Love Cycles

From childhood until today, I have written poetry. Thoughts and visuals come to me that seem to attract an assortment of word combinations. This happens in joyful times as well as sad and lonely times.

Many people think poetry needs to rhyme in specific patterns, but this is not necessarily true. I like writing in free verse, which is what you’ll find in Love Cycles.  

I also write a lot of Haiku (originally a Japanese form), and perhaps I’ll put those in a book someday. And I love writing lyrics for my brother’s compositions and arrangements (more about that in another post).

I encourage you to explore your own thoughts this way and see what words call to you. When I taught this as part of a college level “Psychology and the Expressive Arts” class, I led the students through various exercises to show how easy it is to write poetry.

Please leave a comment about how you’ve experienced your own “love cycles” and perhaps how you write poetry for yourself.

A hui hou!

Lucy

WASHBOARD TALES

This sequel to Shadowy Tales will be available in time to give as a Christmas gift to friends who enjoy mysteries- or as a gift to yourself. There will soon be a link available for pre-sales with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and other outlets.

If you haven’t read the first book in the Shadowy River Series (Shadowy Tales), now is the time to immerse yourself in the lives of the people who work, live, and love in Piney Falls, a small Mississippi town in Shadowy River County.

Washboard Tales, this second book in the community saga of Shadowy River County opens with the brutal murder of Beverly St. John, the wife of the Piney Falls Chief of Police. Her death triggers fear among the women in this small rural community.

Major changes are taking place in the lives of other familiar individuals of this town that intertwine with the search for the murderer. Through her own ingenuity and fast thinking, Pastor Frances Anna Keeton must save herself from death at the hands of the wily perpetrator or become one more murder victim.

Realizing rescue is not imminent, Fran creates a list of potential perpetrators and their possible motives for the death of Beverly St. John. This list prompts her to make another list consisting of triad romantic relationships, including her own.

As Fran struggles to help solve the murder of Beverly St. John, challenges mount in the “coming of age” story of Allie Bolger, the expectation of a new heir to the wealthy and influential Capriano family, the success of Glory Bautista’s newest book, and the disruptive arrival to Piney Falls of a visiting professor from England.

A hui hou!

Lucy

Tell Me About the Characters

One of the activities I love most about writing fiction is working on characterization. By the time I finish, I know everything there is to know about the people in my stories.

I know their sun signs, where they were born, and when. I know how they look and how they move. If they have quirks, I know about those, too. Eventually, I might have several single-spaced pages of information about each one of them and how they are all related.

By knowing as much about them as I can create, I know how they would react in the event of a crisis, what makes them laugh or cry, even to the type of food they eat.

In Shadowy Tales, I know that Pastor Fran relies on preparing a quick grilled cheese with some heated up soup because she would never think about cooking a full-on dinner. She is too busy and has been single too long to think much about preparing food. But she does love Chinese take-out, and she drinks lots of tea or coffee.

I also know that she drives a red Miata and that she does yoga, but you never see that in her story. Just knowing that about her gives her a certain personality. Who knows? It might come in handy in another story sometime.

If you are thinking about writing but you aren’t sure where to begin, try inventing a character and write out everything you can think about that person. Suddenly you begin to get ideas of the kind of story you want to write.

After you have written characterizations for a bunch of people, throw them all together and see what happens! Trust me – they’ll begin to act in ways you never dreamed of. And your story begins to take place. I’d rather play with characterization than watch TV or go to a movie!

If you have read Shadowy Tales, what else do you know about Pastor Fran – or any of the other characters?

A hui hou!

Lucy

Biblioholism?

Hi, I’m Lucy and I’m a biblioholic.

As a former substance abuse counselor, I know that a behavior is considered an addiction if it interferes with your life and creates a problem. This leads me to wonder if I have a true “addiction,” like some people have an addiction with substances (legal or illegal) and behaviors (legal or illegal). If not an addiction, it is certainly a “dependency.” Anyone interested in a 12-step program for bookaholics?

Does being a biblioholic disrupt or interfere with my life, or cause a problem? Only when I need to move all these books from one home to another!

I started checking the internet to see if there was such a word as biblioholism or if a group existed for bookaholics. Try looking up either of those words and you’ll see how many sites address this very thing. I found a site that gives reader comments that complete the statement “You know you’re a bookaholic when…” All of the comments there are true of me, and my favorite is “…when you select your handbags based on whether they are big enough to fit a book.”

No matter where I go, I have a book in my purse. You just never know when you’ll have a couple of minutes to read a paragraph or two while you wait for someone to show up, or for your car to be serviced, for instance. And sometimes I carry a book with the sole intent of going somewhere only to read. I have a different book (sometimes a stack of books) sitting next to each of my reading places, and I go back to read some of my favorites many times.

I found one site that seems to have disappeared, which gave an excellent definition of “biblioholism” that describes me exactly (and probably you, too). “Biblio” means “book,” so this site states that biblioholism is “the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire and consume books in excess.”

