by Sandra Leesmith
“Sandra Leesmith writes sweet romance to warm the heart.” For helpful writing tips and information join Sandra and her writing buddies on seekerville.blogspot.com
For more about Sandra visit sandraleesmith.com
ALL BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND EBOOK FORMATS ON AMAZON.COM
LOVE’S MIRACLES is available in audio.
CURRENT OF LOVE
While on a steamboat cruise up the Mississippi Janelle and Everett Jamison III must make a decision: continue running from their emotions – or let the current of love sweep them away.
Only be reliving her own wounded past and helping Dominic Zanelli confront a terrible memory from the war could Dr. Margo Devaull set them both free.
THE PRICE OF VICTORY
Can Sterling Wade help Debra Valenzuela follow her dream and in the process discover new purpose for his own life? Will they accept the price of victory?
An isolated island girl with painful memories. A dedicated city boy with a wild past. What will it cost for them both to find a refuge from their storms?
CHILDREN’S BOOKS BY SANDY
Sandra also writes children’s books using her maiden name Sandy Wardman
GOD’S SPIRIT CALLS ME
GOD’S SPIRIT WITHIN ME
HECTOR WANTS TO PLAY
PERCIVAL THE NAUGHTY PRAIRIE DOG
Print copies can be ordered from childrensbooksbysandy.com
Find Sandy’s children’s books on iTunes.
Betty Webb has great news! “Library Journal chose my new DESERT LOST as one of the Top Five Mystery Novels of 2009! This a major kudo, folks, and I’m as thrilled as I can be.” Betty Webb
In DESERT LOST, Lena discovers that the polygamists she first faced down in DESERT WIVES have opened a small colony in Scottsdale. This time, Lena finds out that when one man can have 10 wives, 9 men will have none. And the prophet of second Zion know just how to get rid of the competition-even when the “competition” is comprised of boys as young as 14. But why do their mothers not protect them? When Lena finds out the answer, she is even more shocked.
For more information go to www.bettywebb-mystery.com.
And if you’re an aspiring writer, check Writing Tips blog at http://blogingwebb.blogspot.com
Taken from THE WRITE WORD, the newsletter of The Society of Southwestern Authors Vol. 36. No.1. Feb-Mar. 2010
It was not easy for James Joyce…with failing eyesight and a daughter with major mental problems…to finish FINNEGANS WAKE. It had been an impossible task to begin with. But he never gave up, and without much encouragement at that. Then it hadn’t been easy for many other creative geniuses with similar problems: take for instance Beethoven and what he accomplished after he lost his hearing.
Then there are the rest of us. This has nothing to do with our trying to accomplish an impossible task. It has everything to do with sticking with something which, because we were dissatisfied with the results or having listened to criticism, we set it aside for a while; and, after a little while longer, we had to admit we weren’t going to pick it up again. The project had excited us once. We had started it with a great amount of enthusiasm and spent many hours on it in front of a computer. The story took form; it had a beginning, middle, an end; we had every intention of finishing it; then something happened. It could be as vague as that. And it would not have been all that hard for us to start again…even after losing momentum…but the story remained unfinished, destined for the closet. This scenario has been all too common. But it didn’t need to turn out that way. Only a change here and there, getting back to the routine, was all that would’ve been needed; sitting down, finding the manuscript, reading what’s there, and changing a sentence or two. Then we would have no trouble getting back on track and, yes, finishing it. Oh, yes, it ‘s often the simplest things that make a difference.
So I should be able to pick up and start over all my old unfinished projects. My biggest hurdle is procrastination and fear, yes, all kinds of fear. Okay, so I need to be fearless and not care so much. You’ve heard this from me before.
In 1972, after spending five years oversees, my wife and I went back to Irving. I didn’t recognize my hometown; it had grown so much that the old familiar landmarks had been overshadowed by the new. (It didn’t help that my parents had moved.) In just five years my childhood landscape had disappeared, except in my brain.
Since then I have toured the old neighborhood, seen the house we lived in, but it didn’t look the same as I remembered. Trees had matured the same as I had. There were houses falling down by then. As a child, my world had been smaller (because I could ride around it by bicycle) than when I bought my car and my girlfriend lived in Dallas (even that world was smaller than when I left for college, and my circumnavigating the globe dwarfed that). Similarly, as my world expanded, my old neighborhood became smaller, or at least it seemed so to me. And that really forced to me to think about where I came from and the people around me then. What were their stories? Where were they? And what had happened to them?
It wasn’t until much later than 1972 that I became interested into putting the pieces together. And when I did I remembered bits and pieces of things that I had heard, often in passing, and had been hushed up. That’s what I have written about. I still don’t have any of the details of many of these things, things such as a possible murder and almost certainly incest. And many other secrets. The first time I wrote about Bobby I didn’t tell anybody that the play was about him; but people who knew him and saw the play instantly knew what I had done. In my most recent play called DADDY’S PARTY (about a family torn apart by physical and sexual abuse), as a side-story I used the drowning of Bobby’s sister, which one of my sisters said (she said) was a case of murder. My sister pointed a finger at Bobby’s sister’s husband, a prominent criminal lawyer who reportedly said he knew how to get away with murder. He therefore had become part of my landscape and fair game. He’ll never know he’s in my play; I don’t know the guy, and I’m sure he doesn’t know about me. My ignorance of the true story helped me out. It gave me freedom to make most of it up.
