Dream Big

 

This is a chorus from the song “ Dream Big”

And when you dream, dream big
As big as the ocean blue
‘Cause when you dream it might come true
When you dream, dream big

This is a phrase we hear a lot. When I first heard the song by Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband I immediately fell in love with it. So seeing this plaque while I was shopping with my mom I knew it was coming home with me.

My mom on seeing the plaque said to me, “Sharon, do you dream big?”  Looking at her I nodded and replied I did.

As we continued our way around the store what she had asked me still was in my head. Do I dream big? I have been a dreamer for most of my life. My imagination has always been without borders as I wondered, plotted and tried to figure out how to accomplish what was going on between my two ears.

My first dream big was to go to a four year school of higher learning. I would be the first in my family and I was determined to not fail. Even when I changed my major in my Junior year I still graduated on time at the top of my department, Chemistry and Physics.

But when that day came what was left? Finding work and getting married seemed to be what we did at least in the time frame I was at. When my future mother law had said ,” Sharon don’t make me a grandmother before a mother in law,” I told her my only goal at that moment was to graduate.

Getting married and having a child was another dream, one that came and went pretty quickly.  My life started to have a routine about it. There is nothing wrong with routine. It keeps me stable and focused. Yet when my mom asked me that questioned I wondered when was the last time I dreamt big and the first answer that came to my mind was my writing.

I started writing Jasper:Amazon Parrot in the Fall of 2009. I completed it in a few months and have done so many revisions and edits if one saw the first draft to where it is at now you would recognize the name Jasper and that is about it.  Prior to that time I had never thought of myself as a writer in any form. A good friend Debbie told me that my husband had told her he felt I wrote well. When she told me that the wheels started to turn in my head. That summer is when the thoughts and words came of how to start this book. I am not sure what was the umph that made me get started but I did and have not turned back.

This is my dream big project and it has been with me for a few years now. I don’t think of the business as being hard, which we know it is. I don’t think of the many people who have told me this can’t be done. I don’t think of all the negatives that can come in one’s way when one tries to get a book published.

My sole thought is why the hell not? Seriously what do I have to lose? My back up thought had always been if worse come to worse I can make it into a book and read it to my grandchildren the series that I have in mind of writing. So with that I am pushing forward with this book and others that have been written since the late months of 2009. This is my dream big. It has been a rocky ride but I am up to the task. I don’t have a back up dream big plan at the moment, I am too busy trying to make this one a reality. ‘Cause when you dream it might just come true.

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Free Writing

A friend of mine, Ami, asked me to guest blog at her website. When my two short stories got published recently I did a big proclamation in email to a few people. She thought it would be a great idea to share my reason behind letting some of my writings be free to the public. Well I finally wrote something down for her and it is up and running on her blog.

The link:

http://museinks.blogspot.com/

I would like to thank Ami for asking me to do this. Maybe someone will read it and feel “Hey, that makes sense.”

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Free Writing (by Guest Blogger Sharon C. Williams)

Jasper, one of Sharon’s Muses.

MuseInks welcomes Sharon C. Williams (@NewEngland_Muse)! Sharon is a sports fan, chemistry buff, novice crocheter, and animal-lover. [Just ask her about her birds!] She blogs at The Musings of a New Englander

Sharon & I exchanged a series of emails about her decision to publish some of her stuff for free — a decision I supported, but which many writers frown upon. I asked if she’d share her reasons for “giving it away.” She very graciously agreed. Thanks, Sharon!

I have been seriously writing since the Fall of 2009. It had not occurred to me to write as a  career. After all, that was for people who were serious, who had talent and skill. That was surely not me.  What did I know about writing?   Then a friend told me that my husband had told her he felt I wrote rather well (a fact he had not shared with me). This thought rattled in my brain for a while. A few months later a story started forming in my mind. I kept telling myself I was going to put down, but just never did — until the Fall of 2009 when I had two surgeries, unrelated to each other, within 3 weeks of each other. 

