about their WIP
US Army Nurses Liberated from captivity in the Philippines, February 1945.
Thanks Author Meghan Nuttall Sayres for tagging me in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop!What is the working title of your book?
Pure Grit: How American Military Nurses Survived War in the Pacific and Japanese Prison Camp
Where did the idea come from for the book?
My cousin wrote a paper for nursing school about these Army and Navy nurse POWs in WWII. She e-mailed me her paper and as soon as I read it I knew I had to write a book about these brave women.
What genre does your book fall under?
Pure Grit is non-fiction for teens.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Pure Grit is the story of 79 U.S. nurses captured POW by the Japanese after the American surrender of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Pure Grit is represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency and will be published by Abrams Books for Young People.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote the first draft in a little over two months, but this was after I had written in-depth proposal which also took at least two months, before which I had been researching this story off and on for several years.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Pure Grit is sort of a combination of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tonya Lee Stone and The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I have been deeply inspired by the Army and Navy nurses I wrote about in Pure Grit. These women learned combat nursing under fire when the Japanese attacked the Philippines shortly after bombing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. They treated thousands of wounded and dying soldiers in jerry-rigged jungle hospitals. When forced to surrender they stuck together and continued to nurse the sick and dying. The courage and strength of these women kept them alive through three years’ isolation, disease, and starvation. They are true American heroines and I’m so proud to be able to tell their story.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Romance! Though Pure Grit is a story of war and prison camp, it is also a story of the triumph of the human spirit and the power of love.
I'm tagging Author John Bladek--Check out his next big thing! writer Sharon Himsl's blog Shell-tales-sails.
My Next Big Thing is a story about this photo. More to come...
Look to proven psychology to help you stick to your writing/ illustration goals in 2013.
Breaking old habits and building new ones is difficult because we pit our will power against our subconscious mind. That’s like trying to hit a bulls eye by throwing darts faster and harder while the target is in another room.
Habits live in the subconscious, which helps us brew coffee in the morning while still half asleep. When we’re walking along dreaming of making the New York Times Bestseller List, it’s the subconscious that turns our eyes both directions before we step off the curb. This mechanism makes habits hard to break.
One simple technique can help. When trying to break old habits and make better ones, the key is identifying the triggers that prompt the subconscious into action. For instance, what is getting in the way of your writing time? The dirty dishes in the sink? Fear of failure? A need for excitement? Discover what triggers your bad habit and you’re on the way to changing it.
Form an if-then statement linking the trigger to your old habit with your new goal. Something like, when I see the dirty dishes, I will go straight to the computer and write. Or, when I feel the need for excitement, I will turn that energy into drafting juicy conflicts for my characters. Each time you follow the trigger to your new goal, it strengthens a new neuro-pathway in your subconscious mind.
It take time for the old path to give way to the new, so don’t be hard on yourself when you fall into your old unconscious habits. Accept that the old habit is strong and do not resist it. Research shows, what you resist, persists. Fighting the old habit with will power, actually strengthens it.
Don’t fight nature. Work with your subconscious mind. In 2013, I am working on identifying what triggers my self-critic into revving up. What about you? Do you dare take a peek under the waters of your subconscious?
Thanks to lavanyashukla.com for the image today.
The falling leaves outside my window are ripe with metaphor for the creative life. As the tree lets go its leaves to go dormant and prepare for spring growth, a writer must let go of many things for her work to leave the dormant stage and flower in the light of day.
Fear is one thing I must let go over and over again.
“Face your fear!” I heard this advice a lot, but I had absolutely no idea how to do that. My fear paralyzed me every time I sat down at the keyboard. I couldn’t sit and face it– I had to produce. I had to get words on the page. So for many years I ignored fear. I resisted fear. I buried fear under a huge pile of leaves in the backyard of my brain. I wanted to get rid of it for once and for all.
One writing book suggested I whisper “shhh” whenever I felt fear. My fear was not like a crying baby. My fear was like a hurricane. I needed a stronger weapon than shhh.
Another writing book suggested taking off all my clothes and writing naked. I did it. That’s how desperate I was to be free of my fear.
Finally, I realized my fear is not some alien force out there waiting to pounce. Fear is embedded deep in the cells of my blood and my bones. Fear kept my ancestors alive. Denying, hiding, ignoring fear is akin to denying, hiding, ignoring my hazel eyes or my love or words.
