Monthly Archives: October 2009

A Webinar on Writing

Next Sunday, November 1, I’ll be the guest of honor for an hour-long webinar at www.wiredwriters.net. I think the event begins at 1pm, with chat with Don McQuinn, and you’ll have an opportunity to submit questions which he’ll ask me when I show up from 2-3pm.

Rumor has it that Terry Brooks will join us, if he’s available.

Got questions about writing, publishing, agents, editors, protagonists, antagonists, short stories, articles, essays, science fiction, fantasy, discipline, or the writing process? Log on to the website, register for the webinar and submit your questions. Let’s make this a fun event!

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Filed under Discipline, Writing

A New Book Contract!

Contracts are due to land on my desk today for the publication of my latest book, Martini Moon.

This is sweet for me for a variety of reasons.

First, I love this book, and am more than delighted that I will be able to share it with my small, deeply-disturbed fan base.

Secondly, this indicates to me that the economy is on the upswing. Not only did the Dow close above 10,000 yesterday, and a headline today reads “Recession Ends in 79 Metro Areas,” but I got a book contract.  That means my publisher is investing in me and my readers, libraries, and the book buying public in general. We will not let them down.  Publishing provides jobs, from artists to copyeditors to box manufacturers to bookstore baristas.

And, of course, the sale of this book provides both public and private confirmation that I’m writing what people want to read. One person told me one time that I write “grim stories about unattractive people.” This is true. I do not write Danielle Steele books. But the people I write about are the people I know about. They’re real people. Real people have grim stories and many of them are unattractive. But they all have the spark of the beautiful inside them. This story, a mystery, is also about the little guy fighting city hall for what’s right.

I don’t have a publication date yet for Martini Moon. Most likely this time next year. Stay tuned, either here or on my website at www.elizabethengstrom.com.

I’ll let you  know when the launch party is.

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Filed under Beauty, editors, My New Novel, Personalities, Promotion, Reading, Writing

Obama’s Nobel

I should have been prepared for talking-head backlash on the Nobel Peace Prize being conferred upon President Obama, but I wasn’t.

First of all, everybody’s got an opinion, and in this instance, the only opinion that matters is the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. So everybody else can just shut up for a minute and try to figure out why they deemed him worthy of his extraordinary honor.

We are so divisive, so ready to engage in conflict, so partisan. No matter what the news item, the antithesis has to be aired. The news shows have to show the negative side of everything–not just show it, but dwell on it–because that’s what makes ratings.

I think perhaps the Nobel Committee is a step ahead of us. Perhaps they’re even a tier above. Perhaps they like Obama’s “can-do” attitude. Perhaps they like the hope that Obama offers in endeavoring to treat everybody like a human being. Perhaps they appreciate that he’s “no drama Obama” and has a singular vision to which he sticks without wavering.  He’s a constitutional scholar. He’s fair. He’s just. He’s a leader’s leader.

But he’s not perfect. Nobody is. Yet what he represents is so far beyond anything we’ve seen in a world leader that I applaud the vision of the Nobel Committee for seeing the bigger picture and recognizing it. Honoring it. Putting it on the global stage and shining one of the biggest spotlights there is upon it.

Well, for once, instead of giving face time to all the sound-byte-craving jerks who call this honor into question, I think the world ought to sit back and say wow.  This is unprecedented. This is extraordinary.

And now that you mention it, this really is quite a guy.

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Filed under Goodness, peace, politics, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Truth

Have We No Shame?

I haven’t been feeling well lately, so haven’t posted, because I was uncertain as to whether my impatience with Jon and Kate and the whole Letterman affair was due to my feeling low, or if I was really fed up.

Well, the verdict is in. I’m fed up.

Jon and Kate: You should be ashamed of yourselves.

You’ve had your fifteen minutes of fame,  you’ve entertained some folks, your children are adorable, and worth way more than you’re giving them.

Kate: go home. Tend your children. You have EIGHT of them, for cryin’ out loud. What are you doing making the talk show circuit when you should be home being a mom to your kids?

Jon: Go home. Get a job. Forget the television series and all the unearned bucks it throws into your pockets, and act like a father and a provider and a gentleman. We’re sick to bloody death of your spotlight addiction and airing the minutia of your dirty laundry every time I log on or turn on the television. Enough, already.

Mr. Letterman: You broke my heart. I have been such a die-hard fan of yours since the very beginning, and I have cheered for you and celebrated with you and worried over you. And now I find out that you’re just another one of “those guys” who cheats on his woman with sleazy office romances. This is so far beneath you I cannot even express my disappointment.

You’re a victim on top of a victim, and I think that is a shame, but you brought it all on yourself. I hope you can hold your family together for the sake of your young son. At least you’re not rubbing our noses in this distasteful turn of events every time I turn the television on.

No, someone else is doing that. And we watch it.

If we demanded that the talking heads shut up about all of this, perhaps they’d find something else to talk about. Something educational. Something worthwhile, something that would enrich the lives of those of us who watch their programs. Even something entertaining, instead of endlessly slogging through tiny details, twisting and turning them, trying to find a fresh angle.

They do it because we watch it.

Not me. Not any more.

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Filed under disappointment, family, Marriage, Promotion, relationships, Resentment, Social Consciousness

Writing a Synopsis

A well-written synopsis of your book will encapsulate all that you wish to accomplish, from beginning to end. This blueprint will also help you circumvent a wealth of troubles during the actual construction of your novel.

 A synopsis will include your protagonist’s comfortable state of mind before trouble was visited upon him. It will include his reluctance to step into the problem. It will include his agreement to resolve the conflict so he can return to his peaceful life. It will include the antagonist, and his motivations. It will chart, in brief, the major points of conflict along the protagonist’s journey, hint at a few subplots and their leading characters, then end with the protagonist resolving both internal and external conflicts.

A good synopsis should be written in the same style in which you expect to write your book. If your book is funny, the synopsis should be funny. If your book is suspenseful, your synopsis should be suspenseful. You will revise the synopsis occasionally as your characters find their own course through your story, but a synopsis, frequently referred to, will also keep you and your characters on track.

Writing a two-page synopsis is not easy, but it will show an agent or editor that you know how to tell a story from beginning to end. Muster all the enthusiasm you can, use active, powerful verbs, a touch of dialogue if you want, and tell an intriguing story with clean, clear lines.

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Filed under Discipline, editors, Writing