Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pickles and Publishing

First thing in the morning and the last thing at books, my friends.

Dear Friends,

We are back from our trip to Florida where I gave a short course at the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association's "Landscape Show." The event was wonderful and filled with great displays, products, and classes. Best of all though was getting a chance to visit with old friends landscape designers and authors Kristin and Stephen Pategas, ASLA. What a treat to wander their gardens, visit their personal nursery, explore the garden room, and linger over one of Kristin's great meals. Check them out on Hortus Oasis and you'll get a taste of their style.

I am bundled up to my earlobes although I am sitting INSIDE our cottage in front of a roaring fire. The skies are clear and star flecked, the moon is waxing, and the temperature is going to drop into the low 30s tonight. Not bad you say?? Well, this old cottage is not insulated and is often colder inside than out. We still eat breakfast and lunch on the porch, but I am usually wrapped in blankets when we're out there.

Low tide seen through our friend's windows.

We were so happy to attend the annual Pickle Contest and Judging at the River Grille in Damariscotta.
After the judging, the attendees were allowed to sample everything. Wonderful.

Activities like this are some of the true joys of living in a small town.

On Risk and Writing and Being Courageous About Putting Yourself Out There

"How quickly the minutes fly when you are writing to please your heart. I pity those who write for money or for fame. Money is debasing, and fame transitory and exacting. But for your own heart...Oh, what a difference!"

The Early Diaries of Anaïs Nin 
by Anaïs Nin
Entry dated October 1921

My last posting about risk and writing has generated so many e-mails and questions. Since I haven't been home, I have not had the chance to answer everything, so allow me to post some answers here that may help you a bit.

Re: Writing Groups and Critiques

We do have rules, and then we also have simple rules of etiquette. Be kind, but be truthful. If you're not, the editors will be, and you will feel like someone ran you through a shredder. It is essential that you submit a polished piece. Don't expect the editors to clean up your grammar or figure out what is wrong with your plot.

Keep the size of your group small enough to allow at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted reading and 10 minutes of critiquing per person.

Choose a moderator for the meeting (usually the person hosting the meeting is the moderator). The moderator will keep the meeting on schedule and will time readings and ask for comments.

Provide hard copies of what you will be reading. Fellow members will be able to jot notes and suggestions on your copy. If you do not have the ability to make copies of your manuscript for everyone, then provide notepaper for critique notes.

Never interrupt a reader. Wait till the last word is uttered and the moderator asks for critique.

Stick with business. You're there to read from your work-in-progress, NOT to discuss personal problems.

Provide guidance, not personal opinions, about plot, characters, etc. You're acting as a friendly critic who wants to help a hopeful fellow writer get published.

Allow time in the middle of the meeting for refreshments, announcements about rejections and acceptance of manuscripts, and for marketing news and updates on the publishing industry.

When a member attends a writing conference, set aside some time to find out what was of most value to the attendee. What one learns will benefit you all.

Sign up for Publisher's Weekly Daily and Publisher's Lunch on the internet. They're invaluable sources of publishing information.

Join SCBWI if you are interested in writing for children. They're great and nationwide. You can attend conferences, network, meet editors, marketers, public relations people, and fellow authors and illustrators.

Those are the answers to some of the questions you've asked, but feel free to write if you have more.

THE LUCKY WINNER of The Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life is Suzanne of Privet and Holly! Hurrah! She really wanted to win this. Suzanne dear, Sellers Publishing will ship this directly to you.

The next few days will be consumed by the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest, which I shared with you last year. I'll write about it and post photos next week. This year I will again be a judge at the pumpkin dessert contest. Just what I need!  It is so much fun and the desserts are beautiful. See  my old posting about the Pumpkinfest and contest to get a sample of its flavor.

Please stop by my newest Lowe's blog posting for a glimpse into my garden. I love your comments and appreciate your input. (P.S. I just checked my Lowe's blog and it still has my ideas for landscaping around hardscapes. They have just hired someone new to manage the blog and will post my newest writing on landscaping for BIRDS next week).

Thanks for the visit. This was a short one, but life is speeding past, and I am running to keep up. Our days are dwindling here, and I try to extract an hour and ten minutes out of every hour that passes.

Sending love and the image of some Maine grown Jacob's Cattle beans.



