Nothing makes my heart skip a beat like receiving an envelope covered with stickers announcing “Author-Publisher Contract Enclosed.” Gulp! Yippee!
And then to see the title of my story collection, Skating on the Septic Tank, typed officially on the contract. It’s happening! Happened?
All in one book, my stories published in Georgia Connector Magazine, including my South
Carolina Carrie McCray award winner, and a sprinkling that were in other publications. A dream fulfilled, prodded into being by my friend Paige Cummings.
Not only am I thrilled, I’m proud to have accomplished such a body of work. Where did time go? Skimming through my stories answers that question. Along with the changing world, I see myself and my siblings growing up, my own children with their children, and my parents aging.
Name an emotion – love, joy, fear, jealousy – even a little pride and prejudice. You’ll find it in Skating on the Septic Tank. Also, humor. That gets us through all the rest.
Soon I’ll have a concise answer when people ask, “Where can I read your stories?” Their next question will be “when?” I’m shooting for Christmas 2018. Fingers crossed.
This discussion guide for Act on the Heart is intended to expand your book group experience. The suggested questions are to help your members discover new and interesting topics. I hope these ideas will increase your reading enjoyment.
To view or download the Reading Group Guide in PDF format click on the file below. To view on this web page click on 'Read More' below.
I rarely say OMG, but "O.M.G." I'm in Dec issue of R.E.A.D.E.R.'S. D.I.G.E.S.T. on p. 72. Didn't know and almost fell off the toilet. (isn't that where we all read that little magazine) Must've sent it eons ago because don't remember doing it. Mama would be SO proud.
Listen to Genie Smith Bernstein as she is featured on America's Web Radio, The Prologue with Doug Dahlgren. This interview delves into Genie's personal and writing lives, how one affects the other and led her to write "ACT ON THE HEART." Genie and Doug discuss the book's message of courage, how she fleshed out the characters, and her cinematic writing style.
First, our new and perfect grandson, Bennett Dalton Beasley, arrived and claimed a big chunk of my heart.
Then, I attended the Georgia Writer's Association Banquet where I was a nominee for "Georgia Author of the Year" in the Romance Division. My daughter and granddaughter escorted me and we made a spa weekend out of it.
And, as always, I'm excited to see my words published in Georgia Connector Magazine. The new Summer issue features my story "Catnapping"
Thanks to my peers for their vote of confidence; thanks to friends and family for the flood of baby congratulations; and thanks to the loyal readers of my Connections column. I appreciate "all y'all."
Many thanks to Margaret Locke for featuring me on her Writer Wednesday blog.
Her questions made me wonder how much readers really know about writers, and whether their impressions about them are on target. I'd be interested to know.
I'm looking forward to seeing friends, old and new, when I speak at the Pilot Club in Eatonton on Tuesday, Feb 2, 2016, 6pm at the Masonic Building on Hwy 16. Two of my favorite topics for a February discussion - Romance and Writing! It's an open meeting, so please join in the fun.
A magazine editor wants to come take pictures of me in “my environment.” EEEEKKK!!! Nothing like viewing my world through someone else’s eyes, and camera. My place is a jungle. So named over twenty years ago by a tired four-year-old returning from a day in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She haughtily disputed her grandfather’s assurance, “We’re almost home,” by complaining, “No we’re not, I can’t see GG’s Jungle.”
This jungle is where I write. Laptop in my – well – lap, looking out my front windows into my own personal tangle of English ivy and Georgia hardwoods. Years ago, our children certified my front yard a Wildlife Habitat and hung a wooden chimpanzee in the trees. Deer nibble the shrubs, foxes nose around, and hawks hunt hapless chipmunks.
Like Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, where’s your “spot?” Your favorite place to settle down and slip into a fictive dream.
My little corner of the world sort of mimics Stephen King, who also writes in a corner. Since I’m comparing myself to the greats, I also scribble on strips of paper like Edgar Allen Poe, and on index cards like Vladimir Nabokov. I haven’t yet written in the nude like J. D. Salinger, but I’ve come close and I understand the strategy behind it, as did Victor Hugo who locked away his clothes to avoid the temptation of going outside.
Although I sometimes recline, I couldn’t write lying down like Mark Twain. But I have written drunk like F. Scott Fitzgerald and standing up like Ernest Hemingway. I might write in a shed like George Bernard Shaw, if it was air conditioned.
I’m not fussy like John Steinbeck, who always kept exactly twelve perfectly sharpened pencils on his desk. And I’m not superstitious like Truman Capote, who wouldn’t begin or end a piece of work on a Friday, and never allowed more than three cigarette butts in his ashtray.
I am like Raymond Chandler, in respect to output being irrelevant. James Joyce considered two perfect sentences a full day of work, whereas Jack London, William Golding, Norman Mailer, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Thomas Wolfe wouldn’t rest until they reached daily quotas into the thousands.
Adopting someone else’s practice won’t invoke genius in me. The best work ultimately comes from one’s own eccentricities. Working jigsaw puzzles and driving are two of mine. Something about focusing on the mechanics involved releases the creative side of my brain.
I fully understand why writers are often considered reclusive. When I am in seriously creative mode, I’m required to live within, socially withdraw so that every drop of my emotional energy goes into the craft. That, more than anything, explains GG’s Jungle.
An old adage warns us not to judge a book by its cover. Double scary now that my romance novel, Act on the Heart, published by Black Opal Books, has been released. Released, you might say, like a fish to swim the Amazon, online marketplace not river. The flow of books is staggering, so I wanted mine to have a striking cover. Even if it doesn’t pique readers’ interest, I didn’t want it going completely unnoticed.
Toward this end, I made what I later learned was a rookie mistake. I asked an artist whose work I admire to paint the cover. She read the book and painted “Reflections on a Southern Porch,” a beautiful and introspective scene that perfectly captured the feeling of the book. I, and all who saw the painting, loved it. But neither the artist nor I knew a thing about designing a book cover.
My editor admired the painting, but advised it wasn’t sensual enough to sell a romance novel. Grudgingly, I agreed to let the publisher’s art department handle the cover. I was put in touch with a graphic artist who made the daunting process into a pleasure. He found good models for the main characters, changed and tweaked whatever I asked, and gave me that lightning bolt moment of seeing my name on the cover of my book. He even featured the artist’s lovely painting on the back.
I have the best of both. A striking cover to draw readers to the book, from the outside looking in, and a treasured work of art depicting the story from the inside looking out. Either way, I’ve got it covered.