Congratulations to Tena! She won a copy of No Thru Road by Linda M. Vogt.
Happy Sunday everyone! Author Linda M. Vogt joins us today with a few thoughts on writing, publishing, and community.
And she’s also giving away a copy of No Thru Road, paperback or ebook. Drop a comment into the space below and I’ll draw a winner this upcoming Friday, Feb 26.
That’s What Friends Are For by Linda M. Vogt
This is exciting, being invited to be a guest blogger and to be in the company of such excellent and accomplished women writers. I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of them since my debut mystery, No Thru Road, was published about a year ago. I’m grateful to the Golden Crown Literary Society for introducing me to all those authors and readers. What a bright, talented and fun-loving group of women! If you aren’t familiar with that organization (and I know many of you are), check it out at www.goldencrown.org. Top-notch!
We all know that writing is a solitary pursuit. For me, that means taking myself on a writing retreat – at a beach house, or in my little motorhome – and immersing myself in the story and the characters to find out what they think and what they say. That’s how I get it done. But a huge factor in the success of completing my book has been the support of my smart and creative circle of friends. They have come up with a couple of interesting and fun activities I want to share with you.
Their support began regularly as I was finishing the book. Twelve of them gathered at my house each month for dinner and the reading of a few chapters. My friends gave me feedback that was extremely helpful. I cherished these monthly gatherings; they improved the book and served as encouragement to finish it.
For my birthday that year, these same friends surprised me by showing up dressed as characters from the novel. The story came alive! That’s a birthday party I will never forget.
Recently, my book was honored as a Rainbow Awards Runner-up for Best Lesbian Mystery, so two of those friends decided to host a Rainbow Party. Attendees were asked to wear rainbow attire, and then, unbeknownst to me, were instructed to bring specific items for two activities. So clever!
First, each person was to select a passage that she was especially fond of from the novel. She was supposed to make a photocopy of the page and bring it along. At the party, we sat in a circle, and pages were handed out randomly so that no one ended up reading her own. One by one, my pals read a few paragraphs from the book, and after each reading we all guessed who had brought it. When the person was identified, she explained why she had brought that particular selection, and what she liked about it.
OMG! This activity is an author’s dream! As I sat there listening to my dear friends read passages from my book . . . and then their explanations as to why they loved those passages . . . I was deeply moved. I found myself having a new appreciation for my own work, and for the process of creativity that results in writing that can be shared. Immensely satisfying!
For the second activity, which focused on the book I’m writing now, (the second in the series) friends were asked to bring a murder weapon. They came up with extremely creative entries: a huge rock, a kayak paddle, a stuffed toy duck, knitting needles, and a C-pap machine (my friends can be very funny!). Our hosts divided us into groups of three or four; each person ‘became’ a character from the new book, and each group was assigned a specific location in Ridgefield, Washington, where the new mystery takes place. Then we were to come up with a skit, in ten minutes, and present it – showing how the murder happens. Brilliant – and what a hoot! I actually got some ideas about what my characters might do in Book Number Two. And we all laughed so hard we nearly cried. Truly.
Maybe you and your friends would like to try one or all of these activities? I share them as a way of suggesting that, although writing is a solitary pursuit, our success as authors certainly rests also on the support of those who love us. Aren’t we lucky, though?
Linda M. Vogt is the author of No Thru Road, the debut novel that is a 2015 Rainbow Awards Runner-up for Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller. She also has a short story in Lesbians on the Loose, a mystery/crime anthology edited by Lori L. Lake and Jessie Chandler. A retired college educator, she lives near Portland, Oregon, in the company of fine friends and a devoted terrier-poodle named Scout.