Since I had some newfound time on my hands, I started to write.  Once I started, it seemed the words would not stop flowing.  The more I wrote, the more confidence I felt in what I was putting down on paper. Joining a writer’s group in town motivated me to write more on the things I came across.  I varied from children’s book, memoirs, personal essay, mystery and drama. I did not define myself to just one set box.  What happened soon was notebooks filled with short stories that ranged as wide as a rainbow with its colors.   

Then came my subscription to Writer’s Digest. That magazine changed my life, for in one of its articles was an author who talked about social media and how to use it to further one’s writings.  She  left her Twitter name and that was my road to an amazing new world. A world where authors, editors, publishers, printing houses met, chat, supported and helped each other in the facets of writing.  I was blown over. 

I was not an unknown writer to them. I was someone who reminded them of where they once were (or where they were right now).  It compelled me to write more than ever. But with writing comes editing something that I am not good at.   

The great part of social media is the people you meet. If they don’t know the answer, they know someone who just might. At that point I had written 3 books which required editing of some nature. I had written the second part of my children’s book as well as a collection of short stories.  This was all well and good, but not when they needed some editing.


During the early part of last year, I contacted a publisher to ask about his pricing for editorial services. Even when I knew I could not afford it, we stayed in touch.  A few months ago, he approached me requesting the use of some of my work. He was putting together an ebook of short stories. He would pay for the art cover, the editing and all of that. The book would be offered for free to download as a promotional gig, so there would be no money made on this for him or for me. I would maintain the copyrights to my stories; he would just get to use them this one time. In return for my involvement, the book would include my bio, mentions of my WIPs (works in progress), and ways to contact me.

I was ecstatic, to say the least, until a person told me that if I was not getting paid then it was not worth my participation.  I was miffed at first, for I could not understand how anyone could view this as anything but good. I tended to think a different way:

 
Download the free ebook.

l have 4 short stories in print. To say I am giddy is truly an understatement.  This all happened the week of Thanksgiving and still, when I think about it, I just smile from ear to ear.  I refuse to let the naysayer bring me down. I am proud of myself. It just shows that even if you are unknown it does not mean your work won’t find an audience. It is all how you view it.

Eooks are opening a whole new venue for artists across the board  Making our mark is not easy when we are new and exposure, exposure, and exposure is what is needed. So I say poo poo at that person who thinks it is not worth it for me to allow my stories to be put into print. I refuse to let the negativity of that remark stop me. I have to start somewhere. I view this opportunity from the publisher as my first step. 

At least now, when I do my query letters, I can now say I am published here and there.  Furthermore, there will be a few publishers who will be able to see my stories learn about my next project. Maybe they will see something they are interested in or maybe they will know someone that might be interested in my works. 

Where I stand, this is win, win, and a win.

What do you think? Should a writer EVER allow his or her work to be published without payment? How valuable is exposure? What has your experience been? Chime in below and let me know

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Guest Blogger: Gale Martin

Ten Unanticipated Perks from Publication

a guest post from author Gale Martin

In December, Booktrope, a Seattle-based company published my first novel DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, a contemporary retelling of Mozart’s Don Giovanni . I was frantically busy this fall, preceding publication. It’s kind of amazing that I remembered to breathe now that I think about it. What I hadn’t anticipated were some of the wonderful things that occurred after the book came out. Some bonus bennies you might say (besides seeing my name on the cover of a book for the first time since preparing my eighth grade physics folio for Mrs. Bortz.)

