Writing, Reading, and Smiling . . . It's Contagious.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fighting Goliath (How I Overcame a Week of Writer's Block)

This week has been an exceptionally productive one for me despite the ridiculous heat that has plagued my little corner of the world. With heat indexes near 100 degrees, it was difficult to focus but ultimately I reached an important goal.

For those of you who follow my daily updates on Twitter, you have a fairly good understanding of how this villainous heat usurped my creativity and motivation. As a writer, the loss of these two pieces of essential equipment is akin to fighting Goliath without a bag of rocks. Although the giant is ubiquitous and the blank page is there before you, daunting, laughing, and mocking, the end result is that you're in serious trouble, and your opponent has the advantage.

I was also interviewed by one of the local papers this week. The stress from this was yet another giant who agitated my writing, but everything worked out. The reporter was nice, considerate, and polite. What a relief. In my opinion, the key to a successful interview is to follow the old adage: "be yourself."

Somehow, in spite of all this madness, I managed to persevere. For me, the best way to defeat writer's block and stress is to keep writing. That may sound as ridiculous as spurring a dead horse, but if I don't meet my adversary head-on, I have no chance in learning its weakness and defeating it.

For this reason, I kept writing and writing and writing, no matter how painful each sentence was to construct. Word choice had also escaped me. Most of what I was writing was garbage; however, amidst this pile of debris was the shovel that continually heaped more trash into this mounting pile. The shovel, my own work ethic and perseverance, pulled me through the insanity.

The end result was worth the agony and hard work. Sentences were somehow beginning to construct themselves, and a plethora of words were dancing before me. I not only managed to finish Part I of my new novel, Haunted Voices from My Past: True Narratives of an Ohio Family, but I am also now well into Part II.

This new work of mine is proving difficult, but I do like challenges. My previous novel, Dead Bird in the Weeds, is a work of historical fiction, so this new book is quite a switch for me. Haunted Voices from My Past... is a work of creative nonfiction recounting my family's true stories delving into the unexplained and macabre. I'm really excited about this new venture, and I'll keep you updated on its progress.

That's all the news from my little corner of the world. I hope all of you are having a restful Sunday. As always, I love to hear from you. If you're in the cyber-neighbourhood, drop me a line. In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling. It's contagious.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunflower Footsteps

I have great news. My first book, Dead Bird in the Weeds, was published on June 3, 2009.

Dead Bird in the Weeds is a work of historical fiction recounting the 1798 rebellion in Ireland. Set in Wexford, the story relates the tale of a courageous young woman named Aisling Doran who joins the revolutionary United Irishmen to wage war for liberty. This literary work was inspired by my Irish heritage and love of history and folklore. Dead Bird in the Weeds is not solely for those interested in Irish history, nor is it exclusively for those drawn to stories of rebellion. It is a tale that also encompasses additional facets of the human existence such as betrayal, courage, and self-worth.

My colleague, E. Michaels, began a writing career with The Mysterious House, the first book in the Fox Mystery Series for children. It’s a story about three fifth graders and their discovery of a mystery surrounding an old, abandoned house. The Mysterious House urges children to read by engrossing them in solving a puzzling neighborhood mystery. Although published in 2009 as an introductory title, The Mysterious House dates back more than two decades. It was first written as a serial story for the author’s children.

For more information, visit Sunflower Footsteps.