Publishing Anniversary

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“Don’t worry about writing a book or getting famous or making money. Just lead an interesting life.” ~ Michael Morpurgo

“Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.” ~ Hermann Hesse

Wow! The Space Between Time print-on-demand version was published a year ago this month. When I realized that, I started thinking of things I’ve learned over this past year and things I want to improve in both writing my next books, and in marketing.

The first thing that came to my mind was that I have to stop saying I’m bad at marketing. It’s not that I’m bad at it, it’s more a matter of not knowing much about it. So I’m now on a mission to find the right marketing techniques that fit my talents. I will probably be reading books and even taking some classes or getting some coaching to help me improve my skills.

Next, I have to do a better job of compartmentalizing my list of tasks for the day. Here’s an example: When I began working on the audiobook version of The Space Between Time, working on my new novel everyday went out the window. I haven’t even looked at it in three months. Now that’s not to say I haven’t been thinking about it, I have. But I need to sit down and work on it at least half an hour every day if I want to make progress on finishing the first draft. My problem is, I’m single minded, therefore, the more immediate tasks, like writing this blog, or things related to teaching, and my audiobook project take presidents. That’s not getting my novel written, which is a concern since an element of the book involves the current #metoo movement.

I don’t know, maybe I’m stuck a bit on my second novel because I’m secretly worried it won’t be good. The subject matter is so complicated. I don’t even know how I feel about what’s happening with women’s rights sometimes. That’s all the more reason to keep writing, because as some author said, “I write to figure out what I’m thinking and feeling.” Mostly, however, the thing that is keeping me from the new novel is that I still have things I need to do related to the TSBT, and that’s frustrating.

The other day I was watching the first episode of the PBS series, The Great American Read, first broadcast in the spring. The program encouraged Americans to go vote for their favorites among a list of 100 books so that this coming week they can reveal the number one favorite book in the country. One of the categories they discussed were books that did not become popular until late in the author’s life, or after they had died. That gave me hope for my book, though it would be nice if more people wanted to read it now.

I picked up another little tidbit in an interview Emma Watson did with Canadian poet, Rupi Kaur. Her book Milk and Honey, could be classified as a book of poems for women. But she said that she has been approached by men who have thanked her for writing the book. And that got me thinking that one of the promotion points I’ve used for my book is that it’s a woman’s book.

It is difficult to put The Space Between Time into a category. It’s part historical novel, part a contemporary story of young woman’s journey of discovery, it’s part magical realism with the characters having paranormal experiences. Now I’m thinking that also classifying it as a woman’s book may keep some readers away who might otherwise enjoy the book. After all, we pick up books to read that sound intriguing. I’ve read lots of books by male authors with male protagonists, and loved them. Why should I think that men couldn’t enjoy my book as well?

The best stories are about human beings dealing with challenges that we can relate to. In The Space Between Time, Jenna the protagonist in the present has experienced life shattering events. She was dumped by her fiancé, been fired from her job, and lost her mother in a terrible car accident. Most of us can related to one or all of those events. Now, getting help from her three-times great-grandmother by joining consciousness with her through her journals might be a bit odd to some people, but don’t we love reading about other people’s lives precisely because we learn something from what they went through?

Well, I’m rambling here, but I realize that embarking on this writing career has been, and will continue to be, a very important endeavor. I’m not giving it up and I’m looking forward to learning more things about myself and learning new skills along the way.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a fun and creative weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Quick Update

“The more failures, the more successes. Period.” ~ Tom Peters, Author of In Search of Excellence

“It took 15 years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because, by then, I was too famous.” ~ Robert Benchley, American Humorist

I’m back, temporarily, to give you an update on my latest creative activities.

It’s monsoon here, which means almost everyday there is a thunderstorm, which in turn means, I have to turn off the computers and internet. That has slowed down the progress of doing the audiobook version of The Space Between Time. I could complain about that, but it’s actually been a good thing. Let me explain.