  1. You recover some focus. A few completed manuscripts and several more partially done books hanging around on shelves, clogging up your hard drive, and clouding your psyche is like having a house full of children. When one of your books gets published, it’s like marrying off a daughter. Maybe not your first born, and it wasn’t in my case. In fact, I had written two other books before DON JUAN IN HANKEY,PA got picked up. However, the fact that one of your progeny is now settled affords more mental energy and clarity. You don’t have to worry about them staying out too late on a school night or driving home after hitting the bars at happy hour. Now, there’s more of you in mind, body, and spirit to tend to the other “kids” and prepare to usher them into the world.
  2. You connect with old friends, or they make a concerted effort to connect with you. A friend I’d met back when I blogged religiously for two solid years in 2006-2008 (in the Dark Ages of blogging) became totally juiced when I published. She won a pre-launch copy of my book, read it, loved it, and has been an amazing catalyst for blogging about the book and getting her friends interested in it.
  3. You behave with more confidence. I wrote the most articulate spot-on memo to a woman in another department regarding an intentional oversight her employee made with two announcements I submitted to the campus newsletter. I built my case calmly, coolly,—brilliantly—with more aplomb than I would have thought possible months ago. The belief that others extend to you in the process of publishing your work pays dividends in a much healthier self-esteem.
  4. Better, more mature-looking handwriting. After signing about 75 books in less than a month, my handwriting is actually looking pretty good. I’ve gotten kind of Zen about signing books, needing the right pen, positioning the book at the right angle, breathing in before I begin, and focusing on forming each letter. However, this wholesale improvement in my penmanship is more a practical matter than a spiritual one: I can’t toss a perfectly saleable book aside because I flubbed the inscription.
  5. You become more benevolent towards other writers. When you are fighting for every scrap of respect from the literati, for one iota of success, it’s hard to rejoice when you hear about the six-figure book deal someone in your writing workshop just scored. Now that I’ve had a bit of my own success, I can cheer wholeheartedly for my friend who just landed an agent, for another who was just nominated for a prestigious literary prize, and another who earned a coveted spot at Alumni Reading Night in the graduate writing program I attended.
  6. More money jingling in your pocket. Now I have a check or two crammed into the loins of my wallet along with appointment cards and ATM receipts. And cash stuffed in there, too! (Yes, I sold a book over a pew at church last Sunday, and I’m proud of it.) Contrast being flush with a time in my not-too-recent past when I attended a fund-raising dinner but couldn’t scrounge up two bucks for a drink at the cash-only bar, not even by fishing around in the bottom of my purse for loose change. So I snuck off and wet my whistle at the hotel drinking fountain instead and had to endure the God-awful dinner and all the deadly speeches stone-cold sober.
  7. More facials. More money equals more facials. More facials means fewer wrinkles, clogged pores, and dead skin cells dulling your complexion. I’m getting one next Thursday and can hardly wait to wow the world with my younger-looking, glowing visage.
  8. A chance to make history. History, you scoff? I kid you not. While lots of people have published novels in every way imaginable in Central Pennsylvania and many within my sphere of influence, none of them—not one has ever had a book of theirs sold in the Metropolitan Opera Shop in Lincoln Center. Well, I will—shortly. The Met Shop wants to sell DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA as one of their opera-related items. Is that important? You bet your bippy it’s important. I’ve made a difference. I’m unique.
  9. A child who may now see you as a person. When I got braces at age 45, my adolescent daughter said something like, “Well, that was a colossal waste of money.” Okay, she’s grown up in the interim, but since publication, it’s like she is seeing me for the first time as a person with an identity separate from that of her mom.
  10. The unique opportunity to cat about cyberspace, camping out on blogs like Sharon’s, and sharing my thoughts with the world, thanks to Sharon’s hospitality. It’s a great feeling being welcomed into other writer’s cyber-homes. One I won’t easily forget.

Gale Martin has been writing creatively since 2005. Recent accolades include first-places in short fiction from Writers-Editors International and Scratch writing competitions and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her work has appeared in various publications such as The Christian Science Monitor, Sirens Magazine, Pank Magazine, Duck & Herring Company’s Pocket Field Guide, and The Giggle Water Review and in several anthologies. She has a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which serves as a rich source of inspiration for her writing.

Don Juan in Hankey, PA is available in print and e-book versions at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble and very soon, The Metropolitan Opera Shop in Lincoln Center.