Talk about timing. With President Obama calling for investments in renewable energy, Bay Area transportation expert Christopher Swan has devised a full-service passenger train system that is not only completely solar-powered, but just might be the ticket to solving our most pressing transportation, energy, and environmental problems. Known as Suntrain, it is the subject of Mr. Swan’s Big Idea (Sopo Press, 2009), a new book by San Jose State University professor David Vasquez. My interview with Vasquez appears in The Wave Magazine:
Category Archives: The Writing Life
If you’re a writer and want to be published, you need to be able to accept rejection–it’s part of the process.
Recently I spoke to a short-story writer who once visited a critique group I belong to and I asked him what he was doing with his writing. He said he no longer sent it out because he didn’t like being rejected–so he only shares his stories with friends. This man is an excellent writer–though his stories had some flaws. As I look back, I remember that he didn’t like having his work critiqued either and that’s why he didn’t continue on with our group. I think what he’s decided is sad, because eventually he’d probably have found a market for his work and more than just his friends could’ve enjoyed it.
I knew another excellent writer who sent her manuscript to about three publishers or agents, was rejected and that was the end of her sending out her work. Oh, she still writes–but she doesn’t ever submit her work. She is able to take criticism in a writer’s group and make suggested changes or rewrites.
When I taught a weekly writing group, at times I’d get a new student who would read their few pages and be horrified when I pointed out problems. Made me wonder why they bothered to come. Believe me, when I’m critiquing anyone’s work I always talk about what is good first before giving any suggestions.
Frankly, I don’t understand the mind-set that can’t take criticism or rejection. My first book was rejected nearly 30 times before it was accepted by a publisher. Each time it was rejected, I worked on it some more. At the time I didn’t know nearly as much about editing and rewriting as I do now.
Even though I now have over twenty published books, I still attend a weekly critique group. I would be disappointed if they didn’t find something to help make the book better. I use my fellow authors as a first editor.
Rejection is part of getting published. Never take it personally. It can mean many things, the publisher or agent was having a bad day, they are interested in a similar book already, it isn’t the kind of book that they like. Always pay attention to what is in the rejection letter, especially if it’s handwritten and has some actual comments about your writing. No matter what happens, work to fix that book or move onto another. Never, ever give up.
Book Lovers’ Fairs or Expos are great opportunities for networking in ‘author world,’ showcasing your writing talents and generally, having a lot of fun. Meeting fellow authors is a marvelous trip. Most writer’s are unique in so many ways I truly appreciate. Although I look forward to meeting and hanging out with a crazy, diverse bunch of writers, some of the moments I anticipate the most at a multiple-author, book event are spying the adorable, animated characters milling around and rushing to hang out with them. They’re there to bolster the childrens’ books or advertise something out in town. Either way, I’m thrilled to see them. I’ve grown very respectful of mascots over the years. They don’t talk, have a pleasant demeanor, a delighted, if not goofy, look on their face, transmit infectious energy and throw out happy waves to everyone. They’re big and have even bigger heads, with shoes to match. I get so excited to see them, I want to be them. Yes, my mind has gone there. The thought of becoming a big head with big shoes bounces in my brain quite often, but the dilemma is what head would I choose. I’ve envisioned a Bluebird because they’re happy, have wings and uncommon as a mascot. Bees are disappearing, so maybe I should be a honeybee to bring attention to their plight. I’d still have wings, but I’d also be adorned with antennae and yellow is a good color for me. I’ll think on that a while. I guess my message to everyone with this little bloggie blurb is stay positive, have fun in whatever you do and respect the ‘clean’ fun others are having even if it’s not your cup of tea. Book signings, Literary Symposiums and Writer’s Workshops are on the schedule for me over the next six months, and I plan to have a huge amount of fun teaching or learning at all of them. I just hope some big-headed mascots will be close by to hang out with. Bye, Bye, now!
author of “Save Them All“
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THIS YEAR’S AUTHOR’S HOLIDAY GIVE-AWAY BASKET AND GET ENTERED BY DECEMBER 10TH!
As much as I love nature and nature loves me, I can’t seem to escape the occasional backyard fatality.
Their hunt is aggressive but manners demure, it wasn’t a cat, that’s for sure.
