Looking Back Over 2016

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This will be the last reflective post of the year. Next Monday’s post will find us in 2017. For my writing career it has been a slow take off, but I’ve seen progress. In July, I completed my Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. With emphasis in both genre fiction and screenwriting, and two completed novels, Delilah and Playground for the Gods Book 1: In the Beginning, two full feature film scripts and one comedy series pilot script in hand, I eagerly jumped right in to get my feet wet in either the publishing and/or screenwriting industry. I began submitting my work to agents, publishers, and competitions like crazy. I received mostly rejections, as expected, and although I still haven’t found a home for either novels or scripts, I did manage to find a home for two poems and two short stories. Not too bad. While the poems, Aspen Tree and Yucca! Yucca! Yucca!, appeared in print, (in Colorado Life (Sept.-Oct. 2016) and Manifest West Anthology #5 – Serenity and Severity, respectively), my short story,  I Had to Do It was published on Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, and my not so short, short story, Hidden Secrets was published on Across the Margin.

2016 has been a pretty good year for Writing to be Read. The revamping of the blog site was completed in March, I’ve managed post things on a fairly regular basis, we were honored with guest posts by my friend Robin Conley, and my visits and page views have risen, with almost 2000 visitors and over 2,500 page views. Looking at this, makes me feel pretty good about the blog, as a whole. Another good change is the addition of screenwriting content, which I believe has drawn a larger audience by widening the scope of the content.

13595804_10208551605339796_604487774_nThe top post of 2016 was my book review of Simplified Writing 101, by Erin Brown Conroy, which is an excellent tutorial on academic writing, including writing advice that every writing student should know. After that, the reflective post Writing Horror is Scary Business would be second in line. Other popular posts include my four part Making of a Screenplay series,( Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4), my Tribute to My Son, and What Amazon’s New Review Policies Mean for Writing to be Read. More recently, my ten part series on publishing, Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Independent vs. Self-Publishing gave me the opportunity to interview some awesome names in the publishing industry: self-published authors, Jeff Bowels, Tim Baker and Art Rosch; traditionally published authors Stacia Deutsch and Mark Shaw; independently published author Jordan Elizabeth; and children’s author Nancy Oswald, who has published under all three models; as well as Caleb Seeling, owner of Conundrum Press and Curiosity Quills Press – with the final installment summarizing the conclusions made from those interviews. Snoopy Writing

Many of my posts were reflections of my own writing experience. These included: Why Writing is a Labor of LoveFear is a Writer’s Best FriendI’ve Come A Long Way, BabyWriting the Way That Works For YouCreating Story Equals Problem SolvingWhat’s A Nice Girl Like Me Doing Writing in a Genre Like This?; Acceptance or Rejection – Which Do You Prefer?; A Writer’s Life is No Bowel of Cherries; Write What You Know; Discouragement or Motivation?; What Ever Happened to Heather Hummingbird?; How You Can Help Build a Writer’s Platform; and Why Fiction is Better Than Fact.

2013-03-16 Ice Festival 014Sadly, I only attended two events that were reported on, on Writing to be Read in 2016 – the 2016 Ice Festival in Cripple Creek, and the 2016 Writing the Rockies Conference in Gunnison, Colorado. What can I say? I’m a starving writer. This is something I hope to improve on in 2017 by attending more events to report on. One possible addition to the 2017 list that I’m very excited to think about is the Crested Butte Film Festival. The details are not ironed out yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.Fear of Laughter

Screenwriting content included this past year seemed to be popular. In addition to my Making of a Screenplay series and Writing Horror is Scary BusinessWriting to be Read also featured Writing Comedy for Screen is a Risky Proposition, and a book review for Hollywood Game Plan, by  Carole Kirshner, which I can’t recommend highly enough for anyone desiring to break into the screenwriting trade. Robin’s Weekly Writing Memo also included several writing tips that could be applied equally to literature or screenwriting.

