Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy New Year!

Los noches de las luminarias in the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is a warm and festive event with 7,800 candles and music. This year, mixed with the desert landscape,
Dale Chihuly's The Nature of Glass exhibit added a most magical glow.
To see more photos I took at Lumi and in the Arizona sunshine,
follow this link:

"Awesome" and "amazing" are overused words but they describe
LUMI and the The Nature of Glass perfectly.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Won First Place in the 2008 Story Circle Contest!

story circle
My story Trick or Treat  won first place in the 2008 Story Circle LifeWriting Contest!
Read it online at the StoryCircle Website where it will be posted for some months. It will also appear in the September issue of the Story Circle Journal. And I get $75!
The Story Circle Network is dedicated to helping women share the stories of their lives and to raising public awareness of the importance of women's personal histories. We carry out our mission through publications, a web site, classes, workshops, writing and reading circles, and woman-focused programs. Our activities empower women to tell their stories, discover their identities through their stories, and choose to be the authors of their own lives.
StoryCircle "judges agreed that this is one of the strongest group of contest entries we have read in all the years this contest has been held."
Trick or Treat is not a romance. The theme for the contest was "evolution and growth."  Every stage of  a woman's life becomes a romance as she explores herself.  Once I said "if you live long enough, you will play all the roles." I still believe that. Being a writer allows even more roles.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sex talk!

WhenThe Well Red Coyote, my favorite Sedona bookstore, agreed to a booksigning for my first novel, Romancing Rebecca, set in Sedona, I knew I’d made it. Then the owners asked me to choose a writers’ workshop topic. I asked, “What would you suggest?” They replied, “No one’s talked about writing sex.”

The press release hit the papers and instantly I became the sex expert of my neighborhood. A large group threatened to drive to Sedona for my presentation. I gently explained that the program was for writers only, it wouldn’t be what they expected, and the bookstore expected them to purchase large quantities of books.

Fortunately, only writers would flock to a bookstore on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

First, I confessed that when I write a sex scene—just when it gets hot—my writing turns funny. Really funny. Looking over my shoulder to see if my dh was listening, I asked, “And isn’t sex really funny?”

Next, we did breathing exercises—this is Sedona—followed by energy work and a great yoga exercise called sama-hyridaya-tadasana.* The goal was to get in touch with your character and become compassionate.

Then more breathing. Open eyes and write as you dialog with your character:
Ask your character how he or she feels about you writing about their sex life?
Ask when they want the door closed?

It worked. Historical characters became shy. Characters with history of abuse were fearful. A great discussion about sex in YA novels.

Last, I confessed I wrote the entire novel, so that on p.115 my tough New York lawyer heroine could cry, “You ripped my bodice.”

*This yoga pose came from Jeff Davis’ Journey from the Center to the Page, 2nd edition. Want to know more about writing and yoga. Check out the bibliography on my website. http://www.amberpolo.com/Readers.html

    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Sold Out Book Signing!

    What a great day!
    I ate much too much cake and sold all my books (about 30 copies). I really thought I had enough - both cake and books. Even people I'd given free copies to came and purchased more.
    My artist friends loved that some of my book friends and neighbors bought art and jewelry. a book club group invited me to attend after they read Romancing Rebecca (that'll be my second book club appearance).
    The local supermarket turned a digital photo of my cover into an edible picture for my cake.
    Artists highlighted in the publicity brought food and helped entertain attendees.
    It didn't hurt that the book review in the weekly arts and entertainment section was absolutely terrific. http://verdenews.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=25561&SectionID=74&SubSectionID=114&S=1
    I got more newspaper space because of the joint event with the coop gallery's artists.
    It was great fun for everyone. And the little gallery was filled with people all afternoon.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Too shy to do a book signing? Have a party!

    Hate booksignings? What could be worse than sitting at a table watching people walk by avoiding eye contact like you had a disease.

    What about having a party? A party NOT at a bookstore.

    This Saturday afternoon 2-5 I'm having a Book Launch party at a local coop art gallery in my very small town to celebrate the print release of Romancing Rebecca. I’ve invited artists that use a southwestern red rock theme in their art to join me and invite their friends. I've called the event Romance in the Red Rocks and the gallery is excited to help me put out publicity.

    The gallery will take 20%, so profit from my author purchased copies sales will be better than a book store signing.

    Seven great artists will help bring refreshments. My curious friends and neighbors will come to buy my book, eat cake, and enjoy an art show. They might buy art and I hope the artists and their friends will purchase my book.

    Two years ago, I made a relaxation CD, Relaxation One Breathe at a Time, and held a signing party at the gallery. I might even sell more CDs.

    My only worry is that with seven artists, their friends, other artists, and all the friends and neighbors who have heard I’m publishing a book and are despertly curious to come for the refreshments and to buy, the gallery will be filled to bursting. Since it's Easter weekend the little gallery should be able to hold everyone.

    So far the publicity has been great. The local paper printed a WONDERFUL review in their Sedona area entertainment supplement by a well known local poet and writers’ advocate who interviewed me and loved my book.

    Stay tuned for results.

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Write Yourself Thin?

    The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right Size by Julia Cameron. (Penguin, 2007)

    Julia Cameron, guru author of The Artist's Way and other books on creativity has transformed lives for 25 years. With this book she turns her inspirational style to the artist’s battle with weight.

    The Writing Diet proposes writing as a weight loss tool to metabolize life. If overeating blocks creativity and feelings, writing wakes up consciousness and returns clarity and productivity.
    Her tools will work for anyone with food relationship issues.

    She doesn’t mention research that shows meditation and yoga aid weight loss, but Morning Pages must achieve results for the same reasons. Slowing the mind creates better choices for the body.

    Not just for writers, artists, and musicians, Ms. Cameron says many things other books have told you, but does it exceptionally well. If writing is your natural response to life or not, her sensible, clean eating plan may make more sense than most popular diets.

    What can a writer learn about writing from The Writing Diet (besides how to deal with weight and food)?
    Select an important topic and a great title
    Write a book that is a joy to read
    Make the book beautiful, not imposing or intimidating
    Create interesting, easy to read short chapters
    Give practical advice and don’t talk down to your reader
    Illustrate points with interesting, powerful examples
    Add one meaningful exercise per chapter
    Write as if you were an understanding fellow traveler
    Convince your reader you're a supportive friend who went from a size 16 to 10 in one year

    For twenty five years Julia Cameron has taught creativity using Morning Pages, Journaling, Writer’s Dates, and Walking. The Writing Diet adds the delightful Culinary Artist Date to the list.

    Amber Polo