THE WRITE PLACE…

to find Patti Singleton these days.


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Copyrights, Tags, and Book Reviews

I started a post earlier today and it turned into an essay of over 1000 words, so I set it aside for another project. It almost feels like I am in a race; against what, against who, I do not know. I’m learning so much that I’ve started using the sticky note program on my desktop. That’s what I’ll base this post on.

I’ve learned that copyright notices are seen as kind of silly in the writing world. As soon as you put your thoughts in writing they are considered yours alone. Now, if you want to sue someone for stealing your work, it needs a copyright. From what I learned, that is pretty rare. The belief that mailing your work to yourself, and then leaving it sealed, will prove ownership has never been cited in any court case. Sorry Gwen. Creative Commons, as I have on the website here, are now the used to let people know what is acceptable use of their writing. The other thing I see a lot is: MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

I’ve learned more about the importance of tagging these blogs, so that they get caught in the right search engines. Submitting to online journals will also get my name out into the circle that I want them. Book reviews of books within my writing topic–children’s stories, poetry, and memoirs–also get me in the loop.

Here I go, back to my writing world…

Patti

 

 


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New Study: Reading To Children; Print vs E-Books

In a digital age, parents value printed books for their kids.

The trend does show that parents, and others reading books to children, still want print books. As a parent and a grani, that makes perfect sense to me.

One chart in the study also shows that e-books provide the modern conveniences like wider selection, the ability to read while traveling or commuting, and being able to get a book almost instantly. Are these trends converging?

As an author on the brink of publishing  3 children’s books, the conclusions of this study validate my own research and publishing plans. Yep, give the readers the modern conveniences, but don’t forget those cozy moments oowwing and ahhing over incredible illustrations and the tactile joy of holding a “real” book in your hands, while your little ones compete for the privilege of turning the pages.

 


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Holy Crow, Batman, I Messed Up My Site!

Holy crow is right! Now I’ve gone and done it. Seems that I might have learned this lesson earlier (in the last 3 months) and have forgotten? What I now know, what I can only hope NEVER to forget AGAIN, is that when I mess around with site themes, I COMPLETELY, TOTALLY and FOREVER LOSE, all the furniture rearranging I had previously done. I mean even the throw pillows are gone.

I guess I should stick to writing. However, these days a writer must learn to take on far greater tasks than taking pen to paper, or digits to keyboard, far greater even than stuffing an envelope and licking a stamp. The list is huge, I mean, like a list of requirements for a PHD. Houdini acts are no longer enough; pulling stories and poems from thin flippin’ air is important, no doubt, but it’s really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Speaking of lists, I’ve put paying for site memory (there may be another, more technical, term for this) at the top. Changing my mind is worth a lot to me. Just because I need a little furniture-rearranging therapy now and then, doesn’t mean I’m willing to risk having my throw pillows evaporate into thin air. Awe ha! Thin air; maybe my throw pillows are out there floating around with my story ideas? Do you think…would it be possible…could I type them back into existence? No? …Are you sure? …Oh, well then.

After re-reading this little missive, I’d be dense not to notice that my own memory may have played a tiny part in this mishap. I wonder…you think I can get some on craigslist? I’ll check twitter, maybe I’ll find some tips there?

Dr. Houdini and I are going to step out for a mocha now. See you soon.


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Why I Write Children’s Stories

Writing stories has never been a choice; the stories come and I have to write them down or I get a little nutty with characters rambling away in my head. Really. Poetry, essays, short stories, and even much of the non-fiction writing in college and for newspapers was the same way.

Now, as for what inspires me to put hours, weeks, months and (sometimes) years of work and contemplation into those children’s stories, that’s simple: my children, and now my grandchildren.

Way back then I home schooled my 2 children, with a couple of years in the fairyland world of a Waldorf school. Both experiences promoted our imaginations. We all made up stories in those days; sometimes verbal, sometimes in painting and drawing, and both children wrote and crafted books for a young author’s conference. We didn’t do TV (I still don’t). Three out of the four of us were avid readers; my son was more into actions than words, but would still sit entranced listening to his parents read. We never knew boredom.

During those active parenting days I wrote a lot. I was online writing parenting and homeschooling articles. I was encouraging other children to write in a class at a homeschooling conference. I was associate editor for an online homeschooling newsletter and editor in the children’s section of a (still) popular writer’s website. Life changed focus and I my public writing was set aside.

My daughter and her daughters at our local library.

My daughter and her daughters at our local library.

I’ve always been a sucker for the children’s section in the library and book stores. I love browsing the latest children’s books, drooling over the incredible illustrations. The best times at the library are when I take my grands with me. I sign their families up for the yearly family reading programs, the children collect the giveaway goodies, and then we all settle into the children’s area.  The younger ones play with the toys for awhile, but eventually I entice them with a book that I know they’ll love. The library is like our very own wonderland.

Today I’m writing like a fiend and my first children’s book is polished and ready for the next step. The second and third are close behind. Please stay tuned.


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Beach Bird Bliss

This day, oh, this day…

shoved joy and gratitude in my face,

then tossed in beauty and just a touch of grace.