Another project I’m particularly proud of is my ten part series on publishing, Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Independent vs. Self-Publishing, which I just finished up last week. In this series I  interviewed nine professionals from within the industry to get the low down on the three different publishing models. My interviews included self-published authors Jeff Bowels, Tim Baker and Art Rosch, traditionally published authors Stacia Deutsch (children’s books) and Mark Shaw (nonfiction), and independently published YA author Jordan Elizabeth. To balance things out a bit, I also interviewed children’s author Nancy Oswald, who has published with all three models, Clare Dugmore of Curiosity Quills Press and Caleb Seeling, owner and publisher at Conundrum Press.

bottledOne of the great things about doing book reviews is that you get to read a lot of great books, in with the okay and not so great ones. In addition Simplified Writing 101, my five quill reviews in 2016 included Jordan Elizabeth’s Runners & Riders, Mark Shaw’s The Reporter Who Knew Too Much, Nancy Oswald’s Trouble Returns, Carol Riggs’ Bottled, Jeff Bowles’ Godling and Other Paint Stories, Janet Garber’s Dream Job, Art Rosch’s Confessions of an Honest Man, and Mark Todd and Kim Todd O’Connell’s Wild West Ghosts. I don’t give out five quills lightly and every one of these books are totally worthwhile reads.

Point Break 1Of course, not all books get a five quill rating. Other books I reviewed that I recommended with three quills or more include three short story anthologies: Chronology, Under a Brass Moon, and Cast No Shadows; two poetry collections: Suicide Hotline Hold Music by Jessy Randall and Walks Along the Ditch by Bill Trembley; Escape From Witchwood Hollow, Cogling, Treasure Darkly, The Goat Children, and Victorian by Jordan Elizabeth; Dark Places by Linda Ladd; Chosen to Die by Lisa Jackson; Wrinkles by Mian Mohsin Zia; Full Circle by Tim Baker; The 5820 Diaries by Chris Tucker; The Road Has Eyes: An RV, a Relationship, and a Wild Ride by Art Rosch; Hollywood Game Plan by Carol Kirschner; Keepers of the Forest by James McNally; 100 Ghost Soup by , and A Shot in the Dark by K.A. Stewart. I also did two movie reviews: Dead Pool and Point Break.

I feel very fortunate to have had Robin Conley join us with her Weekly Writing Memo and her guest movie reviews. The useful writing tips in her Weekly Writing Memos covered a wide range of topics including critiquing, using feedback, ways to increase tension, Relatability or Likeability?, 3 Types of Plot, story research, what to write, making your audience care, world building, handling feedback, writing relationships, establishing tone, editing, word choice, How to Start Writing, endings, queries, Parts of a Scene, making emotional connections, the influence of setting, Building a Story, Inciting Your Story, movement and dialog, Writing Truth, time, Overcoming the Blank Page, Networking, character names, theme, set up, cliches, parentheticals in screenwriting, horror inspiration, and Learning to WriteRobin’s guest post movie reviews included Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Batman vs. Superman, Miss Perigrin’s Home for Peculiar Children, and The Neon Demon13624744_10104024218870042_2001375168_n

I am thankful for Robin’s valuable content and am glad that she will still be contributing Memos on a monthly, rather than a weekly basis. Although I was sad to lose her weekly content, I am happy for her as she moves forward in her own writing career and I wish her well in her writing endeavors. For those of you who looked forward to her weekly posts, you can catch more of her content on her own blog, Author the World.

2016 was a great year for Writing to be Read, even if it was kind of rough for the author behind the blog. You readers helped to make it a good year and I thank you. Now it’s time to look ahead and see what’s in store for 2017 Writing to be Read. I mentioned some of the things I hope to achieve above: more posts pertaining to the screenwriting industry, and coverage of more events throughout the year are two of the goals I have set for my blog. I also plan to add some author, and hopefully, screenwriter profiles into the mix. I had good luck with author profiles during my Examiner days, and I think they will be well received here, as well.

I also hope to bring in some guests posts by various authors or bloggers, or maybe screenwriters, just to give you all a break from listening to me all the time. I believe Robin plans to continue with Monthly Writing Memos, which will be great, too.

I look forward to all the great books that I know are coming my way in 2017, too. The first reviews you have to look forward to are a short memoir, Banker Without Portfolio by Phillip Gbormittah, a YA paranormal romance, Don’t Wake Me Up by M.E.Rhines, a Rock Star romance, Bullet by Jade C. Jamison and a short story, How Smoke Got out of the Chimneys by DeAnna Knippling.

Happy New Year

I hope all of you will join me here in the coming year. Follow me on WordPress, or subscribe to e-mail for notifications of new posts delivered to your inbox. Have a great 2017 and HAPPY WRITING!


