Parents in Pennsylvania have discovered that one of their high school English teachers has been writing racy romance novels on the side. So long as she’s not reading the books in her class, advertising them to her students about them, or using class time to write them, I fail to see what the big deal is. The bigger problem Buranich now faces is that now that her secret is out, it’s going to make the teaching part of her job much more difficult.
I love that Kindles and other e-readers are turning the traditional publishing world on its head. As Bob Dylan sang, The Times They Are a-Changin.
Speaking of e-readers, it’s no surprise that the iPad isn’t a big reading device. There’s too many other things you can do with it. Besides, people like me who spend the entire work day staring at a computer screen, prefer the on-backlit Kindle.
Superman has decided to renounce his US Citizenship but willl “continue working as a superhero from a more global than national perspective.” I’m sure that this part of some larger story arc the writers are working on to take Superman comics to another level, but it also smacks of another marketing ploy trying to gin up interest in comics which are having a difficult time competing against video games and the Internet. The future of comics and superheroes isn’t print—it’s movies, video games, and the web. If comics and superheroes are going to survive, that’s where they need to go.
I’ve been sitting on the sidelines with the NFL and its players squabble over a $9 billion pie. But after reading NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s take on football’s future if the players win, I’m firmly on the player’s side of things. If anything, it shows how the current work agreement stiffs the best players. And I have no problem with a league without a minimum team payroll, minimum player salary, no limits on free agency, and no league-wide rule limiting the length of training camp or required off-season workout obligations
There’s only a handful of websites I visit every day but The Passive Voice is the site for authors, wantto-be authors, and those thinking about going the Indie publishing route.
I don’t understand why someone needs a state sanctioned cosmetology license to braid hair for money. For that matter, why does someone need a cosmetology license at all? A cosmetology license is no guarantee of good work or attention to detail. With or without a license, if you do a good job you’ll succeed. If you don’t, you’re toast.
It’s April 29 and snowing outside as I write this. I feel like I’m trapped Naria when the White Witch is in charge—always winter and never spring. Where are Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy when you need them?
Just a reminder to anyone who wants their dating a widower story to be considered in my upcoming Dating a Widower book, you have until May 13 to submit a story. I’ve received a bunch of great entries so far and think that your additions will really take this book to the next level. I’ve read through all of them so far and will be making final decisions before June.
Sometimes I get some dating a widower questions that can be answered in just a couple of sentences. I feel they’re too short for one Widower Wednesday post so I’ve decided to combine five of them into one post.
Q: My widower wants me to go on a weeklong vacation with him and the late wife’s parents. Should I go?
A: That really depends on if you think a vacation like that will hurt or help your relationship. If you get alone with the LWs parents and the widower does a good job of treating you like number one, then I don’t see a problem with it. However, if you feel like you’re going to be an uncomfortable or miserable time, or that you won’t enjoy the trip for any reason, don’t go. There’s no point in torturing yourself for seven days. Wish them all a good time and enjoy some time to yourself while they’re gone.
Q: Will a widower who breaks off a relationship come back after he’s had time to grieve and heal?
A: Probably not. Men have an amazing ability to overcome their grief when the right woman comes along. If he wasn’t able to make room in his heart for you now, odds are he won’t be able to do it after some away to grieve. Waiting around is going to lead to more heartbreak. I recommend moving on.
Q: The widower I love is involved in a lot of self destructive behavior (drinking, drugs, and gambling). What I can do to help him?
A: It’s sad when people chose to destroy their lives. However, there’s nothing you can do to make them stop. Usually people have to hit bottom or have something happen to them before they decide to change their lives for the better. The only thing you can do is offer them an alternative to their activities (e.g., a movie and dinner instead of a night at a bar or casino) and hope they want to be with you. Keep in mind that getting involved in the lives of people who are destroying themselves often end up getting hurt physically, financially, and/or emotionally. I’d hesitate to get to close to anyone with these problems until they’ve done some serious rehab.
Q: I’m dating a widower who is also an artist and has several paintings of the LW in their home. He refuses to take them down because he says they’re some of his favorite work. What can I do to convince him to take them down?