My childhood was rich, bright and dark, with incidents and people I can continue to write about. Your childhood is just as rich, bright and dark, which may seem very obvious, and it is. But when I was looking for something to write about, I didn’t immediately go to Irving. There are obvious reasons now why I didn’t want to. Some things are still too hard to face and raw for that. However, the further I move away, the braver I seem to get. Who knows? Maybe one day soon…
In the closet in my study there are boxes…some are falling apart and some are not…filled with old manuscripts and travel memorabilia. It is quite a collection and means more to me than anyone else. The only copy of some of my plays, the start of many other projects; I don’t remember all of them. I don’t know what’s there. For all of my effort to save this collection…and as keen as my interest in the places I’ve been is…there is a surprising amount of inertia within me that keeps me from going through those boxes. It is easier for me to turn to completely new material. And yet I’m enjoying rewriting a novel I abandoned over fifteen years ago.
I remember I always intended to write about my travels; and I suppose you could say I’ve given it a shot because I’ve written a couple of pieces about Sumatra and set stories in various places around the world. However I haven’t spent any time, or hardly any, culling through the material I collected, the old letters and other memorabilia, as my wife and I traveled about. That means that I am only partly done; and it seems to me that I am quickly running out of time. I had wanted to use all of the material. My ambition is greater than what I can accomplish.
I can’t write all the time. My wife already complains that I spend too much time in front of the computer. I write inconsistently. I don’t carry a notebook around, with a pen behind my ear. I write fast, without focusing on word usage; I have to rewrite and rewrite. (I enjoy rewriting and judicious pruning: the word processor allows me to do that quickly.) Filled with self-doubt, and just as doubtful about my ability to write well (I’ve rarely received reassurance that I can), I only feel as if I’m capable when I writing. My doing it is the only remedy that works for me.
I haven’ written as much I could have. As I’ve mentioned before (perhaps many times), I started writing in high school, when I couldn’t put a sentence together and couldn’t spell garden. People told me that I would never make it as a writer, but that didn’t matter. I was hooked, and I’m still hooked today. Now fifty years later, I celebrate that I’m still writing, that I’ve writing this blog today, and that I’m itching to get back to rewriting the chapter of the novel I’m on. There is very little of me in this novel. But to me it is important that I write it because writing it tells me (when I don’t hear it from anyone else) that I can write. And when I’m writing, whether it is good or not, I feel most alive.
So this past hour has been good to me. Now on to something else. Randy Ford
The house in Irving Texas I lived in as boy was at the top of a hill. My dad built a two-car garage in back of the house and dug a well in the back yard. For this he had skills that he didn’t pass on to me; that was a pattern. But I could never match my father’s mechanical skills, his ability for fixing anything, and the pleasure he gained from working with his hands, in his workshop, with his coffee cans of bolts and screws, the hours he spent inventing parts when he didn’t have the right-something for fixing something.
There was a mom-and-pop grocery store at the bottom of our hill. The neighborhood, still etched in my brain, segregated in those days, just sprung up on what was the edge of town then; and I knew it better than most of my friends because from a very early age I had a paper route. After I started earning my own money, I liked going into the mom-and-pop grocery store. My mother liked to say money burnt a hole in my pocket. I guess she was right, as she was right about many things. Along our street there were a few houses with huge lawns, and I could earn extra money mowing, if I were so incline. In our family’s lore there is the story of my intentionally running over the cord of our mower so that I could get out of mowing.
Behind our backyard we owned an L-shaped acre. Behind that and obstructed by a barbwire fence, Dead Man Canyon, with its steep bank of loose dirt, gave Bobby, Dennis, and me not only a fertile place for our imaginations (Arizona and old Tucson smack in the middle of North Texas) but also a haven away from our sisters. And I could see myself riding a horse (until I fell off one) and chasing outlaws and injuns; seriously we prospected for gold and I thought about making a movie about it. Later with my buddies Don and Ted, this ambition was realized, though the plot had nary an injun or outlaw in it.
Here you have been given a glimpse of the landscape that as a writer consciously or unconsciously feeds my creativity. It was where I went back to most often and where I felt most comfortable (and oddly enough it was what I rejected the most). I was introduced to life here. So the challenge for me in the future is to go back there and look under the covers to see what I can find. Perhaps I’ll write about what I find, perhaps not; perhaps it will take me some place else. As writers, I think we all have our landscapes.
See the October issue of AMERICAN THEATRE and an article by Alexis Greene called NO PLACE LIKE HOME for a good essay on this subject. Discover Lanford Wilson’s landscape.
Good day, Randy Ford
I have to feel passionate about something before I can write about it. But I’m not always passionate…and sometimes there is a long lull…when I try to write. I don’t get very far then. I have written about Vietnam; whenever I think of the war I feel very sad, in spite of the fact I avoided the draft.
My experiences brought my wife and me close to there. We traveled to Laos nine times, which put us in the middle of a war zone nine times. To take from that, as a tourist, in a capital bustling with American intrigue, was how I could add authenticity to a story I recently wrote. It was taken from my experiences and the anger I directed toward myself and was about how on returning home I shit on a veteran, a friend before then, but a friendship I lost after that.
I didn’t have trouble writing that story. It was about Vietnam, but I didn’t have to go there. Avoiding going there (I couldn’t honestly have written about it anyway) gave me a fresh perspective and my style of presentation matched the skimpiness of the material I had. And no research was required, hurray!
At least this once I was able to capitalize on my faults. My warts provided the fodder. It wouldn’t have been possible for me to avoid writing this story. I waited as long as I possible could to do it. I’m still not proud of myself. You say, okay, but now grow up.