The only feature of biblioholism that definition doesn’t mention is writing. I do an obsessive amount of that, as well, but I seldom bother to market what I write. (And that’s another whole problem I need to address at some point.) I write in several genres, usually with several in various stages of completion at a time.

Yes, I also read (and write) e-books, but nothing will ever replace the feel of paper as I turn each page. When I am forced to part with books, it’s as if I’m killing my children! Rather than give away the thousands of books I have, I simply have more bookshelves built.

“You know you’re a bookaholic when _______.” You might fill in the blank on this statement and find out something about yourself. Put your answer in the comments. I’d love to see it.

If you are interested in reading one of my latest books, check out this bookstore.

A hui hou!

My New Career

Friends often ask how I get so much writing accomplished. The answer is simple – I finally retired from my last career.

I was in the field of psychology for several years, then I spent several decades as a full-time pastor and counselor in a mainline denomination. As I finished up my last few years in a local church here in Hawai`i, I began teaching part-time for our community college.

By the time I retired from ministry, I was teaching fulltime at the college and didn’t stop until September 2021. I was an Associate Professor of psychology when I retired eight months ago.

The first six months of retirement were difficult for me. I had never been without a job or career of some sort since the age of sixteen. Perhaps many of you can relate.

I was lost. Who am I? Now what? Is death the next step? What is life about?

Recently, I was looking through old journals to find something I thought I needed. I don’t even remember what that was now, but a phrase in my journals kept coming up over and over: “I just wish I could stay home and write.”

I had been writing bits and pieces here and there, and then I would put it all aside to grade a stack of papers or prepare a sermon, see a client or prepare a class lecture. By the time I retired, my computer held several novels and bits of books and articles, plus notes on other work, and I had published a self-help e-book online. In my mind, none of that counted for anything.

Retirement gave me the opportunity to put it all together and get published. The e-book is now in paperback form, and I have serious notes on the next two books of my mystery series.

I tell this story to remind you (and myself) that little bits of writing here and there do add up. Take those few minutes you have on the way to work, or early in the morning before the household wakes up, or instead of watching TV, or while you are nursing a baby, or whatever else you do. Those things are important, but so is your writing habit.

It doesn’t need to be quality time or quality writing at this point, but it needs to be something. If you are a writer, then write. You can edit and put it all together later, but all famous authors remind us to write something every day.

A hui hou!

Remember Typewriters?

When I recently found myself bored with my current writing projects, my brother suggested that I start something completely new, and set aside all the “old” stuff I’d been working on.

He said “You don’t need to suffer the discouragement of being rejected. After all, you’re a different person now and a lot more experienced.” How true!

Back in the day of typewriters, ribbons, and carbon paper (yes, I’m that old), sliding a fresh sheet of paper between the rollers always gave a sense of new possibilities. There were times I used one piece of carbon paper so long that it was almost in shreds. And a new ribbon with freshly cleaned keys (remember the smell of that cleaning fluid?) made the manuscript look crisp.

There is something cleansing to see a pile of wadded up paper on the floor after numerous fresh starts.

When word processors finally came into being, there were many articles in writing magazines about whether that would change the way authors write. The consensus seemed to be that it would take away our creativity! There may have been something to those worries.

I love having a legal-sized yellow pad handy beside me in the car for scribbling down notes as ideas pop into my head. That is still the most reliable way for me to capture those fleeting thoughts. Sure, I have a cell phone that takes notes when I’m not near my laptop, but nothing beats the old-fashioned convenience of a pen or pencil and paper.

There is at least one book I’m reading in each room (or in the car or in my purse) accompanied by a small notebook and pen for seizing inspirations.

Sometimes starting a fresh new page is the necessary impetus for many things in life, isn’t it? New curtains, rearranging the furniture, or even a new house brings new energy. Each new semester of school brought hope of brilliant and eager students, although I enjoyed most of my “old” students, as well. Fresh soil in planting beds brings anticipation of new growth.

Perhaps someday, I will return to the “old” written stuff and recognize its worth – or its worthlessness!

As the year 2021 draws to a close, what of the “old” do we need to set aside to allow room for the “new” to flow into our lives?

A hui hou!

Writing Hang-ups

As an avid reader, I am fascinated with the many ways words are strung together to create a story or an essay, a poem or a play, a letter or a memoir. Along with my obsession for reading came my own need to start stringing words together. Almost as soon as I could spell my name, I started to write.

I have been writing this “Lava to Lilikoi” blog since May, 2008, and I wrote other short-lived blogs before that. In addition to blogging, I confess that I have written three novels, and have started a dozen others, not to mention outlines on another dozen or so, a memoir and several non-fiction books.

Other than the blogs, I have only had a couple of academic articles published and a self-published e-book of fables I wrote and used in my counseling practice.

I attended the Maui Writers Conference for many years, and the few years after it became Hawaii Writers Conference on Oahu, plus various other conferences for writers over the years. I even taught”writing intensive” class at the college for several of my regular courses.

