Friday, July 23, 2010

Nice People - One Gazillion...Mean People - Zero

Wow! I mean...WOW! I have never gotten a response to anything like I did yesterday's blog post. And it was all supportive and positive. You all are the best! Apparently a lot of us are tired of mean people. I cannot thank you all enough for taking the time to write and encourage me. I have read every one of your letters and will continue to read them as they come in. Each is a treasure and will take up permanent residence in my heart and mind. For each of you who took the time to write me, know that you have made a difference. It's like building a brick wall, each brick makes it stronger. Your wall of encouraging words strengthens me and sustains me.

Just a quick note as I think I've confused some people. I will be starting work on the sequel to The Saddlemaker's Wife, but the next book that will come out will be Spider Web (another Benni Harper book--the one I just finished last week). It will come out in May 2011.

I haven't even written the first sentence to TSW sequel yet!

Love y'all to pieces, as Dove would say! Earlene

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nice People, Mean People and Errors in State Fair

Hey to all you eagle-eyed readers out there!

Okay, I just want to write a post to let you know that I am aware of all the grammatical and other errors in State Fair. I know each book has mistakes (everyone who is involved with making books is human, after all), but this one seems to have more errors than normal. I'm only going by what you all have written me (I don't read the final book when I receive it because I'm always working on the next one and never have the time). I've reported it to my editor and they are going to look into why this particular book had so many problems. It is read by many people along the way, so I'm not quite sure how it happened. But I've been promised that they will be corrected in the paperback edition.

To those of you who have written me and been kind about the errors, thank you. If it bothers you, can you imagine how much it bothers me? But, I've also learned that in the larger scheme of things (i.e. the wars, the economy, child abuse, the oil spill in the Gulf, homelessness, crime, hurricanes and earthquakes, etc, etc) it is a small worry. But I appreciate you not blaming me and instead choosing the high road and telling me how much you like the plot and characters and style of my writing. Your encouragement and support makes the hard days easier and the good days better!

To those of you who have written negative and angry emails about the errors as well as other things you don't like about my books, please, just move on. Fact: I delete mean emails after reading the first negative sentence. If you don't like my books, then please, just don't read them. There's plenty of other great authors out there to read. When I don't like an author, I simply don't read them any longer. But I don't write them and try to make them feel bad about what they've written, because it's their book, not mine. I'm the guest, not the homeowner. And I was raised to be a polite guest. (Frankly, Dove would be ashamed of some of you!)

But, I want to end on a positive note. I have to say that 99% of my letters from fans are positive and encouraging and I am thankful for every one of you. Most of you Dove would throw her arms around and give a big ole hug! And invite you home for butterscotch pie. That's what I wish I could do to everyone who takes the time to encourage me.

Hope summer is treating you kindly. I'm already doing research for my next book (sequel to The Saddlemaker's title yet). The first thing I'm doing is rereading the book so I can remember what happened to Ruby, Lucas, Birch and the rest of the gang in Cardinal!

And my office is ALMOST clean now! Goodwill is getting a lot of extra office supplies. The big question is, where did I get all those extra boxes of staples?

Happy Trails, Earlene

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The End...and the Beginning...

Yesterday at 4:00 p.m., California time, I finished the first draft of Spider Web. For a writer, finishing a novel (that is, the first draft) is both a monumental and minuscule moment. In reality, I finished writing the second to last chapter because I'd already written the last chapter (In this book's case, the epilogue. Don't ask me what is the difference between an epilogue and a last chapter, because I don't know. I called it an epilogue because it was three weeks later in the story. I actually have no idea, or care, what real epilogue rules are). To finish writing a book is monumental because when I start a novel it feels like such a daunting task (even after all these years) that I fear it will never get done. Minuscule because, really, in the course of world events and eternity, my little novel isn't all that important. Still, it is done. At least, first draft done.

So, I have nine days (counting today which I'm taking off to clean my office and house, do some laundry and play with the dog) to rewrite it once before sending it to my editor. The due date to my publisher in New York is July 15th (originally July 1st, but I begged for two more weeks). Then my editor reads it, gives me her opinion, and I do have a chance to rewrite it again. But, at least there is something to work with. That's the part that is a relief. For those of you wondering, Spider Web is another Benni Harper Ortiz novel and it will be published, God willing, May 2011.

I corresponded recently with someone who is thinking about writing his first novel. When someone is just starting as a writer, there's not a lot I can suggest except recommend some good writing books (I always suggest Stephen King's "On Writing" and John Steinbeck's "Journal of a Novel" as two of many helpful books for aspiring writers) and to give one observation/piece of advice. Whatever you start...try to finish. As I told him, I can't tell you how many first chapters/first one hundred pages of novels I've read over the last twenty to twenty-five years. For a beginning writer (or potter or painter or cabinetmaker or dog trainer or, or, or...) finishing a project is more than half the battle. Much more. Always starting and never finishing doesn't accomplish much in life or novels.

So, Spider Web is a complete story now. The manuscript will be soon in the hands of my publisher to start that journey to becoming a book that you will read either physically or, these days, in some kind of e-book form. For some reason, this book was even harder to write than the last (I think I say that every time, but I'm not exaggerating, as all working writers know, each book does get harder to write). I'm glad I have a year and a half to write my next one. I need some time to decompress, let the well fill back up and start that exercise regime I promised my doctor.

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! I spend the day writing (of course), but did take a few minutes to stop and ponder those who have sacrificed so much so that Americans have the privilege of shooting off fireworks, cooking hot dogs and disagreeing with their government, if they so please. Thank you, men and women of the military! I salute you and pray that you all return home to your families safe and whole.

Will write more later. Just wanted to update. Have to get to my rewrite now. July 15th looms like a fiery dragon...

Happy Summertime Trails, Earlene