The Courage to Write – How Writers Transcend Fear

The Courage to Write A friend recently turned me onto this book and even though it’s been out for a number of years, it is still very current today, because we writers are always dealing with our fear of the blank page, not to mention publishers, editors and the marketing process. Mr. Keyes shows us how to not only face our fears, but how to put them to work for us.

Here are some bullet points he recommends to boost our courage:

  • Read about successful writers, paying attention to their fears and how they dealt with them
  • Take a writing course or two
  • Attend an occasional writers’ conference
  • Join a serious writers’ group
  • Develop anxiety-easing rituals, no matter how eccentric
  • Devise fear-taming work techniques, no matter how gimmicky
  • Write at times of day when you’re most productive and least anxious
  • Identify your censor in chief and mentally rehearse how to deal with that person
  • Get to know yourself well enough not to be too terrified by what escapes from within onto the page
  • Convert fear into excitement
  • Write

I found this marvelous book at my local library so I’m assuming you can, too. It is jam-packed with so much good information about identifying and dealing with our writing anxieties. I highly recommend it!

 

We’ve Lost Another Great Man!

Muhammad AliMy dad loved boxing and so as a kid, I did, too. But when I got older, I realized what a violent sport it was and struggled mightily against the compulsion to watch the matches. But when Ali came along, his performances in the ring were impossible to resist. Like the rest of the world, I’d never seen anything like this man, both in the ring and out. And when he forfeited his heavyweight crown to maintain his integrity and values, I was blown away.

We’ve lost another very special man in Ali, and I fear he is the last of that generation to have the courage to stand up for what he believes. John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X preceded him, all assassinated by crazy people who were governed by their fears. Such horrific losses to our country.

And the scary part is that fifty years later, we still have people who believe the angry rhetoric and lies put forth by some of our leaders, who only do so for their private gain. They want us to judge a certain group because of what a few do. When will we all finally realize that there are good and bad in every race, creed, religion, and gender? My prayer is that it will be soon. Let’s see the fear mongering for what it is and calm ourselves. Then we can decide how we can build a better world. This is how we can honor the sacrifices made by our heroes of the past.

Goodbye to a Dear Friend

Cassie 2016Recently I had to say goodbye to my talkative, precocious, inquisitive muse, Cassie. She made it to 13 years, which may have been good considering she was a very plump cat until she became ill a year ago. This photo is a recent, slimmed down version of her. Over the years, I tried to help her shed the extra pounds, but her favorite activity besides stalking me, was eating. In spite of my best efforts, the best she could do was maintain at 16-17 lbs. Considering her small frame, that was a lot of weight to carry around. In fact, she resembled a furry watermelon on short legs.

Last summer, she became very sick and was diagnosed with liver disease. Then more recently, kidney failure manifested itself. Any cat owner knows that there’s no going back from this awful diagnosis. It was heart wrenching to watch the changes in her, and oh, how I wished she could have talked to me to let me know if she was in pain, or even discomfort.

I miss her terribly. She would greet me in the morning; insist on being in the bathroom when I showered; oversee me putting on my face at my make-up table;  join me on my writing desk, often draping herself over my laptop; eat when I did, as well as other times when the mood struck her;  and of course, sleep on the bed with me. In other words, she was a very social cat and a terrific companion.

Fortunately, I still have her son, Cajun, and we are beginning to heal together. But I know we’ll miss her forever. Cassie was one very special cat!

A Few Notes About Blogging

Visiting with Sue's doggie0000

Hi Readers!

I continue to receive a lot of questions from you about my blog platform so I’ll repeat some of the things I posted previously in my blog post entitled How to Start a Blog.

My blog platform is WordPress and I paid a college student a modest sum to set it up for me. I think he did a phenomenal job and apparently, many of you do, too. I’ve had many comments saying you like the colors/theme/layout. So, thank you for that!

The only downside is for readers who use Internet Explorer. Since Windows 10 came out, Microsoft does not support Internet Explorer so my site does not load well through it. Switching to Microsoft Edge or any other browser will solve the problem.

