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Be sure to stop by my author page from time to time

In the meantime, while you're here, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee or a cuppa tea, have a piece of pie and always feel free to speak your mind, and your heart, here at Meanderings and Muses.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Where I am today - --



I'm visiting with my friend, author and editor Terrie Farley Moran at Women of Mystery - I hope you'll drop by!

http://www.womenofmystery.net/2013/08/26/whimsey-a-novel-by-kaye-wilkinson-barley/

Saturday, August 24, 2013

From Shi##y First Draft to Real Book: Words of Wisdom for Newbie Authors by Diane Chamberlain


 

     
       "I want to write a book, but I can't get started."

            I hear that over and over again, so I'd like to give wannabe writers some encouragement. I think a big part of their problem is that they expect the first words they put on paper to glow with perfection. I'm a big believer in what Anne Lamott calls "the Shitty First Draft", so I thought I'd share my first draft attempt at a few paragraphs from my September 3rd release, Necessary Lies.
 
 
 
 
 

            Necessary Lies is my 22nd novel, and I've been using the Shitty First Draft method a very long time.  The book is set in 1960 rural North Carolina and is the story of a young, green social worker named Jane and her fifteen-year-old client, Ivy. As Jane discovers the secrets in Ivy's life, she's thrown into a moral dilemma that jeopardizes both her job and her marriage. Ivy is one of my all-time favorite characters and it was immense fun writing from her point of view.

            I keep all the drafts of my novels as I write. Below I'm going to show you a paragraph and the road it traveled from Shitty First Draft to the final form you'll find in the book. I hope it encourages those of you who think you need perfection right off the bat.

            In this scene, Nurse Ann, the public health nurse, is visiting Ivy. Ann is concerned that Ivy might be having sex (she is) and she wants to give her contraception. Ivy's seventeen-year-old sister Mary Ella already has a child. The scene is written from Ivy's first person point of view.

***

First Draft

            Nurse Ann showed up with contraceptives. "Open this bag."

            I opened it up and pulled out a box of spermicidal jelly.

            "This kills sperm. Sperm comes from the boy and makes babies."

            "I know that."

            "And this is what you use to get it inside you." She pulled a long tube from the bag.

            "I need to sweep the yard," I said.

            "You need to stay right here," she said.

            She opened the bag again and brought out Trojans. "These are rubbers," she said. "The boy wears these. They're even more protective than the jelly."

            "You mean protection from having a baby?"

            "That's right."

            "I don't need these things. You should talk to Mary Ella. She's gonna get pregnant again any day."

            "Mary Ella's not your business. These things are for you and you can have more if you need them."

            Why was she giving me this stuff instead of Mary Ella. I'd told Mary Ella the boy should pull out to have no babies, but she ignored me as usual.

 

Pretty shitty, huh?

Okay, here's a draft about halfway to the final.

Middle Draft

            Nurse Ann opened her bag in her lap. "I have some things here for you," she said, handing me a paper bag.

            I opened it up and pulled out a box that said spermicidal jelly on the side.

            "You don't eat this kind of jelly," she said. "It kills sperm. Sperm comes from the boy and that's what makes babies."

            "I know that."

            "Now here"—she opened the box and pulled out a long tube—"you use this to put the jelly inside you." She said how to do that and I knew my cheeks was red.

            She reached in the bag one more time and brought out little packages that said Trojan on them. "These are rubbers," she said. "The boy puts these on. They're more protective than the jelly."

            "You mean protection from having a baby?"

            "That's right."

            I handed the bag back to her. "I don't need none of this. Mary Ella's the one you should be talkin' to."

            "I'm not worried about Mary Ella right now. I'm worried about you."

            "I ain't doing nothing.

            "Well, just in case, I want you to have these things and I can bring you more if you ever need more."

            I didn't know why she wasn't giving these things to Mary Ella. I'd give them to her myself. I'd told Mary Ella about pulling out to have no more babies, but she ignored me as usual.

 

And the final draft, where I show more of Ivy's emotions.

Final Draft

            Nurse Ann opened the medical bag in her lap. "I have some things here for you," she said, handing me a paper bag. "Look inside and I'll explain how you use them."

            I opened it up and pulled out a box that said spermicidal jelly on the side.

