You Gotta Believe

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It’s All On You

Whether writing, art, music–extending a word or a hand–the world can knock us for a loop when we venture to put ourselves out there in the jumble. Not that we won’t get the occasional coddle, petting, or sweet whispers, but not in a way we might deem as dependable. The wind changes, a door closes, sand shifts…and you’re left standing on your own, conflicted, confused, uncertain where you go from here.

Who’s In Your Corner

For me, all things begin and end with God. I firmly believe He gives us our gifts, securely plants them in our hearts, waters and fertilizes, fills our tank with mojo, and sets us off and running…

WOAH! Not So Fast

Did you forget something? I’m referring to that essential ingredient which makes your bread rise. The one you need to fold into the dough yourself. Without it you’re at severe risk of injury, failure, or all out doom. Which is to say, You Gotta Believe. In yourself. In what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. It’s not a maybe, or a someday, or an eventually. It’s a now and forever after.

High, Low–Maybe Higher

–or lower than low, in the tar pits low. And if your faith isn’t firmly held and deeply planted, it is this weak point in the dam where  angst and despair can most effectively seep in to crumble your foundation.

Not To Be Confused With the Bright Candy Coating That Melts In Your Mouth

You may be so blessed as to have a loyal entourage of enthusiastic and energetic cheerleaders who never fail to vie for a seat at your pep rally; who support your dreams, struggles, and successes. They boost you over the speed bumps, applaud and cajole with true admiration and dedication. But even then, these champions of your endeavors can’t be tuned into your channel 24/7. They too have dreams to feed and nurture. Sometimes it’s only you. Sometimes it’s been only you all along. In either case, how you push forward, stay afloat, or reach out to lasso the moon, has everything to do with how deeply you believe in what it is you’re doing. Want to do. Will do.

There Will Be Days,

when your heart will swell to bursting as you come across something wildly shining and beautiful with your name on it:

“…one of the best novels I have ever had the pleasure to read…her writing style brings to mind such authors as Harper Lee and John Steinbeck…”

Then just as quickly shrivel into raisins on the vine as you stumble blind and stupefied over this:

“This is really awful. Stupid story, stupid people. Couldn’t care less about any of the characters. I’m sorry I spent any of my hard earned money on this horrible book.”

Ouch!

But Whether Good, Bad, Or Hideously Ugly,

your belief in yourself and what it is you’ve set out to do, MUST run deeper than any pile of poo dropped onto the surface of your gleaming hopes and expectations. Because although your confidence can certainly be ruffled, trounced, bitch slapped, and bloodied, it can’t be hijacked without your consent.

Some assaults prove more of a challenge than others. Sometimes we’ve been pummeled so violently we temporarily lose all reason and sanity lock and load baby, mentally smacking ourselves repeatedly for ever thinking we’d be allowed to join THE CLUB.

And while there are times when weeping and wallowing feel necessary for releasing the buildup of toxins caused by critical assaults, it must only be temporary. Long enough for a cleansing wallow, but brief enough to recall that the opinions of others cannot injure your truths or shake loose your passionate belief in the gifts you’ve been given. They belong to you as long as you care to feed and nurture them.

And really, truly, it is my hope and prayer for you that you do.

 

What ya thinking? How difficult is it for you to maintain your armor when the going gets tough? Have there been times when you’ve been tempted to surrender, only to find your faith renewed in the eleventh hour? The floor is yours!

 

 

 

 

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FACEBOOK–OR NOT

FB-Author

…AND SO IS THE DILEMMA OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST COCKTAIL PARTY

I’m not a Facebook hater. Far from it. When it comes to finding and re-connecting with the long lost and faraway, Facebook is aces. It’s a tidy place for announcing, inviting, celebrating. Hanging out. Catching up. Rekindling the fires. Wonderful, perfect, fabulous…but maybe not really.

NOT SO AMUSING FUNNY BUSINESS

Strange things are going on over there on Facebook. There are the posts that are seen by only a handful–sometimes less. The Friends I was so thrilled to find after too long absences and yawning distance, but are now all but permanently AWOL, their chatty updates and newsworthy tidbits never making it as far as my News Feed. Where have all those new-found and reclaimed friends gone to congregate without me?

AND THEN, THERE’S THE AUTHOR PAGE

Yes, THAT Author Page. The one that sits all hopeful and expectant…waiting…restlessly pacing…thumbs twiddling…

SO BEGS THE QUESTION

Just how valuable is maintaining real estate in a Facebook empire that is far more resembling of a ghost town? At what point to I concede that the ship has sailed, the sun set, the birds flown south? Is there actually a point in continuing to churn out brain-poop into the care and maintenance of an Author Page that’s looking more and more like Cricket Island.

