Showing posts with label author. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Life's Phases


I've had a lot of interests in my (okay, long) life. Ninety-nine per cent of them involved the creative arts. I think that derived from the fact that I spent most of my time as a young child alone, with nothing but my imagination for company. I was a middle child, with much older and much younger siblings. My mom had her first child at age nineteen, me at thirty, and my youngest sister at thirty-seven. My oldest sister's first-born son is but one year younger than my little sister.

So, in the winter our basement was my playroom. I played teacher to my dolls and even a priest serving Mass. Upstairs in my room I lip-synced to records in my bedroom mirror. Summers were spent walking along country paths or exploring our little grove of trees, most of the time making up songs in my head and singing them to the birds. If anybody ever asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said "teacher" (which I sort of actually became). What I didn't tell them was "singer". That was too preposterous for even a naive little girl to utter.

I grew up and stopped singing. I had a couple of stops along the way ~ a western trio with two of my cousins when I was nine, a one-time reel-to-reel recording of myself singing three-part harmony to Silver Wings, which I admit wasn't bad, but also wasn't the hardest song to tackle. I never sang again, except along to my car radio, until I was forty-five. My songwriter husband said something to the effect that "you can write; why not try to write a song?" I accepted the challenge, wrote my first song and then my husband recorded me singing it. I wasn't terrible, but I wasn't all that good. I did manage to stay on key without any hocus pocus auto-tune, though. It kind of snowballed from there. I wrote songs like crazy, most of them horrible, until I hit my stride and wrote a bunch of good ones. And my voice got better ~ stronger. It's amazing what a shot of confidence can do.

Around nine years ago I quit writing songs. It wasn't a conscious decision. I did FAWM (February Album Writing Month) for four years, which is a songwriting challenge, the goal being to write fourteen songs in twenty-eight days. All fifty-six songs I wrote weren't awful, but they were a labor, and not of love. I think our band actually recorded one of them. The only reason I did FAWM was that I had no new ideas and I was hoping the nudge would spark my creativity. It didn't. That's when I quit. 

I didn't quit because I was a failure, because I wasn't. I simply lost interest. I think some pursuits have a shelf life. Songwriting is not like collecting stamps, or baseball cards, where there's always a new quest to pursue. A songwriter's quest is only what her mind can conjure, and honestly, I'd already said all I had to say.

I've had a few creative pursuits in my life. Photography was a huge one for me for about ten years. I still like it, but I don't walk around looking for subjects to frame. I was a crafter even longer than that. I tried getting back into it a couple of years ago, but again the desire simply wasn't there. Think it's not creative to raise and nurture houseplants? Well, it is, lemme tell ya. I did that for a time and I accumulated quite the collection; maybe fifteen or so. But after a time the thrill of keeping them all alive dissipated. 

So, after I finally abandoned songwriting, I returned to my tried and true ~ writing prose. I wrote a memoir and briefly published it before I realized that I was intruding on others' private lives, so I took it down. But that project led to (so far) three novels and three novellas. 

I now view songwriting as a fork in the road, one that led to mystical, exhilarating sights, yes, but ultimately bumped up against a dead end. I still don't regret the detour, though. Every single thing one does teaches them something.

I think I might hang on to this fiction pursuit for a while. But if I run out of ideas, I'll find something else.

I always do.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

April Tompkins Has A Video!

Altruistic as I am known to be, I wanted to share April Tompkins' latest book video. I think it's awesome.

I am honored she chose to use Red River's music as the backdrop for her video. In case you don't know about Red River, you can find us here

I urge you to buy April's novel, Radio Crazy. It's a "crazy" ride. Unintentionally funny at times; dark and scary at others, April's characters act like real people; often annoyed and put-upon, until circumstances converge to create terror and mayhem. 

April is somebody I thought I knew well, until I read her prose. Then -- what the hell? I might be a bit wary to stroll down to the cafeteria with her, come Monday. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

I Don't Just Write About Music

I write about music a lot because that is my life's breath. And I know you who read my blog have come to expect that from me. I honestly could write about music every day, forever.

