Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Re: Wall Tour: Trying to think of something to write I decided to read you a little of my wall - no I haven't flipped, there's a lot of stuff on the walls of the room where I do my writing. I call it 'the scene of the crime' the crime being how hard it is to sell books these days. Along with a few pictures of cruise boats, a few paintings of my own (I used to paint a little, it doesn't pay anything either, sibs.) There's an honorable mention from a Sci-Fi group in Memphis, a letter from Dean Koontz (yeah, he actually wrote one!), and there's a copy of the confirmation of the write-up on me which appears in the 2005 Who's Who in America since I can't afford the $700 book even with a 50% discount. So there it is with all the other good stuff I like or gives me a laugh (two of my small paintings are of Big Bird and there's a larger one of Bugs Bunny eating a carrot and waving with his other hand. I had several big ones of Care Bears but they sold like hot cakes. There's a clue, people who won't buy something for themselves will buy things for their children. But I wasn't all that great at painting anyway and I like writing better. BTW my screen play is movng along like a herd of turtles. Always with the thought at the back of my mind I'm probably wasting my time - fun though once you get into it and get used the the 'business' presemt tense, so, we'll see. I was really surprised to get the letter from Dean Koontz. I was on his newsletter and wrote (thinking I was writing to whatever fan or flunky got out the letter) and asked some questions about an audio I was considering. He answered it himself - even went down and mailed it himself! He lives in Newport Beach and I was aware of that when we lived in Redondo Beach for three years and had to really use my will power not to go drive by his house and just see what it looks like. Anyway, his ideas on the audio were negative and I didn't do it. My husband saw me standing there in the post office holding that letter like it was the Holy Grail and after we got home and I got the groceries put up etc and went in to work - there it was! My DH had framed the letter (put the envelope with his writing and address on the envelope at the bottom) and hung it on the wall with all my other good stuff! That's one of the things he did to get the title Jim the Gem. (How he got the title The Human Broom is another story entirely.) Tune in next week to continue the wall tour. Break's over!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The weekend got here and the weather is just gorgeous! Sometimes it looks like the weather man saves all the rainy days for weekends then there comes one like this and all is forgiven. Reminds me of the joke about the old man who ran a service station and complained about sunny days because there were no wrecker calls and then about the rainy days because he didn't sell as much gas. (You just can't please some people - just be glad they're selling gas instead of doing critiques - LOL) Got a pleasant surprise in my e-mail yesterday, Zumaya invited me to send a brief bio so they could profile me in their August Authors list. I've sent it and also the Work In Progress picture I put on my blog to introduce myself in case anyone wants to go to Zumaya Publications and look at the profiled authors for August. I guess the reason I got the invitation is my new romance-suspense novel, ONCE BURNED has just come out and is now listed in their new TR books. It's at and they also have put the e-book out and it's on Fictionwise. Also, THE DEVIL IN MARYVALE, the first of a cozy mystery series, will be up on soon. It will also come out from Double Dragon as an e-book in early 2006. This is beginning to sound like a sale page instead of a visit so enough about that! The Penpoint Group that I'm a member of has moved its meeting place beginning the last Saturday in July to the new Barnes & Noble in North Little Rock. That would be hazardous to my cash flow if I had one, trying to go past all those books! I was an avid reader long before I started writing and this is a great bookstore, new with lots of books and helpful help (helpful help is the best kind - help that's not helpful is one of my pet peeves - feel free to tell me about your experiences with non-helpful help since I usually tell all my hopes and hangups on here LOL). Please come again soon, comments welcome, sympathy and cheers available here. Break's over! : - )

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hi again: (and I've learned how to spell break - can't believe I spelled that wrong and didn't catch it last time!) I'm moving along like a herd of turtles with my screenplay now that Albert the Wise and Helpful has told me how to fix the glitch in my script format. This job is a matter first of all, of cramming a three hundred page novel into a one hundred and fifteen (at most) page selling script. Should take me about two years and constant prayer (I'm still ending mine with 'and make me a good girl, but the Almighty and I are still working on it - and my thirty pounds of smart metal doesn't care how infuriated I get with it!) What I'm doing is just working without worring about the number of pages as long as I've got the format right then I'll go back (many times, I'm sure) to cut, rewrite and all that good stuff that's so necessary to everyone except Anne Rice and other established people who don't need editors. Picture me in the haunted forest in Oz like Dorothy whispering, frightened "I do believe in editors - I DO believe in editors - I DO BELIEVE IN EDITORS!!
Break's over! : - )

