Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Me, in a Video!

A Haiku Kind of Day

Playing catch up today with my haiku. Hope you enjoy!

Day 11: 

Warmth seeps--cold’s despite.
Lonely trees lean to touch a
Fleeing, fading light.

Day 12:

Destroying cyclone 
Rustles leaves who now speak of
loneliness, alone. ‪

Day 13:

Safety’s illusion.
Safety exists not here; only
Beyond reality.

Day 14:

A swirling golden
Spiral of mathematic
Sums--imprints of God.

Day 15:

Quench my thirst. Let thy
Searing fire seal my cold heart,
And destroy the cold.

Day 16:

Enraptured I sit
To listen to his stories
Persuading and dull.

Day 17:

Dense fog surrounds the
Dispersing light and hides its
Countenance slyly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Giveaway: Thundersnow AudioBook

Thundersnow, In the Shadow of the Cedar, Book One, is now on audio and I have free copies to give away! If you'd like one, please go to my author page for Sheila Hollinghead and leave a comment. Or you can contact me directly at sheila hollinghead @ yahoo . com (NO SPACES). The first ten who contact me will receive a free copy! After you listen to Thundersnow, narrated by Sarah Rogers, please consider leaving a review. 

Sarah Rogers did a great job on the narration! I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rootless Branch Title Change and Haiku

I have not yet begun the writing of Rootless Branch. I planned to begin yesterday but life interrupted me. 

My philosophy has been, for a few years now, not to let anything, except the direst of circumstances, get in the way of my writing--to place my writing on the front burner and let other things simmer in the background. 

Normally, even minor illnesses do not keep me from writing. Headache--keep going; arthritic pain--change position but keep writing; backache--grab the heating pad and keep writing.

It's so easy, at least for me, to let minor aches and pains keep me from accomplishing the things I need to. So, for the most part, I ignore them. For the last couple of weeks I've had a severe cold/sinus infection/(perhaps) bronchitis/crud. And I'm still struggling to recover. Physically I feel better but my mind hasn't decided that I feel well enough to dive into a book. 

As I mentioned the other day, I like to plan my story by dividing it into three sections. To simplify, I call these sections the beginning, the middle, and the end. (Profound, I know!) Once I put pen to paper (in actuality, fingers to keyboard), I strive to finish the entire section (say the beginning) in a writing sprint that usually lasts about a week, sometimes more depending on the final book length. So although I might feel well enough today, I suppose I fear I don't have the stamina to finish the entire section. Usually this first draft is 15,000 to 20,000 words. For this new series, I prefer keeping the first draft of each section under 15,000 words. I tend to write the exciting parts. leaving out description and transitional scenes on the first go round. Fewer words allows me to go back and flesh out the scenes and add new scenes where needed. 

We have been having rainy, dreary days for a while now. The sun is supposed to put in an appearance today and perhaps I'll feel better mentally.

Another thing I've been contemplating is the title of the book. "Rootless" sounds too much like "ruthless" to my ears. Perhaps it would be best for book 2 to be re-titled Grafted Branch and book 3 will stay Broken Branch. These first three books will make up one complete story, A Tree's Response, when I'm finished. 

This is a dilemma for me because I know readers see the book with a certain title and later the title changes, confusing them. I don't want to create confusion. I do a good enough job confusing myself! So now a change in title means a new book cover for book 2. Look for it soon--perhaps today.

I'm playing Haiku catch-up today. 

Day 8:
Sanitized to death.
For fear of death wash and scrub
Till nothing is left.

Day 9:
Hold in, hold on to
Unholdable scarlet wine.
Hold to nothingness.

Day 10:
Dragon breathes upon 
The night, warming the marrow 
of aching dull bones.

5:47 pm--Here's the cover for my work-in-progress with the new title, Grafted Branch

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Today's Haiku and New Audio Book and Paperback!

For those who like to hold a book with pages in their hands, Frail Branch is now available in paperback. Here's the link: Frail Branch

And for those who like to listen to books, Thundersnow is now in audio form, available here: Audio version of Thundersnow

My next book, Rootless Branch, is still in the "prep" stage, but I hope to begin the actual writing either tomorrow or Monday. 

Today's Haiku:

To swirl seeds and shells,
Hurricanes and galaxies,
With such perfect ease.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Historical Facts and Today's Haiku

                   Historical Facts, July 8th - 12th, 1946
Jul 8th - Baseball grants $5,000 minimum salary
Jul 9th - 13th All Star Baseball Game: AL wins 12-0 at Fenway Park, Boston
Jul 11th - Kingman Douglass ends term as deputy director of CIA
Jul 12th - Vance Dinges hits only Phillie pinch hit inside-the-park HR

Today's Haiku--Day 5

Searing pain swerves
life’s path, changing forever--
Changing lives, uprooting plans.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Office

I discussed my office, and I use the term loosely, yesterday. Offices of writers are of endless fascination to me--I suppose because of my own hunt for that elusive perfect one. I've tried in the past to create the perfect spot in which to write. Health issues make it difficult for me to sit or stand for long periods of time.

I think I've found something that works for me. Here are some pictures of the area I work in. 
Recently I've started  using two laptops--one for my online work and one I only use offline now.

Tables surround me--one large one and two small folding tables. I'm able to fit pretty much everything I need within arm's reach. As I mentioned yesterday, two blackboards adorn the walls. 

This gives you a better view than the picture I shared yesterday. It's great for keeping me straight on my timelines--most of the time! 

The smaller blackboard is used to write myself reminders. Yep ... format is still waiting for me. Maybe it'll get erased tomorrow. 
And so it's not a beautiful office but a functional one that serves me well. 