 Leave one of your comments on this posting before October 15 and you will be eligible to win the new book, Planting the Dry Shade Garden (Timber Press), by great writer Graham Rice. It is a wonderful book and for those of you faced with the problem of dry shade gardening. You'll find lots of solutions in Graham's book. Grimy Hands members only.

A huge thank you to my dear friend Susan at My Mother's Apron Strings

My chickadee apron is PERFECT. I am such a slob when I cook...I promise to try and keep it clean. Susan dear, I will be thinking of you and your sweet Kelly on the 8th.


Blondie's Journal said...

I like the quote by Anais Nin. I only wrote for good grades! It was the proverbial carrot in front of the horse. Without that I hit a stone wall. Perhaps someday.

Small towns have much to offer, events that I prefer over the city I live in. That's why I so enjoy my time at the lake. I'm going to a harvest festival this weekend...I love that sort of thing.

I hope you are enjoying these fall days in spite of how quickly they fly by!


Vicki Boster said...

Oh Sharon- there is so much here to see and say!!

The most beloved reasons to live in a small town are the ways that the people celebrate and play together. How absolutely charming is a pickle festival! That sounds like great fun. The pickle photos are wonderful-- I'd be there for my samples for sure!!

Oh yes- I remember that fabulous pumpkin festival--- I'll be looking forward to your taking us there again. Serious fun to be had there--- last years photos were amazing.

Well- with the coming of the chill in the air- I know ut is almost time for you to travel west. I know you will miss your little place there on the coast-- but at least you have warm and sunny to look forward to!

Thanks for beautifully sharing what life is like in your little town-- it looks to be a wonderful place to call home.

Have a great weekend Sharon--
( stay warm!)

Suzanne said...

There are apple and pumpkin fests happening all over the little towns around here aslo--enjoy!

Vee said...

Hang tough, Sharon, it's going to warm up a lot!

So much going on in your corner as always. Hope that you find some moments to call your own!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Move south, Sharon. After 10 days of rain, we are having the most beautiful weather and The Herbal Husband is in Florida with a relative in the rain!! Worked that right! Ha! I always love your combos, pickles and publishing! I think my GERD would have a field day with the pickle judging! I do love them though! Know you will get warm back in California, Sharon! So enjoy Maine while you can. xxoo Nancy

Lili said...

Oh dear Sharon take heart, as you probably know by now it's supposed to be 80 degrees by Sunday! Your owl andirons are so sweet. We've been staying by the woodfire too as of late on our last 2 frosty mornings. Your weekend plans sound like a blast. Congrats to Suzanne for winning the book giveaway, she will just cherish this I know. That lady has such a way with words. Love pickles, pumpkins and all things fall, I know you're savoring the rest of your time there in your darling cottage by the sea. Now I'm off to check out your Lowe's post for more of your wonderful inspiration! xoxo ~Lili

nana pam said...

I love that apron! I also love beans, pickles, pumpkins and mary Oliver's perfect poetry
Pam G.

Robin Larkspur said...

That was a lot of pickles to taste!! The pumpkin dessert judging sounds really fun! I am sending you warm thoughts as you try to stay cozy in your Maine cottage. I know you must be craving that California sun. The dry shade book would be a nice addition to this Grimy Hands' girl gardening book collection!! Take care and you and Jeff stay warm!

Michelle said...

That pickle tasting does look like a lot of fun.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Sharon, thank you so much for sharing such valuable information. My writing career is new even though I am not. Gathering and remembering important tidbits and big bits is harder at 52 than 22 so I apprecite the way you present your suggestions and advice. I leave your post inspired.

Pat said...

Our own northwoods weather has been classic Wisconsin...killing frosts in September put an end to the summer gardens...loading wood on the porch and sitting by the fire in the evening. Now we are in the upper 70's with windows open... such a tease. It will end all too soon as the cold descends.
What would we do without books? I am like a squirrel preparing for the winter ahead...stocking up with books, quilting supplies and baking needs.(A Grimy Hands member)

Pondside said...

I remember the pumpkin post from last fall - can't wait for this year's!

Anonymous said...

It's beginning to turn so cold in CO this weekend----so I understand the feelings of blankets and warm socks. Stay warm....