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I'm baaack! : - ) and happily sandwiching in my 'gotta dos,' wanna dos,' and 'hey this looks interesting stuff' in with my blogs and reading other people's blogs. This last comes under 'interesting stuff' to investigate. Got a nice surprise too, about the problem I had help to fix. The place that was so much help sent me a 'he said - she said' print-out of my plea and the magical Albert's instructions! Neat, huh? They also sent a questionaire they requested I fill out about whether they had been any help or not - talk about the understatement of the year?! Of course I did and rated them a ten on help. They also had a place with questions which told them how much of their products I have bought in the last 30-60 days. I was embarrassed to tell the truth, I hadn't bought any (I know what you're thinking - I didn't sign up to buy any or submit to any advertising either.) I've done about six pages on my screen play, read everything I've collected about screen writing and am now cringing about he amount of cutting it's going to take to squeeze a three hundred and three page novel into a one hundred and twenty (or hopefully less) screenplay. The good side is it's something I want to do, with no deadline (and I can take time out to talk to my fellow bloggers : - ))

I've run into one snag on the blogs I've been enjoying. I always like to leave a comment since I look forward to them on my blogs. But on some of them it just doesn't take for some reason. I'm still working on that but enjoying reading all of them anyway. (Blog on, friends and fellow writers). More later. Brake's over! : -)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hello and happy Tuesday, friends, readers and fellow writers (sufferers too if you're doing battle with your computer as I have been). This struggle with my thirty pounds of smart metal has left me as spent as any other battle but I've finally found the glitch and I can do my screenplay now. All I have to do is get started and do it (right! ; -)). One thing I found out is there are lots of people who are really compter smart and experienced who were as stymied by this stumbling block as I was. I'd about given up hope when I got into one of those 'chat' things with the company who made my computer (Compaq) and got to tell my troubles to someone named Albert. Must have been the shade of Albert Einstein or Sweitzer (or God or my guardian angel) because he let me blather on (you type in your problem and he types an answer and you chat about it) until the machine just cut me off. Albert has the patience of Job but the computer has no patiance at all with mere humans. All Albert typed back when the machine cut me off was "truncated at" and I started there and continued my (whiney ) facts and what I did, and what I needed. This happened twice - I typed on - what I lack in knowledge I make up for in perseverance - he! he! he! then Albert stated this was no a problem brought on by their product (I agreed - le problem as usual - c'est moi!) but he said he'd try to help me. When you finally get one of these archangel's attention you click enough 'yeses' and 'I agrees' to give them complete control of your machine so he had everything at his fingertips and knew I was not only a basket case but a basket case with a problem that needed fixing. He looked at my machine and my condition, gave me brief instructions which did not involve my buying any more software or a new computer. I was braced for anything since the other contacts I'd made were beginning to sound like my computer needed the equivilent of an MRI for a human being - scary - mind-boggling expensive, and probably wouldn't help anyway. His instructions were so simple I couldn't believe it - then he was gone - just like the Spirit of Ignorance Past or something equally as impressive. I did exactly as he said - and IT WORKS! I'll close on a happy note - break's over! : - )

Friday, July 08, 2005

The news today is mixed - good and bad. The good is I've given up on ever getting the template fixed or finding a cyber net with which to catch the elusive thing and deleted it - even emptied the Recycling Bin so I won't change my mind and waste any more time with it. I know that doesn't sound like good news but it is. I went first to the place where I got the template a few years ago and they still have it to download. I made sure I could get it before burning my 'recycling' bridges : - ). The bad news is we've lost a really good mystery writer. Evan Hunter (also a pen name) writing as Ed McBain died of larynx cancer. He was seventy-eight and had sold over a hundred million books. Not only that, he evidently had vowed as I have to keep writing as long as he could see the monitor - his last book is coming out in September. He was a good mystery writer and a good man who will be missed. I'm going to be brief today and see if I can remember or figure out how to use this template now that I've got it back - wish me luck? Break's over! : - )

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Are there any screenplay writers out there reading this? I need some help from someone who knows his (or her) way around cyber space a lot better than I do. Back when the moon was made of green cheese and dragons were not even newsworthy I wrote a screen play - a trillogy in fact. It was the first thing I'd ever written and was what drove me into a writing group in search of help. By the time I'd finished it - the work, learning, researching, and enjoying the company of other writers had me completely hooked on writing and I'm (late bloomer or not) going to keep writing as long as I can see the monitor : - )). To get back to my current problem, I've decided to make a screenplay from one of my novels and though I know my template is floating around in this stubborn, password happy machine, I can't seem to get the blooming thing set up. I'd already written me out a list of F1, F2, etc. to go by but I can't get it ready to go. This list reminds me of when my husband tried to teach me how to play poker and made me out a list of what beats what. All I remember about that is a FULL HOUSE is good! he! he! he! I copyrighted that ill-fated trillogy, proud of all my research which went all the way back to the Etruscans and sent it out to a few places that looked like they could afford to do my masterpiece justice. Of course, all of them stuck it right back into the SASE and sent it back tout de suite - except one. This one time it fell into the hands of someone who liked fairy tales as well as I do and he//she sent it to the fellow on the next rung up from her/him. This tasteless fellow (or lass) flung it back down to the office dogsbody with instructions to send it back to this naive a-- and PROTECT OUR OWN. At least that's what the results imply. They sent it back in the SASE with a page long legally correct letter swearing (they would not touch over the transom tripe with a ten foot pole) and none, not one of the office help had READ a word of it (to keep me from suing as if I had the money). This time I'm going to try something which may be more acceptable if not in a less scary setting. New York City to be exact. The name of the MS I'm going to put at the mercy of publishers, critics and whoever else I can get to read it is RECYCLING HUMANITY. It's a novel whose time has come (I hope), you can check it out at my web page and probably if you try really hard - on Amazon/ I guess all of you have heard about buying BookSurge and they're in transition. Right now, though I've taken the book off Xlibris, Amazon still has the old one listed and the new one with the new cover and the good price, you will have to put in the new ISBN No. (1594533644) to get - the difference in price is worth the typing and if you want to go to my web page there's no S&H there. Of course, I and all the other writers who are the victims of Amazon's uncorrectable mistakes (ever try to get in touch with them?) are hoping they'll accidentally get a few things corrected in the transition. They have always been very nice to me, they just don't make corrections - even when my publishers ask(?) If anyone has any suggestions about how to find my template, please let me know. Happy reading, break's over!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Hello again, hope all of you are having a safe, sane, and fun holiday and saying extra prayers for all our troops overseas. My DH and I are going out to eat, enjoy the good weather since it's not TOO hot and it's not raining and just enjoy being home in general.

