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Archive for the ‘Quotable Wednesday’ Category

denise laughing “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne

I said goodbye to a dear friend less than a week ago. Not a fare-thee-well because she was moving to the midwest — though she’d done that about a year ago. Not a see-you-soon because she was going on a trip to a distant land for several years — though she’d done that decades ago when she taught in Japan. Not a see you next year on vacation at Lost River State Park (if not sooner) — though I’d done that nearly 60 times. Not even a thanks for letting me stay at your place, but I need to get to the writing conference on time so-long — though I had spent a night with her when she lived in Virginia before going to a writing conference. No, I said goodbye until I see you in heaven.

Some of you reading this might not believe in heaven — but I do, and so did my friend. So when I thanked her for being such a good friend for over 50 years, and told her I’d miss her for the rest of my life until we met again — for me, and for her, it was true — we will meet again.

Which brings me back to the opening quote from A.A. Milne — for me, and those of you who have wonderful people in their lives — how lucky and blessed we are to have had friends, partners, and family whom we care about so much that it hurts to say goodbye.

And so, in honor of Denise, I will end, as I began — with a quote from A.A. Milne:

“‘We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”

 

 

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January 3rd is J. R. R. Tolkien’s birthday. Yes, yes, I know that is tomorrow–but if you are to celebrate properly, you must prepare.

I say, look for a birthday tree and make certain to sit beneath it on January 3rd with The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, or another book by Tolkien. Read a chapter or two, and allow the magic of Middle-earth to brighten this everyday world for a few minutes. Laugh at Bilbo’s reluctance to embrace adventure. Smile at the antics of Pip and Merry. Wish for a friend as faithful as Sam.

I recently read an interesting post at The Writing Cooperative about Tolkien by Hunter Liguore, The Tolkien Toast, which you might enjoy.

So when tomorrow arrives, lift a glass to one of the giants of fantasy literature–for as Tolkien wrote: “It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”

 

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152 “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” – Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon’s statement is true for all of us (regardless of gender). Opportunity does come knocking occasionally, and sometimes chances for success appear serendipitously in our inboxes, but more likely we must create our opportunities.

As a writer, I can sit back and wait for editors of anthologies to ask for my stories – which is lovely when it happens, but still a rare privilege for me. Or I can research markets, locate opportunities, and either write a new story for an antho or check my files for an appropriately themed piece of fiction to send.

I can check my email and phone messages for bloggers and reporters begging for an interview or a feature, or I can get online and look for blogs which might be a good fit for me and my book/books. Then, I can write a query letter and go through the process to “land” an interview, guest blog slot, or feature.

I can sit on my sofa and wait for a bookstore manager to contact me for a book signing, or I call the bookstore, find when the manager has a moment to chat, stop by, and see if a book signing (whether individual or with a group of other authors) is something we can make happen.

I can slump in an armchair and moan because lots of writing conference organizers aren’t calling me to appear and lead workshops, or I can contact the people in charge of writing conferences and ask about the process for presenting a program at their next conference.

I can sigh loudly and lean my chin on my hand while gazing out the window wondering why more science-fiction/fantasy cons are not inviting me to be a panelist or I can find out who is inviting guest authors/editors to various sf/f/h cons and learn what I have to do to get an invite.

You get the idea. I need to make opportunities, not wait for that lucky break. And though I’ve written this post from a writer’s point of view, it applies to most goals which require someone to open a door for you.

So readers, think about how you can make opportunities to reach your goals. And though I wish you good luck — don’t rely on luck, rely on yourself and hard work!

(And if you are interested in interviewing me, featuring me or my books, or having me post a guest post on your blog – let me know. If you are a conference or con organizer and want me to participate – contact me. Just practicing what I preach, and trying to make my own opportunities!) 🙂

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“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” – Shannon Hale, author of The Princess Academy and lots of other books.

Great quote by Shannon Hale which reminds writers what a first draft is really like — nothing but a bunch of sand in a box! It’s the rewrites and revisions that take the sand and compress it, shape it, and add a little magic to it. Then, you have your story (or book).

Shoveling sand is where I am on several projects. I don’t mind the shoveling or knowing I’ll be spending lots of time trying to make a castle out of the raw ingredients. It’s all part of the journey.

Today, was a good day. I discovered 2 books which will aid in my research. Both are terribly expensive, but I think they’re worth the cash. I also managed to jot some notes down which will end up in a manuscript. And then there’s the story which I’ve been trying to build — it seems to have a mind of its own. Not such a helpful thing when the story needs to fit in a themed anthology. It feels like every time I get a castle nearing completion, a wave knocks it down and I must start again.

