Excerpts from past Blogs

I decided to go back in our blog postings and pick out a few words of wisdom from a few of our members.  They are varied and fun and oh so wise.

Ann B. Howard.  July, 28, 2013:  Walt Whitman said, “The secret of it all is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood of the moment—without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote—wrote, wrote…by writing at the instant, the very heartbeat of life is caught.”

Deborah Epperson. August 24, 2013:  Where does your inspiration come from? Is it the vibrant colors in a treasured painting or the pulsating beat of your favorite rock band that gets your heart to pumping and makes your hands itch to pick up a paintbrush or guitar and produce your own masterpiece? Maybe you’re like me and find yourself surprised by a plethora of sensory delights that stir your imagination and inspires your creativity.

Leslie Budewitz. August 20,13: Storytellers need story-listeners. Story-hearers. Story-receivers. Those aren’t words in our language, but they ought to be. In my household, we say “that may not be in the dictionary, but I said it and you knew what I meant, so it’s a word.”

Christine Schimpff-Carbo.  September 18, 13: I have written before on the type of things that help lure my muse: reading other authors, exercising, looking at artwork, visiting with other writers and so on, but I left out watching musicians perform. I definitely need to add them to the list. As I sat under the white tent under the Big Sky and watched the talented musicians get completely lost in their guitars, basses, keyboards and drums, it made me want to get lost in my computer keyboard, drumming out words instead of notes to tell a tale, to weave a plot, to use my imagination.

Marie F Martin. September 16, 13: In the middle 1930s, my grandfather Yeats wrote the following poem.  He homesteaded a Montana flatland spread just north of Gilford, near a town named Goldstone.  In the evenings after chores, he wrote the rhythms that ran through his mind while doing endless chores in his Red Chief tablet.  The ranch is gone, the town is gone but the poems live on.

Ina Albert. January 26, 14: It’s late on a Wednesday night, and Franklin Crawford, 52, is pushing a shopping cart around a 24-hour grocery store in Ithaca, New York. He’s found the bananas and cat food he needs, but as he roams the aisles he adds ice cream and other nonessentials to his basket. “This is the meeting place, the agora,” he explains. “It’s the abundance, the people, the bright light. It makes me feel good.”

Nan McKenzie. February 23, 14 Our heart is a magical organ, capable of loving, giving, generosity, anger, hurt, evil and goodness.  It is also capable of fining down to love a tiny flower, a teacup puppy, a newborn child, and yet it can expand to encompass a family, friends, co-workers, showering them with love, and expanding even further to love a neighborhood, a country, even all Americans.

Ann Minnett.  September 12, 14: If I held onto that manuscript another week, I’d revise chapter numbers, change tense on Serita’s POV, or something equally compulsive, so I self-published Serita’s Shelf Life in late August. Then two more agents requested my manuscript. What?! After a walk in the woods I realized it didn’t matter. Self-publishing is my path, and an agent’s validation or rejection can’t change that.  Oh, I love maturing as a person and writer.


Friendship is the theme for this month’s blog if we want to stick to it.  I thought well I’ll see what I can come up with in the forms of friendships I have bonded to through the years.  download Two of my best friends are both retired school teachers who play scrabble with me on line.  They allow me to win once in awhile.  It’s kinda a love/hate relationship, depending who is ahead.

Another group of friends are my critique partners.   That too  is compromised by how much red ink splotches my manuscript pages.  However, what would I do without them.  A true friend is one who suffers with you and reading my rough drafts are painful.
critique (2) My life is complete with my golfing buddies.  We have such fun, however that too depends on who wins the quarters.  Here we are sharing a drink of Fountain of Youth water I brought back from a trip to Florida.  We are so much younger after the swallow.

Bottoms Up (2)

After (2)

Then there is first friendship.  This is my great grandson and his first true friend.

Brycen & Claire (2)

Protect your friendships with laughter and love.


