Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adrift in the Sound by Kate Campbell: Feature Post & Guest Post:Orangeberry Tour Stop

 

 
 


 
 
Advice on How to Write a Book*
by Kate Campbell
 
 
Got this message from a friend: Hi Kate, Looking for a little guidance. I would like to use my ability to write to make some money. I’ll bet you have a few ideas of how this could be done. Any wisdom to throw my way? Hope you’re enjoying your Friday and your book launch for Adrift in the Sound and Between the Sheets is a huge success!

Here’s my response— Just coming up for air after launching two books in June and spending time with my granddaughter, Ada, who is visiting for a month from Eau Claire, WI. Sorry I didn’t get back to your sooner. It has been a whirlwind month, including lots of interesting reporting assignments at work—working a day job, launching a couple of books and finding time for family is fun, but exhausting.

In answer to your question, I saw a funny quote on Facebook this morning from Ernest Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down to a typewriter and bleed.” I have another quote, framed and hanging in my hallway: “Every book is, in an intimate sense, a circular letter to the friends of him who writes it.” – Robert Louis Stevenson.

Two views—one scary, one kind. Both true. And, we get to choose our truth. But, the most motivating advice I found as a writer came from Walter Mosley, who is a successful writer of LA detective/mystery stories. Basically, he said: Sit down and write your book or stop kidding yourself, get over it. Action talks, BS walks. Not the most elegant of sentiments, but it worked for me.

And, with two books published, it’s back to the keyboard to write number three, and I’ve got at least three more books I’d like to get to after that. When I seriously started writing creatively in 2005, I thought producing one book would be a miracle. I agonized over Adrift in the Sound for four years.


One thing I learned in writing that first book is that carving out time to write and consistently laying down words results in progress, often not great progress, but real, measureable movement toward your goal. I’ve lived in rewrite Hell for a long time using that method. I’m thinking a better plan for execution will shorten the path to a finished, satisfying story for me.

Another thing I learned is to “chunk it out,” meaning once you have your project defined, break it into bite-sized pieces and work on it section by section, polishing as you go, the way folks say you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. For me, that meant chapters. And, it helps to have confidantes who will offer an ear while you talk through your ideas or concepts. It takes a village to write a book.

I don’t know if you’re considering writing fiction or nonfiction. With nonfiction, you need to think about the project in a mechanical way—Layout the information in a logical progression for readers, think about how the book will be packaged, how it will be used to promote business, how it can be used as a foundation for additional streams of revenue—seminars, videos, workshops, speaker opportunities, Radio & TV interviews, spin-off print articles. I heard of a woman who published a booklet and turned it into a full-blown profitable business. One booklet!

For fiction, pure story, I used an approach something like learning to play the accordion, expanding the story for air, pressing buttons, squeezing it to distill sound. Adding a campfire and gypsy violins after the story took shape. I think of the quote from acclaimed author Joan Didion: “Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.” Fiction is a mélange of music and mechanics, with a lot of dancing around.

The only wisdom I can toss your way, like a colorful bouquet tied with pink ribbons, is trust your heart, plant your seat, and start tapping your keyboard. Do not stop, even if your butt falls off! You’ll be amazed by what happens, promise. Best wishes on your new adventure. Let me know how you’re progressing.



* Re-blogged with permission   http://blog.orangeberrypromo.com/2012/11/kate-campbell-how-to-write-a-book/
 
 
 
All My Heroes are Hobos*
by Kate Campbell
 
 
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a hobo. I spent hours making camps out of rocks and sticks—fire pit, spit, water bucket, spots for bed rolls—arranging everything perfectly to welcome the vagabonds I was sure would arrive.
  1. I was raised in San Francisco at a time when ladies wore white gloves when they went shopping downtown.
  2. I have my B.A. in Journalism, a major I chose because I thought it would help me put bread on the table and allow me to develop my writing craft. I’m still deciding if the plan worked.
  3. My parent’s first car was a 1948 Hudson Hornet.
  4. My father was a cowboy.
  5. When referring to me, my mother usually started by saying, “Kate’s biggest problem is . . .
  6. Adrift in the Sound, my mainstream debut novel, started out as a creative writing exercise about something I didn’t understand. It was supposed to be a simple story about a piano, but instead of finger exercises, it turned into a symphony.
Six things not enough?
98 Random, Irrelevant Things About Kate

