Archive for August, 2013

The acceptance of flaws.

There is no such thing as perfection; not in nature, not in science, and certainly not in art. Everything that exists in our reality is flawed. Even the most elegant of designs exists in a universe where, sooner or later, one must accept the concept of “good enough.”

I know that is a hard pill for any of us to swallow, but it is the truth. No matter how beautiful your child is, it is not nor will it ever be perfect. No matter how many times you go over your house with that white glove, there will always be dirt. And no matter how many times I re-edit my books for redistribution, there will always be mistakes.

And that’s Okay. Sometimes the sum of who we are can be measured more accurately in our failures. I wouldn’t want to be perfect. How boring would that be? Anyone will tell you the best characters in a book are flawed. They have prejudices and preconceived notions. They have unreasonable expectations. They are inappropriate. They are self righteous. In a word they are interesting.

I will always have too many commas in my stories. I will always incorrectly use words that sound the same but have a different meanings than what was intended in the sentence. I will always use big words, even unnecessarily. These flaws are inherent in my writing style . Editors get a lot of them, but they’re not perfect either. We work together to tackle enough flaws to keep the reader from being derailed in enjoying the story.

Last time I checked, that was pretty much the whole point.

I seriously can ‘t make this up…

DARLINGTON — An Argyle man who helped kill his three young nephews in a house fire last September did not receive the maximum sentences Thursday and has just a sliver of a chance of not spending the rest of his life in prison.

Jeremy Wand, 19, was sentenced to three life terms to be served concurrently and with eligibility for parole after 35 years for deliberately starting fires in a house that killed Allen Wand, 7; Jeffery Wand, 5; and Joseph Wand, 3.

“I hope not to see anything that could be worse than this,” Green County Circuit Judge Thomas Vale told Wand. “It doesn’t get any worse than this.”

Wand’s brother, Armin Wand III, 33, was sentenced by Vale in April to three life terms to be served consecutively with no hope of parole after he admitted to wanting to kill his family so he could cash in on their life insurance policies and get a “fresh start” with his life.

Jeremy Wand, who was 18 at the time, set most of the fires in the rented home during the early-morning hours of Sept. 7 after his brother offered him $300 to help him, according to court documents.
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Hanging in there…

Being stubborn is usually considered a bad thing. My husband likes to describe my stubbornness like this: “You will just beat against the door to try to break it down rather than take a moment to look for the doorknob,” He’s absolutely right. I have to be dragged kicking and screaming (sometimes literally) into learning new things. Learning a new thing means I will make mistakes and feel foolish and uncomfortable. I much prefer to sticking to something I have familiarity with, regardless of the consequences.

But sometimes being stubborn is a good thing. Being stubborn means never giving up on a commitment, no matter how daunting. Once I commit to something, I won’t quit. I’ll keep going at that stupid door, whether I find the knob or not.

We are all stubborn in or own way with varying degrees, some more than others. My mother-in-law is a case in point. In 1991, she contracted renal cancer. She lost a kidney. By the time I met my husband in 2002, she was probably already on the way to developing breast cancer. By December of 2003, it was stage 3. Worried we were going to lose her, we moved our wedding date up four months to the middle of January. Was my mother in law grateful? Hell no, she was pissed. “I’m not gonna drop dead tomorrow, ya know!” By October of 2004, she went into remission and stayed there. We don’t always get along, but she stubbornly gave the finger to cancer twice and I gotta respect that.

Sometimes being stubborn is the only way to overcome what look like insurmountable odds. I started writing novels in June of 2010. I self published my first in October of 2010 with probably 75,000 or so other aspiring authors. In 2011 that number jumped to 211,000. By 2015 a data firmed quoted by the New York Times predicts the number will reach over half a million new authors entering the self publishing market to join the ranks with everybody else including me.

Now, someone less stubborn than me might look at those astronomical numbers and say, “gee, I’m probably not going to make a living at this, am I?” Probably not. The same New York Times article quoted another reputable stats firm that calculated,”Most self-published books sell fewer than 100 or 150 copies…” That’s probably not far from where I am right now in 2013 with three novels available for purchase.

So, with each new novel I hand off to trusted editors, I have to ask myself, “Should I keep going?”

I’m gonna hang in there, because many others won’t. I’ll keep writing because I’m a validation junkie who is regularly fueled by the fans I run into who keep saying, “I loved your last book. Where’s the next one?” I’ll keep writing because writing is a craft that can only be honed with practice and only really appreciated when it’s done well. By this fall, I’ll have four books I can proudly offer with the promise of more to come. I still stubbornly believe, if I hang around beating on that same door long enough, I’ll find the stupid door knob.

And with each new novel, I stubbornly say, “Well, shit, what else am I gonna do?”