Darla said...

Just how do you have the time to do so much? The low 30's? I'd be bundled up too. Great advice for those seeking to write. Have fun at the Pumpkinfest. And boy oh boy do I have a dry shade area here. I am a Grimy Hands Club Girl.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

love the apron! i never wear one when i cook. not sure why. i want to judge a pickle contest! sounds like so much fun!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

You are a busy girl my friend. You are so right about risk. Without risk there is no life within us. Hugs and kisses to you.

I have the dry shade garden book, so you don't need to enter me in the drawing.~~Dee

Maggie said...

So enjoyed my visit to Maine to see you today.
We went to the pottery at Damariscotta several years ago with friends from Southport, what a lovely part of the world you live in!
We had our first log fire this week. Too cold to garden so reading by the fire was my pastime of choice!

Bonnie K said...

I too am blessed to have one of Susan's aprons. I cherish it. I grew some soup beans this summer and they are so pretty I don't know if I want to eat them. I hope you enjoy the weekend.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Would love to win this book.
Describes my surroundings :)

Susan said...

Dearest friend, Thank you for your thoughts and love--I feel it even with miles between us. Your post is heartwarming and I know why that fabric spoke to me; it was a perfect choice for my friend who loves nature, as I do. XOXO


Hi Sharon, What a wonderful post. It sounds like life is keeping you busy. I subscribe to PW Daily but have never heard of Publisher's Lunch so I'm off to visit this site right now. Have a great week.

Claudia said...

Congratulations to Suzanne! I must have missed that post - I'll go back and read it.

My favorite poet, Mary Oliver, is on your desk. Her writing makes my heart sing.

I'd love to win a copy of the gardening book.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon,
After a frosty couple of days, it really has warmed up here....up in the 80's today. Just beautiful fall Maine weather! Small towns are the best...enjoy the pumpkin juding...sounds yummy!! I was hoping for a peek at the antique bench you purchased....did you find just the right place for it?
Take care,
Cindy in ME

Mozart's Girl said...

Hello again, dearest Sharon! I have just had a marathon reading & commenting session on all the blogposts of yours that I've recently missed...each one more inspiring than the last. I also love to read the comments from talented & creative women...insightful & joyful. The pickles look amazing - and I adore the name 'Stones Throw Farm' a storybook!
Sending love to you & Jeff xoxo Rachel

Sue and Alicia said...

Hi Sharon, checking in from our beloved gourd teepee in Illinois. The leaves are brown and withering but we have a magnificent crop of gourds that are ready for a cold and dry winter... They may wish for a blanket, too, after Indian Summer passes this week.

Best wishes for the dwindling days by the Sea,
Sue and Alicia

Privet and Holly said...

Hooray! What a
joy to receive
this marvelous
book. Can't wait
to sink my teeth
into it : ) This
post is so full of
goodness that I'm
going to read it
again and follow
all the links. You
are such a generous
blogger, Sharon.
Thanks for all you do!
xx Suzanne

Anonymous said...

Sharon I love your posts and adventures. The pickle festival sounds fun. I can a lot of pickles.
Love seeing all your pics and stories.

Aunt Jenny said...

I can't imagine a pickle festival. Heaven!! I love all sorts of pickles! I know that would be a fun day!!
and that apron is sure cute on you!!! I just love all your posts..they always make me smile and your pictures make me feel right at home!
You have a wonderful week!

kj said...

sharon, if circumstance were different i would have walked up to you in Damariscotta, just stood there and smiled. i would have hugged you and told you how adorable you are and how much i enjoy your blog and your writing and who you are and only if i had to, i would have whispered, 'it's me, kj.'

i am in two writers' groups and you've nailed the protocols. i love reading what i've written outloud. i try to return the favor of listening abundantly.

no apron wringing is allowed! that's a good rule too

so the 18th, is that right? gosh you must be cold by now, except maybe not? the weather in southern new england has been glorious.

one day, sharon, one day.... :^)

Fig said...

I love your blog. Thank you for the information you posted about writing for children. I didn't know where to begin to look for information. If I get the courage, I would love to publish to publish my first book!

The Gathering Place said...

Thanks for the kind words on my blog. It is always fun to make a new friend. I look forward to checking out your blog posts.