November 29, 2010

Wisdom and Whimsy with Pat Dale

Hi Friends! Please welcome Whimsical Publications author, Pat Dale,visiting with The Balanced Writer this week. I appreciate the thoughts and experiences Pat has to share, and I know you will, too.

First of all, I’d like to thank you, Danielle, for inviting me to join you today. It’s always fun to share our thoughts and feelings with one another. As a fellow Band of Tigers refugee, I suspect that we have a bit more to share than if fate had not intervened back when. But it did, and now here we are, each of us moving forward with our own writing career.

If your readers will kindly indulge me a moment or two, I’d like to reminisce on my transition from writing music to writing fiction novels. My college English profs tried to convince me to write fiction back then but I was stubborn. I suppose being a hot-shot trumpeter and bassist had something to do with it. Music was the center of my life when I was young, and I had no time to consider alternate routes through my pell-mell life. A few decades later, I faced the end of my career as a professional performer, so I began looking for something new to tackle.

I’d always carried stories in my head; characters that had never lived, living lives that had not seen the light of day either. So, fifteen years ago, I began writing a novel. Other than that I had no idea what was acceptable or usual practice, I just started jotting the words into a spiral notebook. Three months later, I had a complete novel of a hundred thirty thousand words. Well, nearly complete. I could not, for the life of me, find a satisfactory way to bring the story to a climax.

Thus it began; my quest to move my newfound love from my head to a printed page. I studied with mentors, joined writing groups, gained a handful of critique partners, and wrote my heart out. One novel, then another, and a third; and so on.

Trust me, I’m getting to the point of this blog, Which is, I had no doubt that getting published would be easy. My stuff was good, very good. A number of good writers had told me so. My critique partners had told me so. My gut told me so.

Unfortunately, all the editors I queried had other ideas. I got the run around in one form or another for a couple of years; occasionally with a bit of advice but usually with a cold "good luck elsewhere."

My brother urged me to consider e-publishing so I did. Nothing but strange missed communications ensued from that effort for another year. I met one editor at a conference and she told me she loved my book. Never heard from her again. Months later, I sent the MS to the editor who’d taken the other one’s place but she hated it. Stuff like that went on until I sent a book to Tiger Publishing. The editor liked the story but felt it was not right for their coming line and invited me to send something else if I had it. If I had it?

Good Lord, I’d done nothing but write, write, write for all those years. Yeah, I had it. I sent another sure to please book. She liked it, too, but it was not right either. Did I have anything else? I did and I sent it. And she loved it and said it was right.

Voila! I sent another and another. She wanted both of them! I got the contract for the first one. An overnight success after only eleven years! Before they could send the second and third contracts, the owner learned she had a dread medical condition. Months later, the company folded and I had a letter releasing my novel from legal purgatory. And that is what this blog is REALLY about.

History is just that. A recording of cold hard facts that change nothing, except the future path of the person being written about. Interesting in a way, and yet it does not bring us forward if we’re not willing to put the day we find ourselves in to some good use. My yesterdays are gone, fun to ponder, but the only time I have is right now, at this moment, going forward as long as I breathe. So, I choose to continue writing and submitting, knowing that some of my work will make it and some will not.

We’re smack in the middle of a season to be thankful for what we have. I give thanks every day for the editor who loves my work enough to put it to the test of publishing it. Also for that same editor when she has to tell me I’ve fallen short in one way or another. Only when I work against some sort of resistance do I get a sense of how to improve my writing. So, yes young writer, give thanks for the discriminating editor.

The world of books is in the midst of a cataclysmic reconstruction. Some institutions will fall and others will rise to take their place. The new medium may well be electronic. I urge you to embrace it, whatever your personal feelings. Paper bound books will be with us for a long time yet, but the paperless world is just around the corner and we’d better begin to make allowance for that fact. As a writer who is old enough to have lived through more than one revolution, I urge you all to find whatever way works to get your own characters and stories in front of your readers. Be it a hard bound book, a paperback, or an e-reader, the important thing is for them to hang on your every word while vicariously living your story in their heads.

From the heartland of mid-Missouri, I greet you one and all. Happy reading!