I did want to take a brief intermission, however, to tell you that I actually write. Novels, that is.

My last novel was completed and published two years ago. Sometimes one just needs a break. I needed time to gather my wits and to pursue other things, and for me, writing is hard. I wasn't sure I wanted to spend every waking moment thinking about a new story. Writers are strange people.They get too involved. It's easier and more fun to write about music and about hit singles and about artists because it's not about me. Well, it's sorta about me, but in context. I sort of became the protagonist of my last novel, which was unhealthy. I imbued too much of me in it and I became overly protective.

So I needed some distance.

Now, two years later, I think I'm ready to start again.

I tonight re-read the start of my new novel, and I rather like it. Perhaps I'm ready. I've determined, though, that I'm not going to "become" this protagonist. I will keep a steely distance.

In between blogging about music and "years in music" and all those good things; savory things; I will update you on my novel's progress.

Now back to our regularly-scheduled musical fun...

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fiction Wins

If you've been following my dilemma, you know that I was torn between an essentially historical tome and another novel.

I've decided that fiction wins. I like the notion of a third book to place alongside my other two novels, and it's frankly more interesting to write.

If I'm going to write (and you know I am), it shouldn't be drudgery. I may go back to the non-fiction idea at some point, but for now I will plug away at my novel.

It's going to be a challenge -- a complete story taking place in the span of one weekend -- but if it wasn't for the challenge, I don't know why I would do it.

So, one day, and I hope it's sooner rather than later, I'll have one more image to place on this blog -- a trifecta.

Then I might be done.

It's hard to say.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Undecided And/Or Uncommitted

I've got two projects going.

Well, "going" is a relative term. I've been diddling around with a new novel for eight months and I'm only on Chapter Five -- and they're short chapters.

Obviously, I haven't committed.

Subsequently, I had an idea to write a non-fiction book about country music. So I started that. It's not going entirely how I envisioned it. I want to write about artists who influenced my love of the country music genre, but I find that I don't know every (or any) minuscule detail of their lives, and I'll be damned if I'll write a book based on Wikipedia articles.

I'm wondering now if either of those ideas were rational.

I'd really like to have a third April Tompkins novel; kind of a boxed set, if you will; to go with the other two novels nobody's purchased. The three of them would look nice side-by-side on Amazon, and I'm all about aesthetics. Plus, three is simply a more appealing number than two, and I'd have better bragging rights (to myself).

The thing about writing novels that no one reads, though, is that at some point it begins to feel like a time-intensive slog; quixotic. A waste of the few brain cells I have remaining. I loved Radio Crazy -- no one else (agents; publishers) seemed to. I think, in fact, I might purchase it and download it to my Kindle. I might even read it again for the seventy-fifth time, but this time with fresh eyes.

So, I'm uncommitted. Obviously I need to write or I wouldn't be tapping out these words tonight. Writing soothes my nerve endings that jangle for forty or fifty hours every week.

My question to you is, would you rather read a novel about a dysfunctional family and a main character who's carrying around a big secret or an anthology of the past fifty years of country music?


Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Country Music Novel

Write what you know, right?

I took that advice to heart, and therefore I am writing a country music novel.

As with all inspired ideas, it started out with a song - a George Strait song, by the by - and it turned into something a bit - okay, a lot - more involved.

My protagonist is an overnight disc jockey. She's landed in a dead-end town and she spins records in the wee hours. Meanwhile, she's being stalked by someone. At least everyone has convinced her that she is.

I am halfway through my story, and, oh yes, I do have a playlist. All inspired novelists have playlists - don't they?

