Tuesday, June 30, 2009
These days, a book tour is real...and virtual.
As an author, I've learned publicity goes with the job description. Book touring, blog touring, book clubbing, Facebooking, Tweeting, Skyping, e-newsletters, contests...I'm game. But I've also learned that the publicity part takes a whole different set of muscles from toiling in isolation at your desk with your gin & tonic.
For six weeks now, I've been on the Bootylicious Book Tour for SECRET KEEPERS, my second novel. I've visited brick-and-mortar indie bookstores--where I left boot planters behind to be raffled off or displayed. I hit the virtual road with a WOW-sponsored blog tour-- guest posting or being interviewed at dozens of blogs for the month of June. Topics for my guest posts have covered not just writing and books, but the importance of book covers, photography as a stress-reliever, travel, to-do and to-be lists, and how to certify your yard as a wildlife habitat. In a word--whew! CONTINUE READING
Monday, June 29, 2009
And for the Dear Reader Seedy Character contest--I'll be announcing FIVE winners here on July 1, and contacting you each via email. Thank you all for entering...and stay tuned.
I'm grateful to everyone who entered, and/or who read this blog...and I'd like to thank those of you who purchased/read/shared SECRET KEEPERS. [I'd like to thank the Academy, too. Some day.] Thank you!
Okay-- so, deep breath. Ready for a moment of zen? I am.
Our back-yard shade garden: a patch of peacefulness. Think serenity. Think gratitude. And, uh, no shady character jokes...
"The mind is everything. What you think you become." --Buddha
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Another reason to love Ironweed? It's the title of one of my favorite books: the Pulitzer-prize winning novel by William Kennedy about the drifter Francis Phelan's search for redemption. A novel that has one of the best opening lines ever:
"Riding up the winding road of Saint Agnes Cemetery in the back of the rattling old truck, Francis Phelan became aware that the dead, even more than the living, settled down in neighborhoods."
And here's the definition of Tall Ironweed that opens the novel--and reveals a lot about Francis, really--adapted from The Audubon Society's Field Gide to North American Wildflowers:
Tall Ironweed is a member of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). It has a tall erect stem and bears deep purple-blue flower heads in loose terminal clusters. Its leaves are long and thin and pointed, their lower surfaces downy. Its fruit is seed-like, with a double set of purplish bristles. It flowers form August to October in damp, rich soil from New York south to Georgia, west to Louisiana, north to Missouri, Illinois and Michigan. The name refers to the toughness of the stem.That last line? The toughness of the stem? Perfect.
Friday, June 26, 2009
After you turn 30 or so, "wildlife" has a whole new connotation..My front yard, pictured here, is a certified wildlife habitat.I'm guest posting today over at Fatal Foodies on the 6 steps to establishing a wildlife habitat in your yard--or balcony or patch of dirt....
Here's an excerpt:
There's been a sign posted in my front yard for three years. It's no "Keep off the Grass" warning--I haven't had a lawn in years. It's an official "Certified Wildlife Habitat™." sign, one of the easiest, green, fun and transforming things you can do to your yard-- and for the earth...CONTINUE READING
And here's a piece on dusting off your travelin' shoes...which is something Emma, the protagonist in SECRET KEEPERS, yearns to do. My guest blog at WritetoTravel on how childhood travel can influence your writing:
For me, what's so powerful about travel, besides being the ultimate form of escape, is the way it changes your view of the world, even after you return home. ESPECIALLY after you return home. CONTINUE READING
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Today's Bootylicious Blog Tour stops at SoABlondeWalksIntoaReview.com where my guest post is, "To Do List? Make That a To Be List." AND-- you can win a free signed copy of SECRET KEEPERS, along with a "seedy character" package [a selection of my favorite flower seeds] just by leaving a comment there. Visit SoABlondeWalksIntoaReview.com for details on how to enter today's contest.