  1. My first car was a yellow VW beetle stick shift with no radio, which is why I like to sing while I drive. Mostly Aretha.
  2. I learned to drive on the hills of San Francisco in a Toyota HiLux pickup truck, with stick shift. It took a while and a few mishaps, but eventually I mastered the art of going from a dead stop to moving forward on a very steep hill.
  3. I can’t resist chocolate, a common affliction.
  4. My first “real” job was making cotton candy at Playland-at-the-Beach in San Francisco, the city’s first amusement park. I was assigned a tight uniform and stood in a glass booth in the middle of the midway.
  5. I like pot roast with pan seared and parsleyed potatoes, hate tomato soup.
  6. I often spend an entire afternoon shopping at a local thrift store and maintain a rigid $20 spree limit. Retail therapy in tough economic times.
  7. I have a recurring dream that I’m in a tight dark place and then move into a coarse, rippley place and wake up scared and panting. I think I continually relive my own birth anxiety. How creepy is that?
  8. I hate when people shove past me and don’t apologize for the rudeness, especially when getting in an elevator or on a bus because then I have to stand passively in the stink of rude and act like I don’t notice.
  9. The fastest way to make me angry is to criticize my family. Sure, they’re all a little odd, but only I get to say that.
  10. I always think couscous is going to taste better than it does, think the opposite about hummus and find it delicious, but then garlic fixes everything.
  11. If I stop and think, words, the perfect words, evaporate and I find myself stammering while I try to catch up with them.
  12. Favorite flower – Jonquil, it was the badge for our Girl Scout troop.
  13. In the movie “Out of Africa,” when the two lions go to rest on Denys’ grave, I burst into tears. The first time I saw it my 9 year-old son had to help me from the theater I was sobbing so hard. One of the saddest scenes ever.
  14. I secretly think people who say I’m hard to buy for lack imagination.
  15. Believe it or not, my first published work was “Between the Sheets: An Intimate Exchange on Writing, Editing, and Publishing,” a book about editing the novel before it was published. What kind of sense does that make?
  16. I wrote my first short story when I was 9 about a Bunyanesque tugboat captain on San Francisco Bay, who rescued ships and eventually the city. The teacher showed it to the principal, Mr. McGinnis, and he took me around to all the classrooms at Alvarado Elementary School and had me read it the other kids. He also brought Claudia, a girl from another class who wrote a story about racing on the rings of Saturn. It was a better story. I knew that since my story wasn’t the only one selected, it probably wasn’t that good, sort of second best, if best at all. This kind of insecurity has plagued me all my life.
  17. I’m a cakeaholic. I’d rather eat cake or a cookie and keep going that bother with the rigmarole of sitting down and eating something good for me. As a result, I have a righteous muffin top.
  18. I love the color red but, but since my husband died about three years ago, I always end up wearing black, like freaking Queen Victoria. I swear, I’m going to start wearing sea foam green and powder blue.
  19. Every time it rains, I want to stay home and watch. It’s a miracle here in the West.
  20. I once worked as a bet taker at Golden Gate fields because I wanted to be closer to the horses. Quit after a guy with a losing bet threw beer all over me and a fight broke out and the guy got escorted off the track. The sport’s too rough for me.
  21. When I’m alone, I dance and pluck my eyebrows, not at the same time, however.
  22. Favorite candy? Chocolate in all its guises. OK, let’s get honest here. MandM peanuts. How boring is that?
  23. I get bored.
  24. My Great-aunt Eva spent her last years making tatted lace for pillow cases and petticoats and telling us kids tall tales.
  25. I met my best friend when our sons were in preschool and we all grew up together.
  26. I frequently forget what day it is. Hell, I forget to close the garage door, turn off the boiling tea water on the stove, leave the doors unlocked and can’t find my keys. Sometimes the specific day seems inconsequential.
  27. I was obsessed with swimming before I was obsessed with writing. I love practice more than races.
  28. I still occasionally wear my grandmother’s screw-back earrings with the green rhinestones. 40s Tre Chic!
  29. I thought John Travolta was fantastically sexy in Pulp Fiction. Oh, come on. Admit it. He was. Bopping in the restaurant, the anxiety dripping from the screen. Forget Saturday Night Fever.