Some years back I found this wonderful fantasy series by Alexes Razevich, The Ahsenthe Cycle. The first of the series is Khë. It’s one of the most imaginative fantasy series I’ve read in a very long time. I loved these books so much, I joined Alexes’ mailing list.

About a month and a half ago, Alexes sent out a call for reviewers for the third book in her Oona Goodlight series. I jumped at the chance to read this new set of books and promised to review all three for her. While The Ahsenthe Cycle is pure fantasy, The Oona Goodlight books are basically paranormal mysteries. They are fun.

In the process of reading the books I had cause to email Alexes about errors in the manuscript for one of her books and during that exchange she agreed to review my novel. As our messages went back and forth about our writing and my audiobook project, she told me of her experience recording the audiobook for another of her books. She found mistakes, and portions of the book that she thought needed revisions. She decided to take the time to improve her manuscript, and upload the corrected version.

In the meantime, I had discovered a few mistakes in the first couple of chapters I’d recorded, and there were sentences in others that felt clunky when I read them. Alexes suggested that I would not be sorry if I took the time to improve the manuscript. I knew she was right, but it’s a long book and I’m both narrator and audio engineer. I was hoping to get the audiobook published next month. And yet, it’s never a bad idea to take the time to do my very best work. I decided to think about what to do while I took a little break preparing my fall semester classes.

And, the verdict is: I will go back, find those rough patches and little mistakes and improve my book. It costs nothing to upload a new version at Smashwords, and only a small fee to order a new proof at Amazon. Even though the friends and family who have read my book have told me they love it, I’m enough of a perfectionist to want to do the very best I can on this final version before going back to finish book two. I don’t know who said it, but it’s true, you never have a second chance to make a good first impression. And since I haven’t sold even hundreds of books yet, I might as well make sure subsequent readers get the best book I can produce.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I’ll check in again in the not too distant future.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Open Mic Night Video

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

On June 15, 2018, I got to do my first book reading. Some of you might not be aware of how much time it takes to choose what you’re going to read and then to practice reading the selection. There is usually a time limit for the selection too, so in my case, I had to cut down some of the pieces to fit the allotted time.

All of the preparation is fun, but for me, having been an actress at one time, it was a blast to get up in front of an audience again. Even though I am now a teacher and director, there are times when I miss the energy I get from an audience.

Probably because of my theatre background, I usually begin by writing dialogue. Then on subsequent passes through the manuscript, I fill in what I see in my head about the body language, emotional states of my characters, and connecting information.

While I was rehearsing the sequences, I decided to go all out in terms of emotions of the characters. When I read in front of an audience, I was glad I’d decided to do that because most of them were with me all the way. I am convinced that I should be the one to so the audio book versions of my books. Who else knows what I intended for the characters to be thinking and feeling but me?

Here is the video of me reading from the opening sequence in my novel, The Space Between Time. I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading, (or watching), commenting and liking my posts. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Quick Post

Columbia River Gorge

“How beautiful it is to do nothing and then to rest afterward.” ~ Spanish proverb

“A cheerful frame of mind, reinforced by relaxation … is the medicine that puts all ghosts of fear on the run.” ~ George Matthew Adams

“It is good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage

I’m finishing reading The Razor’s Edge, a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. I won’t write much about the book and movie at this time. I want to finish reading first. However, I will write this. Every once in a while there are books, movies, songs, or other artistic expression where when you come across them, you feel like the artist had you in mind when they created their piece. The Razor’s Edge is that kind of book/movie for me, even though this book was published in 1944 nine years before I was born.

Larry, one of the main characters, has survived WW I. He has a driving need to explore the meaning of life, particularly his own. He does this going against popular conventions of getting a job, marrying and having children. Some of his acquaintances think he’s crazy. To me everything that happens to Larry is poignant, and full of meaning. He is seeking something not many other people even know exists. Because this is true, I’m going to need to think about what his story means for me before I can write anything meaningful about the themes Maugham was trying to get across.

