Literary Orange/2019/Review

As a writer, there is nothing more thrilling than to be a part of an audience filled with avid readers.  They are our lifeline.  Every year I think it cannot get better…but it does.

There were three keynote speakers:  Tara Conklin, author of The House Girl; Martha Hall Kelly, author of Lilac Girls; and Alan Brennert, author of Honolulu and Moloka’i.  Each person in attendance received a complimentary copy of these authors’ latest book.  I received Tara Conklin’s book, The Last Romantics.

Although all of the speakers were fantastic, I appreciated the humble and honest talk by Alan Brennert.  His humorous depiction of making money as an author confirmed what I thought I knew.

The panels during the day seemed to capture a theme of family history and our stories.  My favorite panel was titled:  Genealogy:  Family Ingredients

The authors all focused on writing about their families…fictionalizing the stories. Ann Mah wrote about Burgundy, France and the story of wine during the Nazi occupation.  Allie Rowbottom wrote about Jello.  Her family invented Jello.  Fascinating story.  But…and here is the drum roll…on the panel was Viola Shipman.  She is one of my favorite authors.  I’ve devoured her books.  Her books have inspired me to look closely to my family and it’s history.  BUT – Viola is really WADE ROUSE.  Yes, Viola Shipman is his pen name, his grandmother’s name.  He grew up very close to his grandmother and his books define the wonderful traditions that have been handed down through the generations.  I was befuddled at first.  But I marched right up and told him how much I look forward to each book – and that never in a million years would I have guessed the novels were written by a male.  He told me this was the greatest compliment.  I know what he means as I struggle with a male POV in my writing.

If you are a voracious reader, don’t miss next year’s Literary Orange.  Eight hours of authors, readers, and books?  What more could you ask for?  But check you Orange County library for the date for 2020, because it sells out in three days!

Happy Reading everyone.  Hopefully my books will be among those you enjoy.

Greta Boris at California Writers’ Club

One of the benefits of joining the California Writers’ Club is hearing special speakers like Greta Boris.  She presented her talk in a professional, yet informal way and engaged the audience.

What I learned – How to discover the personality types of my characters.  She used the Enneagram Personality Types as her base.  I am more familiar with the standard…choleric, sanguine, melancholic, and phlegmatic.  And, if you’ve ever had marriage counseling, you’ve probably taken the Myers/Briggs test.

What I found most helpful – discerning which personality type my protagonist exhibits…then following through with their basic fear, desire, weakness, and motivation.  I came back from the meeting and tweaked some scenes to keep my character’s flaws honest and real.  Then when the inciting incident takes place, it showed me the character arc.

Thank you, Greta, for a great presentation!

Fourth novel almost finished!

It is with an enormous amount of relief to have my 4th novel complete…all except for the editing.  The Man at the Villa Fonte takes place in Tuscany with the villa being steps away from the amazing city of Florence.

I’m anxious to finish the novel because I yearn to return to my first love of memoir and non-fiction.  The desire has been so strong it has interrupted my sleep.  All I want to do is write the memoir.

I’ve even written the first chapter.  First line…”The meanest man in town, a mafia lawyer, changed the course of my family’s life forever.”  I hope that line inspires some curiosity.

But I do love my novel about Gina, her sister, Bella, Jake, the policeman, and Luca, the weathly Italian vineyard owner.  And I will finish it…by June!

Who will win Gina’s heart?  Jake, the next-door neighbor or Luca, the Italian man with the forest-green eyes?  Stay tuned.