A: I don’t think there’s much you can do. It’s his home and he can put whatever he wants on the walls. IMHO his actions are stating that he values the paintings more than your feelings. If you can’t live with the paintings on the walls and he doesn’t want to take them down, there doesn’t seem much point in continuing the relationship.
Q: I’ve found your blog very helpful but there’s one issue you haven’t addressed. There’s a 22 year age difference between me (23) and my widower (45). Do you think our age will make a difference whether or not things will work out?
A: I think if two people are in love, age doesn’t matter. However, I do find older men (widowed or not) who date women young enough to be their daughters a bit creepy. You might want to really examine the relationship and make sure it’s fueled by love.
Just a reminder that The Third launch party is today. Hope to see you there!
When: Friday, April 22, 2011
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Stone Family Farm
301 W. 2nd St.
Ogden, Utah 84404
What to expect: 6:30 – 7:00 – Start hay rides. Mix and mingle.
7:00 – 7:30 – Prize drawings. Lighting of the fire (weather permitting) I’ll read from a section of The Third while the fire burns.
7:30 – 8:00 – More prize drawings, hay rides, mixing and mingling, and I’ll sign books.
Just a reminder to anyone who wants their dating a widower story to be considered in my upcoming book, you have until May 13 tosubmit a story. I’ve received a bunch of great entries so far and think that your additions will really take this book to the next level. I’ve read through all of them so far and will be making final decisions before June.
An issue I’m seeing more and more often in my inbox deals with traveling with a widower. A woman recently emailed me and expressed her frustration that the widower wanted to take her on a week-long trip to Europe. The problem wasn’t that the widower wanted to take her on a trip overseas but that they’d be staying in the same hotels and visiting a lot of the same places that the W and the LW regularly visited together. The fact that they’d be doing so many things that the W and LW did that the woman felt like it wasn’t going to be “their” trip but a trip to relive times with the late wife. For the most part this woman felt like the W did a good job of making her #1 but felt that trip was making her feel more and more like a third wheel. She wanted a trip where they could create new memories that could be theirs alone.
When MG and I were first dating, I ended up taking her to places that the LW and I frequented. The reason I chose these places wasn’t because I was trying to relive the past, but because I knew the place well enough that I could ensure that we could have a good time, food, etc. there. After we got more comfortable with each other we started exploring new places to visit and restaurants to eat at.
When I read these stories, I wonder if the widower is doing this for similar reasons. My gut tells me most widowers may just be comfortable visiting the places he’s visiting. It’s much easier to travel when you already know the good hotels to stay, places to visit, and restaurants to eat at. The only thing that might raise my eyebrows is if the widower’s trying to take you to the place he scattered the LW’s ashes, was married or honeymooned with the late wife, or other emotionally significant event. If’s it’s a regular vacation or business destination, I wouldn’t be as concerned.
So what’s the best way to handle this?
My suggestion is to tell the widower how you feel about making the trip just like the one he and the LW and suggest maybe he change things up a little. For example are there different cities you could visit or different hotels to stay at or restaurants to eat. Maybe even do some research before hand and give him some suggestions so it doesn’t appear that you’re whining but excited to take a trip with him. I’m not saying the entire trip has to be different but add enough new elements that it feels like you’re exploring or staying at places for the first time together.
Most widowers who are ready to start a new life should understand your feelings and be open to making some changes. After all, starting a new life means creating new memories. Hopefully he’s not so stuck in his ways that a different experience is something he’d be open to.
Looks like Greg Mortenson, author of the widely-read memoir Three Cups of Tea, has joined James Frey, Herman Rosenblat, and Margaret Seltzer (a.k.a. Margert B. Jones) as a member of the literary liars club. According to a damning 60 Minutes report, “Upon close examination, some of the most touching and harrowing tales in Mortenson’s books appear to have been either greatly exaggerated or made up out of whole cloth.”
Stories like this always make me sad. Talented memoir writers know how to make the most ordinary, everyday events jump off the page and immerse the reader in those moments. They don’t have to resort to exaggerating the facts or making up events to keep and hold readers’ attention.
