Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Renewal

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

It’s a wonderful coincidence that the website revamp I have been working on with my talented web designers at BlueJay Tech should reach the launch pad during the Jewish High Holy Days.  Evaluation, renewal and rededication can take many forms, both personal and professional.

So here I am, two years beyond the launch of The Mapmaker’s Daughter, my latest historical novel (and perhaps last–who knows?)  I’m writing a lot, actually, though it would be hard to tell from the paucity of diary entries here in the last two years.  But I am renewed and ready to go!

My writing these days is of two sorts.  First, I am trying my hand at screenplays, getting some advice and assistance from my son Ivan Corona, who works with a Hollywood producer.  The challenge of a new format that requires quite different skills has been fulfilling.  I have lots of questions about my capabilities as a writer that I don’t have answers to yet: can I write without being able to say what a character is thinking? without being able to describe a scene in detail?  to limit myself to very little more than dialogue and minimal other directions? So far so good, but far more important, so far so fun!

The other writing I do is for cruise lectures.  In the last five years I have been traveling all over the world as a lecturer for several cruise lines.  I have a catalog of about 75 lectures at this point (a list is elsewhere on this site), and I honestly can’t even remember the exact number of cruises I have been on except to say it is a lot and I have loved every minute of it.  What’s up for me in 2018 you can see in the calendar section of the site.

And of course the great thing about writing books is that they are always there.  Even if I don’t write another, I have four novels and one non-fiction book many people other than my friends and family think are pretty darn good, and they will just keep on being new whenever someone finds them.

Among my hopes for myself at this time of reflection on who I am and what matters to me, is a return to active involvement with this website as a way of keeping in touch with people I meet, and remembering the great joy I have had and can look forward to on my adventures in this world, which has blessed me with such abundance.  Thanks for being part of it!

Hello Jewish Book Clubs!

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

I am deeply honored that THE MAPMAKER’S DAUGHTER has been chosen by the Jewish Book Council to be one of only a dozen or so books they are specifically recommending for the coming year to book clubs that are members of the National Jewish Book Club.  If you are coming to my site as a result of hearing about it from the Jewish Book Council (or even if you’re not), I’d like you to know that I do my best to reach out to book clubs by personal visits in the San Diego area, or by phone if your group lives elsewhere.  Just follow the link below to contact me!

Love the Curve!

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Four years back, after the death of my beloved husband Jim, when I told people I was wasn’t writing anything, I was a little puzzled by the most common reaction. “Well, well, people said. “Just wait. You’ll be back to it again.” I guess what they meant was that it was just a matter of time until I was ready to behave like “myself.”

I know they were well meaning, but so are people who say off-base things at funerals about better places and the healing power of time, when there is no place or time but the terrible, awful now.

I wasn’t frozen in place. I had the months of his decline and inevitable death to ponder the post-Jim me, and when he died, I had far more important work to do than bury myself in the products of my imagination. It’s taken a long time to figure out why very nice, sweet people expressing confidence in me made me so angry. Really, it’s taken the work on the screenplay of my novel Penelope’s Daughter to bring this four-year hiatus into focus.

People seemed to think it would be comforting to reassure me that I would once again return to the familiar, the trusted, the tried-and-true. I could keep writing one, or a half-dozen more (who knows?) historical novels, and I certainly should, because after all, I’d gotten so good at it, no?

What? I used to think. Did they think I was somehow obligated to keep going, that I owed the world the fruition of every last idea I ever had for a book? (BTW, as a bit of advice for readers, don’t express disappointment about there being no book in progress unless you have read everything else the author has ever written. If not, there’s something that’s still new to you.)

But I digress….I didn’t have writer’s block. I never stopped loving writing. I still came up every week with great new ideas for another historical novel. But it turned out that “been there, done that” was my problem, even though it might have been what others thought was the solution.

When my son Ivan and I started collaborating on screenwriting, my synapses started tingling with the excitement of “never been there, never done that.” Figuring out how to write with only screen direction and dialogue (no thoughts, little description) was a challenge, as was distilling the story to 120 pages with lots of white space, as opposed to 333 more densely packed pages. And then, as I learned, there’s this thing in screenwriting called a “beat,” and though I’m still not sure exactly what it is, it has to do with keeping the kind of pace and tension that keeps moviegoers from thinking about the snack bar and the toilets. Novels can be a lot more leisurely.

Wow! What a learning curve this has been, and I haven’t been happier in a long time. Plus, it’s always a good sign when, after more revisions than I can count, I still LOVE my flying fingers, and wouldn’t at all mind doing one or ten (well maybe not ten) more revisions. And then, really, it’s just beginning. If we are lucky to sell the option, I’ll have more to learn, and if we actually get to production, even more.

It’s the learning curve. There just isn’t anything more exciting! Hope your lives are staying curvy too.