Monthly Archives: August 2012

Are We Ever Too Old

I thought they were cute and just wanted to share.

Are We Ever Too Old?

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

Back in 2008 when I seriously began writing, I wondered if I was too old too make a career out of writing at my age? And then I thought who cares? I mean I’m not talking about endangering anyone with words. It’s not like I asked, am I too old to drive? (I’m not just so you know.)

The only people I plan on hurting are the characters in my stories and they expect it. I wouldn’t want to disappoint any of them by not writing the story my characters want told. I had to learn this the hard way, just like most of the things I’ve learned in my life. Nothing ever comes easy for me it seems.

Anyway, I once was going to write a story for an assignment in a writing class I was taking. The story was going to be about an elderly lady who felt she didn’t have a reason to keep living. She’d outlived all of her family and friends. She felt useless and life held no meaning for her. Then a little girl moved in next-door who reminded her of someone from her past.

The story I planned to write would be told from the old women’s point of view. When I described this story to my instructor, he said he didn’t think it would work. He said I should use the little girl as the point of view character. He thought the ten year old should learn something from the old lady and not the other way around. He even gave me suggestions on how to do it.

I was disappointed, but he was the instructor and I had always tried to follow the instructor’s advice, even when I didn’t agree with it. After all, he was the published author and if he said it wouldn’t work, well…I was just learning and I wanted something people would believe and enjoy. So I started writing it his way.

I must have started over a dozen times. The story just wasn’t working. I needed to be in the head of the old lady, not the little girl. After several days of working on the story with no progress, I came to realize the characters were trying to tell me something. So I went with my instincts and wrote it the way I had planned in the beginning. When I emailed it to him, I apologized for not doing it his way and then I waited.

When I received the edited manuscript a couple of weeks later, I was afraid to read his letter. But this is what he wrote: “I’m really glad you ignored my advice! This is a very poignant story and a very well told one. You make the Casey-Betty encounter work perfectly, both artistically and logically. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

I was ecstatic. I was so glad my characters had made me listen to what they wanted. After all it’s the character’s story, not mine. I won’t make that mistake again. On the other hand, maybe I’m getting senile enough, my imagination is…well…imagining things. Of course, isn’t that what fiction is?

So do writers get too old to write? What do you think? Do you listen to your characters?

If I’ve picked your interest at all in reading A Reason Too Live, it will be available online at:

Page & Spine: fiction showcase – The Front Page later this fall. But please, don’t wait till then to check out their website. They have a lot of great stories waiting to be read.

An Update: On Saturday August 11, 2012 I received an email from Muse It Up Publishing. They want to publish my manuscript NIGHTMARES. Of course I said yes and signed the contract. I’m waiting to hear if they will change the title. The publisher has the right to change it if they feel another title would work better. A tentative release date is set for May 2013. I will be sure to update again as soon as I get any more news.

As always, I love comments and appreciate your opinions or questions. If you leave your blog or website address, I’ll comment. If you’d rather be found on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, I will like, follow, or Tweet.

My Facebook author page is: http://www.facebook.com/donnajeanmcdunn  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/donna-mcdunn/42/819/423

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

My young adult short story Trapped was chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of the nine winning authors and their story titles can be viewed at: (13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC    Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update then.

My first adult short story, Saving Katie has been published at: www.thepinkchameleon.com a free magazine. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story Pack Leader can be found at: www.knowonder.com also a free magazine. Once on the site type in the title of the story in the Search Engine at the top of the page and it will take you to the story.

I also have a children’s story, The Golden Stallion online at: www.storiesthatlift.com. This too is a free magazine. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. There is a Search Engine on this site also.

In May 2012, my children’s story, Gus’ Big Adventure was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/  A subscription is required to read these stories, but if you have children between the ages of 4-10, it might be worth it. It’s a very entertaining website.

My Story at Every Day Fiction Today!

My Story at Every Day Fiction Today!. Here’s a talented author, M. E. Garber,  I wanted to share with you. She writes fantasy.

On Your Mark, Get Set Stretch!

On Your Mark, Get Set Stretch!.

 

When To Say “I Made It”

Some days it only looks like rain

When To Say “I Made It”

By Author Donna Jean McDunn

Are you a writer? What do you write; fiction or non-fiction? Do you write for small children, middle grade/teenagers/young adults or adults? What genres do you write?

If you are a writer, then you know how much there is to learn before we can call ourselves writers and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever measure up. Sometimes, I wonder if I should have stopped writing a long time ago. Would it have made my life easier?

What does it really take to be a writer anyway?

