Posted in authors, books, faction, history, military, non-fiction, novels

FACT BASED FICTION “FACTION”

Per Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:

Faction is a literary genre, which utilizes fictional characters, and plot lines that must remain within the constraints of current reality. The authors tend to take current and recent-past events, and postulate what is likely or very possible to happen due to these events, utilizing current technology.

In this way faction differs from fiction, which does not have constraints to stay within reality, non-fiction novels, which take actual past persons and events and fictionalize their story….

                              *                        *                        *       

 By Vince D’Angelo

My time with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific provided many interesting experiences.  Since none involved combat or other heroics, I found little reason to share them. A houseguest’s curiosity about my military service compelled me to discuss those experiences. My guest found my anecdotes intriguing and suggested I write about them. After a few hastily constructed chapters, my guest commented, while still engaging, it read too much like a documentary. To me, the events were the facts and I couldn’t change them. Or, could I?

I recalled a book discussion on television where an author said his novel was based on actual events but fictionalized.  Asked if the novel was considered fiction or non-fiction, the author answered, “Faction”.  I heard the term used again in other literary discussions.

Thus, I embarked on writing a novel based on my experiences in the navy. I completed the manuscript; the process was easy since all I needed to do was to recall events. It met with praise…from family and friends and the former houseguest.  I titled it, Tales from the Pacific.

I was inspired to continue writing. So I cannibalized one of the chapters and expanded it into a novella titled, No-Name Island.

I decided to write another novel, this one based on my shore leave in Hong Kong, China; a British Crown Colony at the time. I was very much taken with the exotic Far East city.  It was the most memorable experience of my naval career and the inspiration for the new novel, Out of Hong Kong.

*                          *                          *      

BOOK COVER Vince De'Angleo

No-Name Island: Post World War II, a six-man navy detachment is sent on a highly classified mission to map a remote, uninhabited tropical island. Instead, they find a leper colony manned by a mysterious medical staff. Also, a hidden encampment of men and women survivors of an accidentally sunk Japanese hospital ship, who are not aware the war is over. Unlikely scenarios for romance? Not quite.

Out of Hong Kong Vince D'Angelo

Out of Hong Kong: A young navy officer on shore leave in Hong Kong unintentionally finds himself in a brothel. The girl assigned to him is a ‘first time’ teenaged virgin desperately attempting to earn quick money to free her parents enslaved by mainland communists. His attempt to save her from becoming a prostitute puts both their lives in danger. They fall in love but are forcibly separated. He goes back to his ship not knowing what has happened to her. He returns to Hong Kong numerous times over the years, attempting to find her.

Thanks to Vince D’Angleo for his input on writing “Faction.”

Authors: Do you write faction? How do you market it?  What have been your experiences.

Readers: Do you like reading faction – fact based novels? Why or why not?

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.

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Posted in authors, books, family, funny, humor, old, old fart, readers, writing

CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART

Marsha Gordon

 Marsha Gordon;  “Let me tell you at the outset: It is exceedingly difficult to be a female old fart. Men old farts are thought of as funny. They are respected for their skewed humor, although sarcastic and uncomplimentary. Women old farts have a similar message, but are considered un-ladylike. I love being an old fart, even though sometimes it embarrasses my children”.

 

Marsha, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get you started?

It was a couple of years after World War II. Patriotism was at a high in the United States and there was great pride in being an American.

I was in junior high school when I discovered I wanted to write. The last question on an English exam was to write 250 words about how it felt to be an American. I wrote a paper about flag-waving, and marching bands in small town parades. Then I added baseball and Girl Scouts.

I wrote 300 words!

The teacher sent my work to the local newspaper. They printed it on the front page. I was asked to read it at a high school assembly, some churches and the synagogue. The attention was head spinning.

I knew then that I wanted to be a writer, forever.

I knew I didn’t want to write “stories”. Remember, this was just after the “War to end all Wars”. There were women in the military, the Civil Rights movement was stirring, and the airplane was replacing the train for just plain folk. I wanted to write about real life – and I still do.

Changing Times front Marsha Gordon

 

What is the theme of CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART?  Does it fit your criteria of writing about ‘real life’?

CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART is about change, yesterday and today. And how people react to change personal, local, national and international. There are many laughs in the book, some surprises, and maybe a tear or two. One reviewer said, “It is like eating bon bons. I never know where the next story will take me.”  Though I call them ‘stories’, they actually happened, in the past or now. CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART is definitely non-fiction. The book appeals to all ages. It makes a great gift.

