Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Cool is This!

I am totally blown away to have my story in this edition. The list of NASCAR elite published in this book includes the likes of Darrell Waltrip, Jimmy Johnson, Tony Stewart, Buddy Baker, Brian France, and my favorite racer, Ryan Newman. For a NASCAR outsider to be listed among these fine people is a treat beyond imagination. Those who know me know I'm a faithful NASCAR fan. Pam and I have been to races in Kansas City, Texas, Atlanta, and Las Vegas, and we're still young enough to hit a dozen more. This is one life's dream fulfilled.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Iron Sharpens Iron

I received an e-mail a few days ago from an old friend asking me if I knew an agent he could approach with his novel. I asked him "When did you start writing?"

"Oh, a couple of months ago," he replied. "It's finished and ready to be published."

Oh my!

"Are you in a critique group?" was my next question and the conversation turned stressful for both of us from there. Four years ago, I was where he is today - the next James Patterson looking for an agent. That novel is in the ash heap never to be resurrected. The honest approach is always best. Publishing is a business. The economy and technology demand educated authors who have slaved over our craft and exposed ourselves to rigorous critique. Aspiring authors need people around us who are willing to bloody our noses if necessary to improve our work. I hope my friend got the message.

The picture above left is of members of the Hawk Critique group. Left to right: Mary Ann Powers, John Biggs, Lela Davidson, and myself. Absent, but soon to be featured on this blog in future interviews, are Mary Magee and Lynette Bennett. Our group has devoted its time to improving each other's work, We are brutally honest when reviewing a member's writing. And yes, we can still hug after each meeting.

I look forward to seeing each of my friends published and enjoying the rewards that brings. I know they feel the same way. A writer who isn't in at least one critique group is like a ship that has sailed into Pacific Ocean alone without a compass or an understanding of the stars - lost in perilous waters.