Where was I with the Memphis fun and games? Oh yes, the Commercial Appeal survived and went back to printing the news in Memphis after the 'War Between the States' and is still there on Union Avenue, telling it like it is for their readers. Obviously, the City on the Bluff survived too in spite of the war and the yellow fever epidemic. Most people don't know Memphis lost its charter because of the many deaths and people leaving and general chaos of that terrible epidemic. Over five thousand souls were lost (and that's just the ones known and documented so I feel sure the number is higher).

The thing that makes research so much fun besides the facts you uncover is PEOPLE TALK TO YOU. When they find out you're a writer they open up to you and I've met many interesting, lovable, helpful, and all around wonderful people as I worked on research and met other writers. The rewards in contacts and friendships is great whether you ever make any money or not. And once you're 'hooked' on writing you have to write, so enjoy all the good things about it.

BTW, the perfume shoppe where Jamai and Susanna shopped is still there in the French Quarter. It's run now by grandchildren - or is it grand neices and nephews? Anyway, if you go there and tell them a little about yourself and what fragrances you enjoy, you can get your own vial of "Eau de Betty Jo" or whatever you want to call it (for a fee, of course : - ) and no, I haven't had one done and don't work for them or the chamber of commerce. )

Come back for another thrillin' episode with alligators, river trade, and love at first sight! Did I mention you can buy Memphis in Our Hearts at Amazon/Booksurge and it's also available in e-book format? (Well, I have now : -)) You can also get it at my page without any S&H. or just type Jackie Griffey's Books into your Yahoo browser and click on the romances, mysteries...

Breaks's over!"

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Happy month of July, everyone! Now that I've told you what inspired my writing of Memphis in our Hearts (so what if thirty plus years went by before I got started on it?) There is so much information available on the net it's just mind-boggling. How did we ever get along without it? FYI, fellow writers (most of you already know) all you have to do when you want information on something is 'think yellow pages.' Type in the very thing you're looking for and if that exact thing doesn't come up, you will at least be pointed in the right direction where to look further. I looked up some of the history of the city of Memphis itself, of things that were happening in the period of time I was writing about, and of course, about the particular things as I came to them. One wonderful thing I came across, the reason I said the research is as interesting as any fictiion novel, is the history of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Always an admirer of this great paper, I was fascinated by the things I read about it. As for what was happening in and around the time I was writing about, it's a matter of public record. I'll list just a few related things here. When my heroine, Jamai Allen, came home from school in England the war had been over long enough to breed chaos and danger in the transition from war to peace and it was in spots an uncomfortable peace. When the Yankees (the editor said I had to put a capital on this- he! he! he!) took Memphis, the Commercial Appeal that pro-south, tell it like it is (and in some cases like we feel it) newspaper, grabbed up their presses and ran to Grenada, Mississippi. It wasn't far enough. They'd been so outspoken they were on the 'dangerous' hit list if there was one at the time. The Union troops chased them all around the South (this capital was my own idea), caught up with them in Georgia, and smashed their presses. Meanwhile, with the Commercial Appeal gone a few weekly newspapers sprang up. One of the three families Memphis in our Hearts is about owned one of those newspapers and supplied news and 'social glue' to hold the community together as well as to supply the need and hunger for a newspaper. The whole time I was writing this I pictured Hal Holbrook as Sam (smart, sarcastic, warm hearted and sometimes funny along with it - I guess you're just going to have to read the book to tell if you picture Hal Holbrook as Sam too : - )) I know all of you are busy whether it's with your own writing, reading, or just living - I'll take up here tomorrow. Please come back. Break's over!