Some of you have asked if I’ve had any issues with security, and the answer to that question is: Thankfully, no!

Also, some of you have asked about Twitter. You can follow me at: @pcurren88

For you writers out there, keep on keepin’ on!

Pat

 

Saving the Saltmarsh Sparrow

Here’s part of an article published in the Arizona Republic last Sunday about a very small bird whose numbers are threatened. I haven’t blogged about birds in the past, but they’re one of my loves and I find it heartening that even though this tiny creature lives on the east coast, the paper chose to include the information here in Arizona. After all, we’ve learned the world is a very small place and the state of our environment is not just a local issue.

On the other hand, I find it disheartening to learn that our country is the sparrow’s only home and its numbers are falling at an alarming rate due to coastal construction. This beautiful bird isn’t listed as “endangered,” only vulnerable. Lets all pull for more protection saltmarsh sparrow!Saltmarsh Sparrow

More Trouble For Kendra in Clipped!

Front Cover of ClippedHere’s another excerpt from Clipped!, the first book in The Kendra Morgan Series. Our young sleuth finds herself at the mercy of the killer she’s been tracking. I’ve replaced the murderer’s name in places with “he” in case any of you purchase the book. Heaven forbid I give away his identity!

“Okay you little bitch, you asked for it. Come on. You and me are going for a ride.” His face was pinched and ugly. He yanked Kendra by the arm and moved her through the apartment. He pulled handcuffs from his dresser and cuffed her to the bed frame.

Her cheek still stung from the slap and her neck had a dull ache. Hot tears burned her eyelids. She wanted to tell him how she hated him and what a monster he was, but she could only watch as he stuffed clothes and money into an overnight bag.

Retrieving the gun from its hiding place, he stuck it in his belt. He threw on his coat, then unlocked the cuffs and thrust her jacket at her.

As she struggled to put it on, she realized she couldn’t move her arm.

“Put the damned coat on,” he growled.

Pain shot from her fingertips to her shoulder, but she managed to slide her arm into the sleeve.

He grabbed Ted’s car keys and propelled her toward the front door. “Now in case anyone sees us, you’re going to act like everything’s fine and I’m just taking you home. Right?” He pulled her close and squeezed her injured arm.

She felt the nose of the pistol pressed into her side. Fighting back the blackness that threatened to envelop her, she nodded.

“Good, ‘cuz I want it to be just you and me on our big adventure, darlin’.”

She steeled herself for the walk to the car. Later she could fall apart, but right now she had to buy Toni time. She choked back the tears and lifted her chin.

His strong, bony hand pulled her past the cooling food and Toni’s parka on a low stool. He flung the door open and stepped back for Kendra to go first. They walked the short distance to Ted’s car; she watched numbly as he unlocked the passenger door and motioned for her to get in.

He snapped a cuff on her left wrist as she sat down and locked her to the gearshift column. Getting behind the wheel, he stowed the gun in the door pocket. He threw the bag in the back seat and started the engine. As he wheeled the sedan from the parking lot, Kendra heard the squeal of the tires on the pavement.

This Raging Light

This Raging LightEstelle Laure has written a beautiful breakout novel that tells the story of a 17 year-old girl who takes on the task of caring for her 9 year-old sister when her mom goes AWOL. Dad is in a facility recovering from a nervous breakdown and is totally unaware of what’s happening in his family’s life. Lucille knows she can’t let authorities know they’re living in a parent-less household, so she’s careful to keep neighbors, teachers, and for that matter, all grown-ups, in the dark. However, she does trust her BFF, Eden, and Eden’s brother, Digby, with the news and they embark on this grand deception together. Without money to pay bills or to feed her little sister and herself, Lucille finds a job after school. She quickly finds out how breathtakingly exhausting it is to go to school, work, do the housework and take care of little sis. The plot is made richer by Lucille’s major crush on Digby, who already has a girlfriend. Not only are Ms. Laure’s characters superbly drawn, but her dialogue sparkles in every way imaginable. You will not want to put this story down!

