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The Blogging Author

Book Juggling

I have a new book deal brewing. Yeah! This one is for what I am calling "Mother Earth's Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss." If it all works out, this will be my 7th published book, which is awesome, as well as something I never thought I'd accomplish.

This book has garnered a lot of interest in the publishing world. I believe it may well be the most significant contribution I've made as a nonfiction author, apart from "Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones." It has the potential to impact and change lives, just as following its tenets has transformed mine. I will be announcing the publisher and projected publication date here on my website, on twitter, Facebook, and my personal blog. I can't wait to share that news and finally place this meaningful book.

I find myself in juggling mode as an author. I seem to write books in threes and then take months, if not years, resting up in between. "No Barren Life," my debut novel is in the editing stages before final submission to its publisher. If you've written, you know editing and polishing up a manuscript before final submission is all encompassing. "Mother Earth's Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss" is about at the halfway point. I project it will take 6 to 9 months to complete it. My second novel, "Out of the Blue" is 1/3 written but only as a first draft.

When I wake up in the morning, I wonder should I draw with all my beautiful colored pencils that are waiting for me in my studio? Should I blog here or on my other blog called Stephanie's Studio or should I work on one of those three books that are in development? Sometimes I give up and head off for a walk or to garden. Juggling books and other creative projects, which all need undivided attention, is exhausting.

At the same time, the creative process is rewarding. In the end, it's all about balance. A good juggler can keep all the balls up in the air while maintaining a supreme state of balance.  Read More 
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My Journey Towards Fiction

Transitioning from writing nonfiction to being a novelist is probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. With nonfiction I think so structurally. I use a proposal as a point of departure, a detailed outline for chapter development and then do copious research. Then I integrate personal vignettes and stories into the more objective text. This process goes on for months, sometimes even years but eventually I end up with a book. I have published 5 adult nonfiction books over the past decade.

With fiction, I am in unknown territory. As a child I was drawn to academics, hence my predilection for nonfiction. My creative writing always consisted of poetry and sometimes prose. Making up stories seemed the domain of others.

As I mentioned, my nonfiction books are for adults, so how did I come to be writing Young Adult fiction? I can’t really explain it. They say your characters and story will speak to you, and as strange as it sounds that is exactly what happened for me. Moreover, most of our vivid memories and life-shaping events happen during youth. Numerous story seeds are planted early in life, which has led me to make my main characters teenagers.

If we leave enough quiet space in our lives, characters and stories will come to us-- within all of us there is a deep story. Like many novelists, my first work of fiction, "No Barren Life" (Lodestone Books, 2015) has elements and motifs drawn from my life. When I embarked on this journey towards fiction I pulled directly from my unpublished memoirs. Quickly though, I found that material wasn't enough to create a novel. A novel needs characters, plot, a story arc, and a setting that brings your words to life. While memoir and fiction can have a brief relationship, marriage is not in the offing.

I read novels by others as I write being careful not to read something too directly related to my story. I want my novels to have their own merits and a unique voice. So far, I am able to accomplish that goal by understanding and admiring the story structure, plot, and storytelling of others, while at the same time focusing on my inner story, muse and the voice that speaks to me—that of my protagonist.

With my nonfiction I can pretty much predict the estimated time of delivery. The birth of fiction, at least for me, is completely unpredictable. As hard as it is to believe, "No Barren Life," began back in 2003, when I first started to develop the story. It has had spurts of my attention but not a real intense focus until 2011. By late 2013, I started circulating it, querying agents and publishers. Thinking it might languish in my files forever, I started a new novel in December 2013. It is about a third of the way along. I hope its completion time will be within a year.

The journey towards fiction is a bumpy and unpredictable one for someone that has devoted their writing previously to nonfiction. With its many twists and turns, it is however a ride on the wild side. I am enjoying the journey. Read More 
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