Feline free roamers with pure criminal intent are not nature to me.
Wildlife has little defense against efficient sport killers as these.
With cats, death is usually quick and quietly carried away.
They leave no trace, there is nothing to know, no guilt to pay.
No . . . this was a hawk, Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s variety,
Who must also eat, so I reluctantly accept occasional loss and know it must be.
Nature circles where I live; my grounds, my mind, soul and in my heart.
Disjoined bed of feathers, tragic scenes such as these give way to guilt’s start.
Which to save . . . not for me nor others to say, it’s always nature’s way.
I try to keep them all safe with cover and food; the doves, cardinals, flickers, squirrels,
Wrens, bluejays, titmouse, robin, thrasher, chickadee, opossum and sparrows.
But there’ll come a day when one is not alert or fast enough to out sway,
And I shall gather up all that is left of one I encouraged to stay.
I’ll always love nature and nature will love me,
Just wish I could escape the tormenting backyard fatality.
by Linda Bergman-Althouse, author of “Save Them All”
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THIS YEAR’S “AUTHORS HOLIDAY GIVE-AWAY BASKET” AND GET ENTERED BY DECEMBER 10TH!
One of my hummingbirds spoke to me the other day. Of course, it was in sign language, but none-the-less, communication, although not in oral or written form, was received and understood. I daily enjoy the three or four hummingbirds who have selected my sugar-water feeder as their favorite in the hood whether I’m watching them, one at a time, perch and drink during my breakfast, while lunching on the deck or as I’m passing by the patio door. I wish they would come in together to partake, but they don’t all get along. So, I watch them run each other off quite a bit. On Wednesday I was doing all those domestic, cleaning chores we never look forward to doing when I needed to rinse out a rag at the kitchen sink. While there, one of the female hummingbirds zipped in front of the kitchen window and hovered eye-to-eye with me. “Well, Hello” was what I said. I wasn’t quite sure what she was up to yet, as that was an unusual place for her to be. Although, the kitchen sink window was some distance from the feeder, I didn’t think too much about it. She stayed in position the entire time I rinsed out the rag and then the sink. About five miutes later, during another pass I made at the sink, she did the same thing. I walked to the patio door and there she was, still eye-to-eye and less than eight inches from the glass. I looked up at the feeder and received the message, silent but clear. “You are my human, so please do something about this mess!” Although the feeder wasn’t empty, it was low and two dead wasps were floating in it. When I opened the door, she sped to a Bradford Pear branch to watch “operation change out.” She waited in the tree the entire fifteen minutes it took to drag the patio chair over for the climb, clean the feeder, mix and cool the sugar juice before hanging it back in place again. Before I could get back in the door, she was right next to me. I heard the buzz first, and when I turned my head, there she was and right at eye level again. If possible, she looked a little less intense, and I think she was giving me another message. “You’re welcome,” I said as she buzzed up to the feeder and wrapped the tiniest feet around the red, circular perch. Her tiny, tube beak sucked so much fluid in one draw, I was afraid she might get a head rush and fall off the perch. Isn’t nature simply wonderful? So, stay alert. The world and all it’s living things are speaking to us.
Don’t forget to check out my “Author’s Holiday Give-Away” below and enter before December 10th. Your biorhythms just might be in line for you on this one!
Author of “Save Them All“
I write a lot of nonfiction, so I tend to read a lot of nonfiction — and since I do a radio program on television, many of the books I read these days are ones written by my guests, in preparation for the show. Among the books currently on my nightstand are:
Pete Duel: A Biography
Best known for playing Hannibal Heyes on the 1970s Western series Alias Smith and Jones, Pete Duel was a talented but troubled young actor who took his life at the height of his celebrity. What makes this book stand apart from other Hollywood biographies is that it is an earnest psychological study of Duel’s life that also comments on the human condition. Author Paul Green will be one of the guests on my program on Tuesday, Oct. 7.
A History of Television’s The Virginian
Also written by Paul Green, this book is a comprehensive look at television’s first 90-minute Western series, The Virginian, based on the classic 1902 novel by Owen Wister.
Just a Geek
I haven’t started this yet, but from what I’ve heard about it, I’m very much looking forward to reading this candid memoir by former child star Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me, Star Trek: The Next Generation).
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