Here's an excerpt from today's post:
...it helps to start small if you don't want to sweat the small stuff. And noticing just how often your mind chatters--planning, fretting, remembering, scheming-- is the first step. "To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." Emily Dickinson wrote, which always reminds me to pay attention to the smells, sights, and sounds around me right now, no matter where I am. CONTINUE READING.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
So....words of wisdom today, courtesy of Wordsworth [illustrated with two photos of my front yard]: "Laying out grounds may be considered a liberal art, in some sort like poetry and painting."-- William Wordsworth
Oh, and picture this:
Bootylicious blog tour stop today is at Self-Help Daily, where I talk about how taking photographs in the garden keeps me "grounded."
Monday, June 22, 2009
"The lawn was a weave of waist-high weeds and fallen limbs punctuated by the otherworldy pink domes of thistle blooms..."
Otherworldy. Pretty much a perfect description of thistle.
Today's SECRET KEEPERS Bootylicious Booktour Blogstop is over at Misadventures with Andi. Here's an excerpt from the interview:
[MWA] If you got your one whiff of a secret keeper, what do you think it would be?
[MF] Oh, that's a good question. For me a whiff of a secret keeper would smell like...[continue reading]
Friday, June 19, 2009
Today's Bootylicious Blog Tour Stop is an interview over at WordhustlerInk.
And here is a picture of my garden this week, which after all this rain, is more weed-choked than plant-choked :)
A Southern Writer Never Kisses and Tells: An Interview with Mindy Friddle
Somewhere in a plant-choked garden in South Carolina, journalist-turned-novelist Mindy Friddle is planting some succulents in an old, broken-down cowboy boot. She’s also thinking about characters and scenes for her next novel, giving them space to roam around in her head. Mindy Friddle is the real deal, folks: a bona fide Southern lady and a talented writer to boot (pun completely intended).
WordHustler sat down with Mindy to get a feel for her writing experiences, her personal writing style, and why you have to talk to everyone about your project...
Read the complete interview here.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Over at The Bookcase, I'm guest blogging today on why SECRET KEEPERS is set in Palmetto, loosely based on my hometown and its overlay of New South over Old South. Sometimes it helps to have a lousy sense of direction-- you can just, you know, make things up. Or warp them. Take liberties. Earn your poetic license.
For example, I changed the cemetery name from Springwood to Springforth. I thought Springforth was a better name for a cemetery, anyway. And that outdated Confederate Monument--you see them in just about every southern town-- I tweaked that, too.
Sometimes I find inspiration right in my front yard. The pitcher plants, Love-Lies-Bleeding, and moonflower vine in my garden prompted some poetic license. Amaranth, a seedy, neglected estate in Secret Keepers, has a secret garden. When the Blooming Idiots gardeners stumble upon its bounty of botanicals, they find a few other-worldly flowers as well: secret keepers are flowers with a potent aroma that trigger a powerful memory of love in a person’s life.
Read the entire post here.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I'm guest blogging today at PaperBack Swap on family secrets:
Since I came across the letter from J. Edgar Hoover in my grandmother’s trunk, I’ve been thinking a lot about family secrets. Continue Reading>>I am lucky to be the inaugural author for a monthly author interview series over at Start Up Live TV. Here's the video interview of me thinking aloud about writing, SECRET KEEPERS, reading... on Start Up Live TV.
And here's trumpet vine: wild, beckoning hummingbirds.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Here are my pitcher plants, thriving from generous spring rains. I admit I dote on them. They look like they're having a fine old time, those tricky little carnivores! Mouths wide open...all they need are googly eyes.
In SECRET KEEPERS, thanks to poetic license, the pitcher plants are "big as lampshades."
It never occurred to me they could be potties.
From today's NYT science section about the tropical pitcher plant Nepenthes lowii, "a pitcher plant found in Borneo...gets its nutrition not from insects but from tree shrews, which use the plant as a toilet."
Ultimate composting toilet. You can't greener than that.
photo of tree shrew by Ch'ien C. Lee
Monday, June 15, 2009
News: Now you can get a signed copy of SECRET KEEPERS, no matter where you live! Fiction Addiction, a local bookstore in my town, will now be offering this service. And I think it's really cool...sort of like I having a jetpack and a magic robot hand that can sign books all over the globe. When you go to the Fiction Addiction link to order, indicate you'd like a signed copy of either [or both!] of my books--and any inscription or "secret" message you'd like-- in the comments section on the checkout page. Ta da-- you'll have your books signed, sealed and delivered.