In the mean time, I’m getting some selections from my book, The Space Between Time ready for an open mic night in my home town this coming Friday. I am the featured author at this event. Choosing just the right selections, then cutting them down to fit the allotted time given me is a new experience. The part I love best is practicing reading the selections. It kind of takes me back to my acting days and I’m finding it a fun exercise. It’s good practice since I am planning on doing the reading for the audio version of my book.

In other personal news, I’ve gone back to work on my second novel, Time’s Echo and getting ideas for a couple of other projects. I’m doing this leisurely. I don’t want to be in a yank to get all the projects in my head finished. That always stresses me out. I’m in the mood to take it easy and allow the creative muses to whisper to me when they feel like it. Summer is a time for being lazy and recharging one’s internal batteries. That’s where I am today. I feel like enjoying having time to read, and relax after a very busy spring semester.

I hope you are having a relaxing summer and are catching up on some things you were putting off during the winter months.

Have a lovely hump day. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Stephen King’s The Stand

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela

I am not a fan of horror anything. I don’t like attending haunted houses on Halloween. I always shut my eyes at the bloody, gory parts of movies and I don’t read books in the horror genre. My distaste of horror probably has to do with the proliferation of slasher movies as I was coming of age, where the main attraction are the number of deaths and the buckets of blood generated from them.

Another reason I don’t like horror books and movies is because I’m a highly sensitive person. I dream about what I’ve just watched on TV or read in my book, so you can understand why I stay away from blood and gore especially right before bed.

Last night, as I was driving home from teaching, I was catching up on my Super Soul Conversations podcast. Oprah was talking to Jordan Peele, the writer, director, and one of the producers of the Oscar Nominated film, Get Out. It’s a horror movie, so I was not planning to go see it even though it’s a character study of African American/White relations, something I think extremely important. But Jordan Peele said something interesting about the horror genre, and I’m paraphrasing; it’s a genre that helps us face our fears. Hmm, maybe Get Out is a different kind of horror picture. I might want to see it because I’m a big fan of facing my fears.

As I was listening to Jordan and Oprah talk, I couldn’t help but connect it to this post. I had planned to write about Stephen King’s The Stand.

The mini-series came out in 1994. Barry and I were intrigued by the trailers. It seemed like it was going to be an interesting character study couched in a good vs evil story line so we watched and loved it. It’s really more a dystopian type story than what I would call true horror.

The story is this: A plague has been accidentally released at a government facility and quickly spreads across the United States and the world. Almost everyone dies. In the U.S., those who live fall into two camps, the ones who dream primarily of Mother Abigail, a 106 year old woman living in Kansas, and those who dream primarily of Randall Flagg, a demon character in human disguise. The Mother Abigail group join her and move to Boulder, Colorado. The other group joins Flagg in Las Vegas. A war between good and evil ensues.

The religious references are mostly from an Old Testament point of view, which at first was a major drawback for me. However, as a student of religion and spirituality, I thought King’s take on this fictional spiritual war was fascinating. It was after all, just a story.

Some of the most interesting characters were the ones who chose to align with Flagg. Lloyd Henreid, for example, is a mixture of admirable qualities which includes loyalty, and not so admirable ones like self-interest. At one point Henreid knows he’s going to hell for his decision, but his loyalty to Flagg, who saved him, prevents him from making a new choice.

Trashcan Man is another fascinating character. He’s a mentally ill pyromaniac Flagg has recruited for a special mission, not realizing that that might not have been such a good idea.

On the other side, we have Nick Andros, a deaf mute who becomes one of the prominent leaders trying to establish and rebuild the “good” community, and Tom Cullen a “retarded” man who ends up being one of the heroes at the end of the story.

The cast of characters is long and varied with enough unusual backgrounds and personality traits to keep the viewer or reader engaged. Mother Abigail, for example, talks to God and shares what He tell her. She’s wise, but she makes mistakes along the way. Flagg, on the other hand, who seems to be strong, eventually shows how deeply insecure and frightened he really is. These kinds of characters make for a richly layered story.