Do you always write from the same POV or do you switch it in different stories?

As a non-fiction author, I usually attempt NOT to show my POV. My goal is to impart information, not to cajole the reader into agreeing with me. I have recently written two articles: one was about legalizing medical marijuana, the other about powdered alcohol. In these, I did not show my bias.

However, the essays in CHANGING TIMES: RAMBLINGS OF AN OLD FART are not informational. I put them together for entertainment. They are fun to write and fun to read. “The short essays and large print make this an easy take-along read,” says another reviewer.

What advice would you give to new writers?

I think the advice is the same for fiction and non-fiction writers.

1. Keep writing. If you are having a severe case of writer’s block, stay right in that chair and write gibberish, or nursery rhymes OR, the best, is to free-write. You will soon find you are back where you want to be, in your story.

2. Stop writing for lunch or for the day when you are at a GOOD spot, not BAD. When you come back to work, it will be so much easier for you to find your groove.

3. Having trouble getting started on a new novel?  Start your story with an action point from the middle of your story. The exposition will occur as you are writing. This will make your reader more interested and curious.

4. Believe in your talent, keep writing and Good Luck.

 

WRITING SAMPLE

BUILT-IN OBSOLESCENCE

Warning: Products manufactured today  may have a predetermined life span

My computer stopped working last week. Not a warning, not a gasp, not a sigh; it just died. I punched all the keys. Not even a flutter. I called my son-in-law, who knows about these things.  Rick tried everything he knew but could not bring it back.

“What about my files, Rick?”

“I don’t know, Mom. We’ll have to wait and see.”

My files may be gone?

Rick saw the horror on my face and tried to cheer me up. “You’ve had this computer at least five          years! That’s a long time.”

Five years? A long time? Rick is telling me, born smack in the middle of the Great Depression, how long things  should last? That five years is a good life for a computer?

Now I would need to purchase a “bigger, better, newer” one at a higher cost. And it would have a different program I’d have to learn. Would people buy new cars if they had to learn to drive all over again? The “old” computer was headed for the dump. Oops… I mean the politically correct “landfill.”

In the years after the Depression, people were cautious with what they threw in the trash.  Nothing was ever discarded. If something broke, there was always someone who could fix it. Remember Mr. Bob? His shop was just down the hill. He fixed irons and toasters and radios, usually for fifty cents.  He wouldn’t be able to stay in business today. We throw everything away.

There were no single-service items such as paper towels, paper napkins, paper cups, and on and on. Only when people had a little more discretionary income did disposable products hit the shelves. People began buying, rolled paper towels, tissues… Our landfills are full and our air and water are foul.

Now I have the use of a brand new laptop. The piece I was writing is gone! It disappeared. We looked everywhere and finally found a bit of it in the recycle bin. How did it get there? I didn’t put it there. Or did I? Did I hit the wrong key? Which one?

I don’t like all these new machines that are supposed to help us: the washer, the dryer, the microwave, the copier, the scanner. They are not loyal. Each time one of them breaks down I feel somewhat responsible and ungrateful. I also get unreasonably angry.

Just give me an old typewriter and a clothesline.

website:  msfart.com

 

Posted in authors, books, children, favorite books, fiction, literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, writers

Thank you to 50 authors

My journey into blogging has hit the one year mark. To date, I have had fifty (count’ em 50) authors interviewed on  Author Interview Friday. And over THREE THOUSAND  views. I have learned so much from each and everyone of you and want to shout out a huge THANK YOU.

Every author has something different to bring to the table. Whether it is their experiences in publishing, struggles with writing or offering a book I can’t put down, it has been a wonderful journey. I am going to try to post more of my own personal journey as this new year begins. But fear not – we have lots of other authors to interview and join us here at Writing Under Fire.

If you have a new book being released (or an old one that needs a fresh promotion) and would like to be on my Author Interview Friday, please leave a comment here with your contact information and I will get back with you. I welcome authors from both fiction and non-fiction, local or global. Let’s mix it up a bit.

photo 2

Couldn’t resist – didn’t have any cute picture to post that had anything to with writing, but how can you not smile at this beautiful face of my grand-daughter, Amber?