“Walks Along the Ditch” takes readers along on a walk through later life

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Walks Along the Ditch, by Bill Tremblay, is reflective poetry collection themed on the everyday awe found in nature and the world around us. Tremblay masterfully crafts simile and metaphor to form vivid word pictures that fill the mind’s eye and cause readers to contemplate the human condition and our natural environment, such as the vision he creates in his poem, Blue Heron.

“…It flaps its wings, one-thousand one,

one-thousand two, its pitch is changed,

its back-flaps open like Fred Astaire’s vest

on a mirrored floor. Settled, its crest

shaken out, the Ichabod steps slow

on his stalks with ganglionic grace

toward bull rushes gathering clouds

like a weaver at her shuttle, then

darting his long yellow chopsticks,

pulls a wriggling crawfish out,

cracking its shell, guzzling the meat

down its sink-catch throat…”

This collection of poems are calming and meditative, stirring new consideration of things familiar and known, but perhaps not often noticed. The artistry of his descriptions is no more apparent than in two lines from his poem, Before Dawn, “…Dawn light trills its piccolos. / Huge back ghosts become watermelon pink foothills…” It’s a new turn for Tremblay, whose moving narrative poetry of the past, such as The Magician’s Hat, a historical poetic collection around the life of Mexico’s muralist, David Alfaro Siqueiros, has commented on historical events, persons and eras. Walks Along the Ditch marks growth of Tremblay’s talent and takes his word craft to another plane.

I give Walks Along the Ditch four quills.         Four Quills3

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read, and she never charges for them. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


The Poetry of Jessy Randall Shows Us How to Laugh at Life

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Suicide Hotline Hold Music, by Colorado Springs poet, Jessy Randall, is a quirky collection of poetry and poetry comics which present a comic outlook on some life’s realities that makes the reader want to slap her forehead and exclaim, “Why didn’t I see that?!” Randall’s poems take on thier own unique individual forms, which utilize rhythm and emphasis to the fullest, giving her works a conversational tone, like an old friend pointing out oddities. In “A Different Kind of Stupid”, which was first published in Asimov’s, Randall gives us a fresh analysis of a well-known fairytale.

A Different Kind of Stupid

Rapunzel never compared the weight

of the witch and the prince. How dumb,

if she did. No, she was pregnant,

that’s how the witch found out.

 

So, a different kind of stupid, up there

in her tower. You could argue

she loved him, and sure, she may have,

but he was the only man she’d ever met.

What kind of love is that?

 

The stupidest thing of all is how the prince

left her up there, day after day. Some might say

he knew what he was doing, never bringing a rope.

 

This collection of poetry makes complicated issues seem simple and manageable. The poems allow us to laugh at ourselves and at life, reminding us of times forgotten and left behind. Their innocent nature reminds us of the people we once were.

I give Suicide Hotline Hold Music 3 Quills.          Three Quills3

 

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read and she never charges for them. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Hurry Up and Wait

My fingers fly across the keys
As fast as they can go.
I hit publish and wonder why
The Internet is so slow.

Hurry up and wait!
Hurry up and wait!
Seems that’s all I ever do.
If my computer would go faster
I’d already be through.

I watch the little hour-glass
That tells me it’s working hard
But nothing seems to happen
From what I’ve seen so far.

Hurry up and wait!
Hurry up and wait!
Seems that’s all I ever do.
If my computer would go faster
I’d already be through.

I have stories bouncing in my head
Just waiting to be written down.
My computer won’t go faster
No matter how I scowl and frown.

Hurry up and wait!
Hurry up and wait!
Seems that’s all I ever do.
If my computer would go faster
I’d already be through.

Copyright ©2009 Kaye Lynne Booth

I published this on the old blog in 2009. Just thought I’d reprint it today to share with my new readers. Hope you like it.


What’s in a Poem?

When this blog was on the Today.com site, as I’ve mentioned before, I published a poem at the end of every post. In “Poetry Worth Noting” I reposted two poems written by others that I had posted on the old blog site, which received several views, making me think that perhaps the poetry is something that my readers might have an interest in. So, in this post, I will publish two of my own poems and tell you a little about the stories behind them. Please leave comments to let me know if this is something that you would like to see more of here, on Writing to be Read.