The mini-series was so good because Stephen King was part of the production. And that compelled me to go right out and buy a paperback copy of the book. It’s over one thousand pages long filled with more unusual characters than I’ve had space to write about here. They find themselves in extraordinary circumstances and must try to cope and rebuild. Those are the kinds of stories I find most satisfying and in The Stand Stephen King delivered exactly that.

Who knows, I may read another of his books one day. My candidate is The Green Mile, another book recommended to me by the movie made from it.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

One last thing, a commercial announcement. I’m having a Spring sale of The Space Between Time for FREE, beginning tomorrow, March 22 and continuing through the 25th. If you want the ebook version, click on the Smashwords link below to download for any e-reader available. If you want a physical book, click on the Amazon link. The only payment I ask of you is to write an honest review and share it not only on the site where you got the book, but on your social media sites as well. Word of mouth is still the best way to advertise. Thanks in advance.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. I you prefer a physical book, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Coming into the Twenty-First Century

Tarantula Nebula

“The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” ~ Alan Watts

“How can you know what you’re capable of if you don’t embrace the unknown?” ~ Esmeralda Santiago

Today I’m at Cochise College second annual Comic Con. I’ve never attended a comic con before, but since my book can be classified as fantasy, I thought I’d get my feet wet by participating in a panel discussion about world building and see how it goes. Some of my students and former students may be there, so it’s a good time to promote my book with them.

The Space Between Time kind of defies classification. It’s part historical and contemporary fiction with some time travel, paranormal and magical realism thrown in. So the world I built is based on real life world situations. I didn’t create a whole new civilization, complete with political, scientific, and/or religious struggles. Fortunately I don’t have to do much preparation for this discussion, because I’m a little over my head with creative projects at the moment.

I wanted to share the second section of chapter one of TSBT with you today, but I’m still recovering from my cold and just don’t have the energy to get the section prepped and converted to the proper audio file. Sometimes I feel so behind the times. I want to utilize all this wonderful new technology, but learning how to use it properly can be a struggle. Yet, it’s good to learn new things. In a way it keeps me young.

This week in my dramatic structure class we watched Gentleman’s Agreement a 1947 movie about anti-semitism. It was eerily relevant to what’s happening in our country now, only with muslims, hispanic, Mexican immigrants, and as always, blacks. In the movie, the main character Phil, played by Gregory Peck is writing a series of articles for a progressive magazine. He tells everyone he’s Jewish so he can get inside what it feels like to experience the discrimination for himself and thus bring a new angle to the problem faced by Jews in America. His mother, played by the wonderful Anne Revere, says after reading the first two installments of the series, “You know something, Phil? I suddenly want to live to be very old. Very. I want to be around to see what happens. The world is stirring in very strange ways. Maybe this is the century for it. Maybe that’s why it’s so troubled. Other centuries had their driving forces. What will ours have been when men look back? Maybe it won’t be the American century after all … or the Russian century or the atomic century. Wouldn’t it be wonderful … if it turned out to be everybody’s century … when people all over the world – free people – found a way to live together? I’d like to be around to see some of that … even the beginning. I may stick around for quite awhile.” And that’s how I feel. I want to stick around for quite awhile to see if the twenty-first century is everybody’s century.

Hopefully soon, I’ll learn how to make the audio recordings of my book chapters and share them with you. I’ll keep trying to connect with what my nieces, nephews and students are interested in so I can keep up with the changes that are happening. If you look at the world as always getting better, we’re living in a pretty exciting time. When people look back on this time what will they say about us?

Thanks for reading all my meandering thoughts. Have a great weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

How to Help Your Favorite Authors

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“People can’t read a book if they don’t know it exists. All authors need to do marketing, regardless of how they published.” ~ Jo Linsdell

I’m a bit under the weather as I write this. I guess it’s my year to get a cold, so I’m reposting an article I wrote last year. It’s particularly appropriate since a friend of mine and my mother-in-law recently wrote reviews of my book, The Space Between Time, one on Amazon and the other on Goodreads. They were both favorable, which was very heartwarming. Thanks, Rita.