It’s impossible to lop off a basic part of oneself and try to move on in a creative endeavor. Often we think we can create just by using our brains. Writing, illustration, cooking, juggling or whatever your creative work happens to be–requires whole-hearted attention.
Being whole-hearted means laying down our weapons. Instead of fighting parts of ourselves, it’s more helpful to accept what is.
Invite fear in. See it. Feel it. Know it for what it is. A single leaf, one of many we can let go. All the better to reveal the strength of the trunk and branches.
What strategy helps you deal with fear?
Yesterday, I read a blog about boredom being part of the creative process.
This so describes me. When I am trying to grind out the first draft of something, I sit in front of the screen and feel BORED. I hadn’t seen this before. I had sometimes labeled it fear. At times it definitely was fear. A lot of the time it was fear.
Over the years I have come to peace with the fear. I had not previous recognized the boredom except to the extent that what I was trying to write seemed terribly boring. How could I write something that others would want to read, if it was boring me? I saw this as a weakness on my part. It’s is hard to accept weakness and not feel badly about it. It’s hard to write anything of value when I am feeling badly about myself. You can see were this spiral is leading.
Today when I sat down to write, my first reaction was boredom. Seeing it as part of the creative process tells me it’s not a problem, tells me I will move through it just as I move through all stages of the creative process. Makes a huge difference.
Does boredom figure in your creative process? How have you dealt with it?
Thanks for the cartoon! www.savagechickens.com
Ate my first tomato from the garden!
I know, can you believe how tiny it is?
I love digging in the dirt and planting seeds. I go crazy at the nursery over the colorful pansies and begonias. And I feel great satisfaction transplanting tomatoes from the local greenhouse and seeing fresh, green shoots come up.
But we usually have a long, cool June here, and waiting for everything to grow, I grow impatient. Definite parallels exist between gardening and the writing life.
Same time I planted my garden, I polished a draft of my next book. When the pub date shifted from fall of 2013 to spring of 2014, my impatience...well, it had a growth spurt.
“I’ll probably be dead by then!” I wanted to scream at my editor.
But my tiny and fragile basil seedlings sat under a grow light next to my desk. I couldn’t raise my voice in their presence.
Gardening requires diligent work: preparing the earth, planting seeds, watering and fertilizing. But there’s a point where the gardener must let go and wait. No amount of effort will make the plants grow, bloom and produce. Same with a book. Once it’s been written and sent off to the publisher, it’s out of my hands.
In the next month I’ll go out to my garden, pull a few weeds, stake a few vines, pinch off extraneous shoots. But I recognize a lot depends on the weather, whether the bees come round and pollinate, and the pests and diseases that threaten my crops.
With a book, there’s always more a writer can do in terms of promotion, but you can’t force a publisher to publish it, and you can’t force people to buy it, anymore than a gardener can force a tomato to ripen.
This season I’m bringing my green thumb inside to my writing desk. I’m letting go of the anxiety, and the mistaken notion of control. I’m choosing to trust that my hard work and attention to the details of the craft will flower and fruit.
Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy the lettuce.
What do you do to carry your excitement through while waiting...and waiting...and waiting?
Today I’m helping celebrate the new book Frederick Douglass For Kids by Nancy I. Sanders. Join the launch party at Nancy’s blog where she’s giving away prizes, including a free critique of your manuscript’s first page. As the bestselling, award-winning author of over 80 books for kids, I’m pretty sure she knows how to hook a reader with that first page .
Back to Frederick Douglass. He’s one of those people- -you want a spark from his fire.
Born on a plantation, Douglass escaped slavery and helped others to freedom via the Underground Railroad. He became a bestselling author, an outspoken newspaper editor, a brilliant orator, a tireless abolitionist, and a brave civil rights leader. He was famous on both sides of the Atlantic in the years leading up to the Civil War, and when war broke out, Abraham Lincoln invited him to the White House for counsel and advice. Whew!
I wanted to know if Nancy learned anything surprising during her research on this important American leader.
I had mistakenly thought that the Civil War was just a white-man’s war, says Nancy. I thought that it was mainly fought to reunite the Union and that the issue of slavery was just kind of added on toward the end.
When war broke out between the South and the North, Frederick Douglass hurried to his newspaper office and published articles urging the nation to free the slaves forever and to enlist black troops to fight. He knew the war was about ending slavery and would not be successfully won unless both these conditions were met.
I also learned that it wasn’t until black troops were allowed to fight for the Union that the North finally began to experience victory. Black troops were very, very influential in bringing an end to the fighting. In my book, Frederick Douglass for Kids, highlight the achievements and influence black leaders and black troops had on our nation during these crucial years.
