Forays

I can’t believe the month of June is almost gone. The fourth of July is around the corner and it seems like every year, passing that mark, wraps up summer – because before I can even blink – August flashes by.

Since I’m bringing a monthly column about ghostwriting, I thought I’d update on a more personal level. From the middle of May until the last weekend in June I’ll have logged more driving hours than I care to add up in gas money.

But, the projects are on target, my vacation is a speck in my review mirror, and these remaining two weekends in June find me staggering toward the last three places before a few weeks planting my feet at home.

Destination ahead: Greenville again, along with Asheville in the same weekend, and then on to Clemson. Yeah, it could be worse, no work, no money, no travel. I’m not complaining about working weekends, weekdays and nights, okay maybe whining a bit…

However, during all those trips I’ve managed to meet and keep in touch with some pretty interesting people. Some will turn up later, several will stay undisclosed per contractual agreements, and a few will be glad that I don’t name them here. Been an awesome ride!:)

Besides traveling, I’ve signed on to edit two more clients’ manuscripts, and purchased nine books, rounding out my summer reading to an officially impossible list.

Yet I still aspire to do more in these longer hours. The sun summons me to my deck, the flowers and birds beckon me to breathe in tranquility, and my writing idly waits until my muse snaps alive.

I am a writer and editor for others, pining for my pieces spotlight, yet extraordinarily satisfied. Energy abounds! Summer’s in full swing.

Come cool off and chat, set a spell and I’ll pour you a glass of sweet tea.😉

Do dish about how your summer’s shaping up. Whatcha reading? Where have you been or are going?

Sunday Funny: I do…I think

Many weddings occur in June, so why not dedicate a SF to those blessed vows?

Professor House suggest some nontraditional pledge, warding off that expected divorce:

“I,_____do accept and wholeheartedly accept you as my wife. I shall promise to love you and support you in whatever you do, provided you handle the finances prudently and don’t go spending my earnings in a non-judicious way so as to cause our future family to go bankrupt or to be deprived of life’s basic necessities. I shall do my best to provide for your needs and wants, but I shall not bear the brunt of the mortgage alone, not if you want your name on the title.”

more from Professor House…

 

Young, naïve John and Jenny have written their own:

“I promise to try to remember to put down the toilet seat and to replace the toilet roll when it finishes.” –John  

“I will comfort you when your team loses and drink beer with you when they win.” –Jenny

read John and Jenny’s ceremony…

 

And poor Cheryl, doesn’t know what she’s getting into with her comedian husband…

 craving more Sunday Funnies?

Top Twos-Day: BEA Buzz – Fabulous Fall Releases

Each Tuesday I’ll bring two items or people into focus. They may be books, authors, lists, whatever turned my head, landing on my radar.

Meet Stefan Bachmann, debut author of The Peculiar, due in September (Greenwillow Books, imprint of HarperCollins). Bachmann’s middle grade gothic-steampunk fantasy is tearing up stat lovers at BEA, comparing his work to Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series. Hear from Bachmann about his work, The Peculiar:

 

Also, watch for My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop, edited by Ronald Rice with illustrations by Leif Parsons releasing November (Black Dog & Leventhal, Workman) See the complete list of authors here (scroll down). ABA announced, “A portion of My Bookstore authors’ fees is being donated to a fund set up by the publisher to support bookseller scholarships to ABA’s Winter Institute, and a portion of the publisher’s revenue is being given to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the bookseller’s voice in the fight against censorship.” Read an excerpt…

More Top Twos-Days…

 

Sunday Funny: from this day forward

Tis the season for graduations: kindergarten, high school, and college are but a few of life’s precious memory makers. Most important is what people say at the ceremony!