My mother-in-law, Judy, is a CHAMPION reader. I put champion in caps because she reads about two-hundred books a year. And she writes reviews for most if not all of them. In fact, she won an award from Goodreads a year or so ago for writing so many reviews. So the fact that she took time to read my book, which is not a genre she normally reads, and then wrote a lovely review was a big help for promoting my book. Thanks, Mom.

If you’re a reader, you can do your favorite authors a big favor by doing some of things below to help spread the word about their books. I’ve reposted this a couple of times, but it never hurts to repeat good information.

Word of mouth is still the best advertising tool. How many of you discuss your favorite TV show’s latest episode with friends, family and coworkers? See what I mean? You are creating a buzz. You can do that for your favorite authors as well. Here are some ways you can help them.

Write a review of the books you read and leave it on Amazon, Goodreads, in your blog, any social media site, or bookseller you choose.

If you are a member of Goodreads, just putting books on your “want to read” shelf will get the book noticed by the Goodreads staff and they may even promote them on their site.

If you like a book, let your local bookstore and library know what you thought of it, and ask them to carry and promote it.

Share your thoughts about the book with your friends and book club groups that you might belong to.

Consider asking the author to have a Skype session with your book club group so they can ask questions, or suggest that your local bookstore invite your favorite author to have a book reading/signing.

Give the book to your friends and family as gifts.

You may think these tips are rather easy and trivial, but if you help your favorite author sell more books, you will be helping them pay for all the time they spent working on it. Writing a book is not an easy thing to do, you know. If it was, more people would be doing it.

I’m shamelessly adding the reviews below.

Rita’s review: Recently, I finished reading a book titled, The Space Between Time, by my friend, Lucinda Sage-Midgorden. It was the best book I’ve read in a long time. It kept me captivated, which I have not experienced from any other book for the past couple of years. I loved all the little gems of meaningful and what I call spiritual statements throughout the book. You know, those words that make you pause and think, and sometimes have an “aha” from or a deeper awareness about something. And it was entertaining and informational about some of the history in the 1800’s and yet, contemporary. It also reminded me of the importance of “living in community” and how important it is to help one another and be engaged in your community. Thank you Lucinda for a wonderful, entertaining and captivating book!

Judy’s review: It is quite apparent that I have a relationship with the author of this book. Lucinda Sage-Midgorden is married to my son Barry. Because of that connection you should expect some bias in my evaluation of the book. However, there is another factor that may offset my favorable bias, and that is that I don’t really like and read very few in this genre. When I look at a book that is classified as time-travel, paranormal, or sci-fi, I usually skip it. I wanted to read Lucinda’s book to support her. She has worked for many years to complete this novel, and I know the editing and re-writing that she went through. Well, imagine my surprise when I found myself engrossed in the book and connecting to the characters and the story lines. I deeply respect anyone who writes a book, and Lucinda has produced a complicated novel that involves two different characters that are separated by years. At first I liked the sections with the historical character, Morgan, because my favorite genre is historical fiction. But I also became involved in the troubles that Jenna is facing in her life. It is interesting how these two women separated by time, but connected through family come to help each other deal with their problems. Many times the things these two women learn about facing life is good advice for anyone. I really did enjoy the book, and I hope many more will purchase it and find it as good a read as I did!

If you are so inclined to buy my book, and promote it, I will greatly appreciate it. And so will your favorite authors when you do the same for their books. And by the way, my husband Barry designed the cover art, maps, did the layout, and final editing for the book. It was a team effort.

Thanks for reading, commenting and liking my posts. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Trying to stay on track

“Life is a series of experiences each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.” ~ Henry Ford

“We all get where we’re going by circuitous journeys, and some of the setbacks are warranted.” ~ Carol Burnett

Has this ever happened to you? You get an insight about something, or you learn a new skill and your world expands in some way. For awhile your new understanding is glorious and you feel so happy. But not long after something inside you gets frightened and rebels. It sets up an inner conflict which explodes making you feel unsettled and frightened, which causes you to lash out at those around you.