  30. I’ve been known to speak with great formality to store clerks because I hate giving up dollars without a fight and I hate being spoken to like I’m a street person.
  31. I eat asparagus naked. I like it like that.
  32. I love the semi-popped kernels at the bottom of the popcorn bowl and will go on the attack if anyone tries to get to them before I do.
  33. I’ve been writing and editing for nearly 40 years. It took four years to write my first novel after 36 years of wanting to.
  34. When I was in journalism school at San Francisco State, my brothers mockingly called me the “reporter for the people.”
  35. I have the driest cuticles ever. Do you think it’s a vitamin E deficiency?
  36. I love Mexican folkloric dancing because I want one of those skirts.
  37. Downward Facing Dog is my favorite yoga position.
  38. My step dad had a scuba diving company. I was scuba certified when I was 11 and spent a lot, I mean a lot, of time in the Pacific Ocean.
  39. I’m easily overwhelmed by bookstores because I want everything and can’t decide.
  40. I’m also easily overwhelmed by shoe stores for the same reason and always impulsively buy shoes that hurt.
  41. I get embarrassed when I see I’ve misplaced a comma. It feels like smiling with lipstick on my teeth. I don’t see it, but everyone else does and politely acts like they don’t notice.
  42. My favorite quote is by novelist John Steinbeck, who worked as a journalist for a while at the Salinas Californian, where I also worked for a while as a freelancer. “If they wanted someone who could spell, they should’ve hired a school marm.” I love the guy!
  43. I’ve always thought my sister Joyce got the better name. It sounds happy, while everybody and their dog is named Kate.
  44. I don’t drink but, mysteriously, I have dozens of wine glasses gathering dust.
  45. I act like I know what I’m doing, but most of the time I’m a mess.
  46. My former husband loved Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude, but for me, it was Love in the Time of Cholera. Truthfully, I can’t get over the book’s feeling of longing. Marquez was a journalist first and 20 years later wrote 100 Years of Solitude (1967), which gives me hope as a writer, however, slender the thread of my talent.
  47. My alarm clock is set for 5:30 a.m., but I’m usually up about 3 a.m. to write.
  48. I hate my 2nd grade photo, missing front teeth and oddly curled hair, a homemade dress I never liked. Who sends a kid to school looking like that?
  49. Alcohol addiction is rampant in my family, which is why I got clean and sober 30 years ago. Scares me to death.
  50. My signature scent is “Rain,” which is a body oil I used to buy at a little shop on Haight Street before it got taken over by Yuppies and Techsters and the neighborhood went gentrified.
  51. I sometimes forget to turn off the automatic sprinklers and water the garden in the rain. I’m always afraid the water police are going to show up and bust me.
  52. My house is named NutTree Cottage, but my sister calls it the “Nut House.”
  53. I have accidentally broken my plumbing at 3 a.m. while trying to clear an inconsequential drain problem. What some people do to put off writing. The drain still isn’t fixed.
  54. I feel compelled to eat everything on my plate, even when I feel full after half of it. Childhood conditioning always kicks in. I remain president of the “Clean Plater Club.”
  55. I used to write (mercifully never published) plays about the foibles of friends.
  56. I once worked as a typist for a famous Hollywood screenwriter. I’d go to his house and start typing, he’d come into the room complaining about shoulder pain and ask me to rub Absorbine Junior on his joint. I quit after a couple of weeks. Hated the smell on my hands.
  57. I was half-asleep in the house I rented in Pasadena and felt a ghost-like presence move like a silken scarf over my body. I would have thought this an odd take on prickly heat, but the sensation occurred many times in that house and never again after I moved back home to San Francisco or sense then in Sacramento.
  58. I irrationally fear I’ll be bitten by a rattlesnake. Well, maybe not so irrational, considering the remote places I go on assignment. I don’t wear sandals or heels when I’m working, also, tube tops and chandelier earrings are out.
  59. I am the person who can’t decide on paper or plastic when you’re in a hurry at the grocery store and behind me in line. Thankfully, they’re banning the plastic option. So much easier for me than having to figure it out.
  60. I pair mashed potatoes with yogurt. Keeping the whites together just makes sense with food and laundry.
  61. I have always had a crush on Paul Volker. What’s not to love about the craggy Federal Reserve chairman?
  62. I lived with my grandmother when I was young and wish I still did. She was smart, talented and fearless, about 4′ 8″ tall, but stronger than a mountain.