A few quotes to toss that cap in the air – sampling:

When I was in high school, I got in trouble with my girlfriend’s Dad. He said, ‘I want my daughter back by 8:15.’ I said, ‘The middle of August? Cool!’” – Steven Wright

The BEST Graduation Speech Eveh! ‘nough said…

 

Snippets from famous commencement speakers – sampling:

“There are so many challenges facing this next generation, and as they said earlier, you are up for these challenges. And I agree, except that I don’t think you are. I don’t know if you’re tough enough to handle this. You are the most cuddled generation in history. I belong to the last generation that did not have to be in a car seat.” – Steven Colbert

 

More Sunday Funnies…

Ghostwriting: WTW?

For the first in the series, I thought I’d jump in and discuss what is ghostwriting? A quick side-note: I’m off again, to another undisclosed location, writing off the expenses and meeting glamorous people, eh hum *eyebrow raise*…it’s why you’re interested, isn’t it?:)

I mentioned in Ghostwriting 101, that I’m asked what I do. What are the W’s behind the mysterious career path? The plan for today is to hit the basics: rudimentary definitions and applications. What is ghostwriting, what it’s not and how to know if you might ‘fit’ into this strange world. I am referring to fiction and nonfiction works, sharing what applies to both.

Disclaimer: Please excuse the humor if you checked your funny bone at the door, it’s not meant to be a dissertation.

Who?

Ghostwriters are more than writers: we are investigators, reporters, editors, poets, producers, and marketers. There’s research, interviews, background checks, and legwork, not to mention hours conversing with the client(s) and then actual writing time. One needs to know how to format a good story, set up the rhythm and pace, choose the correct language, listen to the dialect and select the dialogue that fits the characters’ voices. A wordsmith who is familiar with cadence, syncopation and intonation will call on all these talents. The finished product doesn’t just happen, it is massaged into being, an ability requiring direction, intention, discipline and divining to read the market’s pulse. Have I scared you yet? A little fear goes a long way to dose the zeal of  *squee* a new thing!

On the other hand, many ghostwriters are on the path in-between all these skills. It is not necessary to possess every one of them if you are part of an excellent team. But, if you know your craft, you are highly marketable in the arena.

What?

Ghostwriting is complex, ranging from writing your ideas to meshing another individual’s story into a complete book. For example: a client contacts me and says, “Hey Roxie, I hear you’re a ghostwriter. I’ve got this idea for a book about my mother’s uncle who was accused of being the man on the grassy knoll the day Kennedy was shot.” Dramatic pause… “What do you say, will you help me write this thing?” I’m thinking, who is she and how’d she get my name? But what I say is, “It sounds like a project I wouldn’t be able to devote time to until I clear some obligations, at least another six to nine months. Let me take some information from you and then get back to you. If you commit to another writer before I call, go with them. No problem.” The gentle prodding of data will help me determine if the job will indeed pan out. Are you thinking, Hey it can’t be true, don’t get involved with it? Or, are you saying to yourself, Hmmm, I wonder if there really is anything to that conspiracy theory, and will another book sell?

If you asked yourself the second question, you are ghostwriter material. You don’t have to believe what you write, you have to be passionate about it. Not the same thing. Everyone who brings a venture across your track will believe it is truth. Their truth, which is different from evidentiary fact. You must ask yourself if you can get behind the gig and push it to the limits, is it interesting enough for you, challenging, and feasible for the market? Unless the call was from an editor at a big honking publishing firm, then you know it’s marketable.😉

Where?

Even if you don’t live in a bustling community, you can ghostwrite. Many of my original clients hailed from small towns. There are stories, good ones, to be found everywhere. So how do you drum up business? One of my previous posts may help, The Sweet Taste of Success: 10 suggestions to market your writing.

Where will you work? From home? An office? This is a business and you should give yourself the best opportunity to succeed by treating yourself as a professional. Meaning: go to the small business administration and find out how to begin. If you’re already freelancing, chances are you know all about taxes, quarterly reports, what’s deductible and what’s not realistic as an expense. Know your local laws. Some require a business license, others do not. Do your homework and prepare yourself. 

When?