That happened to me last week. I’ve started doing A Course In Miracles daily exercises again this year and I got a profound insight that I wrote about a few posts back. I felt for the first time just how afraid I’ve been most of my life. But the thing is once I got that insight, I saw myself and my relationship to everything as free from fear. I saw myself creating a wonderful new life full of once unimaginable joyful experiences. For a day or two it was a glorious feeling. Then my ego said, “Oh no you don’t. I’m taking control back.” And I began to feel small, and anxious again.

It’s funny the way my ego will use little things to try to reel me back in. This time it was comments from my new critique partners about the first chapter of my new book. I got huffy and wanted to shoot nasty comments back and I even made some nasty comments to my husband about something completely trivial and totally unrelated. When I heard myself, I knew exactly what was happening.

So, I went to my journal to sort out my feelings. Writing always helps me get out the irksome emotions so I can tell my ego to go take a hike. When the negative feelings clear out, I see things much more clearly. What I figured out was that I wasn’t angry with my critique partners or my sweet husband. I was angry that I had let my ego sneak in and try to take control again.

I’ve been at this spiritual, self-awareness work for a long time, and what happened last week should not have come as a surprise to me. It’s always the same, two steps forward and one step back, or at least my ego would like me to take steps back. But once I’ve had that new insight, or learned that new skill, I can’t unsee or unlearn it. It’s kind of like those mind bending pictures artists do to try to get us to see the hidden words, or figures in their work. We stare at the picture and once we see what they’ve hidden, we can’t unsee it.

Even though there are things that unsettle me from time to time, I’m grateful I have the tools of writing and meditation to help me work things out. Sometimes I wonder what it must be like for people who don’t have any way to get rid of their fear. I wish I could help them. Maybe one way I can help is to be honest about my own stumbling journey. Another is to be kind. I’m not always good at either of those especially if I feel threatened, but I’ll keep working on it.

To end this post, I’ll include a review of my first book from a friend of mine sent a day after my little run in with my ego. It was totally unexpected and came just at the right time.

“Recently, I finished reading a book titled, The Space Between Time, by my friend, Lucinda Sage-Midgorden. It was the best book I’ve read in a long time. It kept me captivated, which I have not experienced from any other book for the past couple of years. I loved all the little gems of meaningful and what I call spiritual statements throughout the book. You know, those words that make you pause and think, and sometimes have an “aha” from or a deeper awareness about something. And it was entertaining and informational about some of the history in the 1800’s and yet, contemporary. It also reminded me of the importance of “living in community” and how important it is to help one another and be engaged in your community. Thank you Lucinda for a wonderful, entertaining and captivating book!” ~ Rita Gau

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your taking time out of your week to comment and like my posts.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

When Your Story Takes a Different Direction

“The characters won’t do what I want.” ~ Charles Dickens, The Man Who Invented Christmas

“Wherever my story takes me, however dark and difficult the theme, there is always some hope and redemption, not because readers like happy endings, but because I am an optimist at heart. I know the sun will rise in the morning that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.” ~ Michael Morpurgo

“Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself.” ~ Octavia E. Butler

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ~ Philip Pullman

I used to think that writing was a matter of sitting down and letting the story pour forth in it’s completely finished form. Boy was I wrong!

When I began writing the book that became The Space Between Time, the story was going to be about the loving relationship between a daughter and her father in the years leading up to the Civil War. My initial inspirations were my relationship with own father and my pioneering ancestors. It was going to be a fictional chronicle of the wisdom my father had shared with me over the years.