The first is called Voices and it really has a lot to do with the point where I really began to feel like a writer. I was preparing for the 2008 Fremont County Writers’ and Artists’ Fair. I had a table at the fair, but I had no book to sell, so I was putting each of my poems on an illustrated background for display. While looking for a suitable background for this particular poem, I discovered a painting, by artist Mitch Barrett, of the same name. I contacted the artist and obtain copyright permission to use his painting as the background for my poem. This was all very exciting for me for several reasons. First, the painting fit absolutely perfect with the content of the poem, with a central head, surrounded by faces that all seemed to be screaming at him. Second, this was the first time that I had every participated in any type of writing function, and I was beginning to feel like a “real” writer. And third, Mitch Barrett lives in England, and that is where he called me from. I was thrilled that this man would go out of his way to make an international call to me and grant me permission to use his work!

Voices

Is what I hear voices from above?
Or are they the voices of foolish love?

Sometimes they tell me to open my eyes,
And not believe your blatant lies.
Sometimes they tell me to forgive all.
At times they warn that I’m about to fall.

Sometimes they whisper, so I can barely hear.
Other times, they are so near
That it sounds as if they’re shouting in my head.
Sometimes they caution; I could end up dead.

They tell me I’m heading for dangerous ground,
Or tell me I shouldn’t have you around.
Sometimes they say I’m headed straight for the top.
Other times, they scream that I must stop.

They urge me to go faster,
Then they say slow way down.
They seem to speak most
When there’s no one around.

They tell me to do what I feel is right,
But then they say that it’s not worth the fight.
When I feel that my heart is shattered glass,
They say that I’d better get off my ass.

They that I might just think for a bit,
But they never allow me to give up or quit.
I listen, sometimes long into the night,
And they always say that I must do what is right.

They push me one way, then pull another.
Sometimes they sound just like my mother.
Often, I wonder if they’re from my past.
Sometimes, I long for silence at last.

Is what I hear voices from above?
Or are they the voices of foolish love?      

Background Painting by Mitch Barrett, Poetry by Kaye Lynne Booth

                                

The second poem that I would like to include here, came about because of Voices and that first initial contact with Mitch Barrett. Not long after the fair, Mitch contacted me about some paintings he was working on that he wanted to display with poetry, and he asked me to see what I could come up with to go with them. He explained what he was trying to do in the painting and sent me sketches of what the intended works would look like. This past summer, his painting, Intimacy went on display at the Kaleidoscope Gallery at Battle Sea Park, in London, featuring my poem, Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance. Just recently, the painting sold, which thrilled me to no end. It now has a home in Milan, I am told. It is a great painting, with my poetry, and there has been interest expressed by gallery owners of exhibiting more artwork/poetry combinations, so I may be collaborating with this talented artist again in the future.

Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance
By Kaye Lynne Booth

We dance through the masquerade of life
Disguised to fit the music
Of so many different melodies
That at times, we forget which tune
Holds the heartstrings of who we really are.

Then one day, we find the perfect dance partner,
But to attain the perfect rhythm
We must open ourselves up and reveal our souls.
Intimacy requires that we relinquish the mask
To expose the genuine self that lies beneath.

After all the years of dancing to false tunes
Will we be able to keep time
To the genuine dance and the original rhyme?
Or shall we don the mask once more and continue to
Keep time to the false melody of the Harlequin dance?

Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance

Painting by Mitch Barrett, Poetry by Kaye Lynne Booth


We Miss You

Two years ago today
You left us in this place
To carry on without you
Never again to see your face

You left all of those who loved you
We all miss you every day
We see you now in pictures
And wish that you had stayed

She was just one girl of many
And we know you loved her so
We know she hurt you terribly
But you didn’t have to go

We could have helped you work through
All the pain she caused for you
You built your world around her
And felt no one else would ever do

We wish you’d given us the chance
To help ease your suffering then
To comfort your poor wounded soul
And prove that it could mend

You’re in our thoughts each and every day
We long to hold you once again
You were our cherished son and you
Were much too young for life to end

Beloved Son

Michael Daniel Lee Booth


Hello readers!

Originally, Writing to be Read was a blog on Today.com. If you are a reader looking for that blog, you have come to the right place. I went to publish a post one day and found the whole site was gone. Not just my blog, but the whole blogging network, had disappeared into the unexplored realms of cyberspace. So this is the new home of Writing to be Read and I am pleased that you have found your way here. If you are not a former reader, but new to my blog, then I am equally pleased. I hope that you will enjoy what you read her, perhaps even find it informative, and visit again and again. For my first post, here on WordPress, I thought I would re-post my favorite blog from the other site, not just because I am fond of it, but also because I feel that it was one of my best, so it is a good way to begin here at this new blog site. If you are a former reader that has already read this post, I can only hope that it was one of your favorites, too. And so, without futher ado…

Learning to Listen to My Muse

            Muse: taken from the Greek word, meaning a spirit or power watching over artists, poets, and musicians.   Today, it is generally used to refer simply to the power of inspiration.  In this respect, every creative mind has a muse, each taking a different form or even a distinctly individual personality.  I know mine does.