YES, NO, MAYBE SO

In the midst of this several weeks long mental debate, lands this perfectly timed post from one of my favorite author bloggers–the wise, successful, and wildly amusing Catherine Ryan Howard–Catherine, Caffeinated--who has thankfully taken note of the same ugly little weeds I’ve noticed poking through the Facebook cracks. Unlike my own erratically zigzagging hypothesis, Catherine zeros in with factual stuff–real figures and conclusions (I suspect she’s that kid who was actually paying attention in class–she’s clever like that).  All of which has me thinking there’s something to my suspicions and not just pitiable fear of abandonment paranoia.

BUT, WAIT! THERE’S MORE

Huh, what? Facebook Fraud? No kidding? Without spoiling the plot, let me just say that not all LIKES have anything to do with LIKING, and there’s some shifty (not to be confused with shitty–though maybe) business going on behind the curtain.

What started out as an abundantly cool thing, our worldwide Facebook neighborhood is becoming a land of unleashed shenanigans, increasingly threatening to spoil the entire premise of hanging around the World Wide Water Cooler, chatting up our stuff and the stuff of others.

IS THIS REALLY GOODBYE?

I don’t know, but it sure feels like it for me. I worry that the two people who generally “see” my Author Page Facebook Posts will miss them terribly, but just as likely, the cricket noises over there are getting on their nerves anyway.

 

What ya thinking?  Have any thoughts to share about your own FB experience? Is the Facebook game worth playing? What’s your take on Author/Book pages? Are you hanging in there for the long haul–or packing up your posts and pics and heading elsewhere? The floor is yours!

 

***Yippee! Free stuff! Currently in progress [ending July 23rd 2014] , Goodreads Giveaway for 3 copies of Painted From Memories. Hope you stop over and enter–my fingers are crossed you’re a winner 😀

 

 

 

IT’S MY PARTY!!!

Balloon manSISSSSSsssss, BOOM…blah?

It’s a bit of a pickle, this “MY BOOK HAS ARRIVED” business. No, I don’t mean the thrill of arrival, joyful elation, or the supreme sense of  ‘I love my pages till the end of time and beyond.’ That part is the real deal and most writers I know have a certain brand of super human diligence when it comes to carrying the torch solo across vats of bubbling lava if that’s what feels necessary to reach the reading masses. Hence SISSSSsssss BOOM over-the-moon euphoria.

Blah?

That’s when the generally mild-mannered, attempting to be courteous author, begins to worry that their potentially overzealous hoopla and carrying-on will eventually have the entire width and breadth of cyberspace drawing its collective shade, barring doors and windows against  the runabout court jester lunatic marauder chiming an endless chant of  MY BOOK, MY BOOK, YOUR KINGDOM FOR MY BOOK.

In The Beginning There Was A Page

Some writers can grow a book in weeks, months, a year or two, or if you’re me, years plus a bazillion. When it comes to writing, I’m the tortoise  not the hare. The jalopy not the roadster. In the time it takes my rough drafts to morph into a finished book, entire galaxies have vanished into black holes, nations crumbled,  certain snack cakes become extinct … It’s the sort of Rip Van Winkle effect that makes me especially prone to feelings of HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY JOY … THE HILLS ARE ALIVE … CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN … DOE RAE MEEEEEE, once the cover is on the book and all becomes right with the world.

But Wait! This Isn’t The End, It’s The Beginning

Release day. TODAY! This very instant. Crack of dawn until the pumpkin pulls up at the curb a second past midnight.And so starts my party. Where I fill the room with balloons, announce the grand arrival of my third novel, and pass around the entirely fat free virtual cake. And hopefully, just hopefully you won’t leave feeling as if you’ve been violently slammed by a freight train–but rather, the hapless victim of a hit and run driver that leaves you slightly dazed, a little foggy, yet mildly bruised wholly uninjured.

Just One Last Thing

On the chance you’re ever forced to pick it out of a lineup, this is my book:

PFM-FotoFlexer_Photo

And this is what it’s about:

She considers telling him the truth—that she isn’t the person he thinks she is—but in the end she doesn’t. To say something is to potentially say everything. And it is simply too late… The emotionally fractured casualty of a hideous childhood tragedy, Catherine has at last found her happy-ever-after in the person of Grayson Barnett, and it is the promise of a freshly polished future that compels her to bury the poisonous trail of her past beneath the purposeful lies and omissions she offers her new husband. But now, with the inherent shame of her traumatic history secreted away and losing hold, Cat finds herself increasingly troubled as Gray falls into an erratic pattern of late night wanderings through the house, painting the bare walls with extravagant murals. And only when the unthinkable happens—a devastating blow which leaves her broken and spiraling—and an unexpected arrival on her doorstep, bearing a cache of impossible revelations—is Cat forced to question whether the man she so desperately loves is in truth a stranger and their beautiful life a gross falsehood constructed upon a foundation of lies.