Sometime, in the future, I'm going to link videos to my playlist - just because the visual medium helps me stay focused - but for now, here's what I've got:

1.   Heartland - George Strait
2.   There Goes My Heart - The Mavericks
3.   Fast As You - Dwight Yoakam
4.   Up! - Shania Twain
5.   Does He Love You - Reba McEntire and Linda Davis
6.   I Breathe In, I Breathe Out - Chris Cagle
7.   I Cross My Heart - George Strait
8.   Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
9.   Mama Tried - Merle Haggard
10. A Better Man - Clint Black
11. Indian Outlaw - Tim McGraw
12. T-R-O-U-B-L-E - Travis Tritt
13. Crazy - Patsy Cline
14. Mama He's Crazy - The Judds
15. I'm Movin' On - Rascal Flatts
16. I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
17. Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker
18. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams

These don't necessarily represent my "favorite" songs. But they're songs that fit within the story. I guess you'd just have to read it.

And here's the deal - if I don't manage to land an agent - and that's pretty hit or miss, to be honest - I'm going to self-publish. So, if you're a country music fan, you can still read this thing. One caveat - it could take me another six months or so before I finish it, and another 30 days before I figure out how in the hell to turn it into an e-book. But I'll get there.

Just a hint - number 15 is the one to watch for. That's the one that pretty much seals the deal.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Good News!

Hello, fellow farmers!

My good news of the day is that no more will you have to read my pitiful novel-writing posts! Yay! 

I decided I was cluttering up this place too dang much, and I frankly want to keep the focus here on music (mostly).

So, I created a separate blog for my whining writing. If you are interested, it's called The Next Write, because every freakin' title with the words "write" or "right" (a pun I was going to try) are taken.

You can find The Next Write here

I feel so much more organized now!


Saturday, December 29, 2012


When I hear someone say they are a writer, I think, how boastful.

I've been working on my book for untold months (I actually don't know how many), and I cannot call myself a writer.

I'm a trier.

Sometimes I hate, hate writing.  Certain passages are all wrong.  I don't know how to make them better.  Make them interesting.

I've read and reread and reread what I've written too damn many times, and I waver between thinking it's good and thinking it's awful.  Asking myself, would I even want someone to read this drivel?  And is there even a point to it all?

I don't even know if, when I finally finish this book, I'll bother to have it published.  But I will finish it. 

I'm a trier.  I don't give up, unless something completely bores me.  Pain, yes.  Boredom; I won't bother.

That's not to say I'm not bored with my writings.  I've read some chapters so many times, it's like watching Back To The Future for the eight hundredth time.  Sure, it's fun and all, but you know what's coming, and you can, in fact, recite the dialogue right along with the characters.

That's probably why I keep adding things.  At this rate, my book will never be finished, because I keep coming up with new passages, simply (admittedly) because I'm bored with the old ones.


And here I sit tonight.  Knowing that I should be writing....the book, that is.  Instead, I'm looking for diversions; excuses.

Sigh.  I guess I'd better go.  Pull up that word doc titled, "My Book"....again.

I really gotta keep trying.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Missing In Action

I used to be such a prolific blogger!

Now, my blog is all dusty (figuratively, of course) and neglected.

You see, I am writing a book.  (Shhh!  It's kind of a secret.)

Writing a book is hard!  What was I thinking? 

And I don't even want to ponder the editing part of it.  Right now, I'm just writing, writing.

I write on weekend nights, for about three hours each session.  I would think that in three hours, I'd get a lot more written, but apparently, the thinking part of writing takes some time, too.

I have no idea how long my book will be, or where it will end.  Or how it will end.  I have discovered, though, that writing a book is like watching a movie; I'm immersed in the story, and I can't wait to see where it will go; what turns it will take in the road.  It's kind of like songwriting.

I've only written 149 pages so far (and 42,300 words, but who's counting?)  It seems like way more!  And I already know that I won't be using all those in the end.  I, alas, have a long way to go.

I have to constantly remind myself of the old songwriter's adage:  Show; don't tell.  It's not a lecture; it's a book.

So, I'll try to keep checking in from time to time, and maybe (like today) write more than a one-word post.

And one day, who knows when, I will join the ranks of all the self-published authors whose books are never read.  Just like us songwriters.