Monday, February 25, 2013

My Big Plans

For the past month, I’ve been working on some graphics for my next novel, Spilled Coffee. Not only that, but I’ve made the decision to publish Spilled Coffee  independently, yes, self-publishing. Even before I started this blog—nearly five years ago—I was enamored with the idea of self-publishing. I’ve always had a Do-It-Yourself mindset which extends to my writing. I learned how to write by writing and researching and connecting with a few other writers. I even went so far as to format, print, and bind one of my earlier novels (I plan to resurrect this novel in the future).

My writing has come a long way, even to the point of being traditionally published, which has been a huge boost to my confidence. Not only that, but I’ve received some greatly-appreciated correspondence from some who have read Uncharted: Story for a Shipwright and really enjoyed it. Thank you so much to all those who took the time to share their thoughts!

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows I’m not a hard-sell—I find promotion, networking, and marketing very awkward (as do many writers). I’ve also heard it said that the best way to sell one book is by writing another…well, I can do that! In fact I’ve done that, and now it’s getting near time to put the next novel out there. I had a few works to choose from and picked Spilled Coffee as a follow-up to Uncharted. Like Uncharted, I wrote Spilled Coffee in first person point of view as a man. It’s not so much nautical, though a rowboat on a lake in New Hampshire plays a role in the story. What the two stories have in common are the thirty-something men coming to terms with their family and past. Here’s the logline, a bit of promotional art, and what you’d read on the back cover:

A Novel About Coming of Age…Again…

Benjamin Hughes is on a mission. He has just bought back the New Hampshire lake cottage his family lost eighteen summers ago, in 1969, just before he turned fourteen—just before his life blew apart.
Still reeling from a broken engagement, Ben has committed himself to relive that momentous summer for the next twenty-four hours. 
Every summer as a boy, Ben has gawked at the pretty redhead Amelia, granddaughter to the richest man on the lake, Doc Burns—owner of a Cessna floatplane and the Whispering Narrows estate. During the summer of ’69, Ben not only sneaks around with Amelia, but he learns how to fly with Doc, and meets an eclectic cast of characters that will change him forever. The best summer of Ben’s life turns out to be the worst as the Burns’ family dysfunction collides with his own family’s skeletons.
So, that’s the news for this week. Soon I will be posting the cover art I’ve been messing around with, perhaps some of the interior art,  and updates on the publication progress.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Evolving Writer

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been scanning old family slides for my dad—thirty-some years worth. From a writer’s perspective—especially a writer who is particularly interested in character driven stories—it is fascinating to watch history unfold in old photographs. I am the objective bystander, looking in on the development of a family—my family. Not only that, but caught on film are individuals in that family. As one of seven children, it was easy to blend into the mass. We were the Scheffer Tribe. A gaggle of children, close in age.
No, I'm not the nose picker; I'm the goofy one behind Mom!

Understandably, it was difficult for others to keep us all straight, especially us three older girls (Why, oh why did Mom do that to our hair!). It was too easy to think of myself as an indistinct part of a whole. I never gave much thought to distinguishing myself as an individual; it seemed best not to stand out. Yet, in my own quiet way, I struggled to find a safe means of expressing myself (yes, I was of the children-should-be-seen-and-not-heard generation, enabling my parents to take seven moderately well-behaved children anywhere). I found that 'safe expression' of self in drawing and sewing and writing.    
In my author biography I mention that I have been writing since I was a kid. I recall lying awake at night, thinking up scenarios. I have memories of writing all sorts of convoluted stories and sappy poetry. I even have old notebooks packed away somewhere, filled with mysteries and romances. Today, I came across another bit of evidence that I have indeed been writing for a long time.

This photo was taken on a family camping trip in Florida, just before I turned twelve. I remember that red notebook so well…I wonder what I had been writing that day.

And I  had a real flair for fashion, don't you think?