not my perfect story of death and blood sucking. There has to be some mistake. The mistake was all mine.

She was working on a deadline for the anthology and had many more stories to edit. On mine she was only on page five with six more to go and already the pages were more red than white. She told me she was just going to manually make the changes and then submit to me the finished story for my approval. She said that was the quickest way. I agreed to it.

My perfect story about Count Dracula was no longer the work of art I thought it was. It was a red mess. My pride was hurt. I blamed no one but myself. Like the Captain of a ship, the author, is ultimately responsible for the content of everything they publish.

When I was a child I use to help my mother pull weeds from our many flower and vegetable gardens. As a weed puller I had to tell the difference between the plant we wanted to grow and the weeds. Needless to say, I made my share of mistakes. Far too often I pulled the plant rather than the weed. My mother would inspect my work. She knew where she planted the flowers or vegetable. She would show me were the plants were or would have been. She would also show me the weeds I missed. She did not do this to be critical of me, but to teach me. I learned and soon became here trusted weed puller. Once I learned what was suppose to be there it was easy to tell the difference.

In comparison, editing a story is a lot like pulling weeds. Once I learn how to structure, form, and manipulate a sentence I can produce something with clarity.

I spoke to another editor friend who gave me some advice.

1. Go over the story at least 3 times on your own, (some writers told me seven times).

2. Read it aloud. By reading it you hear the structure and flow.

3. Then send it to a proofreader. The reason for a proofreader is to catch what the writer missed. We writers are to close to our work. We live and breathe it. We used this word or that because in our thinking it fit and said what we wanted to say. The proofreader is like my mother who knows what fits and what doesn’t.

There are many books out there on this subject with authors better equipped to offer advice on editing than I. As for me, I’m going to slow my pace down. As I write I’m going to be looking for those weeds. Then I’m going to keep looking and read aloud.

As my mother would say, “You missed one, it’s a weed now pull it.”

Time Travel Anyone? Looking for great shorts…here they are!

Time Travel Anyone? Looking for great shorts...here they are!

A Test of Time [Kindle Edition]
Vanessa Wester (Author), Jules Anne Ironside (Author), Katherine Hetzel (Author), Malcolm Beanland (Author), Matthew Willis (Author), Britta Jensen (Author), Madeline Dyer (Author), Sara Price (Author), Stephen Mark (Author), Karen Ginnane (Author)

A TEST OF TIME is a fantastic anthology of short stories inspired by the theme of past, present and future.

Lose yourself in stories that bring together different generations through time travel as well as exploring futuristic ideas. Explore worlds where determination and resolve overcome impossible feats. Let your imagination go as you read about adventures under the sea, a magician’s chair, dragons, and mischievous girls on a mission to prank their teacher.

All in all, a wonderful collection for children who are mature readers and adults.

Dip into our world of short stories…

All monies raised from sales of this book will go directly to Foodbank, which provides emergency food for local people in crisis.

George Weir is Unique, His style captivates and scratches your itch to read a great work of art.

George Weir is Unique, His style captivates and scratches your etch to read a great work of art.

The Last Call (The Bill Travis Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

THE LAST CALL starts with a protagonist on the edge of an impending midlife crisis. Add a blond and an old friend with a fetish for high explosives, and you have the kickoff of a first rate crime novel. George Wier writes with wit, verve, and a gut-bucket
knowledge of Texas and those who people its quirky underside. This book does not disappoint.

—Milton T. Burton, author of Nights of the Red Moon and The Rogue’s Game.

George Wier’s THE LAST CALL has it all: a great setting, characters you care about, a little Texas history, and a twisty plot that’s built Texas tough. Get it before last call!

—Bill Crider, author of Murder In the Air.

Bill Travis, an unmarried, unattached investment counselor rapidly approaching his fortieth birthday, conceives that he may not live the most exciting of lives, yet Julie Simmons, his first appointment that Monday, is deeply in trouble. She has taken a North Texas quarter horse racer and liquor baron named Archie Carpin–the last of a dynasty of criminals from the 1920’s–for a ride and cleaned him out of a neat two million bucks. And thus begins the adventure of Bill’s life.

Ensues a chase north across Texas to recover the money and shake the pursuit of a couple of rednecks with a penchant for rifles and rigged explosives. Yet, through all this action the compelling tale of yet another mystery—an 80-year old missing person’s case—begins to unravel.

—————–

About the Author:

This action/adventure mystery novel is the first of six completed novels in The Bill Travis Mysteries. With a total of twenty-one books planned for the series, including three prequels, Bill Travis, Austin, Texas’ newest hero, is here to stay.

George Wier has been writing for over twenty years. His most recent publishing credits include a contribution to Lone Star Noir (Akashic Books 2010). He lives in Austin, Texas with his lovely wife, Sallie.

New Orleans…Cajun, and filled with Murder…

New Orleans...Cajun, and filled with Murder...

The Thin Line of Good and Evil: The Beginning [Kindle Edition]

A professional assassin who stalks the Sixth District of New Orleans, known as the original Fort Apache, also as the Animal Kingdom. This area encompasses the Irish Channel of New Orleans. It has the highest crime rate in the city. The news media, city hall and police supervisors want this hit man captured or killed. The citizens want him to finish his work. Why?