So to my writer friends out there, have a great day, whether you’re shoveling sand or building castles.

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Usually on Wednesdays I post one quote, or maybe a few, if I’m so inspired. Today, I give you a link to a Literary Advent Calendar and a snippet of a poem instead. By visiting the calendar each day, you can read a poem or lyrics or some other seasonally appropriate quote – even if I don’t post something.

This time of year is filled with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, family, and friends – so I can’t promise to faithfully attend to my blog. Though I will try.

Today, I will post the first stanza of one of my favorite Christmas hymns, In the Bleak Midwinter, based on a Christina Rossetti poem written in 1872 (or earlier), which was given a melody in 1906 by Gustav Holst :

“In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago…”

along with a link to Bookriot’s Literary Advent Calendar. Enjoy!

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794 Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley was one of the scariest poems read to me as a child. Perhaps its dire warnings and promises of goblins lurking near helped me behave when I was young. Or perhaps they influenced me to write dark stories when grew older.

I remember decades ago, at the annual Halloween poetry reading held for years at Liriodendron Mansion in Bel Air, Maryland, members of the Harford Poetry Society and others would turn the lights down low, light a candle, and read in unison Little Orphant Annie. One year while reading the poem, with no windows open and no living person nearby, the candle’s flame wavered and went out when we reached “A-listening to the witch tales that Annie tells about…”

Here for your reading pleasure, in anticipation of Halloween, is today’s quote, Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley.

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On Back to the Future Day, I’ll share my favorite Marty McFly quote: “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

In my opinion, that goes for art, writing, and life. Enough said!

So turn on your VCR or DVD player, or find a Back to the Future movie on Netflix or Amazon, and watch one of these fun movies from the past (or future depending on which Back to the Future you choose).

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IMG_1833 Halloween, the day when ghostly and ghastly thoughts swirl about like an autumn wind, is 17 days away.  A week ago, October 7th, was the 166th anniversary of Poe’s death in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. So naturally, I chose an Edgar Allen Poe quote for today.

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins.” – Edgar Allan Poe in The Premature Burial.

What a perfect quote for this pre-Day of the Dead time. In the era of The Walking Dead, Ghost Hunters, Twilight, and other undead delights. For fans of the undead, two of my zombie-ghost tales are currently available in new books. “The Return of Gunnar Kettilson” can be found in the beautifully-bound Gothic fantasy collection, Chilling Ghost Short Stories from United Kingdom’s Flame Tree Publishing. And from the USA’s Alban Lake Publishing, Potter’s Field 5 – Tales from Unmarked Graves, contains my story “Snowbroth.” (Also available on Kindle).

For Poe fans, here are some other EA Poe quotes: 30 Thoughtful Quotes from Edgar Allan Poe.

And don’t forget, I’ll be at HallowRead October 23 presenting a workshop on Anthologies at 1 PM, and on October 24 I’ll be participating on various spooky, dark panels.  Plus, I’ll be happy to sell and/or sign my books and talk to fans of dark fantasy and horror.

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Here are three marvelous quotes from English writer, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland. Aren’t we all? Maybe not in the extreme way Alice changes, but we all change a little bit day to day. Before long, we’re a different person than the one that existed a short time ago.

The next quote is the best advice I can give to someone starting out writing fiction. ‘ “Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”‘ – Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland.  And that, readers, is the key to storytelling!

Lastly, a quote which reflects the way I see the world, and I suspect many writers of speculative fiction see the world. “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland. And I hope for those of you who still possess the heart of a child, that you, too, can believe six impossible things before breakfast.

Here’s the link to an interesting article on Lewis Carroll and his Alice in Wonderland books from National Geographic. Enjoy!

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“Map out your future – but do it in pencil. The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip.” – Jon Bon Jovi

Yes, I am a Bon Jovi fan! And I love this quote. Maybe it’s because I use a pencil to sketch out my art before I use more permanent media like ink or paint. But I think I also love it, because I know that the future is very fluid, and even if we guess one thing right – in all likelihood, we’ll get a lot of other things wrong.

A fun article about predicting part of the future right by using Victorian postcards (but not all of it), appeared on Wired. Thanks to Ted Weber on the Baltimore Science Fiction Society’s Facebook page for pointing me towards: Here’s How People 100 Years Ago Thought We’d Be Living Today by Greg Miller.

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