Memoir writing is imperfect art as much of the retelling of events comes from an author’s memory. Readers understand that memory is a fickle thing and most people read a memoir understand that they’re getting the author’s take on what happened. Still, memoir writers owe it to their readers to do as much research through journal entries, news reports, court transcripts, and interviews with others who were at events in the book make their book as accurate as possible. If you have to resort to lying, label the book as fiction or one that’s “based on a true story.”
What makes the Mortenson case worse than, say, James Frey’s outright lies is that he used his stories to start a charity that funds schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson and his charity are going to lose a lot of credibility so it looks like the real losers are kids in Pakistan and Afghanistan who are helped through his charity.
Hopefully someone with a real story to tell will be able to step forward and help these kids now.
In celebration of Earth Day, I’ll be having the official launch party of my environmentalism run amok novel, The Third, on Friday, April 22. There will food, prizes, fun, and hayrides!
In following the general theme of The Third, I’ll be having a little CarbonQ as part of the party. What’s a CarbonQ? It’s a big bon fire (weather permitting) that will put several hundred pounds of CO2 into the air. Let’s face it, this has been a cold, cold spring here in Utah and it’s about time we did something to get summer here a little faster.
Friends, spouses, significant others and kids are all invited to come too.
Come and have some fun!
When: Friday, April 22, 2011
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Stone Family Farm
301 W. 2nd St.
Ogden, Utah 84404
What to expect: 6:30 – 7:00 – Start hay rides. Mix and mingle.
7:00 – 7:30 – Prize drawings. Lighting of the fire (weather permitting) I’ll read from a section of The Third while carbon
7:30 – 8:00 – More prize drawings, hay rides, mixing and mingling, and I’ll sign books.
Oh, and if you want to buy a copy of The Third, you can buy a copy for just $10. If not, that’s fine. Just come and have some fun!
As I posted last week, my publishers wants my Dating a Widower book. Last week they sent me a book contract and we’re currently in the negotiation stages.
So why am I bring this up (again)?
My publisher has been following my Widower Wednesday columns very closely. They’ve really enjoyed reading experiences that reader like you have shared in the comment sections of the blog as well as two recent posts about dating a widower with minor children still living at home. In order to move the project forward, they want to include a couple of real world stories from women dating widowers with each chapter in the Dating a Widower book.
I think it’s a great idea. Your knowledge and experience will give the book additional real world advice that will make the book even more helpful to those looking for guidance on dating a widower.
The real life examples you submit can be either positive or “learning” dating a widower experiences or something in between. Basically we’re looking for any kind of story that can help women navigate the murky waters that come with dating a widower.
Though you’re welcome to write about any dating a widower topic, we’re especially looking for stories that can answer the following questions:
How to get your widower to open up and talk to you about your relationship?
How you overcame insecurities in the bedroom about being compared to the late wife?
What have widowers done to make you feel like Number 1?
When did you realize it was time to end the relationship with a widower?
How did you deal with the widower’s adult children who weren’t accepting of their dad’s new relationship?
How did you get the widower’s minor children to accept you as the new “mom”?
How did you deal with special days like the late wife’s birthday, and wedding anniversary and other holidays?
To submit your story for consideration, send me an email. Please keep submissions to 500 words or less. You can submit more than one story but please send them in different emails. (This way I can sort them by topic better.) All submissions must be received by May 13, 2011.
The author of any story that makes it into the book will receive a free copy of the Dating a Widower book up publication. To protect your privacy, you can publish your story under a pen name if you wish.
If you have any questions about submitting a story let me know.
Thanks, and I’m looking forward to reading what you have to share.
For our anniversary back in February I bought Marathon Girl a Kindle. Even though Marathon Girl’s an avid reader, I wasn’t sure how the gift would go over with her—after all she seemed just fine holding a paperback in her hands as she read herself to sleep at night.