Piping Plover

A Piping Plover set my sorrows by the side,

nabbing morsels when it could,

then racing from the tide.

Junior Eagle

Junior Eagle perched proudly on his driftwood post,

with wind-blown feathers and orange socks,

landing there to remind me just what matters most.

Caspian Terns and Gulls Dance

Caspian Terns show grace is close at hand;

trading secrets with the poor plain seagull,

they hold potlucks and dances on the sand.

Crow fled the scene

The wind picked up and the sky began to grey,

dry sand raced across the beach,

then beautiful Crow and I fled the scene, calling it a day.

This day, oh, this day…

shoved joy and gratitude in my face,

then tossed in beauty and just  a touch of grace.

Patti Hall

I took these pics yesterday on Bonge Beach & wrote the poem last night.

Click on the pics to make larger.


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Once Sold Tales Offers Book Grab Bags – GalleyCat

Once Sold Tales Offers Book Grab Bags – GalleyCat.

A sad time for them. If you are nearby Seattle, do stop in to find some gems. If I were there, and had a purse…well Maggie (the RV) would be filled to the brim. I have this picture of Maggie with books coming out her ears, mouth and eyes (all windows, you know). Books on her roof, books spilling from underneath…you get it.


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What Happens In A Bed

Eight days before her 50th birthday they were married in their cozy new pajamas, holding hands on his bed in the hospital. The pastor and witnesses wore protective hospital gowns and gloves; the patient was in isolation once again. A special dispensation from the head doctor allowed the bride to wed without protection. (Pun intended).

The bride’s aunt and the couple’s neighbor came the day before on a ring and pajama-driven mission. On the big day the pastor and his wife brought more pre-owned wedding rings to choose from. No flowers were allowed. No rice-tossing, no wedding music or little flower girl. No wedding dress or tux. No wedding cake either, although a nurse brought them cake on their 1-month anniversary. Frankly, they wouldn’t have chosen a big-event kind of wedding anyway. But a garden wedding might have been nice; by this time of year, their neglected back yard was surely exploding in blooms.

The pastor and his wife (a witness) were dear friends who had traveled 6 hours across the mountains with only 3 days notice. The other witness was from the bride’s new circle of caregivers who lived in the hospital with their stricken family members. This witness had a 20-year-old son who was having life-threatening challenges while waiting for a heart transplant. Later she would lead the pastor to her son’s room for a blessing.

The bride simply had to marry the guy after his sweet middle-of-the-night proposal, on knees that were so swollen that they could barely bend; they laughed and cried as he grabbed her waist and she helped him up off the floor, back onto his hospital bed.

This scene reminded both of them of a night in their own bed several years before, where they got to laughing so hard that they both ended up on the floor.  Humor was a big part of who they were as individuals and defined them as a couple.

wedding hands

After their friends left, after the certificate was signed, he was set up with the postponed blood transfusion, as the new wife slipped back into her protective garb. Later that night she unfolded her cot and moved it next to his bed; they slept in wedded bliss holding hands between the beds.

Her birthday began just past midnight 8 days after the storybook wedding. She woke to him singing “Happy Birthday” in his whispery-raspy voice, and ending in the words, “…and many more with ME!”

His optimistic song and the effort he made to sing it were her best gifts ever. Her birthday passed by at the bottom of a long list of medical priorities that day, but her thoughts kept drifting back to his gift. If she closes her eyes and allows herself, she can still hear it today.

Seven weeks later, 11 days before his birthday, the new bride became a widow. Preparing him for the next step on his journey, eyes filled with tears, she lovingly bathed and dressed his body on their own bed at home. He had been Captain of the volunteer fire department and 2 of his men helped her. Later, the new widow’s mother sat in a chair next to the bed, humming soothing words and watching her daughter frantically cover up his body as it cooled.

The pastor and his wife would be heading back across the mountains soon.

 


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Publishing Closer; Children’s Book Out to First Readers

I recently took the plunge and sent one of my children’s books out to a handful of readers. First reactions are coming in and I am even more encouraged to get it published. I will post their reactions when I have them all in.

The next step is deciding on the route of publication. I have spent many hours researching both routes–self publishing e-books and hard copies, or standard publishing–and I am still undecided. Self publishing is a daunting task, yet it can happen much quicker and I have total control over the outcome of the book. I will set my sights to writing a pro-con article and that will help me make a decision.

I do know that if I self publish I can choose my own illustrator, a choice I lose if I go the other route. I have several artist in my circle of family and friends, and may just send the book out to them and see what the interest is there.

Either way, a whole new ride begins as soon as I make this important decision.

I hope you stay for the ride.

Patti

Here is the synopsis from an earlier post:

This is a children’s tale that begins with a poem, centers on a riddle, and weaves songs throughout the narrative.  It is an adventurous tale of 9-year-old Queen Velveena S. Brookings, who wants desperately to be a beautiful princess.  Veena’s yearnings are set aside to save a boy who is locked in a deserted castle by a magician’s evil spell.

