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Behind the scenes

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

What does an author do with her time every day?

Man jumping in field showing optimism.
Photo by Pablo Guerrero Unsplash
When you're feeling your absolute worst about life, clean up, dress up, and look your best. It works for me. (Paraphrased - Doctor Peter Martin).
Lessons in Optimism

June has been less than sterling for my writing career - rejections by agents/publishers, less than great author fairs, and guests cancelling for my podcast. It gets you asking, "Why am I doing this?" The answer lies in prayers, people, and one professor. Prayers The first thing that keeps me going is prayer. I have a special, LONG, writing prayer I say every day. This is one of the lines: Give me perseverance and grace to continue even when my work is homeless, my writing feels futile, I make stupid mistakes and am frustrated, disappointed, tired, bored, or distracted. If I wasn't praying every day, I think I would have left this gig a long time ago. People

Once you pray, you do need to do something. God is not going to write your books. But the help of others can greatly improve your skills and stamina. Recently at an author fair, I faced a windy, rainy and cold day. To increase my disappointment, I was placed in an area that was isolated and held little hope for foot traffic. I decided to leave, until two women, Heather and Artemis, offered a table under their warm, dry tent. I was able to sell books and sign people up on my email list. Another person, Laura, showed me what optimism looks like. She's been in the middle of treatment for pancreatic cancer. I called her the other day. She complemented the cancer treatment staff, mentioned that she was meeting a lot of great people, and said, "If I didn't know I had cancer, I wouldn't know I have cancer." Her words helped put some of my disappointment in perspective. I have found supportive people in professional writing groups such as SCBWI and Sisters in Crime. These organizations offer many professional opportunities as well as connections to fellow writers. Also, if your State has a writing group, join that. I'm a member of Wisconsin Writers Association. Just the other day I sent out a question and received great feedback from SCBWI authors.

One Professor Doctor Peter Martin will always hold a special place in my heart. He was a solidly built man with white wispy hair. He wore glasses that were often missing a temple so they teetered precariously on the bridge of his nose. Flannel shirts and wrinkled pants were his wardrobe, so his advice seemed a bit incongruous: "When you're feeling your absolute worst about life, clean up, dress up, and look your best. It works for me."(Paraphrased - Doctor Peter Martin). It works for me, too. Thank you, Heather, Artemis, Laura and Dr. Peter Martin!

Book cover of Early Summer a mystery about a girl obsessed with serial killers.
Early Summer YA Mystery
Marketing Early Summer

Did you know that Early Summer is eight months old already? What is that in the publishing world? Teenager? Middle-aged? Elderly? As I continue writing, rewriting, and pitching books, Early Summer is foremost in my mind to promote on social media and sell at book fairs. I'm proud of this book and I'm grateful to Orange Blossom Publishing. (I am also grateful to Black Rose Writing for publishing Isasnora Snores). Most authors should feel proud when they write a book, even if it's not published. Not too many people who start a novel, finish.


Promoting my books feels a little weird to me. I think it has to do with an encounter I had with someone at church who was bemoaning a fellow author. This person said, "All he does is promote his books." Is that what people think of me? I can't worry about it. If I don't promote myself and books, who will? I don't have a large marketing and PR team. In fact, very few authors these days have publicity teams. I feel I owe it to my publisher to do the best I can to promote the book. She did her part in all the work and money it took to put my book out there. So, here I go - if you haven't purchased your copy of Early Summer, please do. And, if you love it, give it a great review. If you can't afford a book, you can promote it by asking your library to carry it. If you don't want to order online, go to a local bookstore and have them order it (Thank you, Starla). Besides my books, I am also available for speaking at schools, churches, civic groups, businesses and more.


"Be a finisher. Do not move on to the shiny new project." Wendelin Van Draanen
canister of crayons waiting for another project.
Photo by Shraga Kopstein on Unsplash
New Projects

Rewriting is a constant in the writing world and one of my rewrites is the middle-grade fantasy Isasnora and the Royal Orb of Peace. The Royal Orb of Peace is missing from the Kingdom Calelind. Chaos ensues. Isasnora and her friends embark on a journey to find the orb only to discover it takes more to garner peace than a royal jewel.

Some of my new projects include a cozy mystery series, a middle-grade mystery series, an animated movie script, and a non-fiction book about bullies.

These are just a few of the new projects. Weekly I'm pitching books (Pitching means trying to sell your books to agents/publishers, not pitching them in the garbage) and ​I ​have many old projects I'm still working on and trying to finish​. ​I am keeping the words of Wendelin Van Draanen, author, as my motto: "Be a finisher. Do not move on to the shiny new project." (She spoke at an SCBWI event).


When I'm Not Writing

I’m leading a summer book study called Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody, by Alan Hunt. Surprisingly, all the participants have been contributing and there’s been a lot of thoughtful discussion. Alan is right, Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody…

Two dogs sitting on dog bed from Chewy.com.
Zuko, the puppy looking up while Grizzly looks at Zuko.

Zuko, our new puppy, consumes more time than my four daughters did when they were babies. He is having a difficult time learning to go outside to do his job. He opens the dog food container and nibbles between meals. He digs through the garbage and climbs on furniture and tables. He's even reached the summit of my writing desk leaving broken glasses and a chewed up chick. He has eaten more than a pound of butter. He has chewed up shoes. There are deep holes growing in our backyard. Grizzly just puts up with it. Me - not so much.

I am also trying to reconfigure our gardens with different perennials while maintaining weeds with mulch. (Zuko eats the mulch) I am much slower these days. The bags of mulch are heavy. I have yet to clean out last year's fall leaves.

Rotary is my favorite activity outside of family, friends, church, and writing. We will be marching in the Delavan/Darien Fourth of July parade. I am in the midst, along with our president, Katherine, of planning our second annual Artisan Festival. The event will be Sat. Sept. 23 and we already have many wonderful artisans, authors, artists. Lined up for performing are The Lofty Life, RC Juggles, the Delavan/Darien High School Symphony and more. There will also be food trucks. The Lake Geneva Regional News did a photo article on last year's event. If you're an artist, author, artisan, or crafter, please join us - or share with your friends.


Podcast

I did have a special guest lined up but it didn't work out - so I am talking to myself on Talking to Myself. Since I'm feeling the sting of more rejections than usual, I took some time to chat about it. Click below to listen.



For my friends in the US, Happy Fourth.


Thank you so much for reading. Please share.


Cheers,

Carol L. Paur



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