Today: blog post at Whole Latte Life with lots of intriguing questions on writing and heart-warming comments. One commenter will be chosen to win a signed copy of SECRET KEEEPERS, along with a seedy character package.
Oh, and speaking of contest: a quick note to my Dear Reader emailers: the Dear Reader SECRET KEEPERS/seedy character contest is fantastic--I've received close to 200 emails, and the day is young. Not to mention the week. So I am entering all your names in the drawing, and working hard to answer every one of your emails-- which I LOVE to read. But it may take me a few days to answer you. Hold tight, I'm getting there!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Admit it-- you don't have anything better to do today than escape the heat and head for a bookstore. If you're in the area:
Book signing for SECRET KEEPERS today, 2-4 pm at Fiction Addiction,1020A Woodruff Rd.Greenville, SC. Across from Costco.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Here's the info:
Reading from SECRET KEEPERS tonight, 7 pm
at Leopard Forest Coffee Company in Travelers Rest.
26 South Main Street
Travelers Rest, SC 29690
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Hummingbirds love red, and I guess that includes red carpets. So...I think I'll name her Angeline...as in Jolie. She's gorgeous and she knows it. Unless she is a he, so maybe Brangelina is a safer choice.
Bootylicious Blog Tour stops today at Momecentric, where my guest post is on front-yard gardening: plant it, and they will come.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Here's one Q&A...you can read the entire interview here.
1. Wow, Mindy, your list of credentials are a novel in itself. Let’s talk about your fiction awards. Are you always on the look out for contests that suit your writing style, or is this something your agent or publisher does for you? How do you prepare your work for a particular contest? What about a residency contest?
Something I love about entering writing contests: the deadlines. Sounds funny, maybe, but consider two important points:
1. You have to prepare and submit something by a certain date—which can motivate you to finish or polish.
2. You’ll find out whether your manuscript made it or not within a certain time frame. Even if your work didn’t make it this time, take heart. So often when you submit a story or article for publication, you wait a loooong time to find out if it was read, much less accepted. At least in contests, you’ll know for certain if your work was considered or not. And you can move on.
Poets & Writers has an excellent calendar and listing of contests. You can find it at bookstores and also online. >>CONTINUE READING<<
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Here's a portion of my post:
As booksellers will tell you, readers DO judge a book by its cover. Or, ahem, “dust jacket”—to use the formal term. So… should an author get involved with cover art? Only if she wants to. If you happen to have some passages or some images that you feel drawn to, or that you feel inspired your work, by all means share it!
For example, the cover for my first novel, THE GARDEN ANGEL, went through several different versions. Continue Reading>>>
By the way, Suzanne is a writer and editor--who, before she made her home in Japan, once lived in the Palmetto State--and I interviewed her last year to help get word out about her books, Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press) and Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs (Beacon Press). I've included that author-to-author interview from last year with Suzanne, here:
After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1988, Suzanne Kamata was eager to leave the country, to “experience a non-Western culture.” To git, as we say around these parts. She applied to the Peace Corps and was assigned to Cameroon, but, on a lark, decided to head to Japan after being offered a one-year assistant teaching position with Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET), a program her brother had read about in the newspaper. “I figure I'd spend a year in Japan and then go to Africa,” she said. “But one year in Japan didn't seem like enough - there was still so much to see and do and learn.” Kamata decided to renew her contract for one more year.
She’s been there ever since.
Two decades later, Kamata makes her home in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan with her husband, Yukiyoshi Kamata, and their nine-year-old twins. She teaches part-time and writes in her “pockets of free time” when her children are in school. A productive writer, Kamata’s work has appeared in over 100 publications. She is fiction editor at the online magazine Literary Mama and the author of the novel Losing Kei. She has edited two anthologies: The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan and the Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs.
“I think mothers all over the world have a hard time finding time to write,” she said. “Much to the dismay of the other mothers [at her daughter’s school], I would often sneak off to a cafe or to the school library for an hour or so to read and write. I wrote my novel and edited Love You to Pieces that way.”