Ladies and Gentlemen May I Introduce You to Elizabeth Bourgeret

 

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Having grown up in the theatre taking part in dance, drama, art and music to feed the right side of her brain, Elizabeth Bourgeret also satisfied the left side with business management skills, coach training and even became an ordained minister as she forged her way through the choppy waters of her career path.  “I definitely consider myself a student of life.  There is always something new to learn; about myself, others, life in general, or that next new and exciting alleyway I have yet to walk down.”

Probably best known for her work with children and teenagers, Elizabeth has been a part of the “educational community” for most of her adult life.  She can be found giving seminars on teen life, cultivating loving relationships and family subjects, teaching workshops for children/teens or writing articles for various websites on any number of topics.  And now, adding to her busy schedule, publishing her own writings.

Holding down a full time job cutting hair, she squeezes everything else in around it hoping one day to put the scissors down for good and focus completely on her writing and seminars.

When she is pressed for an interview, such as this, her face lights up when she talks about upcoming projects but nothing makes her happier than talking about her children and grandchildren.  She is known as “Momma” to a couple dozen kids, but has only given birth to two. Her “kids”, all of them, make her world go round and keep her going from day to day.  What is her secret to her open relationships with her kids? “Unconditional love,” she says, “They know that I am not here to judge them but to love them.  I may not agree with everything going on in their worlds and I offer advice when given the chance, but I am here to be a supportive ear, a foundation that they can always return to, safe from the rest of the crazy world.”
“And I’m fun too,” she laughs.

A born teacher, as she likes to call herself, she stays in tune with the kids in her classes but is also known to be very strict.  Which, as it turns out, endears the kids to her all the more.  Not to mention, turning out a quality product whether it be a full production, a week long summer camp, homeschool events, workshops, conferences  or concerts. Whatever medium she tackles, she always adds heart.  “If your heart isn’t in it, there’s really no point.  It won’t be your best work, and someone somewhere is going to suffer for it.”

Being such a diverse person, Elizabeth has explored many avenues and careers taking part in whatever got her attention for the moment.  Therefore, she is well versed in many subjects and has found that nothing she has learned, good or bad has been a waste, because she uses it all in her daily life, whether it be in her writing or speaking, or even standing behind the chair taking care of the next customer.  Its amazing to her how often she has been able to help or advise others who have been in or are going through similar situations.

She is also an avid “studier”.  “If I am not content with what I know, I dive into a subject until my thirst is quenched.”  When writing for other people, research becomes second nature and in turn has become a passion of Elizabeth’s.  “If you stop learning, you become stale.”

Elizabeth’s walk down life’s path; her trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows, all of her experiences and study has created the perfect career for her.  Writer, Speaker and life coach.  Which she focuses most of her time developing.  “If you don’t learn from your mistakes,” Elizabeth says, “you are bound to repeat them.  And since I have made so many, I’ve become an expert on what NOT to do!  I’ve made the mistakes, so you don’t have to!”  And so her life career was created for her.  It wasn’t something she originally went after but became something specifically for her.    She writes and speaks on subjects she has learned from;  Raising children, having good relationships, surviving bad relationships, getting teens out into the grown-up world, goal setting and self-esteem building and most importantly, never giving up on love.  Her speaking sessions and conferences have given value and direction to adults and children alike. In this final career choice, all her needs are met.  Her need for diversity is met.  Her love for travel is met.  Her desire for meeting and teaching and helping people is met.  This career path of writer and speaker could not have begun a moment sooner as she was preparing for this one role her whole life.  The student of life becomes the teacher.
– Leyla Beaumont

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Ladies and Gentlemen May I Introduce You to Diane Hootselle How

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Greetings to my fellow writers. Writing has always been a passion of mine and when I retired in 2010, I decided to devote more effort toward writing poetry, short stories and non-fiction. A collection of short stories about adventures and difficulties in my life ended up in a memoir, Peaks and Valleys, I self- published in 2011. It is available through Create Space and Amazon.com. My poetry has been published in three anthologies, Expressions II, League of American Poets, A Surrender to the Moon, and The International Who’s Who in Poetry (International Library of Poets) I have been a member of the Pen to Paper Writing Club and recently was asked to head the group when the president moved. I am also an active member of the Saturday Writers Writing Club. Two years ago I started a blog through WordPress, Life’s too short to be so serious, at http://www.authordianemhow. It was an excellent outlet for sharing my personal feelings and stories. Unfortunately, my posts are less often now that I am devoting much of my time to final edits on my suspense/romance novel, Burning Embers, which I hope to publish later this year. I also spend a good deal of time volunteering with VITAS Innovative Hospice Care. I record the life stories of people who want to leave a legacy for their families. While I thought that I would be performing a helpful service for others, I have found myself blessed in many ways. On a more personal note, I have been married for 42 years to a man who often ends up in my short stories and posts. He’s a good sport about it, thank goodness. I struggle with electronic equipment, like computers and recorders, but my daughter always comes to the rescue and helps me resolve the glitches just in time. Life is good.

 

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