More recent blogs are at--natburns.org
February 29, 2012
Hello from sunny Albuquerque!! A lot has changed in this writer's life. I left South Texas--it just wasn't working for me. I finally got over my writing troubles--not a block, exactly. Just maybe a lack of inspiration. Being back in a city, writing in
crowded cafes seems to be working for me. I am finishing up Poison Flowers all the while focusing on a new project, which will be set in the West Mesa of Albuquerque. Family Issue will be out in 2013, I hope. I still have Identity and The Book of
Eleanor coming out this year. The Quality of Blue has been well-received and Identity is now available for pre-order. So all is finally well in my world :-) My next signing will be in Austin, Texas the last Saturday in March at the Lonestar Lesfic festival.
I am looking forward to seeing friends and readers there.
May 25, 2011
Well, life sure throws curve balls. My dad was just diagnosed with lung cancer. At age 78. Too young. I'm not sure how I feel about that...or I should say I have
yet to process my feelings. It seems that since the head injury I have a harder time dealing with things like this. Getting to a reasonable emotional place. I do
know that I am devastated by it.
December 5, 2010
I guess I should apologize to all my friends and family whom I've been ignoring. Unfortunately both of Carol's sons have had huge health issues that have kept us
running. What little time that was left, I devoted to my writing stuff instead of to an online presence. Luckily, both men seem to be out of the woods now. One is having surgery Tuesday but we won't have to be in Northern TX for that one.
I've also been on the road a bit. Had a very busy GCLS conference time and also went to Saints and Sinners. Mary Griggs, you ROCK!!! I seriously love that
woman. No, not in a stalkerish kind of way but she's just good people. We so enjoyed our time in NOLA and she contributed greatly to that. Ya’ll stay at the
Prince Conti Hotel in the French Quarter if you go there. Very sweeeet!
In other news, my oldest daughter, Jesse, who is, gasp!, 28 now, got married for the first time. I was back in Virginia for that monster wedding the last two weeks
in September. It was fabulous and went off without a hitch. She married a sweet guy who brings my ten year old granddaughter, Jazzy, into the mix.
So what else? I've taken all that wedding worry energy and have used it to totally revamp my workspace. I have a much better plotting area, a stand up desk as
well as a sit down one and I have decluttered an amazing amount. Feels very good. Books should finally just roll out of here now.
I'm working on a couple short stories to submit as well as my newest novel The Book of Eleanor, the ghost story set in Port Isabel. My goal is to have it done by
Yuletide. Having some trouble finding history on the Port/Point area but I’ll get there.
Ptown was fabulous. Signed books at Now Voyager and Womencrafts and they sold out, which was great. I met so many fans and sweet, sweet people. Can't
wait until next year. After Ptown, we stayed with friends in Connecticut and that was a way fun time. Now I just have to make all that time away up to the pets.
Then it was off to Dallas to read at the Dallas Jewel Book Club. I didn't stutter hardly at all. They treated me like royalty and I had one fantastic time.
I even scooted over to Fort Worth to see my friend, Suede, perform with Julie Bonk (Norah Jones' piano teacher). A huge group of us ended up at Denny's at 3am munching on biscuits and gravy.
Well, that’s it. Natty’s life in a nutshell. As of today that is. New adventures await around every corner.
The Riddle of the Writer
It’s odd how writers see life. Carol says she believes a friend’s wife was plying her husband with antifreeze in his iced tea, which is why he developed a number
of life threatening health problems. Now granted, I feel sorry for this man’s illnesses but my reptilian writer brain said “Hark! What a story!” and I immediately
This type of thinking started when I was very young. I read a lot back then, even more so than now, and this provided a good framework for me, even helping to
create my imaginative mind. Though my life was somewhat dull, an almost ordinary lower middle class existence, I did have a spark of real interest in that my
mother was a lifelong follower of the Wiccan religion. This led me down some unusual paths and I developed a love for all things occult. I’m not talking about the
stereotypical black magic followed by the Aleister Crowley’s of the world but rather a keen insight into that other side that is veiled from us, but alongside us, as
we move through our daily lives. Is this from whence a writer’s inspiration comes? Or at least this writer?
It does feel that way sometimes. As though thoughts planted in this world flourish to fruition in that other. Then, by manifesting onto the written page, they
then become a concrete part of this world again. I’m not sure. I do know that growing up as I did gave me the freedom to dream and to write a new reality every
day. A gift I will always cherish. And see, here I go again, creating a companion dimension in which dreams written out really do come true…
This weekend is sand castle weekend on the island. We talked about going today but both are so busy with our various endeavors – – Carol, school, me, Book of
Eleanor – – that it’s not so pressing we go today. We have to go into Harlingen to take care of Critter this evening anyway so should get as much done as we can,
early. Maybe tomorrow.
