And just because I was surfing and found this tidbit..

This just goes to show that being different and from Maine isn't always a bad thing. If fact, it probably saved this lobster from being the main course at Cook's Lobster House. Courtesy of National Geographic and a Stueben, Maine fisherman...

Ancient irish text found in bog...

just in case you haven't seen the article, click here

The idea that this leather bound book could be found intact is absolutely a miracle. It dates to 800-1000 and was left open to a page describing in Latin Psalm 83. Psalm 83 I read is about Israel, a rather timely passage I think. And it's as if someone were reading it, studying it, and set it aside, only to lose it for a very long time... Perhaps, they went off in search of a cool drink, or maybe it was an itinerant priest, studying the words and was set off by a band of druids who were fighting to keep Christianity at bay on the Isle (okay, so that is my imagination fully at work). Or perhaps, they had a premonition that it would someday become a headline on Yahoo!. But the idea that out of those deep, dense, oxygen deprived peat bogs have come some of the worlds most celebrated artifacts is amazing. (think bog man... the poor man whose throat was slit and dumped in a bog centuries ago)

Of course, a text emerging from Ireland is not as far fetched as one would think. A select group of Celtic monks in Ireland were well educated and given the task of translating books such as the Book of Kells (approx. AD800) an elaborate text highlighted with wonderful designs. There are books out there that say that because of these Celtic Monks the world is as it appears today, that because they were charged with preserving these books they have allowed these thoughts and ideas to continue, pushing forward todays thinkers. I say good for them!

And of course, I can't finish this blog without mentioning Bog Man's details. As a teenager I was fascinated by these finds along with the ice age guy who was found in a similar state. I wanted to go to University of PA and study archeology, but alas it was not to be. Bog man, however, resurfaces from time to time, mostly on PBS specials or the discovery channel and always with speculation as to why his fate was as it was. Most bog bodies retrieved were upper class people, well groomed and healthy. So, as a writer I want to know why him or her?

Alas, I ramble... the idea was that time has been captured in the dense sphagnum bogs of Ireland. Our questions would be... divine providence? Or a chance to learn from the past? As they would on TV... You Decide...


This was preempted by a talk given by Marley Gibson from the New England RWA chapter on Networking. It was a wonderful talk in which I learned a great deal about seizing opportunities when they are presented to promote yourself. I highly recommend it if you get a chance to hear her speak.

Okay, if there is any one subject that most writers are qualified to speak on it is the subject of fears. After all, we deal with them daily with our characters and we deal with them daily with our own personal writing fears. I don't know of any writer who doesn't have at least one fear directly related to their writing and if they tell me they don't then I want to know what kind of medication they are on because I need to go get some. Any time that we as writers put anything out there for others to see we run the risk of rejection, the fear of being rejected... whether it is by a critique partner, an editor, agent, or the general public when our book hits the shelves... we have all experienced that that momentary or monumental element of fear.

Here, I am going to talk about just a couple of the ones that I deal with on a daily basis. There is the fear of failure, that we won't be able to complete the manuscript, or that it will be accepted. There is a fear of success, and for those of you who scoff at this, it is a very real thing. There are many people who have sabotaged their own careers because they were afraid that they would not be able to live up to the expectations presented to them. These are the people who don't believe others when they are told that what they have written is worthy, or they prefer to back away when given the opportunity to present themselves to someone who is projecting interest in them. Let me tell you about a writer who as a rule at times comes across confident and knowledgeable... but one year at the great RWA conference she ran into Suzy Editor in the elevator and, after striking up a friendly, non-confrontational conversation with the editor was just starting to get over her fears of the editor walking in disgust at her very being when IT happened.... (que the gloomy music). Suzy Editor asked the writer what she was working on... and immediately every thought escaped the writers mind. She was left completely blank and worse she found herself responding in a way that sounded as if she wasn't dedicated to what she was doing... something along the lines of "Oh, I'm working on a Romantic Suspense, but it isn't done yet." Arghhhhh! Instead of taking the opportunity to pitch when asked she failed miserably and lost the opportunity. That writer was me! Yup, I was the brainless idiot in the elevator! And the reason that I failed was because every shred of confidence in myself and my writing disappeared when attention was turned to me.

Okay, so how do we combat this? Sometimes, it just takes time. Sometimes, it is nothing more than giving yourself the quiet time to stand back and say to yourself "This is ridiculous. I can't let this get in my way." And sometimes, you need to hear that there others who understand it the way you do. That they have been there just as you have. As you can see from this post, I've been there.