For the first two or three weeks the Kindle went largely untouched because Marathon Girl had a stack of books on her nightstand that she wanted to finish. When she finished those books she picked up the Kindle and started reading the one eBook I bought along with the Kindle. And once she picked it up, hasn’t been able to put it down. Just a few of the things she loves about it include how she can resize the text, never lose her place, and look up words in the online dictionary that she’s not familiar with. Plus she likes the fact that she can download a book with a push of a button instead of having to go to a bookstore or library.
Though I’m happy the gift’s been a huge hit, it’s causing one problem in our otherwise wonderful marriage: there’s only one of them.
Yep, I love the Kindle just as much as Marathon Girl. But since we have only one, a minor (but friendly) argument can break out over who’s turn it is to use it. Alas, since the Kindle belongs to Marathon Girl and she gently reminds me of the books I need to spend time writing, I generally end up with the short end of the stick (a.k.a a paperback). So it looks like I’ll need to get my own Kindle before too long.
The good news is that there’s a rumor floating around that Kindles will be more or less free by Christmas. (First sign this might be true: there’s now an ad-sponsored version of the Kindle for $114.) And even if that turns out to be just a rumor, I’m sure we can save up the money for one by then. Until then I’ll just have to sneak in some personal Kindle time when Marathon Girl’s not looking.
And speaking of Kindles, I’ve received many emails asking when The Third will be available in eBook format. Well, The Third is now available on Kindle. It should be available in other eBook formats soon.
OK, it’s not techincally the weekend, but I might as well post a couple of photos from the Write Here in Ephraim writing conference. I had a great time teaching my memoir writing workshop as well as hanging out with a bunch of author friends and talking to many potential authors.
Just some of the fun auhtors that were part of this event include (back row) Clint Johnson, Bernin Stevens, Cheri Chesley, Michael Young, Jewel Adams, Heather Justesen, Me, Rebecca Talley, Tristi Pinkston (front frow) Linda Gardner, Shirley Bahlmann, Joan Sowards, and Karen Hoover
Me in the middle of my memoir writing presentation.
On Saturday I’ll be teaching a memoir writing workshop at the Write Here in Ephraim event in Ephraim, Utah. The event is sponsored by the Ephraim Library and is free and open to the public. It will be held at the old South Ward Chruch at 105 E 200 S. The doors to the event open at 8:30. Workshops start at 9:00 a.m and will run until 5:00 p.m. My workshop, Memoirs: How to Tell Your Story, will start at 9:15 a.m. and run until 10:00 a.m. I’ll be showing ways to bring personal stories to life as well as covering the dos and don’ts of memoir writing. I’ll also be on an author panel at 3:15 about the path to publication.
E-Books – JEWEL ADAMS Welcome to the wonderful world of E-books! Got a great novel you want to publish but can’t find a publisher? Or would you like to have full control of your novel an make it available to purchase until you find a publisher? Or do you just plain not care about finding a publisher and want to fly solo? – E-books aren’t just the future of book
reading or a temporary fad, they are here to stay. Learn why you should give publishing E-books a go and take advantage of the wide open market. Come to understand that an E-books isn’t “just an E-books,” they are just as important as traditionally published books. Get tips on how to market your E-books and learn about the numerous outlets in which to sell your books and share your work with the world.
Memoirs: How to Tell Your Story – ABEL KEOGH- Writing a memoir is a great way to share a personal experience. Learn how to bring your story to life in such a way that will wow readers and keep them engrossed from page one to the end. In addition we’ll cover the dos and don’ts of memoir writing as well as how to know whether you have a story that agents,
publishers, and readers will want to read.
Fish Slap: What’s your writing motivation? – BRON AND SHIRLEY BAHLMANN Many people say they want to write a book but never follow through. Yet if, say, a fish slapped their face every time they missed a deadline, the result might be the opposite. In the absence of raw fish, what separates the sayers from the doers? A humorous and informative look at various motivational strategies for writing.
“A Serious Look at Comedy” – BERIN STEPHENS
Essential Elements of Suspense – GREGG LUKE: A brief overview of each element and how each contributes to writing nail-biting suspense. Q&A to follow. Key Points covered: Characterization, Pacing, Anticipation, Detailing, Resolution.