Posted in authors, consumers, education, Indie, non-fiction, writers, writing

Micki Suzanne talks about writing and selling vintage jewelry

Micki Suzanne

Please help me welcome Micki Suzanne to Writing Under Fire’s Author Interview Friday.   Micki, was there a particular inspiration to start writing?

As a kid I was obligated to write for church and school assignments. I didn’t enjoy the topics, but I’ve always loved wordplay.

In the sixties my high school English teacher told my mother I had talent and urged her to send me to college; she just didn’t have the money.

In the 80s I worked my way up from secretary to event planner for a Detroit-area marketing company. The guys in the creative department enjoyed passing informal essay contests around via email. Themes ranged from “what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done on a date” to “what’s the most humiliating thing you’ve ever done for money.” My contributions garnered guffaws, so they decided I should be hired in as a writer.

The creative director – an f-bombing bear of a man – took me under his wing and taught me the ways. That generous act changed my life. I’ve been writing professionally ever since.

Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

In the 90s I studied non-fiction with William X. Kienzle (author of The Rosary Murders and other best-sellers). His wife Javan was his editor, and they taught as a team. We became friends, met for lunch and discussed possible scenarios for his latest book “Til Death.” It came out in 2000; he passed the following year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_X._Kienzle

 What brought you from Michigan to Fort Myers?

A deer tick. In 2002 I had a writing career that paid so well I was able to open an antique shop on the side; then I got sick, lived with undiagnosed Lyme disease for two years and never fully recovered. I lost my job and my health, but I still had the antique shop. I was known for my estate jewelry, which I bought and sold online.

In 2006 eBay invited me out to join their Voices of the Community group. I returned inspired to write my first book, “Sick Mick’s Guide to Selling Antiques & Collectibles.” It was for people (like me) who were dealing with chronic illness.

When my boyfriend started wintering in Cape Coral, I closed my shop for the season and brought my estate jewelry down to sell online. I noticed I felt much better here!

When the relationship ended, I stayed and – to my surprise – managed to make it as a freelance marketing writer. That’s not easy at my age in a tourism-based economy.

This is my personal website/online portfolio: www.mickisuzanne.com

Are you a pantser or a planner?

Neither; I need to be inspired.
What inspired your new book?

When my freelance writing business slumped in 2012, I panicked and took two bags of my best jewelry to the gold buyers. I knew better, but I was teetering on the brink of financial disaster. Fortunately, I didn’t give them all of my gold. I walked away with some cash and the best of my stuff; which I promptly sold on eBay for substantial profit.
Once I calmed down, I was ENRAGED by the prices the gold buyers deemed “generous.” People needed to know how to sell their own jewelry online!  I thought I could just revise my previous book, but it was terribly out of date. I needed to write a whole new book – it is:

“How to Sell Vintage & Gold Jewelry Online”
http://www.amazon.com/Sell-Vintage-Gold-Jewelry-Online/dp/0978739329/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389483848&sr=8-1&keywords=how+to+sell+vintage+%26+gold+jewelry+online

It’s available on Kindle (or PC) for $4.99 and as paperback for $9.99

Vintage Jewelry

Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

I published my first book through a respected self-publishing company; I was lucky if I received pennies on the dollar. In their hands, my first book is – and has always been – out of my control. I will be shutting it/them down this year.

If you have the smarts to write a book, you have the skills to manage the publishing process. I’m extremely happy with my results through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space; most important, I own and control my work!

Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

 My voice is my tone. We have a different tone with certain types of friends. I choose who I will write to. I see their faces and know their reactions.

Challenge brings sadness, so I attempt to soften hard truth with wry humor. This sample briefly explains how I acquired Lyme and what it felt like to part with my first heirloom.

“Weekends with Randy were my salvation. He had a hot tub, swimming pool and five acres of woods. One Sunday I should have been poolside catching late day rays, but no – I was cranked back in his bony blue La-Z-Boy watching Sex and the City.

Sassy ambled over, circled three times and curled up at my feet. She had been out back chasing deer. Her soft wavy fur carried the parasitic freeloader that would steal my health, my wealth and my man.

‘The thing’ I clawed from my thigh that day was a deer tick; but I didn’t know that. I wouldn’t know for a long time. It was round and hard as a bullet with my blood.

Years of crushing illness and brain fog passed without income or diagnosis. I literally kissed my house good-bye, ran a red light and cried all the way back to Randy’s.

