Tag Archives: Second Wind Blog

1000 Posts and Going Strong!!!

Yesterday, we hit our 1000th post! An incredible accomplishment, and it’s all due to the wonderful Second Wind authors who give up a day or two a month to bring you such articles as A Love Letter From Me to You by Sherrie Hansen, the inspirational and touching 1000th post. Sherrie ends her post with a most profound statement: “What is a book, if not a love letter written to our readers?”

Too often, writers get caught up in the story and forget why they are really writing — to share their vision, their world, their  love. In such a way, blog posts, too, are love letters, carefully crafted to connect with those who might stop by and comment. 4,922 comments have been left on this blog, which means almost 5,000 moments where a blog author connected to a reader. That is truly awesome!

Here are a few of those remarkable 1000 posts:

Top of the World at Just the Right Moment by Norm Brown talks about a stunning moment when he was in the right place at the right time. And check out his classic Do Not Lean, which was “Fresh Pressed” here on WordPress.

The Trouble With Birthdays by J. Conrad Guest is a celebration of life, baseball, and summer. And If the Novel is Dying, What’s That Say About Imagination? is a celebration of reading.

Writer Beware–POV Confusion/Character Overload by Juliet Waldron explains the dangers of too many point of view shifts.

Chemistry and Subtext by Lucy Balch tells how writers can enhance the budding romances in their books.

How living in Germany Helped Me Become a Better Writer by Coco Ihle talks about the importance of detailing subjects familiar to the author, but possibly unique or unconventional to someone else.

The Joys of Lying to Children by Noah Baird I had a hard time choosing which Noah Baird post to highlight, but lying to children is perhaps even funnier than Vasectomies For Beginners by Noah Baird. Or not.

Compelled to Compare by Sherrie Hansen talks about appreciating what she has, both as a woman and a writer, but my favorite is Don’t Keep Me Hanging Too Long!

Are You Happy? by J J Dare talks about being happy and feeling heated rush the assassin feels right after he pulls the trigger. Um, yeah. You’ll have to read the post. Or this read this one instead: Goodbye, Mr. Phobia by J J Dare.

Writing what you know by Nichole Bennett talks about writing what you’re comfortable with and researching the rest.

On Butt Glue, Diplomacy, and Lying: Lessons Learned by Laura Wharton talks about the lessons she learned in her first year as a published writer.

Isabella’s Smile and the Miracle in Dakota Park — by Calvin Davis is a delight parable for writers and everyone who needs a bit of assurance that sometimes the impossible is really possible.

Excuse me? What? by Dellani Oakes talks about the ways in which writing is like childbirth. If you’re an author, you will probably agree.

Killer Cocktail Events in Minnesota by Christine Husom talks about the Midwest Booksellers Association annual trade show. Be sure to stop by and tell her about trade shows you’ve gone to.

Interview With Deborah J Ledford, Author of Snare and Staccato

Excerpt From “School of Lies” by Mickey Hoffman

DO YOU GESTALT? by Nancy A. Niles talks about role playing to get to know your characters.

Traveling Thoughts by Mairead Walpole talks about the magic of the Florida sun.

What You Write Matters by Pat Bertram reminds us that writing has an affect on the people who read it so use your power wisely.

and don’t forget the Second Wind Short Story Contest!! The deadline is December 31, 2011, so you still have plenty of time to enter.

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Vertigo and The Battle of Saratoga

 

 

The Schuylerville Monument commemorates the surrender of General Johnny Burgoyne to General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, a battle which was a turning point in the American Revolution. The British, who’d hoped to split the colonies in two with this invasion, started from Canada. The British gentlemen who took part were promised the lands of the American planters, Dutch descendants like Major General Philip Schuyler, who owned most of the upper Hudson and Northern New York. Gentlemanly Johnny Burgoyne set out with German noblemen and mercenaries in tow, anticipating a cake walk through ineffective Colonials, but what they got instead was a summer of guerilla warfare launched by Vermonters and the New York back country boys who’d been mobilized by Schuyler to destroy existing  roads, fell trees, burn bridges, destroy crops, snipe, and generally mess up what seemed like a simple plan. The battle was fought near my family’s home place. They’d built a homestead in 1745 with Mohawk for neighbors, out in what was then the back of beyond.