Finding Time for our Talents– JULIE COULTER BELLON – Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day? Wondered how you can fit it all in? Is being a writer a dream
you have yet to accomplish because you just don’t have time? This class will give you some insight, tips, and inspiration on how to maintain that balance of developing your writing talent with the other demands on your time. Julie Coulter Bellon, the author of seven books, a mother of eight children, and a teacher at BYU, will share all her secrets for how to have it all.
My Journey as a Writer and How I Got That Book Published – CHERI CHESLEY
Writing Mystery – JOAN SOWARDS – There is nothing more fun than losing yourself in a great mystery novel than writing one! Every story can have a touch of mystery. Learn the
tools, terms, and how to diagram a story, along with basic plotting and good writing elements, no matter if your mystery is a cozy or hard-boiled.
Blog Tours and Book Promotions – It’s a Piggyback Ride – RACHELLE CHRISTENSEN – Learn the secrets of effective Internet marketing for you and your products/books including author promotion, blog tours, blog hops, giveaways & more. How can you increase your blog readership and followers? Find out how Rachelle promoted her blog, increased her followers to over 500 in one year and got paid to do it.
Author Panel – Habits of Published Authors –Heather Justesen, Berin Stephens, Rachelle Christensen, Tristi Pinkston, Clint Johnson, Karen Hoover
12:15 –MIX AND MINGLE with guests
Story Construction 101- REBECCA TALLEY – A story needs a strong foundation and certain building blocks to be successful. Learn what you need to include in your blueprint to begin building your story. After we learn what essential materials we’ll need, we’ll use our tools to begin construction as a class. Come prepared to share your creative ingenuity.
Writing for the Peanut Butter Crowd: Essentials of Picture Book Writing – LINDA GARNER – In this Picture Book Primer you will learn that writing picture books is not necessarily kid stuff. All the rules for good writing apply to picture books but with less margin for error. If you’ve ever wanted to write a picture book, you’ll love this class. “You have to
write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children”. Madeleine ‘L Engle
The Long and Short of It: Writing and Selling Short Fiction – MICHAEL YOUNG – Writing and selling short stories is a fun and rewarding way to improve your writing and to gain a readership. Writing short stories, however, takes a different skill set than writing longer works and also are sold in a different way. Learn some of the techniques you’ll need
to craft quality short fiction and the ins and out of getting it in print.
“Chuck the Junk – Self-Editing for WordHoarders” – MICHAEL KNUDSEN – Most writers are terrified when they read through their first draft –it can be rough, ugly and
bloated with excessive verbiage, lame adverbs, and entire scenes that go nowhere. But there’s hope! We’ll look at rough text at all levels and toss the dingy bathwater while keeping your baby!
Fragile–Handle With Care: Writing on a Sensitive Subject – LINDA GARNER- -Death, suicide, divorce, abuse, war, depression, drugs, pornography, religion, eating disorders,
bullying, hate. Do you have an interest in a subject that is hard to talk about? Just because it’s a sensitive subject doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. The walls are coming down. Lots of people are talking about subjects that used to be taboo. You can write about anything, if you handle with care.
How to Become and Idea Factory- KAREN HOOVER
Author Panel in the Big Room – The Path to Publication: Panelists – Carole Thayne Warburton, Mike Knudsen, Julie Bellon, Rebecca Talley, Abel Keogh, Gregg Luke, Cory Poulson
Children’s Literature Game Show – CLINT JOHNSON Simple, Strange, Sophisticated, and Stupid Questions for Smart Kids (and Kids at Heart)–The game show that teaches more than you ever wanted to know about writing and writers, some of which you will certainly regret later. Prove your superiority in a humorous and educational contest that explores the world of children’s literature, from its comical quirks to personalities and events that profoundly shaped our world. Numerous participants of all ages are selected from the audience and given the chance to compete for fun and glory and prizes!