We’re both a little depressed about missing Women’s Week in Ptown. But there are just so many issues rearing their ugly heads right now. Migraines UGH!!
And I write/edit my work.
Because it’s what I do best. And what I love.
Today I am plotting out scenes. I divided Angie’s story into one half of a page and Grey’s on the other. Then I go back and forth and, detailing on my scene
cards, I move from one voice to the other. This is usually an effective way to do scenes. Now that I am writing for Bella and must meet their stringent guidelines,
I can no longer meander freely as I once did. I have to keep words like conflict and tension and flow in mind while trying to foster creativity at the same time. I’m
not complaining, mind you, because these admonishments are making me a better, more focused writer. I am more of a director now as opposed to letting my
actors (characters) have free reign to go where they will. Now the whole novel must be more orchestrated, even outlined, at least preliminarily.
Unfortunately I tend to be a bit of a rebel because some of the work I read is not just in the lesbian genre and some that is may be extremely experimental. Like
Rat Bohemia by Sarah Schulman, for example. This gritty, thought – provoking book really spoke to me. I admire most avant-garde work while admitting that
some of it is downright silly. But look at the lyricism and beauty of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. It has almost a stream-of-
consciousness aspect while still conveying a remarkable story.
I like where I am today, however. Bella emerged from Naiad Publishing, a company I drooled over way back when I first began my journey into LGBT fiction.
They've been around long enough to know what works for this market and I am honored to be welcomed into their fold. I just hope I'm not too slow.
I've been reading about the non-recoverable loss of data on the TMobile Sidekick data phones. Very sad. I do have one thing to say as someone who has worked
in the computer industry for more than ten years, data loss is the norm rather than the exception. Anyone with any IT savvy knows this. And they would have
synced their smartphone with their computer and have a backup copy.
I love Blackberry data phones. Yet, I keep my data separate from my phone. Let me explain. I have a LG Lotus phone that is used as a mostly text vehicle since I
never talk much on the phone. That's another story. But it is a phone and contact list only, chosen for textability because I text all day long. I also carry a
Blackberry with me that has all my data, and I mean all my data, in it. I sync this to my Outlook software on my computer when I make any significant changes
that I need to keep. It also had an SD card that I can load from my computer.
The Blackberry carries my to do list, grocery list, my detailed contact list--with all addresses, work/family info and phone numbers--my memos and my ebooks.
Mine also displays PDFs and Word documents. So, you get the idea. I love this thing. The important thing to know here is, while the Lotus is on the Sprint data
network, the Blackberry is not. There's no law anywhere that says when you buy a Blackberry or other data phone, you have to have it hooked to the network.
Sure, if it's a phone and you want service/Internet you'll have to, but if you buy a cheaper phone-phone or pseudo smartphone (like my Lotus) and have that
wirelessly capable, you can keep all your data safely ensconced in a non-wireless data carrier tool. What about data loss from battery failure? I'm in the habit of
plugging in my Blackberry, and my phone, every night when I go to bed. If I'm in bed, they're plugged in.
I learned this trick the hard way. I used to use a Blackberry alone for phone and data. Big mistake. Friends kept mentioning texts they'd sent that I never got and
then I noticed one day that, though my desktop software on my Blackberry said I had received 36 messages, there were none there. So I called my phone carrier
and they told me that RIM had a memory issue when phone storage reached a certain point and would just start dumping new info. ACK! I immediately
switched to the Lotus for text/phone and bought a new Blackberry for data.
Writing has been a hoot the past two days. As you know, I'm working on my novel and, though I adore the story, I'm having a little trouble. I've been away
from my computer more than I like, in places where it's not easy to plug in or use my tiny netbook so I have been focusing on the notebook method. Phyllis A.
Whitney was one very smart author. I was fortunate enough to know her before she passed away and learned some very valuable tools from her. One is working
within the confines of a specialized notebook. The headings include: Calendar, Titles, Outline. Theme, Names, Plotting, Characters, Chronology, Background,
Check this, Research, Bibliography, and The Plus Factor. Details on this can be found in her book Guide to Fiction Writing by Phyllis A. Whitney. Using this is
just a fantastic way to bring a novel back to life and also look at it from a whole new perspective. I've been having a lot of fun lugging the notebook with me and
working in it. And even when I'm not creating volume on the computer, I feel I am progressing much more quickly than I would have imagined.
Well, back to it.
|Nat Enjoying SPI
Hello from beeeyoootiful South Padre Island.