Monthly Archives: October 2013

NaNoWriMo – The Mona Lisa Sisters

Not long ago I asked for help in developing an idea for the 50,000-word project I intend to complete in November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). http://www.nanowrimo.org

Help has not been forthcoming.

Monday at Julaina Kleist’s Polish Your Writing class, Julaina gave us an in-class assignment. She passed out copies of different photographs to groups of two or three. Emily and I were handed the below picture.

Mona Lisa Girls

Our assignment, write an elevator pitch of twenty-five words or less. We came up with several pitches, none destined for fame.

While other students read theirs aloud, my mind began sketching out my entry for NaNoWriMo. After class, I went home and spent six or seven hours researching the story line. I DID NOT WRITE. I hope I didn‘t violate the rules.

Before I left class, I knew my story would be unlike anything I have ever attempted. Set in 1894, it is from the point of view of a twenty-eight year old widow. I will change the girls’ dresses into the appropriate design for the time.

Walking Suites 1894

I found a half dozen or so photographs and drawings. With the collection of samples, I can see the two girls, and my protagonist, Lura Grisham Myer. My problem is I can’t for the life of me describe women’s clothing. I could use some help. (Hint, Hint).

The story begins in New York several months before Lura comes across Mary Margaret and Ada Mae Dean viewing the Mona Lisa at The Louvre in Paris.

New York Cabs 1890

Cabs will play an important role in New York City.

SS La Touraine

Lura will travel to France on the SS La Touraine as a First Class Passenger. It is an entirely different ship when she is forced to return to New York as a Second Class Passenger with two young girls in tow.

I have several photographs and drawings that play various roles in the developing story line. I won’t share them with you now. It would give away the story line that will undoubtedly change as my characters journey from New York to Paris, and back. Look for an interesting trip for Lura and the girls. There might even be a mysterious stranger lurking in the background.

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JIM AVERBECK – WRITER & ILLUSTRATOR

Jim Avereck - Cropped
Photo by Sonya Sones

Saturday, October 19, 2013 the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writer’s Club was privileged to have Jim Averbeck as our guest speaker. Jim studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Looking for an opportunity to serve and grow, he joined the Peace Corps. He spent almost four years living and working in the western Africa country of Cameroon.

It was in Cameroon where he got the inspiration for his first children’s book.

Jim has a fun and interesting blog, Jim Averbeck * Words and Pictures. Visit him at http://www.jimaverbeckbooks.com/

His story, from idea to publication, took several turns, along with ups, downs, and bumps. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, take it. Although his genre has been children’s books, his journey is one all aspiring writer’s should hear. It wasn’t an easy one. Talent he has plenty of, but talent isn’t everything. He needed perseverance and the ability to roll with the punches to succeed. He has plenty of both.

Jim’s description of the path to publication is one of the best I’ve heard. More than a few of the audience, myself included, left wondering, do I have what it takes? Can I accomplish what Averbeck has managed?

Jim writes Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult. He is currently working on his first novel for the middle grade audience, a mystery set in San Francisco. From his description of the characters and plot, I know one seasoned citizen reader who looks forward to reading about “Hitch”.

Picture Books by Jim Averbeck:

The Market Bowl (2013)
Oh, No, Little Dragon (2012)
except if (2011)
In a Blue Room (2008)

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WRITING-SCHOOL-VOLUNTEERISM

After over forty years of investigative experience, I’ve officially changed career paths. While most people my age retire, I’m much too active for that. Besides, I can only watch so much television, and I’m a terrible golfer. I’m devoting my time to writing, school, and volunteerism.

If you didn’t know, I’ve written one novel, A Tale of Robbers and Cops. I enjoyed the project and learned a great deal about writing.

My second novel, Liberty, set in the fictional city of Liberty, Arizona, is a story about people. That’s right; it’s a story about people, not cops. However, among these people are cops, the leaders of a Black Prison/Street Gang, as well as a Latino Street Gang. I’ve been researching for a year. In that time, I’ve met some interesting gang experts who have been more than generous with their time.

In addition to the novels, I’m amassing a collection of short stories. Several are set for publication by year’s end.

My educational goal is to complete an AA Degree in English at Las Positas College and then enter a Master of Fine Arts program. My alma mater, California State University – East Bay has a joint campus program that should meet my needs.

For the last eighteen months, I’ve spent 2 ½ hours most Mondays in Polish Your Writing, a class taught by acclaimed author and educator Julaina Kleist. I intend to continue studying under Julaina indefinitely.

As for volunteerism, I’ve returned to the San Leandro Police Department as a Volunteer in Police (VIP). Forty-five years ago, as a rookie police officer, I shuttled cars to and from the corporation yard, to the car wash, swept the police station, emptied trash, and handled a myriad of other un-cop like tasks. As a VIP, I’m doing much the same thing, only for free.

I’m excited about this turn in the road I’ve made and am looking forward to new adventures. If you would like to read samples of my writing or hear more about my journey, feel free to check out my blog.

MERGING THE HEART OF A WRITER WITH THE SOUL OF A BIKER

Blog : http://gdcramer.com
Email : gdcramer@msn.com
FaceBook : http://www.facebook.com/george.cramer.56211
LinkedIn : http://www.linkedin.com/in/gdcramerpi/
Twitter : @WriterBiker

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Filed under A Tale of Robbers and Cops, Investigations, Liberty, Odds and Ends, Writing

NaNoWriMo

Next month will be my second foray into the world of NaNoWriMo.

What? You’ve never heard of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo hosts, pushes, beats, cheers, and helps tens of thousands write 50,000 words every November.

NaNoWriMo is on the honor system. The prizes are children’s stickers awarded weekly. My only competition is George Cramer.

NaNoWriMo

http://nanowrimo.org

One must write 1,666 words every day for thirty days. Last year I wrote 70,000 words, or 2,333 a day. The purpose of the event is to write a novel. No editing, no critiquing, just writing. All the other stuff one can do later.

In 2012, I decided to write for NaNoWriMo. Writers should “write what you know.” I take that to heart.

For NaNoWriMo, I fudged. I wrote about events from my sixteen years at the San Leandro Police Department. Those years at SLPD were some of the best of my life. I began a list of incidents, most at SLPD. There are a few involving Oakland PD, Alameda PD, Alameda County Sheriff, Hayward PD, and even one in San Francisco where I traded guns for heroin. (Shades of Fast and FuriousWe didn’t let the guns walk.) Some are funny, some sad, some bad. Yes, bad things do occasionally happen in a police department. I created an outline of those I want on paper. Before I knew it, the list had grown to sixty-five, each a story worth telling.

I suffer from CRS. I knew the longer I waited, the less accurate these stories would be. I dug in on November 1, 2012 and started down the list. I didn’t get through all sixty-five, but I did get around forty written. Before you begin to worry, except for a few of my exploits, not all, and some outstanding and courageous officers, I changed the names.

The first novel, A Tale of Robbers and Cops, is at a publisher now. I expect the rejection notice any day. The second, Liberty, is about 50% complete.

As part of NaNoWriMo, I will start a new novel. I’m looking for ideas. Think of an incident, real or imagined and shoot me a note. If I use your suggestion, I’ll name a character after you.

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Filed under A Tale of Robbers and Cops, Liberty, Writing