            Perhaps because of the mythological origins of the word, which actually referred to nine Greek Goddesses that acted as protectors for artists, or maybe it’s just because I am a woman and I believe that the personality of the muse takes on aspects of the mistress or master, but I always think of my muse as being female.  At the rate that Stephen King produces books, I would think that his muse must message him daily and cook, clean and take care of all menial chores, so that he can concentrate on creating best sellers.  Not mine, however.  Although I think that my muse really does try to be a good muse, playfully teasing in attempts to improve my mood when I’m down, pointing out things that she thinks might inspire me, trying desperately to cajole me into concentrating on the work at hand instead of a million other distractions, it always seems that when I need her the most, she is no where to be found.

            It is at those times when I need to write, because I have a deadline to meet, or just because I’m stuck and need to move the story forward before frustration causes me to throw up my hands in despair, that I really need my muse.  She disappeared for awhile after the death of my son, after nothing she could think to do would cheer me, but then she came up with a way to get me writing, like any good muse would, and she came back with the throttle open, doling out inspiration by the bucketful, by planting the idea that it was good to express my feelings of grief on paper.  Grief, I had plenty of and man, did I write.

            The past couple of weeks we have been busily moving into our new home, and I haven’t taken time to sit and write like I should.  As I busied myself unpacking and cleaning everything that we have had in storage for almost five years, I didn’t really pay attention as my muse tried to amuse and draw my attention to the keyboard.  Last week, when I finally got around to trying to write my blog entry, I found her sulking in the corner, with injured pride, unwilling to assist in inspiring, like a pouting child.  Today, as I prepared to sit down before the keyboard, I couldn’t help but notice the heaviness left by her total absence.  I looked high and low.  I looked here and there, but I couldn’t find her anywhere.  Finally, I gave up on trying to write and took a drive up to Lake DeWeese with my husband. 

            When we arrived at the lake, what did I find, but my muse sitting on a rock at the base of the dam. The sound of the water pounding over the top and down behind her only fueled my anger at her perceived abandonment of me.  I slashed my way through the bushes, unmindful of the sticker bushes intermingled with the willows that grabbed for the flesh of my legs.  Just before I reached her, slopping through the marshy muck, she looked up to reveal eyes full of hurt and a tear streaked cheek.  Like a slap in the face, the revelation hit me.  My muse was not acting like a rebellious child, but simply finding solitude to lick her wounds.  Wounds that I had inflicted by ignoring her, as she had danced around, trying to get my attention.  She hadn’t run away, and she wasn’t hiding.  I had chased her away.  I immediately apologized and asked her to come home.  She smiled, and pointed to a hawk, sailing on the wind currents above our heads, then pointed to a pair of geese that were sunning on the bank downstream.  All was forgiven.  My muse danced off over the water to stand in the middle of the river at the base of the dam, where no human being would be able to stay upright in the water at this height.  She spread her arms open toward the sky, the water pounding down upon her from the overflow as if to say, “I’m right here and I’m free.  All you need do, is to listen to me.”     

My Muse

My muse is always trying to inspire in every way.

She dances and sticks out her tongue, enticing me to play.

She knows just what inspires me

And she tries to make me see

A world that’s filled with beauty, everywhere I go.

Inspiration is all around, my muse does surely know.

On days when I am feeling down or am busy as can be

I don’t always take the time to see what she wants me to see.

By the time I’m ready to be inspired,

Of this game, she has grown tired.

She may be sulking in the corner, or in the other room

Seeking inspiration, she might be staring at the moon.

Listening to my muse is the wisest choice, I’ve learned.

She knows how to stir the inspiration, that within me burns.

The miracles of nature; a flower or a bird

Are brought to my attention, but she never says a word.

She shows me how the morning dew, on the grass does glisten

She fills my head with great ideas, if I will only listen.

Copyright ©2009  Kaye Lynne Booth