International Thank an Author Year

WRITERI am declaring today the beginning of “International Thank an Author Year”. To my knowledge, this has not been previously declared, and I believe it is long overdue. And since Earth does not yet have an international government, I believe that I am as qualified as anyone else to declare this event.

Think about it for a moment. How many of you have a favorite book? Or an author that you absolutely adore? Have you ever learned an amazing fact by reading a book? Did you find a great recipe in a new cookbook? Has a favorite children’s book allowed you to spend quality time with a child or grandchild? Have you browsed travel books or novels with exotic locales, visiting those places in your mind? What about that special series of books, whose characters feel like your best friends? When life gets a little too crazy, do you escape between the pages for much needed relaxation?

SCREAMIf you answered YES to any of these questions, you should THANK AN AUTHOR. Without the efforts of those writers, you would have missed out on having some wonderful experiences. Just imagine how empty your life would be without books! On second thought—don’t imagine it. It is a horrifying image.

REVIEWYou may be asking, “How do I go about thanking an author?” I have several suggestions, but the most gratifying one for most authors is to WRITE A REVIEW. Just about everyone has an Amazon account, and that is probably the easiest way for anyone to leave a review. Many people also use Goodreads, or other reading-orientated sites. Many libraries also allow reviews on their websites. The advantages of writing a review are many. YOU get to tell the author how much you like the book, and even if there are some things you liked more than others. The AUTHOR gets thanked for all their hard work creating that book for your enjoyment. And POTENTIAL readers can be pointed in the right direction to find their own new favorite book.

Does the author have a website? Sign up for their newsletter. Newsletters will keep you informed of upcoming public appearances, new books coming out, and other news about the author. Authors love communicating with their fans. ONCE

Do they have a blog? Follow the blog, like, comment on, and reblog their posts so that others can get to know your favorite writers. This also lets the writer know that someone is reading what they write, and allows them to learn what topics people are most interested in.

FRIENDDo they have an author page on Facebook? “Like” their page, and invite your friends to like it too. This is a quick and easy way to show the author you are paying attention, and are interested in what they are doing. The same principle applies to Twitter. Spread the word!

Is an author appearing at a public venue for a book signing or lecture? Go see them, buy a book, get it autographed, and say “thank you” in person. You will probably be able to have you picture taken with them as well.

So go forth, fellow readers, and kick off International Thank an Author Year!THANKS

My Guardian Angel

20180215_185715 (1)When I started this blog, my purpose was to give readers a look behind-the-scenes at the world of writing and publishing. To let others see what writers go through to write their books, to get published, and to promote the books they have written.

I spend my days communicating with many writers, both those that Oghma Creative Media publishes, as well as those that publish elsewhere, and some that don’t publish at all. Some writers are seasoned veterans, others are just getting started.

Along the way, and as an expected hazard of my job, I caught the dreaded writing bug. The beginnings of this blog are rooted in that illness, and I thought that the blog would cure my illness. I was unbelievably mistaken. My dreams have taken off, and I am now planning a cozy mystery series, a biography, and various articles to be written.

I communicate with writers daily. I look for ways that writers can promote themselves and their work. I look for new avenues to promote Oghma Creative Media as a company. I read constantly and offer suggestions to others. I encourage everyone to be the best person they can be, the best WRITER they can be.

And in the course of all this – I forgot to write. No excuses, I simply forgot to sit down and do it.

Luckily for me, I have a guardian angel. I’ll call her Brenda, because that is her name.

Brenda and I met at a writer’s conference last year, and I felt an instant connection with her. She came there to learn, and to pitch her book idea. I was there to represent Oghma Creative Media. We spent some time talking, and have kept in touch ever since.

A couple weeks ago, Brenda sent me an email with the beautiful picture featured here. She said she felt led to send it to me, and wasn’t sure why. When I received it, I admired the picture and had thoughts of writing about it. I framed a post about her generous gift of a lovely image, another post about how writers need someone/thing to light their way, another post about using random images to spark a story.

But you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t write.

Every day I encourage others to write. To simply put their butt in a chair and get to it. And I somehow neglected to apply that to my own life.

This week my guardian angel nudged me again. She didn’t nag, she didn’t criticize, she simply encouraged me to sit down and write.

So I did.

Brenda gently reminded me of the most important thing a writer must do. To be a writer, one must sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be great literature, nor does it need to be hundreds (or even dozens) of words or pages at a time. But we must write. Let the stories out onto the pages. Don’t worry about what will happen later –the editing, the publishing, and the marketing. Those things are necessary tools that we need. But not right now.

I hope that all of the aspiring writers in the world can find their guardian angel to guide them gently down the path to success. But a word of warning—stay away from Brenda. She’s mine, and I need her.

angel-writing-granger

An Incomplete Alphabet

This weekend, people around the world were saddened to hear about the passing of author Sue Grafton. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, and now that opportunity has passed forever. From everything I’ve heard and read about Ms. Grafton, she was a wonderful lady and enjoyed meeting her fans. Her illness was kept quiet, and she passed away surrounded by those she loved.

Even if you have never read her novels, I’m sure you are aware of them. She is the lady responsible for the popular mystery series with titles based on the alphabet, beginning with A is for Alibi. Her most recent novel was released earlier this year, Y is for Yesterday, and with her death ended the alphabet series. Fans have long wondered what would happen after Z, and now we will never know.

With Ms. Grafton’s death, the question was switched to “What will happen after Y (as Z is for Zero was tentatively scheduled for release in 2019).” The answer? The alphabet ends at Y. The author never wanted her books used for films or television, nor did she ever want to use a ghost writer. The family is respecting those wishes.

For those of us in the writing and publishing community, this brings up questions regarding our own mortality and legacy that we may not have thought to address before. What will happen to our work after we are gone? What happens if our demise is sudden and unexpected? How do we want our legacies handled—not just the monetary aspects, but the creative aspects as well? Because for most artists, it is the creativity that is most important. Sure, the money is nice if it comes, but if you’re in this business for the purpose of getting rich, you might want to look elsewhere.

The people I know and work with  are driven to write, to draw, to create, to share their creativity with others. What happens if that creativity suddenly ceases to exist through illness or death? Is the end really The End? Or will we see that The Show Must Go On? It is a decision as personal and individual as the person who makes the choice, and I hope each of us takes the time to decide for ourselves, instead of letting others make that determination when we cannot do so.

As for myself, I am perfectly happy to let the alphabet end with Y. To me, that is a beautiful legacy that speaks volumes for Sue Grafton. If the series ends here, it ends where she left it. And her fans should respect that as much as her family has.