But like many people, I love the creation, not the marketing. I’ve put in a valiant effort to get past that hang-up, and I honestly do know what I “should” be doing. So I read and study and read some more about marketing. I have subscribed to over sixty writing blogs over the years and there are many others I wish I had time to read. All of this is an excuse to avoid marketing!

This brings me to the real reason for this post. I want to start sharing my own journey toward being a published author. By making a “public” commitment, perhaps I’ll finally get off my okole (I doubt if you need to look up the meaning of that Hawaiian word!) and do some productive marketing as well as writing.

If you can suggest any good blogs or if you have any words of encouragement that would help me actually submit my writing to a publisher or agent, please do so! I need all the push I can get!

A hui hou!

Words

Many of us have read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert written in 2007. The notion of using three words to define a specific period of her life, some have started to seek out three words that relate to their own life. One blogging author finds three words to symbolize her year, both in how she writes and in how she lives.

Just for fun, I decided to try the same thing, but somehow the idea of having to keep three words in mind all year felt a little overwhelming. I’m not sure if that’s because of my schedule or my aging brain!

I chose to concentrate on one word each month, instead. I think what I’m needing out of these words is a shift in attitude more than doing more of what I do, or doing it better. We’ll see if this concept works out by the end of the year.

Somewhere over the past decade, I’ve given up dreaming of what my life could be, or what I want out of life. This year of 2012 is a time for me to examine my dreams and goals in life once more. So I have chosen “Dream” as my word for January, and I don’t intend for this to be just “daydreaming” (as in wishful thinking).

However I apply the word I choose each month, I believe it is important for our mind and soul to actually pursue something in our lives, whether that is change or expansion – or simply staying open to new possibilities.

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!
Happy New Year!

Zeitgeist

Yesterday’s post was about fresh starts. Here we are at the beginning of another new month, another fresh start, and the last month of 2010.

The NaBloPoMo theme for the month of December is Zeitgeist. In our day by day writing, we are asked to capture the mood of our culture and our life as it exists right now. I started writing the past few days before I even knew the theme for the month. Zeitgeist gave me direction.

I did not intend to write every single day in December, but I felt a strong need to talk about my life and thoughts. I like the self-discipline of writing daily.

According to Wikipedia,

Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and/or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambience, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era

That about covers everything, doesn’t it? So in the spirit of Zeitgeist, I will continue writing throughout this month. I love having a ready-made theme on which to focus my rambling mind. It will be interesting to me to see what I concoct for this blog.

How would you describe the influence of Zeitgeist in your own life? Where is it taking you?

A hui hou!

Biblioholism?

The subtitle of my blog is “homesteading, food, travel, and philosophy from the side of a volcano in rural Hawai`i.” If you read this blog even semi-regularly, you’ll notice that I have evolved from simply writing a saga about gardening on my acre of lumpy lava to offering you recipes of good food, and occasionally venturing into travel and other philosophical meanderings.

You may have noticed that I have added a post in the early part of each week that concentrates more on the “philosophical” aspect of my life. With each post I write, whether about gardening or food or travel, my thoughts always seem to drift toward how a book would fit in.

As a substance abuse counselor, I know that a behavior is considered an addiction if it interferes with your life and creates a problem. This leads me to wonder if I have a true “addiction,” like some people have an addiction with substances (legal or illegal) and behaviors (legal or illegal). If not an addiction, it is certainly a “dependency.” Anyone interested in a 12-step program for bookaholics?

I started checking the internet to see if there was such a word as biblioholism or if a group existed for bookaholics. Try looking up either of those words and you’ll see how many sites address this very thing. One site I found gives reader comments that complete the statement “You know you’re a bookaholic when…” All of the comments there are true of me, and my favorite is “…when you select your handbags based on whether they are big enough to fit a book.”

No matter where I go, I have a book in my purse. You just never know when you’ll have a couple minutes to read a paragraph or two while you wait for someone to show up, or for your car to be serviced, for instance. And sometimes I carry a book with the sole intent of going somewhere only to read. I have a different book sitting next to each of my reading places, and I go back to read some of my favorites many times.

Another site gives an excellent definition of “biblioholism” that describes me exactly (and probably you, too). “Biblio” means “book,” so this site states that biblioholism is “the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire and consume books in excess.”

The only feature of biblioholism that definition doesn’t mention is writing. I do an obsessive amount of that, as well, but I never bother to market what I write. (And that’s another whole problem I need to address at some point.) I write in several genres, usually with several in various stages of completion at a time.

Yes, I also read and write e-books, but nothing will ever replace the feel of paper as I turn each page. When I am forced to part with books, it’s as if I’m killing my children! Rather than give away the thousands of books I have, I simply have more bookshelves built.

Does being a biblioholic disrupt or interfere with my life, or cause a problem? Only when I have to move all these books!

Mahalo for joining me on this segment of my journey!

Aloha!
Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

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