Sorry for the late post today. I’ve been tied up in a bit of good news. My publisher sent a contract over for my Dating a Widower book this morning and I’ve spent some time reading through the contract and doing other Dating a Widower book-related things. There’s still some negotiation that needs to be done before anything is signed but it’s nice to know that an independent third party sees the value and need for this kind of book. Anyway, I’ll post a full update on the book on Monday as I’m going to need help from some of you to make this book a reality.
Now on to today’s column. . . .
A couple weeks ago when I was scanning some photos from my time in Bulgaria, I opened up one of my old photo albums and a picture of me and the late wife fell out. The photo was taken about six months before I left for Sofia and three years before we ended up tying the knot. It was a photo I carried around with me during my two years overseas.
Just seeing a photo of the two of us together took me out of the present and brought my mind back to the days when the photo was taken. I sat for a minute remembering those days (and how young I looked) then put the photo in a back cover of the album and continued with my photo scanning project.
I share this story because I’m increasingly getting emails from women who are having a hard time with the late wife’s Facebook page and/or the widower’s Facebook page. The problem isn’t that these Facebook pages exist but what the widower does on these pages.
When it comes to the late wife’s (memorial) page, for example, the widower’s girlfriend will look at the page and notice that the widower has recently uploaded some photos of the two of them on their page or left a comment on her wall saying how much he loves and misses her. Or on his own page, the widower will post photos of he and the late wife but no photos of he and the new woman exists on the page. Usually the woman talks to the widower about it and he tells her that he loves her and shouldn’t worry about it. The woman then feels like the widower’s actions show he isn’t ready to move and wants to know if she’s making a mountain out of a molehill.
My thoughts: I don’t have a problem with Facebook or memorial pages for the late wife or anyone else. The problem is that memorial pages that are easily accessible by the widower can cause him to focus on the past and what he lost instead of his new relationships and the potential future with that person. It’s too easy to be on Facebook, click over to the LW’s page, and get lost in a flood of memories and good times. I’m sure not all widowers have this problem, but based on the email flowing into my inbox, an increasing number do.
I’m not a big memorial person. I think people are best kept an remembered in one’s heart. Because of this, I have a hard time seeing the point of keeping a page of a deceased person up years after they’re gone. Facebook is something that the livings use—not the dead. If the LW’s Facebook page is causing tension in a relationship, the best solution would be to delete it. (This is something I’m requesting be done within a month of me dying. I will live on through my books, thankyouverymuch.) Deleting the LW’s Facebook page in order to make the new woman feel like #1 wouldn’t be a hard decision for me to make.
I also think it’s a red flag if he’s posting photos of his past on his own Facebook page but not mentioning you or posting photos of him and the new woman he claims to love. To me this is exactly the same as keeping his house full of photos of him and the LW but not posting new photos of the new woman or hiding her from friends and family. If the widower really loves you, he won’t have a hard time letting the world—even Facebook friends he barely knows—know that he loves you.
Just like a 15-year-old photo of me and the late wife sucked me back into the past for a few minutes, Facebook or memorial pages or websites can cause widowers to do the same thing. This can be especially hard for recent widowers or those who haven’t fully committed their hearts to the new woman.
There’s nothing wrong with remembering the past; there’s a time and place for that. It’s not good, however, to live in the past. If Facebook pages, memorial websites, or anything else is causing a widower to live in the past can cause more harm than good. If these are causing a widower to live in the past, it’s time for him to decide what he values more – a page on a website or a relationship with a real person.
I’ll be teaching a memoir writing class in Ephraim, Utah on April 9 as part of the Write Here in Ephraim Writer’s Conference. It will take place at 105 E. 200 S. Ephriam, Utah and begins at 9:00 a.m. my memoir writing class begins at 9:15 a.m. If you’re in the area and want to know the ins and outs of memoir writing, you’re welcome to attend. You can download more information here.
A book launch party for The Third will take place the evening of Earth Day (Friday, April 22 ) in Ogden, Utah. There will be prizes, food, and quite a bit of politically incorrect (but family friendly) fun. You, your spouses, significant others, and kids are all welcome to attend. More details will be coming soon.