Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Will I come do a free presentation about writing books? Probably not.

People say to me - This couldn't have taken very long to write.  
It's true.  
It only took me a half hour to write this 200 word picture book.
But it took 3-5 years to revise/ submit/ revise/ submit/ revise/ etc. etc. etc. (and some picture books take even longer to "write.")  
And then there's the 5-year wait for the illustrator and art director to polish up the book.Plus revisions to support the art.  
And now books are being delayed because most picture books are printed in China and there's an epidemic over there.  
Eventually, after the Advance has been paid off, the writer begins to get royalties from each book sold. (I get 2% for two of my books because I share the royalties with a co-writer, 4% on all of the others. Famous writers get 5% to 10%.)
(don't get me started about requests for free school visits or lecture for adults with no compensation except sometimes they buy ONE of my books for their library, which means eventually I'll get about $0.87 [cents] six months later when my royalties arrive. For that all day/ 4 or more group sessions, plus that 40 miles away drive to get there - and to get back, exhausted.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Minor characters in your story

What do you do with a walk on (walk off. probably never seen again) character?
Patricia Wrede has a good discussion about creating various characters at her blog.
Click on over and learn lots.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Thought for the times

WILL ROGERS FAMOUSLY once said this: "I'm not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat." 

HE WAS A HUMORIST, so he was joking. 
But his words ring pretty true today." --Politico Playbook LOL!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Remembering my 5-year-old

Memories, Memories

One day, long ago, I overheard my 5 year old daughter playing house/ family with the neighborhood kids.  She was the mom.  She hopped onto her tricycle, waved goodbye to her 'husband' and kids, yelling -- "Good-bye.  I'm off to work."  And down the sidewalk she went.
Hmmm.
I guess she had noticed that I was a working mother.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Fun research expeditions

In a discussion on FB about writing techniques, I brought up research.
I often leave holes in my manuscript with notes to do more research about this or that.  
One day I abandoned my family, got into my car and drove down to Williamsburg, VA and spent the weekend there taking pictures and doing research. Yes, I found the answer to one of my editor's burning questions and to my relief was able to state it in one paragraph, not a whole chapter.
I took a day trip in December to Washington Crossing, PA to watch the reenactment of the crossing and take photographs for my biography of George Washington. In 10 degree weather. Taking photographs with insulated thin leather gloves. (They turned out great)  
I actually took THREE trips to Washington, DC to wander the Air and Space Museum so that I could explain flight so that everyone (including me) could understand the physics behind it.  
I got a lot of praise from readers and reviewers for that one point (plus a lot of awards for that book, so it was worth all the research.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Blacklisted

I just completed reading Blacklisted by Larry Dane Brimner
Amazing background to an event that I witnessed on TV in the black and white days. Some of the hearings were telecast. 
It also explains why my mother could no longer keep in contact with our German relatives -- because they were unfortunately situated in the half of Germany that the Russians took over and put up a wall. 
I wasn't even to talk about them because my parents were afraid they'd be arrested and my father fired from his job because the authorities were still scouting to dig out anyone connected to Communists. (even though our relatives were not communists. They were just unfortunate about where they lived during and after WW2) So now I don't even know who they are or where exactly they live.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Our Canadian Adventure

Once, after attending an antique car convention in New England, we decided to go home by way of Canada.  In those days you could go in and out on the spur of the moment, because the US government had very open borders in those days. (1960s)
Quebec was 'interesting' because neither of us knew any (or much) French and all the signs were in French. Also, their toll booths were different. We were just passing through Quebec (having entered Canada through New Hampshire) trying to get to Niagara Falls by the upper route.  
First toll booth, we handed in a Canadian dollar and got some change back. And drove on.  
Second toll booth we tossed one quarter into the change bin and drove on. We were aware of flashing lights at the toll booth behind us, but didn't think they had anything to do with us.  
At the third booth, there were officers of the law lined up to stop us.  
Evidently, the first toll booth had given us FOUR quarters and we had been supposed to toss one of them into the change bin. And so on. Therefore, we owed the turnpike authorities One Quarter.
Very embarrassed, we explained what we had done and they let us go when we had paid the missing quarter.
I miss that old VW bug we drove then. It was packed full of camping equipment and food to sustain us.
Of course we had no problem getting back into the United States at Niagara. Just had to show our Maryland driver's licenses.