It was time to rethink the spoils of failed relationships; the skating rink [3 carat diamond] was the first to go. I was freaked about putting something so valuable on eBay.

The day it sold, Emma was checking the pool filters for trapped frogs.

I vaguely remember putting the big pear cut diamond in her sticky little palm and apologizing that it should have been hers one day.

Then I cleaned it, insured it and shipped it to Texas. The new owner was ecstatic.

I was encouraged; I could do this.

So can you.”

What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Editing is the hardest part. I’ve gone in to tweak a sentence and wound up restructuring one chapter that affects five more.

It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

As a marketing person, I know the importance of establishing online relationships. My favorite method is sharing my estate jewelry buying and selling experiences on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MickiSuzanneAuthor

 What advice would you give to new non-fiction writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

Find a need and fill it.

Thank you Micki for being part of my blog today. Okay guys and girls, let’s run out and sell our vintage jewelry.   Joanne 

Posted in authors, characters, fiction, friends, history, mystery, non-fiction, novels, readers, writers

Welcome back, author Dan Goldstein to Writing Under Fire

Please help me welcome back, Dan Goldstein, to my weekly Author Interview of the Week. He was a guest on one of my very first posts, as an a good friend and author, I am pleased to have him back. Dan is has written several Indie novels and some children’s stories. His latest book, Wild Bill Hickok, is the true adventure of the famous wild west icon’s last few weeks of his life as portrayed in a journal of his sidekick, Nathan Bernard and passed down to his son, grandson and then to Goldstein.

Joanne:  Do you have a background in writing?

Dan: Not really. Up north before coming to Florida I started writing children stories. When I arrived in Naples I joined an evening class and shortly after, my teacher took me aside and told me she liked the way I did my dialogue and that I should try a novel. I thought she was crazy. Me? Write a novel? But I started one and found that I picked the right topic and the words just flowed out of me. It was an adventure story and now it’s in print and also e-books.

Joanne: Do you always write in the same genre?

Dan: Mostly. I have some great children stories but I prefer to write adventure stories.

Joanne: Why did you choose to go the self-publishing route instead of traditional publishing?

Dan: Now-a-day, I believe that if you’re not a big name writer or you know somebody who knows somebody, or you are extremely lucky, it is rare an agent will touch you. I have also discovered that most publishers won’t touch you without an agent. It feels like a catch-22 situation. I believe that the big publishers are losing out by not representing more local writers.

Joanne: Do I always write in the same POV?

Dan: I tried writing in first person and found it much too difficult. I switched to third person and that was much easier reading and writing.

Joanne: What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis or the story itself?

Dan: I find the synopsis the hardest in writing. I tend to get inside the story too much and the synopsis gets too lengthy.

Joanne: Are you a pantser or a planner?

Dan: Not knowing exactly what a pantser is, I assume it is somebody that writes by the seat of his/her pants, while a planner has a good idea what the story is about and plans each step. Actually, I write quite different from most. I start with a title and start the story never knowing what the story is about until I get into it. I also usually put myself into the story and respond as I would to whatever event I’m writing about. I never write an outline or plan any events until they actually arise. I have written six novels this way, and what I have found as my only problem is my English knowledge and building sentences in the correct English. I write as I have learned to speak, mostly while in the streets of Boston. Since writing novels I have found myself correcting other writers in their spelling and use of words. Many times while reading some ‘big named’ writers like Stuart Woods I have said to myself, “this sounds like me writing”.

Amazon link to Hickok novel

Thank you Dan, for taking the time to be my guest on Writing Under Fire.

Goldstein is the author of Wild Bill Hickok – The True Story about his last six weeksBoston / Moscow Connection and Destination: Croatia

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Posted in authors, characters, conflict, favorite books, small towns, writers

Local SW Florida Historian Marya Repko writes what she knows best

It is my pleasure to have Marya Repko, local historian and journalist with us today on Author Interview Friday. Marya writes for the Everglades City newspaper, “The Mullet Rapper” (www.evergladesmulletrapper) as well as is working on her own books. If you are unfamiliar with the Florida Everglades, Marya is the “go-to” person with the answers.

Maryna Repko
Maryna Repko

Joanne: When did you first you know wanted to be a writer and how did it all begin for you?