            "This is not the kind of jelly you eat," she said. "It kills sperm. Sperm comes from the boy and that's what makes babies."

            "I know that." I wished I was someplace else.

            "Now here"—she opened the box and pulled out a long tube—"is the applicator you use to insert the jelly in your vagina." She went into a long description of how to do that and I knew my cheeks was red, listening to her. This talk was turning out worse than I expected.

            She reached in the bag one more time and brought out little packages that said Trojan on them. "These are rubbers," she said. "The boy puts these on. They're more protective than the jelly. And the best protection is using both of them together."

            "You mean protection from having a baby?" I wished she'd speak plain.

            "That's right."

            I handed the bag back to her. "I don't need none of this. Mary Ella's the one you should be talkin' to. She already got herself a baby and any day she's gonna end up with another for sure."

            "I'm not worried about Mary Ella right now. I'm worried about you."

            "No need to be. I ain't doing nothing."

            "Well, just in case, I want you to have these things and I can bring you more if you ever need more."

            I didn't know why she wasn't giving these things to Mary Ella. I'd give them to her myself. I'd told Mary Ella about the pulling out to be a way to have no more babies, and she just looked off into the blue yonder the way she always did, like she didn't hear a word I said.

 

So, there you have it, from first draft to actual book. I hope it encourages you to put your story on paper. And I hope you'll pick up a copy of Necessary Lies. Author Dorothea Benton Frank calls it "the most important book Diane Chamberlain has ever written". I look forward to hearing your thoughts about it as well.


 

 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Murder in the Magic City



Murder in the Magic City is a mystery conference for fans of all sub-genres of mystery novels.  The conference consists of panel discussions and presentations. Lunch, coffee and doughnuts, sodas, and a “goody bag” are included in the registration fee. In addition, they have a basket auction each year for charity. Baskets consist of at least one book and items related to that book/theme.

Why the “Magic City”? When Birmingham was founded around 1871, it grew so fast that people said it happened “just like magic”. Currently, Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city. There are lots of fun things to do there, including a fantastic Museum of Art, and the Civil Rights Institute is a great visit. Of course, no trip to Birmingham would be complete without seeing Vulcan, the naked statue, made even more famous by the late mystery writer, Anne George.

AND - I'll be there, along with a whole bunch of great writers (including some very good buddies of mine - Yay!).

Registration for the event will open December 1, 2013.

Keep your eye on this page as more authors are added - http://www.murderinthemagiccity2014.com/what-authors-will-be-there/

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

From the kindness of strangers . . .




Back in 2011, I wrote a blog here about an author I had recently discovered - Sarah Addison Allen.  I was blown away by her writing, and became a fan and devoted follower of her work. 

As it happens, serendipity was about to come into play.  I was over the moon about being interviewed by Marlisa Mills, for Western North Carolina Magazine.  I couldn't wait to have the March, 2011 edition in my hands to read the final version when I was stopped in my tracks to see that my interview followed a wonderful interview of Ms. Allen written by Erin Campbell.  It was a very big deal to me to be invited for an interview by Marlisa, an exceptionally gracious woman, and terrific writer, who I greatly admire.  Sometimes life hands over the sweetest of gifts, and being included in the same edition of a magazine I love along with New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen was the oh so sweet icing on the cake. 

A lot of things have happened since I wrote that post.  In my life - I've published WHIMSEY: A NOVEL.

In Sarah Addison Allen's life - she has a new book coming out in February - LOST LAKE.  Her first book in three years.  Her first, to quote her from her Facebook page "post cancer book."

In addition to being a hugely talented writer, she's also a fighter who has successfully fought a battle against breast cancer.  A fight many of us have followed through her posts at FB in an amazingly honest and inimitable fashion.  The woman rocks.  She. just. rocks.

She's one of my heroes, although she has no way of knowing this.  Our only relationship is through Facebook where I'm one of her many readers and fans.  And she has MANY.  They're loyal, they love her for not only her work, but for her daily graciousness in their lives.  She's fun and funny and kind.

Jumping forward to yesterday. 

She posted a very short little something on her Facebook wall - "check out my FB friend Kaye Wilkinson Barley's WHIMSEY: A NOVEL."