Our solar system’s constellations are main characters, especially “Queen” Cassiopeia.  An evil king, Veena’s parents, the boy, and other humans are mere shadow characters, if present at all.  We don’t even meet the boy that our girl/queen/hero sets out to save, until the very last page.

This is Veena’s story all the way. She knows her weaknesses, yet manages to overcome them to do the right thing. She also knows her strengths, but will only shine a light on them in order to solve the riddle and save the boy.

© Patti Hall and https://1writeplace.wordpress.com, 2013.


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Harv & Ester, Keepers of the Gardens

Harv & Ester slip quietly through the garden gate.

No human ever guesses just what happens there,

while the harvest they await.

 

The Keepers of the Gardens begin to sweat and toil,

Harv whispers to the tomatoes,

while Ester begs  worms to turn the soil.

 

Their glove-less hands gently touch the roots;

they so love to feel the warmth of the earth,

they’ve even kicked off their little boots!

 

Their nostrils fill with the sweet scent of earth,

the folded vegetation sings “thank you!”,

as they slowly begin their birth.

 

Oh, Harv & Ester love the vegetables, each and every one,

they love the carrots and lettuce and juicy watermelon.

 

They even love the pesky ones we know as weeds;

they encourage them to grow;

it makes the humans visit the garden daily—

and the veggies love these visits, as Harv & Ester know.

 

They encourage and enchant,

all things to surface through the earth,

for these humans must be shown,

just what Mother Nature’s bounty can be worth.

 

So, up come weeds and rocks and bugs,

that make the humans grumble;

they must learn to love everything of earth…

be it ever so pesky or humble.

 

Many rewards are granted the humans,

with help from the loving pair;

food in abundance and tranquility,

from the garden in their care.

copyright 2013 Patti Hall

This is one of the Keeper stories from a work-in-progress book.


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Visions On The Beach

I walked along the beach today, and there I saw them all;

including the latest lost: little Tiven, Tommy, Michaela & my Paul.

 

Grandma painted at her easel, set upon the dune.

Uncle Eddie bent in half, laughing like a loon,

 

Oliver growled and chased birds, still thinking he’s a dog,

Tiven gathered sand dollars, arranged them on a log.

 

Michaela watched a mermaid hit the waves with a fancy spin,

Tommy just looked on with his I-have-a-secret grin.

 

Paul gathered his beach finds in a pile to take home,

I walked along, bulging pockets, trying to memorize this poem.

 

I see that look in your eyes. You really think I’m crazy now–I know you do,

but if you walk the beach or woods you’ll have a chance to see them too.

 

copyright 2013 Patti Hall


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Survey Says…Witness This: Writing In Solitude Of Grief & Joy

Anecdotal results from feedback of 33 people in my close family/friend circle. I  explain how my writing life, grief, joy and solitude combine to make the writer Patti Hall.  I try to dispel worries about my current  state of mind.

*We have at least 3 male poets-to-be in our midst! Thus:

*Writing & poetry seem to inspire the same in others.(3 replies to “Lady in the Cave” were in poetry form)

*For me, caves are temporary dwellings that provide emotional shelter from the storm when it is pouring down rain, and so windy that I cannot see the row of warm dry castles in the distance.

*I have an almost 130,000 word book-in-progress from my cave-time. (Don’t get excited, I may edit it down to far fewer words by the time I finish.)

*Make no mistake: I am no Plath, Woolf or Hemingway. I chose the difficult path; no easy exit for me.

*The main difference between you and I, is that I put words to the shallows and depths of my

inner feelings, then I send them out for witnessing.

*My joys are as embodied as my sorrows. Would one be as visceral without the other?

*My solitude is for me, but not against you. In here with myself, I figure out how to be out there with you.

*You are an essential part of my life, what can I do for you when the storm subsides?

copyright 2013 Patti Hall


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Treasured Souls

 

Oh, but we have lost–

such treasured souls,

at immeasurable costs.

 

Oh, but we do moan and cry–

such treasured souls,

no tangible, useable reasons why.

 

Oh, but we who’s hearts do bleed–

such treasured souls,

we feel no soothing sacred creed.

 

Oh, but we do startle awake from restless sleep–

such treasured souls,

dreamland holds tight; tries to help us keep.

 

Oh, but we struggle to remember their voices—

such treasured souls,

memory steals them away, we have no choice.

 

Oh, but we close our eyes to see their faces—

such treasured souls,

memory leaves only blurry, faded traces.

 

Oh, but we do measure the cost—

such treasured souls,

counting only the sorrowful trails of our loss,

such treasured souls.

 

for Paul, Michaela, Tommy, Tiven

 

 


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Lady in the Cave

Life strikes another blow and away I go:

back to the cave to sleep, read, write, dream,

soothed by rocking chair therapy,

spend hours on hours looking at photo memories,

lighting incense and candles,

crying, howling out the injustices smothering me.

Deluge myself with sensory comforts that cradle me;

without these I am among the ashes of the dead.

Not fit for the nurture of others;

their sympathy shatters the broken pieces of my heart-

the pieces I’m trying frantically

to glue together with Gorilla glue mixed with tears.

There’s a lot of hard work to do here;

leave the lady in her cave.

Patti Hall

copyright 2013