Excitement filled the air on Saturday night, June 11, 2011, at the 47th Georgia Author of the Year Awards Ceremony at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia
I was among the twelve authors nominated in the fiction category for the top prize in Georgia. It was not only
a competition, but a celebration of the written word.
My goal is to work as hard as possible for recognition as writer of quality fiction and introduce my books to
a wide readership. Each day I work to achieve these goals.
Saturday night was an excellent opportunity as I watched the cover of Ghost of Atlanta flash up on the hugh message board that dominated the event center. I was able to market my book and enjoy the evening. Would I have l liked to have won the honor? Of course! But that was not the only goal or my major goal for being at the event. This was a chance for me to stop, take a deep breath and just enjoy what I’ve been able
to accomplish with the help of God Almighty.
I felt so good that Dennis DeRose, the editor of my three books, and his wife Carla made the trip from Middletown, New York to celebrate with me. Also my friend in writing, Dr. Clara Abron, came along with her brother to the awards ceremony. On Friday Night, I was a little nervous and I posted on facebook and Linkedin how I felt. I was really touched with the responses of so many people. I want to say “Thank You!”
When National Award winning author Terry Kay, who received the Lifetime Achievement award, looked me in the eye after the event and said, “Keep Those Words flowing”, those words meant so much to me.
After A Brownstone in Brooklyn was published in 2001. I needed somebody to give my book an endorsementand Kay wrote a short review for me. He didn’t have to do this, but he did and it has been a big boost to my career. Kay wrote: This is a bold, heart-felt work, certainly worthy of those fortunate enough to discover it in their quest for both interest and pleasure in their reading.”
As authors, editors, readers and people who love the written word, we have to support each other. This is a
lonely business and when we do get together at an event like the Georgia Author of the year Awards, it’s should be a celebration.
God Bless everybody in their quest to achieve their dreams and goals!
Sitting at your computer with a cup of coffee ready to write that first draft of your next novel…
Authors need a regular routine when they sit at the computer and prepare to write! When you’re in a creative mood, you must follow a set of actions that will lead to the production of dynamic writing.
When I sit in the chair at my computer, I slip into a writing zone. I don’t want any distractions.
First, I click on the Purple Phantoms icon on the desktop that opens the word document that transports me to the world of my fourth novel. I pick up from where I left off on my previous writing excursion into the world of the haunted high school basketball team. I have everything in reach–Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Elements of Style –and my folders with character ideas, setting, etc.
Then the writing process begins: Sit down in front of the computer, stare at the blank screen, then put words on that screen. Some days the words flow and other days they trickle at a slow pace. The point—put words on the screen.
Author C. J. Cherryh said it best: “Write Garbage, Edit Brilliantly.”
Sitting in front of my computer slapping my head from side to side…
Finding an agent is so difficult that at times you want to slap your head from side to side and commit physical harm to your body. Maybe, if I slap hard enough my brain will work in overdrive to figure out a way to make agents interested in my third novel.
What a process!
I have three published novels, 2007 and 2011 Georgia of the Year nominations, been a presenter at the 2009 AJC-Decatur Book Festival in Atlanta, and the 2010 Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’m a creative writing instructor at Evening and Emory in Atlanta, Georiga.
I work hard at writing my novels and I’m extremely dedicated in marketing my novels. However, frustration sets in at times and erodes my enthusiasm.
I read on agent Linda Roghaar’s website a comment that is an aspirin that eases the pain: “Don’t take rejection personally. More often than not a rejection is not about your writing; rather it’s that you’ve gotten it to the wrong person at the wrong time. Look at the package critically and send it out to another.”
Yet the agent front is silent for me…totally void of a positive response.
I’ve followed all the rules, my three published books, with Ghost of Atlanta on the book shelves of Barnes & Nobles, are well received and have garnered honors and recognition, but I keep getting the following form letter:
Thank you so much for sending the (Blank) Literary Agency your query. We’d like to apologize for the impersonal nature of this standard rejection letter. Rest assured that we do read every query letter carefully and, unfortunately, this project is not right for us. Because this business is so subjective and opinions vary widely, we recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one “yes” to
find the right match.
Good luck with all your publishing endeavors.
Well, I’ll just keep sending out query letters and hopefully I’ll find that one agent who will say “Yes.”
Ooh…my head is still hurting from my palms constantly slapping my head from side to side!
For Twelve years, I lived and breathed the Julius Thompson Trilogy: A Brownstone In Brooklyn, Philly Style and Philly Profile and Ghost of Atlanta.
It was a wonderful journey with a character, Andy Michael Pilgrim, that covered a thirty year time frame.
I traveled from Miami, Florida to New York City promoting the books, meeting new people, establishing a loyal fan base and marketing my novels.
I survived a Hurricane that smashed the Washington, D.C. area a few years ago. It kept me from promoting my books in Baltimore, but I went to New York City that same weekend and made some major publishing contacts.
And now with Ghost of Atlanta scheduled for release in January 2011, it’s time to move onto the next phase of my writing career.
Twelve years is a big chunk of my life. Now, I will close the door on the adventures of Andy Michael Pilgrim.
Now, it’s time to move onto Book Four: Purple Phantoms. The story of the haunting of a high school basketball team.
They were five marauders, seeking to find an athletic home. It would be a place for ghosts to…
Sometimes when I enter my writing area, in a corner of my office, it seems that words will not come and the critic inside me attacks my creativity with a constant bombardment of negative thoughts.
Finally, I sit down, strike the letters on the keyboard and let the words energize each other as they create vivid word pictures that become vibrant mental images for my readers. I’m on my writing schedule and I believe in myself.
I wasn’t always this confident in my writing ability. I listened to the “rules police” or “peer critics” and didn’t believe enough to even look inside myself to write. I was scared at one time in my life, many years ago, in the turbulent sixties.
What developed confidence in my writing ability occurred on a faithful fall day when I was a junior at Bushwick High School in Brooklyn, New York.
I was scared to express any thoughts, any opinions, and had trouble looking people in the eye. Self-Esteem and self-confidence was acking in my personality.
I knew I had this ability to write, but the motivation and confidence was zero. I was in my second year, at Bushwick, after moving from Statham, Georgia, population 300 and segregated, to Brooklyn, population 3,000,000 and integrated. I got up enough nerve to ask my English teacher and studentcouncil/general organization sponsor, Miss Egan, the question. If the answer was negative, all my hopes and dreams of becoming the next great writer would be dashed.
I knocked hard on the door to her office, entered, and asked her, “Can I be a writer?”
She stared at me for a few seconds and then said, “Do it.”
I haven’t looked back.
I wrote articles for The New York Times, The Philadelphia Bulletin (National Award Winning Sports Writer), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Associated Press, Sports Scene, Parade Magazines, Georgia Author of the Year Nominee and now with two published novels and a third ready for publication.
Not bad for a scared little kid from a small town in Georgia. I’m telling you like my high school English teacher, Miss Egan told me, “Do it!”