My main goal as a writer has always been to be as good a writer as possible. But how do I accomplish that? How do I know for sure when I’ve arrived? There are so many rules in writing, how am I supposed to learn and remember them all when I have trouble remembering when to use “to” and “too” and what the heck is a dangling participle anyway? Am I fooling myself into believing I can turn this writing dream into reality? Will people want to read my stories and encourage others to read them? Is being a writer worth all the trouble and the heartache?

The truth is No one knows. (That answers all the questions, but the one about dangling participles; there are people out there who do know and can explain it. Now if I could only remember…)

Anyway, just ask anyone. Ask a dozen different writers at various stages in their writing careers and you’re going to get a dozen different answers. Why? Because the answer is different for everyone and the answers come at various stages in each individual’s career.

For an example, one writer may feel they’ve “made it” when they publish their first piece. Someone else my feel they’ve made it only after they’ve sold that one manuscript that had been rejected twenty-seven times, even though they’ve published several others. Some writers, even after publishing several best selling books, may still be waiting for that moment when they know they’ve “made it”.

I was told at a young age that I had a natural talent to write, but when I started writing seriously, I realized something. Natural talent, for most of us normal humans, isn’t enough.

There are several things writing experts agree on, one of them, and maybe the most important, is to continue to learn and grow as a writer. How do you do that?

Well, some say by taking writing courses either online or in a classroom setting. Continue to read the types of books you want to write. Step out of your comfort zone and stretch your imagination by reading and writing various genres. Short stories are a good way to begin. If they’re bad no one has to see them, but it will help you to grow as a writer.

Study the books you read and really enjoyed. How did the author of that book draw you, the reader, in? And of course continue to write. It doesn’t matter what you write, only that you do it and do it often, everyday if possible. Start a blog and read and comment on other peoples blogs. You’ll be glad you did.

I haven’t made it yet, but someday in the near future I hope to be able to say “I made it.”

An update: When I started this blog post, I was waiting to hear from Muse It Up Publishing about my novel manuscript I sent them. On Saturday August 11, 2012 I received an email from them. They want to publish my novel. I’m not ready to say “I made it” but now I really do have hope that I will.

As always, I love comments and appreciate your opinions or questions. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter I will like, follow you, or Tweet so I can thank you.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

I was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of the nine winning authors and their story titles can be viewed at: (13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC    Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: www.thepinkchameleon.com a free magazine. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: www.knowonder.com also a free magazine. Once on the site type in the title of the story in the Search Engine at the top of the page and it will take you to the story.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: www.storiesthatlift.com. This too is a free magazine. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. There is a Search Engine on this site also.

In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/  A subscription is required to read these stories, but if you have children between the ages of 4-10, it might be worth it. It’s a very entertaining website.

MASTERING METABOLISM

MASTERING METABOLISM.

AFFY A Short Story

The Summertime Blues

I decided to do something a little different this time and post a short story instead of an article. It’s a flash fiction story I wrote for Mary Rosenblum’s writing prompt, I found in the Long Ridge Writer’s Group e-News and Forum letter. It’s title is “AFFY” and I added a few words to the required 500, making it about 1,000 words.

This is what the prompt required:  Are you ready for the ‘Summertime Blues’?  What are they, anyway, other than a song lyric?  Blue has a thousand shades and we can come up with a thousand answers to that question, right?  So I asked you to write a flash fiction story, up to 500 words to represent the summertime blues. 

This is my version of “Summertime Blues”.  I have written several prompts of Mary’s, and I will be using more of them here. I do hope you enjoy reading this one.

AFFY By Donna Jean McDunn

Affy carried the burlap bag over her shoulder as she plucked the soft, fluffy white cotton out of the bolls. She ignored the ache in her back and the sharp prongs, even when they sometimes cut her fingers and wrists. She dreamed instead of a new land. One that Ned had promised would be filled with love and freedom.

She had heard of the Underground Railroad, but didn’t believe it could exist – whites and free blacks working together – helping slaves escape. But Ned assured her it did exist.

He planned to run away, but promised he’d come back for her. She convinced him they should make the journey together. She didn’t tell him about the new life she carried inside. She must wait until they were free.

They planned to meet after dark, at the river where the road bends. The woods and the darkness would provide protection from the probing eyes of the overseer and his whip. Ned would be waiting for her and together they would make their run for freedom. But first, she must wait for the signal. Only then would it be safe to escape.

For days she waited and prayed to hear the song with the hidden message. Her heart filled with joy when the slaves began to sing the words she longed to hear.

Swing low, sweet chariot,

Comin’ for to carry me home!