 

Mother believed in pilgrimages to the old home place. She’d spent many summers on the farm with her grandparents, running barefoot, in periodic terror of an enormous rooster who patrolled the path to the outhouse. I went to a lot of battlefields and graveyards during my formative years, but one of the places I learned to dread was the Schuylerville Monument.

 

There are 184 cast iron steps inside this old stone tower leading to the top. Here, hardy souls are rewared with a commanding view of the beautiful upper Hudson countryside. Three bronzes figures decorate the crown: Horatio Gates, who politicked his way into commanding the Continental army for the actual battle, Philip Schuyler, who successfully prepared the ground for success and Daniel Morgan, whose riflemen played a large role in the victory. The fourth niche, for Benedict Arnold, who fought heroically at Saratoga and was seriously wounded, is empty.  

The cast iron steps are why I still experience anxiety when I think of this place. Lovely, 19th Century, ornate–and to my vertiginous brain–filled with holes, holes through which I could see the descending spiral below me, through which I could see the bottom. I remember walking, then crawling on my hands and knees. Mother’s brown legs raced ahead. I sweated. I trembled. I sat down and laced my fingers through the holes. Despite the calls of “Come on! Hurry! Don’t be silly! Don’t be such a   ’fraidy cat!” I began to back down, clinging to each stair. I can still see the flowery pattern, how worn and thin and frail the ironwork seemed. I imagined it bending, giving way, and then saw myself falling. I remember resting my forehead for a time against the cold metal, getting up the courage to keep backing down.

 

I was perversely pleased when I looked the monument up on the internet, and it said: “DO NOT attempt if you are acrophobic.” I guess I’m not the only one who has chickened out while attempting to get to the top of this venerable Victorian tower!

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How Can You Be a Writer if You’re Not a Reader?

I  read a number of blogs. One blog I regularly read is written by an agent. On this particular occasion there was an informal discussion going on between several agents and editors, chatting about a dichotomy between readers and writers. The gist of it was that there were a whole lot of writers out there that weren’t readers. People convinced that they had a “book or two in them.” Or people who feel you can’t read other’s work in your genre because it will interfere with your “voice”

To me, the question has always been how can you effectively write a book if you don’t read them? Base it on TV? Your fascinating life? Because you’re a professional writer on the job?

I write many things professionally, articles, seminars, notes, and lots of reports. I’m writing something every day and while I don’t have the time to read six or more books a week anymore, I do read something everyday. I read for pleasure. I also read to keep an eye out for what is selling, what’s not, styles of writing, and premises used.

I write creatively and have completed two 90k contemporary romance manuscripts of a trilogy and I’m working on a paranormal trilogy. So, I’d say I had “a book or two in me”. I’ve told stories all my life. I come from a very creative family of oral storytellers and published authors.

My love of books came from reading voraciously throughout my life. As a child my parents and grandparents felt to be well read one must read classic literature first. I was also encouraged to branch out and explore various genres, not just one. Consequently, I regularly read various sub-genres of romance, paranormals, suspense and thrillers, and I love Sci-fi. You could say I’m a mood driven reader. I’m the same with music for much of the same reasons-my parents and grandparents.

There is a perception out there that you can’t read another’s words when formulating your stories-something nonsensical about copying the voice or premise, yada yada. To me, that’s BS. My voice is mine and doesn’t change just because I read someone’s work.

I often think about how coaches train their athletes. It isn’t by ignoring the competition. To the contrary, they watch recorded games of the competition so they can be better. Actors know the style of other actors-they watch them. You don’t think musicians aren’t aware of those who produce the same style of music? Or artists aren’t aware of whose style is similar?

As an author, to know what’s marketable you have to read it. Analyze it. That’s keeping your finger on the pulse of market.

I’m a marketing/promotion rep by profession, to sell my products and people; I have to be familiar with what’s out there. Is their product comparable? Better? Worse? How is it packaged? Any book I write is my product and to market it effectively I have to know what’s selling, what my target demographics are and why.

So, you want to be a author? Read. Particularly in your genre. Know what’s selling out there and why.

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