Kamata’s twins were born prematurely, and her daughter has cerebral palsy and is deaf. “I realized, when she was diagnosed that I had no idea how to raise such a child. As a literary sort of person, I first went to books to try to figure out what was going to happen and to try to find solace.” The result is Love you to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, an anthology Kamata edited about raising children with special needs. The collection includes short stories, essays, and poems by renowned authors (such as Brett Lott) as well as emerging writers about families coping with autism, deafness, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome and more. “The best novels, short stories, and memoirs can pull in the lives of their characters and provide a deeper understanding of others,” Kamata said, adding she hoped the book “will serve as a kind of support group in far-flung places…”
Raising children outside her native culture is “bittersweet,” Kamata said. “'I’m happy that my son is bilingual and that my children have been exposed to various cultures. And I'm glad that they have a close relationship with their Japanese relatives.” On the other hand, she misses sharing “simple things like running through the sprinkler in the middle of summer,” or going trick-or-treating. “But these conflicts give me something to explore in my writing,” she said. “ As a reader, I tend to be drawn to multicultural stories, though I also read a lot of fiction set in South Carolina, especially when I'm feeling nostalgic.”
Kamata’s novel Losing Kei, tells the story of a young South Carolina painter who, as an American expat, loses custody of her only son to her Japanese ex-husband and then resorts to desperate measures to get him back. “When I write nonfiction, I feel naked. When I write fiction, I feel like I'm wearing a dress --or maybe a flimsy negligee! But seriously, I like being able to move events around and make sense of them—something that happens more in fiction.” Losing Kei is Kamata’s first published novel—she’s written five—and said she’s excited about working with Leapfrog Press, publisher of Losing Kie, to plan a stateside booktour.
When Kamata arrives in South Carolina this month, she plans to visit family, catch up with friends, and sign copies of her novel.
And maybe run through the sprinkler.
Monday, June 8, 2009
FFC: Flash fiction is the perfect vehicle for learning and experimenting with different genres. In addition to your comments above, is there any other conventions a writer need consider if wanting to write in the “Southern” genre?
Mindy: Flash fiction is a wonderful way to exert pressure on a scene. At times–especially in a longer manuscript– you may have a scene that doesn’t seem to work–maybe it meanders, maybe you aren’t sure what the conversation should do, or what should happen. It seems flat. A novel, after all, is elastic– but can get flabby.
If you pare a scene down, revise it, cut it down to its essence, and consider each word, each sentence–which often happens when you write flash fiction–you can hone in on what works. Words make up sentences, sentences make up scenes, scenes make up chapters, chapters make up novels.
One novel I really admire and count as a favorite is Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell. It is a novel made up of exquisite, economical, elegant scenes, tiny brushstrokes–and each one has an arc, like a flash fiction collection.>>CONTINUE READING>>
Saturday, June 6, 2009
As part of her reading at City Lights, Friddle will bring a flowering "boot planter," similar to that on the cover of the book as a door prize, and we’ll host a plant exchange on the back table in our Regional Books Room as part of the event. Read More>>>And that's City Lights in Sylva, not City Lights in San Francisco, btw. I'm still on the East Coast leg of the Bootylicious Tour...haven't ventured to the West Coast yet...but sure would like to :)
Will post photos of beautiful Sylva.
City Lights Bookstore
3 East Jackson Street
Sylva, North Carolina 28779
Friday, June 5, 2009
Like, why my late grandmother's Baptist Church Book Club won't read SECRET KEEPERS; why authors should never leave home without GPS and a sense of humor [the flask is optional]; what's my writing process--do I really have one?-- and what books have influenced me. Thanks to Donna Volkenannt for her interview, and for her intriguing blog on writing, publishing, and books. Check it out:
Q. While showing a healthy respect for Southern values and lifestyles, you poke fun, in a non-judgmental way, at some of the strict religious beliefs and practices of your characters. How has that aspect of your novel been received?