More on Reseach

By Marie F Martin

Last month I blogged about how research is a must tool in a writer’s bag.  For my new story, I discover I need a couple of my plus-seventy ladies to go to a shooting range.  The plot has one of the widows keeping her husband’s gun collection, hidden in a garment bag.

bag2 (2)

The plot thickens and my ladies must defend themselves so they unload the bag.  One of the gals needs to learn how to shoot .  Rifle locked and loaded they drive to a shooting range.rifle

That is the short explanation to set up my trip with faithful canine friend, Katy Lou.  The rifle range is north of town, out in the boonies.  Katy and I drive into the bowl of our valley on a country road named Farm to Market.  Ahead are alpine mountains cut with ski runs.  To the west are the lower mountains covered with the Flathead National Forest and to the east are the snowy peaks of Glacier Park touching the clear sky in a reverent way.  We can’t see to the south, but on such a bright sunny day the waters of Flathead Lake must be crystal blue.

I turned right onto Church Drive and follow it to Prairie View Road and turn north on the dirt road, working up into a forested foot hill.  My dog and I keep an eye out for signs directing the way to what I consider a newfangled shooting range.  The narrow road widens at the top of a hill.  A sign reads Clay target and 4-H shooting range.  I turn onto the muddy roadway leading down to the building and park in a wide spot where the gravel looks thicker.  I set and ponder the plot of my story.  I do not need to investigate the range closer.  I have now unlocked a new twist to my plot.  Research is the key.

Research, a must tool for creating a story

By Marie F Martin

Research is what I needed to cement a story that had been running around in my imagination for some years.  I asked my husband if he’d drive me to the mountains about a 100 miles to the west of where we live. Elmer was a good sport and agreed. We packed a picnic, loaded up our two dogs, and enjoyed the ride gradually working up into the mountains.  We passed this lovely old school house.  I used this image as my guide to describe the Ferrells’  meeting house.

 school house (2)  We kept driving higher until we reached the home of a nice couple who agreed to show me their place.  The picture below is Elmer and the dogs checking out the skidder.  I saw a grannie’s fish pond and a still shack.  The nice gal told us her Granny’s whiskey was the best around.  The middle picture the Granny’s still shack.  There was a cold spring coming out of the mountain nearby so she had fresh wonderful water for her whiskey.  I wandered around the spring and followed it course for a little ways down the mountain.  There were scattered violets growing along the edge.  The gal told me that her granny had planted them years ago and they still kept coming up.  It was such a peaceful spot. We stayed awhile, and I heard stories of their ancestors and then we left the shy couple alone.  We drove into a nearby town and I found a church for my character Granny and a main street bar for Frankie’s brawl with the Hoffmans.  I have more pictures of my research on my website www.mariefmartin.com.  We had such  nice day and I came away with a setting for Ratham Creek.


inspecting logging equipment.

inspecting logging equipment.

Still Shack

Still Shack

Granny's fishing pond

Granny’s fishing pond

A Hard Question To answer.

By Marie F Martin

The world of publishing a manuscript is a frightening place.  I received this note on Good Reads as a question under one of my books.  My heart goes out to the writer.  I copied the exact words of the question and my answer.

My first book was butchered by the publisher. overly and grossly edited. what should I do? re-publish it again? give me good advice.  I have a finished manuscript but I am afraid to go to the so called publishers. 

Hi reader, (I am not using the name) I just found your question on Good Reads. Sorry it is 9 days after your question. I would need to know a little more about your book. My best advice would be to really think about what the publisher who edited your work said. Did he offer to publish if you make the changes? If so, this is your best bet to get it published. Sometimes we are so close to our own work that we become protective of it and don’t want to rewrite. My books have been rewritten over and over again until, finally, they make a crafted, readable story. You are in one of the elite places. Not many people get their stories read by a publisher, and I would hate for you to miss this opportunity. Set it aside for a few more days, then get your edited story out and see if you can rewrite it in a way that would satisfy the publisher.

Now, I am worrying if I answered in a positive way.  It is so hard to know how to give advice to potential authors’ questions.

card3 (3)