Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My new baby

What is it with me and giving birth to children at night?

Seriously, what's up with that??

My two actual physical children were both born at night -- after 8 p.m. for them both, actually.

And now, this evening, at 10:47 p.m., I've officially delivered a metaphorical child.

I sent my book off to the publisher. Hooray!

Yes, this is the SAME BOOK I have been working on for about a year. That "RGT book" I've blogged about. And this is why a lot of people have not been hearing from me so often lately. Heh.

My newest ghost book was FINALLY finished just recently. And, today, I finally revised the Introduction for this book to my satisfaction. (Thanks for the feedback on it, Millie!) It took FOREVER to get it formatted. Took me two days to edit it. That includes double-checking things, verifying Web site URL's, fact-checking and going over my notes to see if I missed anything (which I did). I was disgruntled to discover that book titles were not correct, confounded by little typos I'd overlooked in my previous edits (there was much forehead-slapping and mutterings of, 'How on earth did I miss THAT??") and gnashing of teeth as I constantly, CONSTANTLY had to get up to tend to the baby. It's not that I didn't WANT to tend to my real human baby. It's just that I had to get away from the book SO! MUCH!

It was hard, very hard, to perform the final work on the book, because I didn't have anybody else to watch the baby (the only time hubby helped was when I had to interview someone for an hour for this book -- and I AM grateful for that!). I also had hubby complaining about the lack of housework and cooking I was doing on one side, and my older child complaining about not having access to our ONE computer on the other side. No matter how many times I stressed to them "this is only temporary" and "I have a deadline," they still showed little support for this project.

Which was depressing, actually. At one point, I almost broke down and cried because it seemed like my own family wasn't supporting something I so strongly believed in and WANTED to do.

My blog series for breast cancer awareness suffered, too. So far, I've missed out on two blog posts. But I'll keep up with it where I can!

My SIGNews assignment was forgotten about. Eep! And so were my tasks of printing out articles to submit. Ugh! (Next time, I think I should hire an assistant. LOL)

But something else almost made me cry, too....

There is a story in this book about a very young little girl ghost who died tragically. She was never crossed over and she is very sad. A psychic who communicated with her asked her if there was something she wanted to say to him and she said, "I want my Daddy."

That just about broke my heart. I was so sad to read this and had tears in my eyes long after I stopped reading it. I really hope someone does help that little girl to cross over someday.

And speaking of those stories....I have a couple where some ghosts ARE crossed over. These stories are so uplifting!! The things that were shared about these experiences just really moved me and I'm glad that they are in this book, so that people can see that a ghost hunter does not JUST go out to prove there is a haunting then pack up and leave. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of groups who actually DO help spirits cross over. Yay for them!!

Some of the stories and pictures really gave me goosebumps, too. I was stunned at the photographic evidence captured. Some of the ghost voices recorded on EVP's gave me the chills, too!

But, there were also struggles. Not just when my computer decided to start acting wonky or the whole process of finding groups for the cities I'm including. (In all, 17 cities were stripped down to 9. Sigh!) But I really had a hard time with the title. See, "RGT" stood for "Real Ghost Towns." Not a very catchy title. I racked my brain for something better. I asked fellow writers and siblings for advice. I put out a call for suggestions in my newsletter. Finally, I talked it over with my publisher. She suggested a title that I just love: Spook City!

Additionally, I was thrilled at the opportunity to explore the history of certain places included. I am a big history buff so it was a pleasant opportunity to be able to partake in historical research.

Finally, I am so intensely grateful to ALL of the people who took the time for this book. These people will always have a special place in my heart. They were very kind, very helpful, and VERY prompt! This was a nice change given that so many of my emails sent to so many groups went unanswered. So I am VERY grateful to all the people who took the time to help me make this book possible.

I know we still have a long road ahead. Probably more editing, proofing, typesetting, soliciting reviews, etc. But now we have a new book born into the world. The gestational period is over and now we must nurture its growth before sending it out into the world.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Calling all Paranormal Investigators!

I am still open to receiving stories from paranormal investigators who have done investigations in the cities I am including in my book. I have contacted several groups through various Web sites and a lot of them have not responded. If you are a group and are interested in being included, please contact me.

I REALLY need stories from the following locations:

*Savannah, Georgia

*Boston, Massachusetts

*New Orleans, Louisiana

*Jefferson, Texas

*Portland, Oregon

Please do let me know if you have done any investigations in these cities. Client privacy will be respected 100%.

Please contact me (Dawn) by email at DMCWriter(at)gmail(dot)com

I will no longer be soliciting stories for this book at the end of the month.

Thank you.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winners of the first EduBook.com Writing Contest

The winners for the EduBook.com Writing Contest were announced this week. Yay! I did not make the announcement right away because I have been INSANELY BUSY getting the RGT book ready to send in to my publisher. This is it, folks! The month the book is DUE!! No more philosophizing about it, experimenting with changes to it or thinking "I'm writing a ghost book" and not working my ass off on it EVERY. FREAKING. DAY.

Well, I DID work on it mostly every day....and things took a looooong time to come full circle. But I worked on it for all this time I had to get it ready (1 year). Now that the deadline is upon us, I am making sure everything is as it should be and all that. And getting any extra stories I can for it. And, um....putting together new stuff for it. It's definitely not the same book I started out writing.