I looked over Jordan and what did I see,

Comin’ for to carry me home!

A band of angels comin’ after me,

Comin’ for to carry me home!

Affy joined in the song and imagined the Underground Railroad as a golden chariot. The endless rows of cotton disappeared and the golden chariot filled with angels, swept down from heaven to carry the three of them to freedom. Her heart ached with love for Ned, for their unborn child and for those strangers willing to risk their own lives so they could be free.

Finally, the sun began to set and the days work ended. Her and the other slaves trudged down the dirt road. The darkness beckoned to her, offering her what she longed for, a chance of escape. A chance to be free.

Affy swallowed the fear that threatened to choke her. Her heart thumped against her ribs. Would the darkness hide her from the eyes of the overseer long enough for her to slip away into the woods? Many had tried and failed.

As the slaves neared the wooded area – she allowed her steps to slow. The others passed her by, filling in the space between her and the overseer, shielding her from his view. Tears of gratitude stung her eyes, her vision blurred, and she quickly brushed the tears away. The tears would have to wait.

Goose bumps prickled the back of her neck in spite of the heat. Any minute she expected the sting of the whip as she made her way toward the trees. The river was just on the other side of the woods and beyond the river … freedom and Ned.

Entering the trees, her heartbeat quickened again as she thought of being in Ned’s arms. The thorny, thick brush grabbed and tore at her tattered clothing, as she forced her way through. Then suddenly she found herself standing on the riverbank.

“Ned, where are you?” At the sound of her voice the startled croaking frogs and chirping insects quieted, but there was no reply from Ned. Affy waited, as joy died and the fear and doubt crept through her.

Why hadn’t Ned come? Did he leave without her after all? Did he get caught? Her heart twisted in pain.

She couldn’t leave without him, only he knew the way, she had no choice but to go back. She must return before they missed her and set the dogs out. Still she waited as long as she dared.

Affy made her way back through the woods and to the dirt road leading to the slaves’ shacks and the one she shared with Ester, the old woman. She had taken her in when Affy’s mamma died of fever. It wasn’t so bad. The shack kept out most of the cold in the winter and the old woman was kind to her. She opened the door of the shack and crept in.

“Where ya been child. I been waitin’ for you,” The old woman said from the darkness. “I got bad news. That young Ned you so fond of got his self sold today.”

“Sold?”

“Thas’ right…sold…”

Affy stopped listening. The tiny room began to spin as one word vibrated throughout her mind and body…sold.

She crawled into her ragged cot. Her Ned was gone. Sold. Nothing mattered now except the new life growing inside her.

She placed her hands on the tiny mound. Ned had started more than just their baby growing inside of her. He’d ignited a burning desire for freedom for herself and their child.

“You will be born in freedom. I promise you. I will find those who know about the Underground Railroad and with their help we will be free.”

In response, Affy felt the first flutters of life. Her heart longed to tell Ned of his child. Tears rolled out of the corners of her eyes, dripping onto the dirty cot. Ned was out of her reach, but their child was not. Somehow she must survive this pain.

She closed her eyes and saw Ned’s smiling face. “Don’t be sad, little one. “Your papa is strong. He will find us.”

***

As always, I truly do love comments and appreciate your opinions or questions. If you leave your blog or website address or where you can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter I will like, follow you, or Tweet in return.

It’s been said that writing is a lonely business and that’s true, but if we writers and readers continue to support one another, then we are no longer alone.

I was recently chosen as one of nine winners in The Young Adult Mystery Times Nine 2012 Short Story Competition. The list of the nine winning authors and their story titles can be viewed at: (13) Buddhapuss Ink LLC    Click on “see more” to view the entire list. The winning stories will be published together sometime in September or October. I will update you then.

My first adult short story, “Saving Katie” has been published at: www.thepinkchameleon.com a free magazine. Once on the site, scroll down the page until you see Short Stories. Click on that and the list of short stories will appear. Find “Saving Katie”.

Some of my work can be found online: My children’s story “Pack Leader” can be found at: www.knowonder.com also a free magazine. Once on the site type in the title of the story in the Search Engine at the top of the page and it will take you to the story.

I also have a children’s story, “The Golden Stallion” online at: www.storiesthatlift.com. This too is a free magazine. Once on the site click on the Story Library and then Children’s Stories. There is a Search Engine on this site also.

In May 2012, my children’s story, “Gus’ Big Adventure” was published at: Bumples Magazine. http://www.bumples.com/  A subscription is required to read these stories, but if you have children between the ages of 4-10, it might be worth it.

The benefits of Probiotics

The benefits of Probiotics.