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Friday, October 2, 2015

Remember Mai Lin?

I just took the time to look at responses by readers of my  latest, Mai Lin. Perhaps you'll be interested in what they said about this story.

"This is a wonderful book written in period. I love how well the characters are developed, especially Mai Lin. This is the kind of book that once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down until you're finished."  Ruthie at

"A wonderfully entertaining read told from the viewpoint of nine year old Mai Lin as she grows up.By ladycamper 

"Mai Lin's story is poignant. Mrs.Ingram did a fabulous job taking me to San Francisco right before the earth quaked in 1906" from Phyllis A. Still.

"Mai Lin: Another New Beginning by Gay Ingram is an easy, comfortable novel drawing the reader into the life of an eight year old Chinese girl." ByGaland Fox Nuchols

And one more from a male perspective: "I loved reading this book. I could picture this book as it was playing like a movie in my mind. Everything from the earth shake to people running through the streets just as if I was in a movie theatre watching it on the big screen.." By Steven

O'm ever so grateful for those readers who took the time to post a review. Thanks, folks!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tweaking Tips

In recent months, I've spent a good amount of time editing manuscripts from several growing-in-the-craft writers. Their subject matter covers several different genres but its come to my attention there are a few things in common. Below I've listed some pointers we all need to remember when we are writing or revising.

  • It's important to read lots of good writing to assimilate a rich vocabulary and absorb what good writing is all about. The correct word to use is not always the first that comes to mind.

  • Forget the exclamation marks. If your scene's actions are power-packed, the reader with feel the emotion implied.

  • Long sentences generally slow down the story's pace. Do you really need to join those two thoughts with an 'and'?

  • Don't just move your characters physically through the action, show how it affects them. Readers want to feel along with your characters.
  • Don't forget dialog is important but people usually move about while speaking
Sometimes it's the not so obvious changes that make all the difference. So, keep on tweaking.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Is It Fall Yet?

Can you believe it? Here we are approaching the final week in September, and my part of the country is still experiencing ninety-degree days with no rain in sight. The leaves are leaving their trees crisp and  brown--no fall color show this year.  The crunch of dead leaves underfoot is a sure indicator that fall-like weather will eventually arrive...that, and advertisements for the up-coming Yamboree in nearby Gilmer.

Whether we see fall weather or not, the calendar is saying NANO is just around the corner. Shall I try my hand or will I pass it up this year? Can't decide. Not that there isn't a possible writing project on a back burner. In fact, my stack of research books on the coffee table is just waiting for me to make time to dig in.

For some weeks, its been editing the manuscripts of several clients that has occupied my time. I've enjoyed the challenge of reading genres that I'm not personally interested in writing myself. But you never know, I might just rise to the challenge sometime in the future.

In fact,  I received a phone call today from someone inquiring as to the possibility of ghostwriting a true crime. I agreed to look over the material but not sure I'm the writer for the job. I'd be interested in feedback from my readers. What do you think?

I'm finally getting the hang of my new Notebook. I've found it quite convenient for working in comfortable positions rather than at a stretched out in bed. In fact, since my better half is glued to the TV, I think I'll make a quick retreat to the bedroom and add a few lines to my daily pages. Happy writing and reading, everyone!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Funny How Time Flies

A reminder from blogger-extraordinaire Renee Groskreutz reminded me of the need to visit with you folks more often. Seems like the more years a person acquires, the quicker they fly by. Wasn't it just yesterday I posted about playing catch-up?

Perhaps I can blame the cooler temperatures for distracting me, enticing me out of doors to do repairs to the damage done to garden beds inflicted by our heat-searing summer. 

Or perhaps the life-changing installation of a ramp by the fabulous volunteers of the non-profit organization, Texas Ramps this past Saturday took all my attention. The weather-resistant ramp will now give my incapacitated husband access to the out-of-doors. Why just yesterday he attempted to achieve his immediate goal of making it as far as the tractor shed with the aid of his rollator. Unfortunately, he only made it three-quarters of the way before running out of air and energy. But there's always tomorrow.

But enough about the twists and turns that life brings me - what you probably are more interested in is what's going on in the writing part of my life. I'm pleased to announce that I've been wearing my editor's hat pretty steadily recently. Three new clients keep me engaged and on my toes.This is an occupation that brings me much satisfaction - helping new writers learn the craft of writing and helping them polish their works in progress.