  63. I wore white saddle shoes to school until high school. Just when they got comfortable, the school year ended. Then I used them to walk in creeks.
  64. Many years of morning workouts means I’m a good swimmer. It also means I hate the smell of chlorine.
  65. For some odd reason, I grind my teeth at night.
  66. I am an excellent procrastinator.
  67. I always look for parking spaces on the street. I hate handing my car keys to complete strangers who claim to be parking valets, worse yet, I’m never sure how much to tip them, which is embarrassing.
  68. I once unknowingly had the back of my dress unzipped on a very crowded Muni bus. After I got off at my stop, I walked a half block wondering about the odd breeze I felt on my back.
  69. I have worn out my Leonard Cohen CDs and need to replace them.
  70. I have ugly feet. Plain and simple.
  71. I love the Lauren Bacall preppy look, but I’ve always been too short waisted to pull off the shirt-tucked-into-pleat-front-trousers style.
  72. I have the same birthday as Tiberius, Roman Emperor, (42 BC) and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. Neither has ever sent me a birthday card.
  73. I was the Smart One. My sister was the Pretty One. My sister would argue it was the other way around.
  74. Make room and watch in awe: When I dance it’s like Tina Turner on good stuff.
  75. I once wanted to be a figure skater, despite the fact that I’ve never owned a pair of ice skates. It must have been something about sequins.
  76. I’ve always wanted to be blonde, but I’m allergic to hair dye.
  77. I’ve read every issue of Life magazine from 1958-1988. I blame Life for my desire to see everything in black and white.
  78. I wrote my college directed-study thesis on the complete correspondence between R. Cunningham Graham and Joseph Conrad and how the exchange evoked literary creativity. I’ve never met another person at a cocktail party who knew about R. Cunningham or considered the project particularly interesting.
  79. This isn’t very nice, but I hate when people knock on my front door. It seems ominous.
  80. I am, essentially, a loner. I join in and make nice, but I’m aware that’s what I’m doing and secretly resent having to bother.
  81. And, yet, I love parties.
  82. I’m Scots-Irish, and, according to my father, half hillbilly.
  83. I consider a bike ride of less than 50 miles a waste of time.
  84. I went kayaking a few weeks ago and now I want one, bad.
  85. I love to get there, hate the journey, which is why I’m not an avid traveler. And, I don’t want to go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. I want a better reason to be in Paris than standing around, looking up, saying, “Golly. Would ya look at that? Here, take my picture.”
  86. I had an imaginary friend when I was small, Mr. Doogie. He went everywhere with me. Concerned about my fantasy life, my mother decided to get pregnant with my brother, which I consider an odd response to creative expression.
  87. I am superstitious and try not to adopt the superstitions of others. I have way too many of my own.
  88. I changed my name to Kate when I became a swimmer. Before that it was Kathy. No one, except close friends and family, even knows my name is Katherine.
  89. I love the smell of fresh-cut hay on a hot summer night.
  90. I once joined Jacque Cousteau (and my step-father) in testing a two-man, personal submarine in San Francisco Bay. Afterwards we had lunch at the Italian consulate in Pacific Heights. The manufacturer was Italian and we were promoting the Sports and Boat show at the Cow Palace. Message: So easy a child could operate the thing – even a girl. Buy It!
  91. Flan, caramel sauce, warm. I swoon.
  92. Tree roses and Christmas tinsel (not necessarily together) remind me of my mother.
  93. I cried for three hours after my son went to kindergarten. I’ve never gotten over it. When a mother says their child is going to start school, I pass the tissue.
  94. I drove a two-toned yellow and black Rambler in high school. The trunk could fit 3 bass drums, a tuba and one drunk cheerleader.
  95. When people ask me what I’d do if I wasn’t a writer, I hate to tell them the truth. I’d be a hobo, unless there was a position open for a wood nymph.
  96. I was on the debating team in high school. At my class reunion, the program had the letters NFL next to my name. I’m thinking football, the organizers are thinking National Forensics League lifetime member. Who knew?
  97. People told me the 7 True Things About Kate on my website needed to be fleshed out. Bet they wish now I’d cinched my belt.
  98. Oh, last one. I’ve always secretly wanted to be Judith, Queen of France.
Me on Ole Paint on the ranchin Marin County early 1950s