How much time are you willing to devote to a new business venture? My advice is, never expect a business to pay dividends to support you until after year five…but if you’re a writer, you may never want to quit your main source of income. I’m serious. Writers are a dime a dozen, or to escape the cliché, paid by the word, page, or completed project. Many times pay is a penny a word, or when you do the division (yes there’s plenty of math involved), you may pocket $20 for a 500 word piece. How many of those puppies do you need to score to pay your mortgage each month? Other places ask that you write for FREE. And they sell your work. Go figure.

May I rant a moment? If you don’t respect yourself, others will not either. (More about the business end of things later…) This is why it’s important where you jump in, how you maintain your bio, and whether (or not) your writing will be taken seriously. Street cred will not get you in the door at a major publishing firm, but bios will get you into the crack you are able to shove open, when timing and networking line up like lovely astrological signs. M’kay, done, thank you for indulging me. But on the flip side, if you are an established writer, the sky is the limit, sort of. You can set your rates and people will pay them.

Why?

So you think you want to be a ghostwriter. How did I begin? I have a confession, I never started out by saying, “Hey, I think I’d like to aspire to ghostwriting as my life goal.” I woke up one day and recognized most of my jobs were fixes for other people. Kind of like when you open your mouth and out comes something you swore you’d never say, a recording of your mother or father, blasting like a megaphone…it just happens. Over the years jobs morphed into repeat work and multiplied. Tenacity, determination and reputation keep me in business. Plus I love the sheer diversity of it; no two projects are alike, ever.

Are you still interested in ghostwriting? IMHO follow your interests. If you’d like to try it, go for it. The years are passing anyway, why not hike up those waders and see if the water’s right for you? Perhaps the question should be, why not?

namaste

Also in the series – Ghostwriting: championing serious money 

Ghostwriting – Candy Networks

previous article:   Ghostwriting 101: the challenge is in the secret 

Top Twos-day: two equals one

Each Tuesday I’ll bring two items or people into focus. They may be books, authors, lists, whatever turned my head, landing on my radar.

This week’s top recognition goes to one children’s book: You Are Stardust by Elin Kelsey, visual art by Soyeon Kim, releasing September 11, 2012 (Owlkids books). Both deserve equal props for a superb product. “We are all connected. We are all nature. We are all stardust.” That elegant, that simple.

Writer Elin Kelsey uses text grounded in data, sprinkling humor with touches of quirkiness, then adding a dab of caprice to maintain young minds vigilance as each page unfolds. A proven formula for educational materials, Kelsey’s style has led to international distinction: a “leader in the field of environmental science and education,” she is racking up the awards. Read her bio, discover other works, and hear why she is hopeful about the environment’s future.

While Soyeon Kim’s (also known as So Yeon Michelle Kim) pen and ink, pencil crayon, watercolor, dried flowers and origami-like images create a community playground, the images breathe animation into this book, complimenting the thought-provoking text. A new graduate and upcoming artist to watch, she aspires to “…achieve illustration qualities in various media to bring two dimensional drawing into three dimensional space.” Bet on it! Check out her upcoming gallery crawl here… Visit her site to read her complete bio.

More Top Twos-days…

Sunday Funny: Mother May I?

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mums out there…

My daughter and I celebrated last Sunday, she’s heading to Boston for another training session for work, so we captured the moment when she gave me the best gift eveh!

Now on to the Sunday Funny –

A few chuckles from the mouths of babes, winning cards for Mom: “Don’t worry, Mom, if you gain a few pounds [after eating the candy], I’ll drop extra stuff on the floor for you to pick up!”

And to a store clerk, “Do you have just a plain Happy Mother’s Day card? I don’t want success to go to her head.” See the cartoon cards that accompany these cuties, along with additional ones…

Fully appreciate Mom: this site’s tribute – flash fiction? Take a look…

Got sibling rivalry? Enjoy this video, perhaps it’ll look familiar…

 

namaste😉

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