Marya: I have always written. Living in rural Connecticut, we wrote letters to family with news long before email was around. Daddy wrote poetry which he then threw into fireplace; Mother wrote reports for local charities. My brother, Mathew Goldman, also writes (www.constantwaterman.com), Since July, 2005 his memoirs entitled, “From the Journals of Constant Waterman” have appeared as a semi-monthly column in “Messing About in Boats.” His work has also appeared in “Good Old Boat” and “Windcheck.” His collections of articles have been published in his books, “The Journals of Constant Waterman” and “Moon Wind at Large.” Our parents would criticize, make sentences shorter, and correct our spelling. A history teacher in college stressed “cause & effect” for my reports which helped me to present ideas logically.

Joanne:  Tell us a little about your writing.

Marya:  Most of my books have been technical and self-published but did I contribute as a journalist to computer magazines. I always write non-fiction but some computer technical (and editorial) and lately local history.

Joanne: Can you tell our readers about your experience with publication?

Marya: I have always self-published, except for paid journalism. My local history area, Everglades City, FL, is so small that a traditional publisher wouldn’t know how to handle it. I enjoy the marketing and distribution in SouthWest Florida.  I would recommend self-publishing to other authors if their subject is of limited interest. You need to start with good typographer to make the book look professional, then promote yourself on a website with PayPal, be ready to give talks & signings, run around distributing copies, keep track of finance.

Joanne: Since your writing is so specific, how do you stay in the “voice” you want to present?

Marya: It’s so important to have an audience in mind! I aim my writing at a friend who might be interested in local history. After so many years of writing letters and, now, emails, I try to target my readers as if I were almost talking to them. However, with local history, I also include footnotes so they can confirm what I’ve written. When I did the kids’ versions of my history books, I had to aim them at 4th-grade age group.

Joanne: Can you tell us about your writing process?

Marya: Certainly, for local history, I make a time line in a data base and then follow that as I write. The hardest part is motivation, but it helps to have a deadline. Our tourist season is so short that I want finished copies in November so my summers are tied to research on the computer and then writing. Once I have the time line, the words usually come easily (unless I ask myself why?/when? and need to do more research). Then, I have to tidy up grammar/spelling and do the formatting to send naked copy to proof-readers. I have some wonderful friends here that read for me. Then I make corrections, insert photos, finally give camera-ready PDF to the printer with a new ISBN. The formatting is fun; I enjoy playing with typography and design. I use Whitehall Printing on Corporate Square in Naples, Florida, for printing and find they are very helpful.

Joanne: How do you market your material that is not in the paper?

Marya: I have my own website http://ww.ecity-publishing.com where I can take orders through PayPal. My books are so local that I visit outlets and sell for cash or payment within 30 days. I do not do  consignment. Of course, I try to have reviews in local papers which I prompt with press releases, give complimentary copies to reviewers. I also have links to organizations who invite me to give illustrated lectures with lots of historical photos.

Joanne: What advice would give to someone that wants to write?

Marya:  My advice? … don’t stare at the blank page. Sit when you’re relaxed on a porch or by the pool with notepad and pen, start writing! I always scribble on paper before I translate into words on the computer.

Joanne: Are you working on anything at the moment?

Marya:  Yes, I am working on an “historical memoir” of the place where I grew up. It’s part Local History and part Oral History, probably still Local History on the shelf. Here is the Preface for my new book, Memories from Hadlyme.  I’m expect the publication date to be around August 15, 2013.

HH-071013-cover Repko

 

PREFACE

 One of my early memories is of my father lettering “established 1742” on a sign for the Hadlyme Congregational Church. Even as a child, I knew 1742 was a long time ago – 200 years before I was born!

That glimpse of history made me curious and I’ve been digging around ever since to find out how or why or when local events happened, like an archeologist uncovering the past, following clues, and discovering little-known facts that link together to shape our past.

My wandering life since 1960 has taken me from Hadlyme to England, Holland, Ireland, and finally to Florida where I recently have had time during retirement to publish several brief local history books. I enjoy the research, writing, typographic design, and sharing my knowledge.

I realized when my nephew Ezra Goldman asked me about an old post card of Moodus Main Street that I should write about my own home area, for him and for younger people in East Haddam. The Hale-Ray School Reunion in 2013 was the impetus to put words on paper.

 

Marya Repko

ECITY PUBLISHING

P O Box 5033

Everglades City, FL, 34139

(239) 695-2905