Haiku and Historical Facts and Fashion

The Southern Pines Mystery series begins in July of 1946. Many things of interest happened in that year that I thought worth sharing.

Historical Facts, July 1st - 6th, 1946

July 1st: US drops atom bomb on Bikini atoll
July 4th - Anti Jewish riots in Kielce Poland and 42 die
July 5th - Louis Reard's bikini swimsuit design debuts at Paris fashion show
July 6th - "St Louis Woman" closes at Martin Beck Theater NYC after 113 performances

Interestingly, Louis Reard named his swimsuit after the Bikini atoll. Not surprisingly, the bikini was a success at its debut, especially among the men. Read more about it here.

Most swimsuits in the 1940s looked like this: 

That's our history and fashion lesson for the day!

Haiku, Days 3 and 4

Day 3
Success or failure,
Release me from my comfort
To offer my life.

Day 4
To dream, to dream of
Solutions to one’s problems
To awake knowing.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What I Need When I Write (Need or Want?)

So the question has been asked--"Sheila, what do you need when you write?"

To answer truthfully, this: 
I think the questioner probably wants a bit more detail. A writing implement is a necessity, but I do have a preferred brand. This is the pen that fits my hand and my needs best:
It's a Pilot G-2, 1.0, with a rubber grip. I do not write with a 0.7, or horrors!, a 0.5. Ew--the scratchiness instead of the nice glide, almost frictionless, of the pen against the paper, laying down a nice, thick word, so we don't have to squint to decipher it. 

But no, I do not write my books in the old-fashioned way. Instead I use this: 

This is my beloved Toshiba who has had a nasty infection. Hopefully, it (she? he?) is now cured. I'm still working on bringing my laptop back up to par but we'll get there eventually.

And although I use my laptop to type out my books, I still do the plotting and idea gathering the old-fashioned way with pen and notebook. I bought a bunch of small journals from the dollar store. Here are a few of them: 
Cute notebooks for only a few dollars! I jot down characters, scenes, inspirational quotes, prayers, timelines, along with anything else pertaining to the book. I've learned to have a notebook for the next book in the series while I work on my current work-in-progress. I'll often have ideas for the next book and can go ahead and jot them down before I forget.

Notice the labels in the middle notebook. The other day my husband took me on a dream shopping trip--into Office Depot! I had to reign in my impulse buying but still found some things I had to have. Here's a close-up of the labels:
 This is the notebook for Rootless Branch. You can see I already have a list of characters and scenes for Part One. It's a handy way of flipping to the right page of the notebook when I'm searching for something in particular. Here's a picture of the labels and you can see they're attached to paperclips! How cool is that? 
Also, while in Office Depot, I splurged on this multi-colored pen collection. Do I need it? Nah. Do I like it? You bet. 
These pens are good for underlining or highlighting something I think is of importance in my notebooks--not for writing! (I write with the Pilot G-2, 1.0, in case your forgot. :))

There are a few other things I find useful. I have two blackboards in my office, one large and one small. 
The large one is to work out complicated scenes or to keep my timeline straight. On the smaller one I jot down notes to myself. One note is there today--Format. I'm reminding myself that I must finish formatting Frail Branch for CreateSpace. 

So, what else do I need to write? I can think of one more thing. This is kind of an OCD or a ritual I do before I open my laptop to begin my day's work (and then several times a day thereafter). 
Oh, wait! One more thing--a place to sit. As I type these words, I'm in a rocker on my front porch, enjoying the breeze. Most of the time, I work inside and have a comfortable recliner--even if it is old and cat scratched. Here it is (don't be too envious!):

And I'm sure that's more than the questioner wanted to know. There is one more thing, but it almost goes without saying: 

Have a nice day!

Monday, November 2, 2015

NANO, Illness, Haiku, and Comfort Books

The other day I shared a quote on Facebook, and a friend said it was almost a haiku. I rewrote it as one and here it is:

Assaults on trees form
The knots of imperfection
Where beauty resides.

I'm not an expert on haiku. However, like most, my English teachers had us try our hand at these. Poetry has always spoken to me. As a lover of words, alliteration, symbolism, and rhythm and rhyme all please my ear. 

For those not familiar with haiku, from my understanding, there's a contrast between two opposing ideas. In the case above, the ugliness of the assaults resulting in the knots reveal beauty in the lumber. The form is simple: the first and last line contain five syllables and the middle line seven.

So, I had an idea. I thought I'd try my hand at writing some haiku for fun. Here's mine for today:

Green persimmons hide
Inside-out bitterness to
Teach abiding truths.

And on another note, NANO started yesterday. I'd planned to begin with the other 300,000 plus writers who are participating. There's something about knowing others are doing this that helps energize. Unfortunately I've been sick--going-to-bed-to-toss-and-turn-all-day-with-fever-hacking-cough-nausea sick. I am better and actually sitting up in my recliner! However, I'm still not ready to tackle any serious writing.

As y'all know, I've turned my focus slightly. I'm still writing historical fiction, set in the 1940s, but in the cozy mystery genre. The working out of the plot takes mental stamina that I'm still short on right now. This is not to say I won't do NANO--I'll just get a late start, maybe next week depending on how I progress.

I switched to cozy mysteries because it's my favorite genre. When my brain is dead tired, I can read Agatha Christie--her best works because truly some of her books should never have been published. An Agatha Christie mystery is my go-to comfort book

Recently, a friend loaned me a few "The Cat Who" books by Lilian Jackson Braun. I finished the first and enjoyed it. Starting in on my second today--taking another sick day and searching for comfort where I can find it!