This Is My Chair

009

Following is another poem from my kitty calendar. The photo is of my aunt’s cat, Tom, who truly embodies the story of this verse.

This is my chair

This is my couch

That is my bed

That is my bench

There is my chaise

There is my settee

Those are my footstools

Those are my rugs

Everywhere is my place to sleep

Perhaps you should just get a hotel room

 

Third Excerpt from a Scene in Cornered!

Here’s the last part of the scene I’ve posted previously from my upcoming sequel, Cornered!. As a refresher, Kendra and her boyfriend, Johnny, have broken into the home of the murder victim, who happens to be a hoarder, late at night.

“Can we go now?” Johnny’s voice was shaky.

“Let’s go back out the way we came in.” Making their way slowly through the kitchen, Kendra bumped into a pile of things and it slid to the floor. She shone the flashlight on it to step safely around, and saw a photo. She picked it up. It was a picture of Ricardo, Glory and Alex, when he was small. But what she found fascinating was that Glory held a little girl in her arms. She looked to be a bit younger than her own sister, Toni, age 4. The girl grinned into the camera with a mischievous look. Kendra slid the photo into her pocket as she followed Johnny out.

Just as they reached the door, they heard a car door slam. She didn’t need her flashlight to know Johnny’s eyes were the size of craters. What if it’s the killer?

“OMG!” Johnny exclaimed. He pulled his phone from his pocket and yelled as he heard footsteps approaching. “I’m calling the cops!

“I am the cops! The question is:  who are you?”, a gruff voice answered.

She knew they were caught. There was no way they could run back through the cluttered house to the front door.

The door swung open and Officer Chucky Prescott shone his light into their faces. “Don’t move,” he commanded as he switched on the kitchen light. His other hand rested on his weapon. “What the hell are you kids doing here?”

“I’m sorry!” Kendra exclaimed. “We just wanted to look around.”

“Look around! You’re in the middle of a crime scene!” His voice went up a notch. “I ought to haul you down to the jail and call your parents!”

“Oh, please, you can’t. I’ll be in a world of hurt,” Johnny said.

Chucky glared at them as he pulled a note pad from his uniform shirt pocket. “Names, and where do you live?” After he learned Johnny lived on the adjacent farm, he seemed to relax some. “So, you were bored and thought you’d snoop around a little, huh?” He eyed the gloves they wore. “Did you touch anything?”

He stepped so close to Kendra she could smell the stale coffee on his breath. “Not a thing,” she lied.

“I don’t want to see you anywhere near here again. Understood?”

“Absolutely!” she said.

“Now vamoose, before I change my mind. But I’ll report this to Chief Goodwin first thing tomorrow morning. I’m sure she’ll bring you into the station, so you better be ready to come clean to her, and your parents.”

Kendra felt his stare burning a hole in their backs as they fled this landfill of a house.

Starting a Blog

Hi Readers!

I’ve had many of you leave favorable comments, not only about the content of my blog posts, but also, the design, colors, and theme. Some of you are interested in starting your own blog and have inquired about how I went about it. Well, sadly I am not a tech savvy person and also don’t have loads of money to throw at a web designer. So, I called my local community college and asked for the head of the graphic design department. She put me in touch with one of her star pupils who was willing to help me put together my website. He received college credit for working with me and I paid him a very modest sum compared to what regular web designers receive. I told him how many pages I wanted, supplied the text content and chose the colors. He set the whole thing up using Word Press, which was reasonably priced, and showed me how to use the site once we went live. He was fantastic!!

As far as the content of my posts go, I try to vary them so I’m not a one-trick pony. There are subjects I avoid, like religion and politics, but just about anything else is fair game. Of course, my favorite topics are writing, reading, cats and fitness. I also favor being brief…I know I don’t have time to read long winded posts and appreciate when others are succinct in their posts, emails, etc.

Good luck to all of you out there who are considering a website and/or blog. You can do it!