Here are just a few goals that I've used to combat the fears:
  • Give yourself permission to feel these things, but not to let them control you.
  • Understand that not everyone is looking to tear you apart or reject you and that most times they are just as nervous about meeting and connecting with people as you are.
  • Give yourself a goal for pushing through the fear. I will put out 3 queries to an editor.
  • I will speak to seven people at conference that I don't know. I will tell four people about my upcoming book.

    But most of all, understand that we are all human and if you see me at conference please don't hesitate to say hello. Maybe that way we can both get through the awkwardness.

Anonymity and Book Promotion....

First, my daughter just asked me if anonymity was the same thing as that sea creature. I think she meant the sea anemone.

Anyway, have I mentioned that I have a background in promotion and event planning? Yup, that would be me. I spent several years working for a non-fiction book publisher who paid me to travel endless miles across the country, sleeping in beige hotel rooms and eating food that you can acquire from the vendors at the shows while you are on the run looking for the crate that had the most important part of your display booth... all while pushing their books!
Don't get me wrong. I LOVED it! The first booksellers show that I attended was the Northern California booksellers show in San Francisco. Can you think of a better place for an initiation? In the course of five days I went from being the young girl who had never been out of the state of Maine by herself to a traveler who could handle a mob of people. I met tons of people who were avidly interested in the product that I was hocking and I got my first look at real romance authors for the first time. This was about 12 years ago.
At that time, Susan Krinard had just started writing her dark paranormals and she just happened to stop by and look at the books that I was selling. She was kind and friendly and I was in awe. When I mentioned that I was just starting out writing romance she was encouraging and sympathetic and told me to give it all, that I could make it someday. I still carry her words with me today, along with the hundreds of others that I have met over the years since. Each has been kind and offered a tidbit or two of inspiring advice to guide me. I cherish all of them.
So what does this have to do with Anonymity?
Despite the fact that I can talk with hundreds, even thousands of people at trade shows and not be the least bit uncomfortable there was an air of anonymity that came with the focus being placed on the product that I was selling. Because I hadn't written the book I was more than comfortable touting it's fabulousness. Mine, however, are a totally different thing.
I am not comfortable with having the spotlight on me. Call it lack of confidence, but it terrifies me. That's part of the reason that I took on a pseudonym was that I could pretend that it wasn't me. (Yup, Teagan Oliver isn't my real name) By creating this personna I could imagine that this book was actually the work of someone else. So far, it's been working. That is... until I was camping last week. Remember the rain storm that shut down most of south eastern PA. I was there.... more directly, I was there in a campground. It rained everyday, driving the few hardy souls of us that were refusing to leave into creating a small network of friends. During this time I met a very nice lady who asked me about my writing. She expressed an interest in writing and I told her to give it a try. I was very uncomfortable, as I always am, but I gave her a copy of Susanne Brockman book I had just finished and told her that she could start without a computer, that the library would be a wonderful resource for reference and finding others who could help her and I encouraged her. Somewhere along the way, I became the role model... hot damn, never thought it would be me. She returned my kindness ten-fold with a book that she had just finished and a wonderful letter full of thanks for the encouragement.
So, despite the wild rains and flooding and my own uncomfortable anonymity I encouraged someone else the way others helped me. And it felt good... very good.


True inspiration can come in any guise. I've been known to find ideas from the back of cereal boxes, but I think that there is a definite difference between inspiration and story creation. I tend to think of inspiration as not a specific idea, but the thing that sparks us to sit down and do the writing. It isn't necessarily that twig of a thought that gives us our "aha" moment, instead I think of it as that swelling within us. Inspiration is that need that rises, setting our minds in motion and propelling us forward. Inspiration is a muse set to entice us. It is that heady feeling of being in the "zone" while we write. It is that time when we feel as if we have truly managed to get the words onto the page. Inspiration is adrenhaline for the creative soul, our food to fuel us... making our hearts beat faster and allowing us to block out everything around us.

Now, that said... it has been two months since my last blog entry. During that time I managed to survive multiple end of school activities, summer camp rituals, a family vacation that left us waterlogged in PA, and even some writing. I panicked a bit the other day when I realized that I had only 6 months until my book hits the shelves... a bit intimidating. And as always, that little quip of defeatest attitude plagues me at the back of my brain. I am determined to fight it. I've made it this far, I can certainly continue. I need only the inspiration to get it done.

Happy 4th to everyone!

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