What’s the importance of making story writing a hobby?

When I first started writing as a career, I found that I ‘wrote out’ a lot of things from my past. Okay, I’ve had an easy, comfortable life but, like with everyone, there were a few things that were best gotten rid of mentally. And those memories made great stories.

Then I became a pro and learned that part of being a pro is mentoring new writers and that’s when I learned that what I’d done in the beginning is the norm and is done so much that I now (privately!) call the first part of any writer’s professional journey the ‘cathartic’ phase of their career. And those memories make great stories.

I can’t count the times I’ve read stuff by a new/emerging writer that was based on their life and that was something they had to get out of their system before going on to other subjects. And some of the best writers in history never made the transition. Think Sinclair Lewis and other American writers of that same period. And they were great stories.

The thing is, I’ve seen the same thing happen among people who enjoy writing as a hobby with no intention of ever becoming pros. Because everyone has something to write about that’s based on their life.

Because writing is cathartic. And healing. And even if you had a wonderful life, remembering all that stuff from your past is also fun. And makes great stories even if you are the only person to read those stories.

And when that cathartic phase of your writing journey is completed and you are ready to go beyond your own past and present, stretching your imagination and letting it soar is fun! And makes for great stories even if you are the only person who ever reads them.

10 facts about you that will make you laugh. Guaranteed.

2018 5 8

I saw this list of facts on a minion site and laughed myself silly:

1.You are reading this right now.

2.You realize that is a stupid fact.

4. You didn’t notice that I skipped three.

5. You’re checking now.

6. You’re smiling.

7. You’re reading this even though it’s stupid.

9. You didn’t realize I skipped eight.

10. You’re checking and smiling again because of how you fell for it again.

11.  You’re enjoying this.

12. You forgot there are only supposed to be ten facts.

If you aren’t laughing now and you are normal, you are at least smiling and everyone knows that a smile is the forerunner to laughter!

More about black cats. Yep, there’s more.

Black cats are as easily adopted as cats of other colors.

Although euthanasia numbers for black cats have been some of the highest of all cats, their total number of adoptions was the highest of any hue as well. There may just simply be more black cats than other colors.

Furthermore, the Black Panther movie has made black cats so wildly popular lately that animal shelters are often not able to provide all the black cats people want.

So does it surprise you that I chose a black cat as one of the main characters of my latest small-town romance, A Very Black Cat?

Of course it doesn’t and if you read the book, you’ll see why he’s so perfect for the role he plays in the story.

Another black cat factoid. This one about panthers. Black panthers!

 

Let’s get the hard stuff over with up front. And that hard thing is:  there is no  such thing as a black panther.

What? No black panther? What about the superhero? Well, he’s different, of course. He’s real. But actual four-pawed black panthers that kind of resemble tigers? Nope. Not real.

It’s a term used for any big black cat. What we call black panthers are in fact jaguars or leopards and yes, they have spots, too. They are hard to see beneath all that black but look carefully and you can see spots as the sunlight hits them in just the right way.

How can I get readers to relate to a non-human character in a story?

 

I suspect it’s the ONLY way to describe a character because, as humans, we don’t know how to describe anything other than ourselves and, fortunately for writers, that includes a huge range of characters from the most lofty, nicest characters imaginable to the worst scum of the universe.

How do I write a science fiction short story when I don’t have any ideas on what to write about?

 

No, I didn’t steal the stories themselves, that would be impossible when all that was given was a one or two-sentence blurb giving a general idea what they were about.

But they gave me ideas that eventually ended up becoming my own stories.

Sometimes I’m sure I changed the endings, though that was usually impossible to know since the endings are seldom given away in those brief descriptions.

I probably also changed the protagonists to suit my whims and the needs of whatever story was beginning to form in my imagination from reading those brief descriptions.

Still other times I’m guessing that I changed the settings, time frames, socio-economic status, family situation, age or sex of the protagonists. Again, I’ll never know because such things are seldom explained in those short descriptions.

Whatever I did, each and every change made the story so significantly different that the result was never even remotely recognizable as the story that provided the inspiration.

I wrote for the women’s market so I looked for women’s stories. If you want to write a science-fiction story, then look to that genre for inspiration.

The picture is the cover of one such story I wrote.

And good luck to all you writers out there.

Black Cat Cafe. Really? Yep, really!

And you can visit it.

In Nekobiyaka, in Himeji, Japan black cats are stars of one café and visitors are invited to pet (but not pick up) these lithe felines. Each of Nekobiyaka’s identical-looking black cats wears a different colored bandana to resolve any catastrophic mix-ups.

But, of course, in Japan, in a way, black cats are considered good luck, at least for spinsters because they are supposed to bring suitors.

Coffee and a visit with a black cat, anyone?

Another interesting factoid about black cats. (They are healthy.)

THE GENE THAT CAUSES BLACK FUR MIGHT MAKE THESE FELINES RESISTANT TO DISEASE.
The mutation that causes a cat’s fur to be black is in the same genetic family as genes known to give humans resistance to diseases like HIV. So perhaps their color has less to do with camouflage than disease resistance. Scientists hope that as more cat genomes are mapped, we may get a step closer to curing HIV.

Hummmmm. Any black cat owner could tell those scientists that black cats are — well — special.

A black cat can rust. Really? Yes, really!

More about black cats:

A black cat’s color is genetic. There are three variants of the black fur gene (solid black, cinnamon and brown. If a cat has a solid black hue that overwhelms other gene colors or stripes, heavy exposure to the sun can make the pigment in its fur break down to reveal those once-invisible stripes (another potential cause: nutritional deficiency).

What was once a black cat is now a rusty brown cat.

I think I’ll keep my cat out of the sun because I like his coat the way it is. And I hope Becky knows that about her black cat, Little Guy, because I’d hate to see his beautiful coat turn brown. On the other hand, he lives in the forest so that’s not likely to happen unless he decides to visit town a lot. Which is something he does, much to Becky’s chagrin.

Get A Very Black Cat from Amazon.

Why sailors like cats. (And why I like them, too.)

Cats are sailors’ best friends. Have been for hundreds of years.

Not only were cats welcome aboard British vessels to hunt mice, but sailors generally thought  a black cat in particular would bring good luck and ensure a safe return home.

A few of these kitties have been enshrined in maritime history. Tiddles traveled more than 30,000 miles during his time with the Royal Navy. His favorite pastime was playing with the capstan’s bell-rope.

I’m not surprised at these facts. My partially black cat, Smoky, who has some white and is called a ‘tuxedo’ cat because the white makes  him resemble a cat wearing a tuxedo, is a fairly normal cat. (Except that he’s a total coward, but that’s another story.)

He’s a welcome addition to the family. He’s my first cat ever and he’s taught me a lot about cats in general. Like the fact that they know exactly what they want and also know that they deserve whatever that is. That they like laps. And windows. And naps. And sometimes other cats and dogs and household pets in general. And that they don’t age like dogs. They don’t go gray and the only sign of old age — Smoky is 11 years old — is that they don’t jump quite so high as they used to.

Just like Little Guy, the cat hero of my latest clean small-town romance, who not only knows what he wants, he goes after it in the most polite but dogged manner possible. Of course he does. He’s a cat.

Check it out. A Very Black Cat is available now on Amazon.  http://www.Amazon.com/dp/B07BTGN58M