Frederick Douglass For Kids: His Life And Times With 21 Activities is great for teachers to use in the classroom. Besides the wide range of subject matter, timeline and resources for further study, the author offers ideas for bringing history alive. Kids can learn how to form a debating club, cook a meal similar to the one Douglass shared with John Brown, make a civil war haversack and experience the power of microlending.
But most importantly, kids reading this book can follow the footsteps of this American hero and see how to turn adversity into courage. Remember to drop by Nancy's blog for a chance to win a prize during her Book Launch Party. Tell her I sent you.
Great blogging ideas over at Writer Unboxed today. Basically, suggesting that you write about subjects that tie in with the platform for your book, which most likely you’re passionate about, and what connect with those who share your interest. I totally agree with this advice. But it is a bit harder for those of us who write about various topics. But I’ll take a stab at it.
Did you know WWII soldiers fighting the Japanese in the ill-fated Battle of Bataan kept themselves alive by eating python eggs? And monkey? The worst thing about eating monkey? When you dipped in the pot and your serving looked like a human body part. One soldier said later he felt like a cannibal.
Which reminds me, the United States now has its very own officially approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After a thorough investigation, the Bishop of Green Bay Wisconsin has ruled the Queen of Heaven manifested herself to Adele Brise in Champion, Wisconsin, October 9, 1859. (Deets here.) Leading directly to the Battle of Lake Erie, decisive victory in the War of 1812. The reconstructed Flagship Niagara that won the battle will participate this summer in a study of plastic pollution in the
Great Lakes. The three-week study from the decks of the Niagara will look at the amount of plastic present in the water, and how much plastic fish are eating.By the way, 100-years ago this month the Schwab Clothing Company in
St. Louis reduced garment worker’s wages from $12 a week to $8, rousing 300 additional employees to join the on-going strike against the company. Labor Activist Fannie Sellins traveled the country urging people to boycott Schwab clothing, until the company went out of business in October 1912.Yes, I am writing about all these topics. Yes, I am passionate about all these topics. To win a copy of my forthcoming book—leave a comment below (before May 15, 2012) guessing which topic the book is about, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win.
Thanks to http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/confusion.htm
for today's graphic.
I needed a relaxing break from my WIP yesterday, so I went to the dentist for a filling and a crown.
After all, which is worse?A shot of Novocain, or realizing you were way too desperate when you signed that contract promising to write a novel in six months?
Seriously though, these days, a visit to the dentist is relaxing. They put you back in a soft reclining chair with a comfy pillow. You don’t even have to hold you own mouth open. They have this new apparatus, nice soft plastic, no sharp edges, that props your jaw wide, retracts your tongue and vacuums spit. Not an ounce of effort. The work will be trying to find a second job when the bills comes. You know, I used to feel badly when I needed a tooth repaired, like it was a moral failure. But now I’m thinking about how many years my teeth have been chomping away....Just think if I had a car that lasted that long. Almost makes you want to brush and floss.
No, the real reason I like going to the dentist is the nitrous-oxide. For a girl who always “said no to drugs” it’s quite a trip. This time I came back to reality with the entire plot for a paranormal trilogy. It’s about a demon dental hygienist who tortures her victims by forcing them to choose a fluoride rinse—wintergreen, cantaloupe or bubblegum?
When I was kid I always picked the flavor I liked best. I went though several flavors before I figured out you pick the one you like least because whichever it is, you’ll never enjoy it again.
Actually, my favorite thing about getting a tooth filled—eavesdropping on the person in the next chair. I swear some people must think the dentist is their hairdresser. Talk about plot material!
So next time you need inspiration, take a break and go to the dentist. But don’t imagine you’ll come out with the perfect smile advertised in the office photos. If you’re a writer, you’re in the wrong income bracket for that.
But they say good fiction taps into universal feelings. Maybe you can turn a root canal into the next Hunger Games. Today's cartoon thanks to Kurt Melander and the US Air Force
Today I am guest posting over at Tracy Barrett's blog Goodbye Day Job! Tracy is the author of nineteen books for young readers and her blog chronicles her last year in her day job teaching Italian at Vanderbilt University.
My experience is not about quitting my day job, but about withstanding the pressure to get one. It’s about going for years between book contracts, making no money and still believing in myself. Hop on over to Goodbye Day Job! to read more, and leave a comment to let Tracy know you visited.