I began writing the book after one particular visit when I knew that my father’s health had taken a definite downturn. That was in 1998 or ’99. But I had to stop writing because I began teaching full-time. When I picked up the book again in 2010, the story wanted to go in a different direction. Time had changed crucial elements about my story since my father had been dead for six years. Morgan now had to deal with the death of her father, and since her mother was also dead, she had an opportunity to build an new life. The link between Morgan and her father was not broken, but the talks I had envisioned had to be altered. Now she remembered things he taught her, and occasionally he came to her in spirit form when she needed him.

As I worked on my book, there came a point when I had written all I knew how to write about Morgan’s life. Something was nagging to be included in the story, but what it was was not quite clear to me. Then as I’ve written in previous posts, the inspiration came from another author. Originally I had thought that Morgan would be the main character and her life would somehow be aided, or intertwined with someone in our present time, but I couldn’t see or hear the story of the character in the present. It was as if I knew the character was there, but she was behind a veil, or off having ice cream, or hanging out with friends. Whatever she was up to, she wasn’t available to tell me her story.

However, when the fellow author suggested I intertwine the present timeline with the past, I knew he was right. That’s when Jenna began to reveal herself to me. Her life had been shattered too just like Morgan’s, only for her it happened all in one day. Her fiancé broke off their engagement, her mother died in a car accident and she lost her job. She needed to rebuild her life. As I listened to Jenna, I realized I was writing about the time when I lost a most beloved teaching position. Because of our connection, Jenna needed to be the main character. Once she told me that she would find the journals of her three-times great-grandmother linking their experiences, I was filled with all kinds of new story possibilities for both of my heroines.

Later, of course, another writer friend helped me by suggesting I spread out Jenna’s self-awakening more slowly. This forced me to remember how I had managed to rebuild my life. As I dredged up old memories, I used them to enhance the link between Jenna and Morgan as they helped each other through all kinds of challenges.

I’ve had friends and family, who have read the book, ask me how I came up with all the details of my story. What I tell them is that I did it a little at a time. For me, writing is a little bit like a scavenger hunt. (Do they have those any more?) I get a snippet of story and work on it until it feels like it’s done, at least for the present. Then another snippet comes to me usually just as I’m waking up in the morning, and I begin working on that new section, and on it goes until I have a finished draft.

When I finished the rough draft of The Space Between Time, I thought I was finished with Jenna and Morgan’s story. However, it wasn’t long before a new segment of their story nagged at the back of my mind and the sequel, Time’s Echo was born.

To tell you the truth, where the ideas for these books came from is a bit of a mystery. I mean, for a long time I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know how to put my ideas into a coherent form. Nevertheless, once I got the concept for The Space Between Time, it simmered on the back burner of my mind, even when I was extremely busy teaching. Finally the day came when the stew was ready to be served and I started writing. Now that it’s finished, I’m in a little bit of awe of how my writing process has evolved and that the ideas in this book have led to the next book. And not only that, I have ideas for books of different kinds.

I have to say I’m hooked on this wonderful creative process. Now I write not only to make sense out of my own life, but to see where my imagination will take me. So, the moral of this post is that I have to keep writing.

There are many stories to be told by me, and other people, which means there are lots of different stories to be enjoyed. So, help your favorite storytellers by spreading the word about their work. Believe me, the creators will be grateful you did because, the main challenge for an author is to get their story noticed.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Movies That Imitate Life

Charles Dickens

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.” ~ Charles Dickens

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” ~ Charles Dickens

Last Sunday my husband and I drove two hours to Tucson to see The Man Who Invented Christmas. I don’t know why the local theaters weren’t showing it, but we were determined to watch this movie that I am sure will become a holiday classic since it is about how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. My favorite scenes all have to do with how Dickens found inspiration in everyday encounters.

In the movie, his last three books have flopped. He’s strapped for money and needs a hit, but he doesn’t have a wisp of an idea. Then one night he overhears the new Irish maid telling his children stories about how on Christmas eve, the veil between our world and that of the spirits is thin enough to allow them to slip through to our side. That sets Dickens’ imagination whirling and the idea of new story is born.