At the moment, my writing hat is on the shelf, taking a breather after the consuming work of completing Not Bound By Blood. That manuscript is now in the hands of a reader as I anxiously await reactions and feedback for my efforts.

But not to fear, another project is in the works. I've ordered several reference books to start research on a fictional biography of Belle Boyd, a teen-age Confederate spy. Her story will be the third fictional biography for Young Readers. It joins George Washington; From Boy Surveyor to Soldier and Harriet Tubman. Hoping to publish all three as a trilogy to a major publishing house.

One can hope, can't one?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Playing Catch-Up

Yes, it has been a bit of a while since my last posting here.

Yes, life's events did manage to interrupt and cause me to travel a new highway.

It's been a bit stressful as we adjust to my husband's recovery from lung cancer and his new lifestyle.Suffice it to say, it's become necessary for me to carry a bigger load of the daily routines and chores. This has eaten into the time I have available for pursuing my interests such as writing, social media and blogging.

But...he has made baby steps back even though I have to accept he will never be able to do the things he used to do. Things like working with wood in his barn, crafting small furniture and odd things. Things like driving the big tractor that has been parked for over a year and a half except for the one time our son did some emergency brush-hogging close to the house area. There will be no more tree-cutting or firewood splitting for this man.

And that has been a hard adjustment to make. There was a long period in the beginning when I questioned whether he could maintain his will to live because of how useless and helpless he felt.Hey! When you can't even tie your own shoes, that's a pretty hard adjustment to make.

So he's made some progress, gotten the slipping-away pounds stabilized. With the help of physical therapy, learned the exercises needed to rebuild his strength until finally he's able to get beyond the back door and walk as far as the birdbath and feeder to keep those filled. That's real progress, folks!

And now that he can do more for himself again, I perhaps can get back to what I love doing the best...writing and sewing blankets for the homeless. Just have to do it in blocks of time when he doesn't need my presence. Life is a series of adjustments, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Getting Back Into The Groove

Busy, busy, busy...isn't everyone these days?

But now that the 2015 NETWO Writers' Conference is over and done with -- and for those that attended, wasn't it a powerhouse of information and marvelous presenters? I'm always delighted to hear from experts in the writing/publishing world and to meet new folks traveling this journey with me.

Then I've had to contend with the personal challenge of a husband in and out of the hospital a couple times since the first of the year and taking over some of the chores I always depended upon him to get done.

Now, I've got to get geared up for the approaching release of my latest, Mai Lin: Another New Beginning, which has a release date of May 12th. Anyone who's had a book published recently knows the promo and marketing has been dumped in the author's lap.

I say all that to ask you, my subscribers, if I have your consent to add your email address to a mailing list. I'm hoping to make use of the services of Mailchump to help get the word out about Mai Lin. I hope you'll all take a moment to respond with a hearty "Yes."

Another of my goals is to become more consistent on this blog with a desire to share with you something of interest and informative, I hope, at least once a week. Hearing from you about how I'm doing will be a tremendous encouragement.

So for now I'll close with this tidbit from Sol Stein: "In our daily work and play, our senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell define the world for us. Don't let your senses atrophy; don't take your senses for granted."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Another Promotional Venture

Recently I was invited to come speak about my books and life as an author to the 20th Century Club in Gilmer. This was a new experience for me. Even after all these years, I still fight to overcome my reluctance to talk to strangers about myself.

The group of ladies were so warm and welcoming that I soon felt at ease. They had asked me to talk specifically about Troubled Times, a novel that had been written and published quite a few years back. In fact, this is the book that took me to visit my alma mater Norwich Free Academy to address the joint high school classes there. But that's another story. Perhaps at a later date I'll write about the book tour I arranged.

With no prepared notes other than the selection of a couple passages I'd decided to share from the book, I rambled on about the story I chose to tell and my motivation for telling it. A bit intimidating for this transplanted Yankee to be explaining to a roomful of Southern Belles.

But that familiar Southern graciousness filled the room and when the questions came, it pleased me to hear such thoughtful responses.

All in all, it was an enjoyable experience, especially the delicious spread urged upon me after the meeting. Most especially rewarding was the eagerness to own copies of my books which I just happened to bring with me.

And to think, this all came about because a fellow author had invited me months previously to set up a display of my books at her store when the town was holding a special event.

It all comes down to taking advantage of the opportunities offered and never let your personal sense of inadequacies hold you back.