This morning I work up to find my Whimsey picked up quite a few friends during the night.  People who most likely would never have discovered it without the kindness of a stranger.  Words are powerful.  We sometimes forget just how powerful. 

My thanks to the incredible Sarah Addison Allen and her friends who have decided to give WHIMSEY a chance just because of a few short words she was thoughtful enough to take the time to post at Facebook.

Life is good and today it feels pretty grand.






Thursday, August 8, 2013

Meeting Elizabeth Peters

Life is full of memories.
 
I feel so blessed to have so many good ones.
 
Here's one
 
 
Going to Malice in 2011
 
 
 Riding the train up with  Margaret and Joe Maron, and Bren Bonner.

Bren Bonner Witchger and Margaret Maron

Kaye Barley and Joe Maron



We started running into folks almost the second we walked in the door of the hotel.  Including Dorothy Cannell and Malice Guest of Honor, Jan Burke.

Dorothy Cannell, Jan Burke, Margaret Maron and Bren Bonner Witchger



And I couldn't wait to hit the dealer's room!


Kaye Barley and Margaret Maron

In case you don't recognize the fella behind Margaret, that's Don Longmuir who owns the wonderful Scene of the Crime Books.  It was at his booth I was lucky enough to find a hard back, first edition of Barbara Michaels' "Ammie,Come Home."  Was I excited?!  Pfft!  I guess!  I had brought my much loved, many times read, beat up, rag tag paperback copy with me for her to sign.  I was thrilled to have this copy instead. 


A couple days later, we gathered together to pay homage to the incredible Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels


Julian Cannell, Margaret Maron and Joe Maron



It was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of THE funniest skits I have ever witnessed.  Ms. Peters was joined by Joan Hess, Dorothy Cannell, Parnell Hall and Daniel Stashower (with a special appearance by Ammie from "Ammie, Come Home")


Elizabeth Peters aka Barbara Michaels aka Barbara Mertz


Joan Hess and Elizabeth Peters


Dorothy Cannell, Joan Hess and Elizabeth Peters


Joan Hess, Elizabeth Peters and Parnell Hall


Ammie from "Ammie, Come Home," Dorothy Cannell, Parnell Hall, Joan Hess, Elizabeth Peters and Daniel Stashower


Joan Hess and Elizabeth Peters



AND, I got to meet her.  Margaret Maron made the introduction,  and I proceeded to cry all over the gracious Ms. Peters (I wanted to die)


My thanks to Karen Kiley for this picture.   Margaret also took one.  The one Margaret took is a wonderful picture of Ms. Peters.  I, however, look like a lunatic.  Certainly not Margaret's fault - I just couldn't quit crying!!


Ms. Peters also agreed to sign books.



What a perfect day this was,
one I will never forget.
 
 
Barbara Mertz/Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels
 (1927-2013)
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Whimsey #2 - - -



August 7, 2013 - -

Writing the second novel is scarier and harder than writing the first.  At least, for me it is.

But, after a false start, making the very tough decision to scrap most of what I had written, I've now got (I think!) a handle on things and Whimsey #2 is coming along swimmingly.  At least it is so far . . .

and life is good.

but you know . . .  I'm thinking I might need a beach trip for inspiration.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Oh, Kaye!" invites a special guest . . .



The first Sunday of the month is my day to play "Oh, Kaye!" at Jungle Red Writers.  I've invited a special guest to step in for me this month.  I hope you'll all drop by for a visit with the wonderfully delightful, extraordinarily talented Phillip DePoy - http://www.jungleredwriters.com/



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cake!



Today was a baking day - -


Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake
 

 
 
Recipe: Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake from The Sweet Biscuit Inn, Asheville, NC

1 lb butter, salted
3 cups sugar
6 eggs

1 cup milk
2 tsps lemon extract
1 tsp fresh lemon rind, grated
1 Tbsp baking powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time mixing on medium speed. Combine milk and lemon extract in a separate bowl. Combine baking powder and three cups of flour in a separate bowl. While running the mixer on low speed alternately add the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until smooth and well combined. Fold in lemon rind. Toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 cup of flour and gently fold into the batter. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for approximately one and a half hour, cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a platter. This makes a delicious breakfast bread or a mid afternoon treat with tea or coffee.