A. That's an interesting question. Dora, Emma Hanley's adult daughter, is having a crisis in faith, in part because she's never come to terms with an event in the past she still feels guilty about. The more empty she feels inside, the more she shops, buying "Christ-centered decor" at a faith-based commerce mall. While leading the Firm Believers Aerobics Group, she feels herself "just going through the motions." Some people may not see the humor in Dora's escapades, but I hope they won't take offense. There's satire, of course, but Dora is truly suffering, and her sadness eventually drives her deeper to face her life NOW. >>>READ MORE>>
Thursday, June 4, 2009
So I was happy that Tom Warner, the generous and savvy owner of Litchfield Books at Pawley's Island called me a week before I was scheduled for the Moveable Feast Luncheon to tell me he'd already sold 60 tickets and to confirm the address. Photos below.
A medley of news today:
Headed to Fireside Books in Forest City, NC. And yes, I'll have my sly GPS with me. I'll be there at 4:30, and will be giving away a planter...so if you're in the area...drop by. You might walk away with an extra boot.
A good soul passes.
From the NYT obituaries, comes the life story of Thomas Berry, 94, a Roman Catholic priest and environmentalist dedicated to "enhancing the human-Earth relationship," who was convinced we are entering a new era "respecting and preserving the habitats of all living things as a fundamental right":
He often alluded to how his focus on the spiritual power of nature grew out of “numinous” experiences exploring woods and fields as a child, particularly his stumbling upon a lily-dotted meadow when he was about 11.As promised, photos from the Moveable Feast at Litchfield Books. This was so much fun! It's always great to have a room full of attentive folks.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Today, Jillian Clemmons interviews me on her blog, a "librarian-turned-writer's take on contemporary female fiction." First question:
1. What advice would you give to aspiring authors about learning the craft? And what books, mentors, or classes have helped you the most?I started out writing mostly on weekends. Read more...
As for the physical realm: The boot planter, above, is now at Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston.
Here's a photo of me with the owner, Jonathan Sanchez (who is also a prize-winning writer). It looks like we're standing in front of a sign that says, MIND. But it really spelled MINDY. But I kind of like the idea of the MIND sign.
Tomorrow: more Bootylicious photos from the physical realm-- Litchfield Books. Their movable author feast was absolutely sumptuous.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Stop by The Muffin today and comment for a chance to win a signed copy of SECRET KEEPERS. I will be checking in to answer your questions.
As WOW says: " If you're interested in learning about Southern Fiction, novel writing, or how you can be a weekend writer and a mom and still churn out two novels, be sure to check out this insightful interview... This tour is unique. Not only do we get to know the extremely talented award-winning author Mindy Friddle, we also venture to other countries, such as Japan, and bring you new media platforms along the way, such as a video interview! It's going to be a fantastic journey."
June 1, 2009 (Monday)
Mindy Friddle launches her tour at The Muffin!
Come join us for the first day of Mindy's tour! Jodi Webb interviews Mindy about her novel Secret Keepers and gets the scoop on what it takes to go from a weekend writer and single mom to published author. Find out the 3 things you need to keep your novel writing on track, and what the most common question authors are asked on book tours is!
We welcome your comments and urge you to participate! Those who comment will be entered to win a signed copy of Mindy's book, Secret Keepers.
About The Muffin: From the bakers of WOW! Women On Writing. Have you checked out what we've been baking for you on the daily Muffin? We've stirred together some traditional ingredients with new ones to deliver more interviews, enlightenment, thought-provoking ideas, and inspirational messages to help you through those gray writing days.
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- ► 2010 (52)
- Dispatches from the Road
- Shady R&R
- Ironweed, Beautiful Ironweed
- Going Wild & Green...
- Today's Blog Stop & Seedy Character Contest
- What I Like About You
- Not to be missed: Tim Gautreaux's short story, "Id...
- On Writing: My Interview at WordHustlerInk
- Guest Blog: Setting--warped a little
- Family Secrets, Video Interview
- Pottie Pitcher Plants
- On daylilies, signed copies of SECRET KEEPERS & Wh...
- Fiction Addiction today, 2 pm
- Reading in Travelers Rest
- Blog Tour & a Fame-seeking Hummingbird
- Blog Tour Today: Writers Inspired
- Blog Stop Today: The Importance of Book Covers
- Today's Blog Stop: Flash Fiction Chronicles
- City Lights at 7 pm
- Donna's Book Pub...pull up a chair
- GPS. Fireside Books. Litchfield Books.
- More "Boot" Tour
- WOW! The Muffin
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