A Hint of Celebrity?

Now that Ken and I spruced up our home with a few pieces of new furniture, a washer and dryer, and new kitchen chairs, I decided it was time for a little Barbara upgrading. Yup. I spent some coins on myself, and I didn’t do it at the thrift store. ūüôā

The items I wanted included a pair of new glasses, some wrinkle cream and skin spot remover, along with a couple pair of new sandals. (I still think we may have at least a couple of days of summer in the near future.)

On Saturday, I went to pick up my new specs. For once the sun was shining, but little did I know in a few seconds it would shine on me. When the receptionist requested¬†my name, I replied, “Barbara McCloskey.”

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One of the customers turned around with a surprised look on her face and said, “Barbara McCloskey? I know that name. Sure, there’s somebody by that name who is an author.”

I replied, “That’s me!”

The customer’s voice went up an octave as she said, “No kidding?”

I whipped out my business cards I got for such opportunities and gave  one to each customer in the store.

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For a couple of seconds, I felt like a big shot. Fame shown it’s fickle light on me and I smiled in the illumination. Even though I hadn’t been facially recognized, somebody did recognize my name.

I’ve emblazoned this scene in my mind with the exception someday I will be facially recognized, and my “fan” will have read all of my books.

I truly believe this is the first step to fulfilling my dream–to become a successful author. This first step is simple, but necessary.

Here’s the bottom line to this tale. I don’t believe dreams happen. Having a clear vision of what we want to achieve is key, then we must share it with others. In the meantime, put your nose to the grindstone and work, work, work.¬†In my case, I need to read and write everyday. Persistence is key–you can’t give up even when the ugly face of writer’s block crosses you path. Then grab opportunities when they come along. Do radio interviews. Get your name in the local paper. Pass out business cards advertising your genre and titles. Get your book reviewed. Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket — no one can shine hiding. Perhaps you might even get a little “luck” as you go through the actions of working toward your goals. No one can turn down good luck, right?

My only caution is to be careful what you ask for. . . there’s a good chance you will get it.

Stephania Hits the Presses

Stephania Comes to America0001Yesterday I signed off on the final manuscript of ¬†my most recent novel — “Stephania Comes to America.” When I do my final review, I pray I’ve caught all of the typos and missing words that my brain didn’t catch the first time around. Much to my chagrin, after the book is finally in my hands, I haven’t caught all of the mistakes. It’s my most frustrating part of my writing.

It turns out I’m fighting my common brain. Yeah. That’s right. My brain fills in the missing words, and it doesn’t allow my eyeballs to see all the typos. I understand this because of a ¬†program on the Science Channel called, “My Bleeped Up Brain,” This program demonstrated why this happens. It seems our brains can’t process EVERYTHING it takes in, it edits for us. In the case of editing, our brains automatically fills in words where they haven’t been written. How do we fight that?

I thought the answer was to have my eagle-eye buddy Linda proofread the manuscript after my editor had passed her critical eye over the book. I’ve had many people tell me that they have enjoyed my stories, but the missed typos have driven them nuts. I assure you, my friends, this frustrates me as much as it does others. ¬†When I see mistakes in a piece of writing, I also think the author must either be careless or hurried. Now I understand it’s neither. It’s humanity frailty.

So from on, I am more tolerant of other’s typos (and my own, too). Perhaps someday, I’ll have an omniscient editor who has better eye balls than I do.


Over the weekend I read several blogs about character development. Doing this reinforced my belief that without strong characters, the story will be flat. No one will care. No one will identify with the big picture because you forgot about the most important element–A STRONG CHARACTER who carries the story.

And as I’ve said before, it’s the small details that¬†resonate¬†their humanity. How they look, feel, think, react, and respond are key. Then there’s the surroundings they live in and how they are perceived by others characters.

Since sending off FINDING GESSLER, I’ve become totally immersed in STEPHANIA COMES TO AMERICA–the next novel I ¬†plan for publication in about six months. So once again, I must face Stephania.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know the trouble this character, Stephania, has consistently given, She’s beautiful and willful. She likes getting her own way. She’s selfish and scheming. In a word, she’s a bitch.¬†Stephania

But I can’t write her as a one-dimensional¬†character, so I have been looking for ways to make her¬†vulnerable¬† I’ve searched for ways for readers to feel empathy toward her, even though she does outrageous things. And that my friends, hasn’t been the easiest thing ¬†to do.

I finally realized the problem lies with me. Because I’m a “What you see is what you get” person, and I’ve never put on a false face to do anything, come hell or high water. I don’t understand Stephania. She’s not in my “wheelhouse.” ¬†Even my vivid imagination has failed me.

So after working on this book for almost a year now, I was pleasantly surprised recently when I had a breakthrough. I let Stephania take control. I stopped driving her and let her take me on the journey she must travel. And it’s working. She’s finally in my head, creating herself as she must. I even had a friend interview me as Stephania ¬†and discovered I know her better than I ever thought I did.

So, hopefully Stephania is not just pulling my leg and letting me take a peek at her right now. I’m praying she doesn’t turn off and tune out in the coming months just to frustrate me further. After all, she could do such a thing; it’s part of her nature. Remember, she is a bitch.