Pat Dale

Make sure to check out Pat's book new release, A Girl's Best Friend, from Whimsical Publications. It's one of the many to-be-read books on my substantial reading list!


Anne Patrick said...

Hi Dale and Danielle,
Great post. Your books sound wonderful, Dale. Best of luck to you both!!!

StephB said...

I love your insights. Paper is still popular and will be for some time and I believe that's because of the power of the autograph. I love having an autographed book, that's something very special to me.

I also enjoy my ebook reader and the convience of Ebooks. It will be interesting to see where we're at in a couple of years.

Thanks for sharing story to publication. It's very inspiring.


Miss Mae said...

Though I am epublished, they are not my first choice. Nothing equals the thrill and sheer joy of TOUCH when holding a paper, print book in your hands.

You've traveled a long road, Pat. Congrats on finally reaching your sign post. Here's wishing you much success! :)

Celia Yeary said...

Hello, Pat-I enjoyed reading your post, and compared it to my journey. As you knew how to write music, I knew how to write science research papers, and that is how I learned NOT to write--very stiff and formal, with every sentence gramatically correct. That was a huge learning curve.
My files were full of novels before I found the nerve to submit--another learning curve--and in the end, discovered the eBook business.
I had most of my mss contracted, but a couple more that still needed a home. Since both were a little different, I looked into Whimsical. A friend told me about the company, and I heard more than once Whimsical "did a good job." So--I sent one and got a contract--with a note that it "needed a little editing." Oh, I hope so!
The books I sell here in my town must be in print. My little following will not sucuumb to the eReaders. Well, one did, and she is 85 years old! Yea! for her.

Danielle Thorne said...

Celia, I think it's wonderful you have an 85 yr old friend reading "e". This Thanksgiving when I got to my parents house, I caught my dad reading my latest ebook release on his computer. It's a little strange to have my parents reading my romances, but I'm thrilled they have gone electronic!

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Pat Dale said...

Hi everybody! I'm glad you're enjoying this. It's indeed been a long road, but a happy one at long last. As for the paper/electronic battle, it seeems to me that we writers and readers win no matter what happens. That's my hope, anyway. Pleasant reading for all.
Pat Dale

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks for sharing your writing experience. Congratulations on your new book and best wishes for many sales.

Laurean Brooks said...

Dale, your writing experiences sound like some of mine. I love the sound of your book. Keep using the talent God gave you.

Dani, thank you for hosting Dale. Interesting lessons. If Dale lives in "southern" Missouri, she may not be too far from me in northwest Tennesee.

Charlie said...

Wonderful interview Dale and Danielle. Enjoyed learning more about the writer, the books and life in general. Thanks for sharing.
C.K. Volnek

Danielle Thorne said...

Gail, Laurie, Charlie--thanks for coming by and visiting with us. ;)

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thanks for the post, Dale and Danielle.

I guess I'm a Luddite when it comes to reading technology. The experience of e-reading just doesn't compare with curling up with an old-fashioned paper book.

But there are other benefits to the new mode. Already I do considerable reading on my computer. So as soon as I can afford an e-reader, I'll buy one.

Of course, younger readers are much more at home with the new technology than old biddies like me. At any rate, even I realize that the content of a book is more important than the format in which it's published.

So though I'll always treasure my best-loved paper books, I look forward to the future of publishing.

Keep up the good work!

Diane Craver said...

Hi Dale and Danielle,

I enjoyed reading this post! I had a long road to book publication. I started getting articles published first and later went on to submitting my books. It's still a struggle even with several published books.

I do love reading on my Kindle and I think more and more people will see the benefits of ebook readers.

Hope you have great sales on your books, Dale!

Margaret Tanner said...

Good morning Dale and Danielle, greetings from Australia.
Wonderful blog Dale. I can relate to a publisher closing its doors, happened to me twice, but like you, I picked myself up and tried elsewhere, and now I am a multi-published author.



Celtic Chick said...

Hi Dale,

I also started out as a songwriter/bassist before turning to writing novels. It's weird how life can change. I never thought I would give up music for anything, but I enjoy writing.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing.

JoAnn Arnold said...

What a excellent, revealing post. So glad I took the opportunity to read it. thank you