Me and my brother Steve on the American River about 1960where our family was dredging for gold. I swam the tie-down lines back and forth across the river to secure the dredges. Took off my wet suit, but not my diving hood. I loved that thing.

Hiking the John Muir Trail, a leg of what is now the Pacific Crest Trail 1973
Gold Country Rodeo summer 2011
Great Aunt Eva and me on her ranchin Lake County, early 1950s
Suiting up for a dive off Van Damm State Beachin Northern Calif. about 1966
Learning to kayak in Fresno Slough near Mendotaa couple of weeks ago
Although I’ve seen a number of new authors provide detailed background like this as an introduction to potential readers, I have mixed feelings about doing it. I’m not sure readers care and it seems like the writing should speak for itself. Then I think about all the successful writers who make a living writing about nothing but themselves. I think about writers who’ve carefully crafted personas—Mark Twain, Hemingway and Fitzgerald come to mind—and wonder if readers ever really know a writer beyond their work.

In some cases, like Lady Gaga, artists are their own performance pieces. I’m a girl who grew up outside, became a writer, and I’m very glad to meet you. Thanks for visiting my Word Garden at www.kate-campbell.blogspot.com and thanks for checking out my new book, Adrift in the Sound. It’s available now on Amazon.

*Re-blogged with permission http://blog.orangeberrypromo.com/2012/11/kate-campbell-all-my-heroes-are-hobos/





Adrift in the Sound, my debut novel, is now available from independent and online booksellers. Click on the link purchase. Set in Seattle in 1973, Adrift is about love, loss and the only thing that really matters.

With a background in journalism and creative writing, I work as an environmental writer, editor, and photographer in California. When I'm not pounding a keyboard, you'll find me outdoors or in the garden.
 
Connect with Kate Campbell on her
 
 
 
Seattle street artist Lizette Karlson tries to pull herself together in 1973 and turns to the Franklin Street Dogs for help. This low-life softball team is a horrifying choice for a fragile spirit like Lizette, who’s only trying to stay warm and make through another rainy night. The Dogs don’t realize that while she’s beautiful, talented, and a bit off-kilter—she’s also cunning and very dangerous.

Lizette wants to hook up with top-Dog Rocket. But, he’s fixed on next-door neighbor Sandy Shore, a snake dancer who strips for soldiers coming home at the end of the Vietnam War. Everybody sleeps with everybody—whatever gets you through the night. It’s a sexual free-for-all until Sandy turns up pregnant and the scene goes haywire.

After witnessing a murder and getting kicked out by the Dogs, Lizette is on the run again, crisscrossing Puget Sound. She hides on Orcas Island and paints in a secluded cabin owned by her childhood friend Marian, a gifted midwife, who recently inherited her family’s ranch. On the island, Lizette works with Lummi tribal leaders Poland and Abaya, who stick to their cultural values, guard their family secrets and offer her unconditional love. Along the way, Lizette sorts out crippling secrets in her own past, unwittingly makes a splash in the New York art world—and finds the only thing that really matters.

If you’ve lived through the free-love 60s, if you’ve ever wondered what happened the day after the music died, ADRIFT IN THE SOUND picks up the beat and offers unforgettable insights into a turbulent time in American history. It’s a story about fighting the tides, surviving the storm, and swimming for shore.

Top finalist for the 2011 Mercer Street Books Literary Prize, readers are calling ADRIFT IN THE SOUND an important exploration of the human spirit in a radically changing world. In both lyrical prose and gritty street language, Kate Campbell rocks our understanding of contemporary history and challenges our fiercely held beliefs. She reshapes old myths and creates new folktales to intrigue and delight.
 
 
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – PG13
 
 
 

Next Few Stops
 
7th December - Author Interview, Writing is like Dating & Book Feature at The Cover
8th December – Tweet Me A Storm with Pandora Poikilos
9th December – (UK) Book Review at Books & More Books
10th December – (UK) Book Review at The Reading Cat
 
 
 
 
 

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