After that Dickens picks up bits of real dialogue, he meets people who inspire characters, and he comes upon situations that inspire events for his novel. But the most intriguing element of the movie is how Dickens and the characters talk to each other. As Dickens is trying to finish the last chapter, he wants to leave Scrooge as an unrepentant miser. His characters “won’t do what I want them to.” They rebel. They keep telling him that Scrooge can be redeemed. Even his Irish maid tells him that the end of the book needs to be hopeful. That’s when we get a glimpse into Dickens’ childhood and how his life inspired his stories and activism on behalf of the poor.

His father was an upper class working man, but he had no idea how to manage money, and so was arrested and put into debtors prison, along with his family. Charles, however, was forced to work in a boot blacking factory at the age of twelve. The conditions in the factory were harsh and Dickens never forgot what it was like to lose everything and be treated as if he were a commodity. So, as he’s writing A Christmas Carol, he must face the fact that he has never forgiven his father for that humiliation.

I know that every author has their own method and personal viewpoint. Charles Dickens wrote his books in serial form, changing his characters and plots as he heard his friends and readers talk about the latest installment. However, he started with a firm beginning middle and end in mind. And because of his childhood experiences, almost all of his books had to do with the inequity between the rich and poor.

Sometimes I wish I was more like Dickens. When I began writing The Space Between Time, I only had a vague idea of my characters, themes, and where I wanted my story to end up. I don’t have conversations with my characters, as the movie portrays Dickens doing. But, I do get ideas just as I’m waking up, or some little snippet of plot will slink by me as I’m doing something else. Sometimes I get inspiration while I’m driving. When that happens I tell the ideas to stay put so I can write them down, or commit them to memory for later use. But like Dickens, my past and how I feel about it, is all part of my written work. I think it must be that way for all authors.

I can’t say I’ve ever had writer’s block, as Dickens does in the movie, at least not yet, thank heaven. But there are times when I know that where the story and characters want to go isn’t quite ripe yet. So I have to let the ideas simmer on the back burner of my mind. Or maybe it’s more a matter of me giving up resisting where the characters need to go. While writing The Space Between Time, I wanted to make my characters perfect, spiritually awakened people. But we all have those dark places inside that we must face to get through to the light. For me, dredging up the dark emotions are the hard days of writing. Fortunately I have good writer friends who keep reminding me that the best stories show the character’s struggles before they find a happy plateau.

Not being a person who plots out every event in the book is sometimes a pain. But that’s just not my personality. When I began writing this first novel, part of my vague idea was to have two intertwining timelines, but when I picked it up again after several years, I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Then a fellow author encouraged me to go with my first instinct. On the drive home I just said to the universe, “Okay, I want to tell the story of a character in the present and have her discover a character in the past. As a result they learn from each other. How do I do that?” And as I was approaching the San Pedro River, the idea came to me. Jenna’s life would be shattered. She’d find Morgan’s journals and enter her consciousness. From that moment on, idea after idea flowed to me as the story developed. I was energized again.

A similar thing happened with Time’s Echo, the sequel novel I’m working on now. Again the story in the past came to me first. I knew I wanted Morgan to become involved in the Suffrage Movement, but what was happening with Jenna in the present wasn’t clear to me. I wanted her to have some kind of awakening and become involved in advancing women’s rights, but just what was going to motivate her to do that wasn’t clear. That was in 2014. I began writing Morgan’s portion of the book and waited for events or inspiration to come to me about Jenna. I mean, I had been harassed in college and in the work place, but none of it seemed immediate enough to propel Jenna into activism. Inspiration and recent events collided with a vengeance. We’ll see how real life events help me write more of Jenna’s awakening. Like Dickens, everything that comes into my sphere of awareness is fodder for the stories I want to tell.

I hope you will go see The Man Who Invented Christmas. Even if it is fantasy, it’s satisfying to think that Dickens came to understand and forgive his father. The movie is filled with hope that if we forgive, we can find joy in life and change those around us.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.