That’s it. I’m leaving now. *Walks away. Stops. Turns. Glances back.” You know, those dancing shoes sure look good on you. Hope you don’t go dashing off before taking a spin around my dance floor.  Shots are on the house 😀

shots-2

 

Sitting pretty on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Painted-Memories-Barbara-Forte-Abate/dp/0692209344/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

 

Cleaning Up My Mess

Cleaning up my mess

Cleaning up my mess

NO PROBLEM, I GOT THIS
If I had a dollar for every time I rewrote or edited one of my novels before it went to press, I’d be sitting here like Scrooge McDuck counting my stacks of Gold Doubloons. I’m all about tidy perfectionism, particularly when it comes to stuff I put my name on. If three times is a charm, then three dozen assures spotless brilliance–right?

UM, WRONG
There’s a really good reason why even editors don’t edit their own work. Because when it comes to sentences we’ve raked over a bazillion times this side of Sunday, the brain has a quirky way of turning off the main switch when it comes to assessing the things it’s brought to life.

AVERTING A TRAGEDY
Although it’s been years now, I still recall certain early reviews heralding the release of my debut novel, The Secret of Lies–gorgeous and poetic–they arrived as if carried on the wings or angels. Golden morsels suddenly slamming to a jarring halt and leaning toward hostile when these same readers found themselves stumbling over typos and grammar homicide perpetrated by said author. Ouch. That stuff hurts, even more so since I myself was the boob providing the bullets for critics to load into their guns.

AND SO THE QUEST FOR THE HOLY GRAIL
Or, in writerly terms, the hunt for the editor you surely NEED to find because this essential pied piper of prettified prose isn’t you. Seriously. It isn’t.

EENY MEENY MINY MO
…is absolutely not the right way to go about finding the perfect word-mate to comb through your brilliant creation. Make no mistake, you’re not only making an investment in your career, you’re pursuing a relationship, in which case it seems something of a romantic approach is in order. Get out there and mingle. Saunter through cyberspace and stop in at a few online writer hangouts. Pull up a keyboard and join in the chit-chat. Note those voices which most resonate. Collect recommendations from starry-eyed writers madly in love with their editors. Make more notes–mentally or on paper–just make them.

ONE SIZE FITS ALL? NOT QUITE, CINDERELLA
If what you’re looking for is a set of eyes to align your p’s & q’s, and sort your “then and than’s,” your task might prove less complicated. But me, I’m a romantic with a hankering for truelove. In writer speak, it means pining for an editor with knowledge, chutzpah, confidence, wisdom, and of supreme importance–someone who connects with my scribbling. A courtship? Yep, pretty much.

SNAGGING A WORD SHARK
I now fast forward to introduce the winner of my own carefully versed Dating Game–tah dah *shoots confetti–reloads–double shot*–Karen Sanderson, The Word Shark.

BEWARE OF CHEAP IMITATIONS
Seriously, that’s it. Beware of cheap imitations.

ENTER THE WORD SHARK
Certainly there are oodles of noodles and mighty word slayers, so how to choose wisely, Indiana Jones? For me it was a definite series of clicks heard round the world–or at least loud and clear within the vicinity of my head.

Sample edit: concise, professional–CLICK. Initial and subsequent correspondence: honest, wise, generous, prompt, and oftentimes hilarious (bonus points considering my general buffoon tendencies)–CLICK.  Timely edit-in-progress updates to soothe my anxious soul–CLICK. Essential nit-picky comments leading me to prune and  fine-tune the clumsy, clanky, scratchy bits from my pile of pages–CLICK. Suggestions, immediate reactions and impressions of plot twists and character motivation, aka exposing junk masquerading as literature–double CLICK. And the grand finale, an editorial letter wrapping it all together–strengthens, weakness, applause–multiple CLICKS.

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED
Finished. My mess is now tidy and polished, and Painted From Memories is mere days away from release. The construction dust has settled and yet still here, lending support, cheerleading,  blowing-up balloons, ready to uncork the champagne, is my wildly cool new editor and aforementioned Word Shark. A gifted word whisperer who continues to step above and beyond–and then–beyond beyond.  Long term keeper–CLICK.

 

And you, what cha thinking? Have you found your dream editor? On the hunt for the perfect fit? Still wondering if you really even need one?