January 21, 2020

What Writing Websites Do You Use?

Every year, certain industries post a "best of..." list. Writer's Digest is well-known for theirs. One appeared in my inbox last week that was unfamiliar to me.

I liked what I saw and decided to share it this week. There are several sites in this list I'm familiar with, but there are several I want to check out.

The Write Life posted the list and breaks it down into ten categories. Within a category, the sites are listed in alphabetical order, and the information includes the link to a suggested post within the site. The categories include:

  • Freelancing
  • Blogging
  • Travel writing
  • Creativity and craft
  • Editing
  • Publishing
  • Writing tools
  • Writing communities
  • Podcasts
  • Marketing and platform building

Below is the link to the site.

The Write Life's 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2020

I hope you'll check out the link then come back here and let me know which sites you use (whether they're on the list or not).

January 15, 2020

A Conversation With Author, Goffinet McLaren

The response to my invitation to authors and poets to participate in my interview series of posts last year overwhelmed me. So many responded that I still have a few more to go and will intersperse them throughout the first few months of this year. As always. I hope writers in my audience will discover helpful jewels of information from these interviews, and readers will find great books to add to their "To Be Read" list.

This next interview is with Goffinet McLaren. I do not know Goffinet, but Bob Lamb, whose interview appeared in early October, referred her to me. Anyone Bob suggests is going to be worth my time, so I followed up on his recommendation. I'm so glad I did. I still have not met Goffinet, but I'm moved by her decision to use the written word to create an environmental message for children and adults all over the world. Her story inspires me, and I hope it will inspire you.

Goffinet McLaren

Goffinet was born and grew up in the small historic town of Carrickfergus on the water`s edge in Northern Ireland. Surrounded by the sea, she loved the sandy beaches, the sparkling waters and all marine life. In adulthood, Goffinet moved to a more mountainous area but years later she found the ocean calling to her once more and she retired to live at the beach in South Carolina.

Instead of clean waters and beaches, she found the sand strewn with doggie waste and plastic products of all kinds. Every day, she found doggie doo-doo and plastic litter dropped on the sand by careless humans and soon realized that a form of bad behavior had descended upon the shores. With a little research, Goffinet discovered the devastating effects this waste had on shore and marine life. Dog waste poisons the waters; plastic cigarette butts dropped at the water’s edge choke little sandpipers; fireworks with plastic parts frighten and injure birds; plastic toys are ingested by dolphins with fatal results; plastic bags mistaken for jellyfish are ingested by turtles, and plastic bags are a total menace to all living creatures. 

Very disturbed by her findings, Goffinet resolved to find a way to raise awareness about the impact of beach goers' littering habits. She decided to write a book in a delightful uplifting fun way but with an underlying message at which children could laugh, yet learn. 

Goffinet is an active member of South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts (SCUTE) and developed the Plastics-free Pawleys project which encourages local stores to stop using plastic shopping bags. She, also co-founded Stop Oil Drilling in the Atlantic (SODA) and The Chirping Bird Society where they "chirp, cheep, and chitter about plastic litter."

What are you working on?

I continue to focus on educating the public on the devastating impact of single use plastic on our planet and on human and animal life.

How does your book differ from others in its genre?

My “Sullie” book differs in that it is really a book for adults, disguised as a book for kids, with fables about the impact of plastic litter on our marine environment. One day, as I was picking up litter, I noticed a seagull with an unusual birthmark—a black ring around his right eye. I decided to name him Sullie and that the story in my book would be told by this savvy old seagull. Sullie Saves the Seas was instantly hatched. And Sullie’s book will soon be converted into an exciting coloring treasure with all the unique characters including Speedy Sandpiper, Plankie Pelican, Eddo Eagle, and Allo Albatross.

Why do you write what you do?

I write to vent and explain my personal need to help save our planet from the Plastic Industry's insensitivity to all life. Since Sullie Saves the Seas was published, Sullie has become an icon for plastic-free beaches and is loved by children all around the world from Ireland to Australia. Sullie travels to schools, camps, churches and anywhere that children gather.

How does your writing process work?

First the "Light Bulb moment," then a translation of my thoughts into a first draft. After that, I use color coding on segments of the draft to realign the poignant points

Where can we find your books?

You can learn more about Sullie's efforts to clean up our beaches and oceans on his website, Sullie the Seagull. This website offers lots of information and links to Sullie's story and coloring book.  They are, also, available on Amazon.

I have another book I wrote about my father's escape from the Nazi's during World War II. Tom:  A Life Saved~Lives Lost is available on Amazon.

January 7, 2020

I Don't Do Resolutions, But...

Happy New Year.

As many of you know, I started an author interview series that ran the last months of 2019. I have a few interviews left to post, but I'm going to intersperse them in between other writing-related posts.  Please come back next week to read the interview with Goffinet McLaren.

I let the blog lay dormant the last weeks of 2019 because I believe that time with family should be devoted to family. From the day the grandchildren got out of school for their Christmas Break until yesterday, our lives were a whirl of family gatherings. Many years ago, one of my favorite authors shared a valuable tip that I've never forgotten: 

I took this advice over the break and did not even think about a blog post...well, not very much anyway. There's always those few moments before sleep or when waking up.

I'm not much of one for making resolutions at the beginning of the year, but last November, I did decide to block out specific days each month to focus mainly on my writing. When you're self-employed and work out of an at-home office, it's easy to let the schedule get away with you. So, I guess you can say I did make a resolution.

What about you? What are your plans to focus on your writing (or whatever your area of interest may be) this year?