. . . my first ever Blog Tour. Right off, I notice this is not like a live tour – no lost bags, no traffic jams, no tourist revenge. On the other hand, no souvenirs, no exotic sights, no local wine, no regional taste treats. Nonetheless, this tour has proved interesting.
First, a big thank you to Russell Gayer for inviting me to ride along and participate in this project. If you’ve not heard of Russell check out his blog. The man will leave you in stitches.
A shout out to Erin Leary as tour leader. She started the whole thing.
Now, on to the obligatory questions:
What am I working on?
I’ve got several projects underway involving short story collections. First, another collection of tales set in the South. Next, stories set in the racing world, and finally western themed pieces. Writing is deeply satisfying to me so I’m always working on something because I love honing words, distilling thoughts, seeing the world in word pictures.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Writing and reading transports me to other realms. My stories set strive to examine the changing psyche of the people, social milieu, and community structure. I love the South—the good and the bad, the kind and the harsh, and the beautiful as well as the warts. My western tales are not cowboys-and-Indians but usually serve as an allegory for historical events or changes. For example, my short story “White Oak’s Tale” on one level is a half-breed avenging his Indian brother’s hanging but at another level focuses on justice, prejudice, and the push west. A bar room brawl, “Ephraim’s Birthday,” reflects the change from open plains and buffalo cultures to the cattle and ranching economy.
Why do I write what I do?
After many years I have embraced my Southern roots and grown to love my rural upbringing. As I’ve grown older, I have come to deeply respect the resilience of Southerners and that humid mosaic I call home. The horse racing and western stories hinge on my love of horses, my connections to the land, and the inherent physicality of both.
How does your writing process work?
Ideas pop into my head. I jot the idea down and keep it in a file. I let that ferment and then revise and revise and revise. I focus on every noun and verb and ask myself is there a stronger word I can use. When I’m as close as I can get to the character(s) and the setting, I take the piece to my critique group. They offer suggestions, concerns, and note my errors. The process of revision begins again based on their input. My characters usually grow and change on their own. They tell me when the piece is finished. I try to write every day by working on a project or connecting on social media. Whenever I get stuck, I stop and spend time reading. I carry note paper and a pencil at all times. Something strikes my fancy, I jot it down for later. The world is wide and rich. I keep my eyes open and my ear cocked. Life stories vibrate all around.
There are also two other writers sharing a bit of information about their writing this week.
Rhett DeVane is the author of five published mainstream fiction novels: The Madhatter’s Guide to Chocolate, Up the Devil’s Belly, Mama’s Comfort Food, Cathead Crazy, and Suicide Supper Club. She is the co-author of two novels: Evenings on Dark Island with Larry Rock and Accidental Ambition with Robert W. McKnight. She also authored a middle grade fantasy, Elsbeth and Sim, the first book in the “Tales from The Emerald Mountains” series. Book two is slated for release in the fall of 2014. Rhett is a Florida native, originally from Chattahoochee. Her hometown, a small North Florida burg with a state mental institution on the main drag, serves as the colorful setting for her Southern fiction series. For the past thirty-plus years, Rhett has made her home in Tallahassee, located in Florida’s Big Bend area, where she splits her time between her dental hygiene practice and writing fiction. Check out Rhett’s website: www.rhettdevane.com and her blog www.writers4higher.blogspot.com. She’s an energetic lady.
Jan Larkey never considered becoming an author; she was an artist. Fate changed that.
Unable to secure an art teaching position after her move to Pittsburgh, she became an Image Consultant. Clients kept asking “What styles should I buy to hide my hips/bosom/sloping shoulders . . .” The search for answers led her to write and illustrate Flatter Your Figure, published by Simon & Schuster, 1991. For the next year, she made an exciting round of appearances on stages, in stores and on television shows including “CBS This Morning,” QVC and talk shows on CNBC, NBC, LIFETIME, and FOX. Later, she worked as a columnist for The New York Daily News and as a spokesperson for Lands’ End. Her literary career crashed to a halt when she was injured in a car wreck. Fully recovered after four years, she returned to art and still later an urge to share the lessons she had learned about her dysfunctional relationship with her bipolar-manic mother. The result: Rocket Momma. Her agent has started the submission process and expects a CALL soon. Catch her at www.janlarkey.com