....Hm, what was this blog post about?? Oh! Yeah! The writing contest. I've got book on the brain.

I think I mentioned I was entering the contest. Or that I might enter it. The thing that I had concerns about was that the article I sent in would be one I was willing to sacrifice all rights to. I had some concerns about that. And a writer friend of mine also had concerns. Heck, the folks at AW had concerns! Well, my friend and I talked about this. We both agreed that the prize money was good, so we both decided to enter.

Well, my friend didn't win. I didn't win, either. Boo-hoo! Too bad, so sad. Moving on.

Here is the article I entered:

How to Entertain on a Budget

The lucky writer who won the grand prize of $500 is Tamara L. Waters, who wrote "How to Find Friendship and Support as a Writer"

Wow, if there's anything we writers need, it's friendship and support! Congrats, Tamara! Don't spend it all in one place.

Next up is the Second Place winner, who won $300. That honor goes to R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen (what a name!), who authored "Criminal Minds: A Look Into the Mind of Infamous Serial Killers"

Now, see. It really DOES pay to have an interest in that morbid and disturbing stuff! Don't listen to your parents the next time they tell you to stop reading those evil comic books! Congrats, R. Elizabeth!

The Third Place winner received $200. There was a tie. Gasp! Oh, the scandal!

Third place winners were Dougla Mefford, who wrote "A Scientific Theory for the Prophesized 2012 Disaster," and Karen Zara, author of the article "10 Psychology Myths and Misconceptions."

Congrats, congrats!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Excitement and gratitude

When you write nonfiction, chances are good you'll come across something that you get excited over sharing.

With writing articles, sometimes I'll come across an organization doing something really good for certain people, or all people. Or I'll find out about a person making a difference in their community, or medical/health news that people really SHOULD know about. And I'll feel a strong sense of gratitude that I'll be able to spread the word about this thanks to my article that will include this.

With books, the same thing applies. I'll come across something really wonderful and feel grateful that I can share it, thanks to my book.

But there is another aspect when it comes to writing nonfiction books. Another kind of gratitude.

The kind of gratitude in which I am thankful I can have this chance to write this book, so that I can share things with readers that might not have otherwise seen print.

For example, in the RGT book, I write about people and places that do not get as much attention or exposure as they should. And with certain questions I ask, certain angles I take, there are new stories, new information and new ideas shared.

I get really excited over the prospect of being able to share this in my book. I know my publisher will enjoy reading of these adventures, as well. So I am excited, grateful and happy that I have been able to find these people, find these stories, and know about these particular things. But most of all, I am grateful that I'll be able to pass all of them on to readers when my book containing all of this will be published.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Last call for stories

I am in the final stage of putting together my book about real ghost towns (that "RGT book" I've been babbling about). I still welcome stories from paranormal investigators who have done investigations in the following cities:

Hollywood, CA

Washington, D.C.

Bristol, Connecticut

Key West, Florida

Savannah, Georgia

Atchison, Kansas

Louisville, Kentucky

New Orleans, Louisiana

Boston, Massachusetts

Ishpeming, Michigan

Sleepy Hollow, New York

Athens, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Providence, Rhode Island

Charleston, South Carolina

Jefferson, Texas

Parkersburg, West Virginia

PLEASE NOTE: I have a lot of stories of cases done in Hollywood. Please contact me first with details about the case before sending anything. I will include cases done by other groups of the same location but in general not more than one.

If you are a paranormal investigator or know of one who has done a case in any of the above locations, please get in touch with me either here or at DMCWriter(at)gmail(dot)com.

This is an opportunity that is running for the next few weeks. After October, I will no longer be looking for stories for this book.

Thank you!

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Today was a series of ups and downs. It can be classified as Good, Bad, and Ugly.

The Good: I FINALLY finished editing one of my novel manuscripts today. Woo-hoo! It took me 7 whole days to edit all 218 pages. I tried to get it done in 5 days, but by Friday, when I had EVERY INTENTION of staying up all night working on it, I kept drifting off to sleep in my chair and losing my place. I also knew I could not possibly edit if I was too mentally exhausted. It would not be as good of a job. And, besides, I still had to edit extra material for the book. Stuff I wanted to add. So I put it off for the next day. Saturday passed with very little editing getting done, mainly because it was my daughter's birthday and I wanted to spend time with her. By today, I was feeling nervous about being able to finish the job. But I was DETERMINED to do it! I even stayed in my pajamas until I got it done -- and I did! Yay! What a HUGE relief to be done with that. Now, tomorrow, I start the edits on another one. Woo yeah!

The Bad: Found out today that I didn't win the "dialogue only" contest. Aw, nuts! Well, I gave it a shot. But now I'm confused as to what to do with my story. Should I revise it to make it a regular story? Or leave it as a dialogue story? Hm, decisions, decisions. I asked one of my sisters if she will read the story and she said to send it. I am hoping she can give me feedback on what I should do with it. Maybe leave it to collect dust on my hard drive.

The Ugly: I came across a blog-mag (if that is even the right term!) that is now open to submissions of poetry. I read the poems on there and got an idea of what kinds of poems they want. I decided to go for it and submit some poems. But that reading also had me coming up with new poems to write. One of the poems was...okay. And the other one was not so okay. The words were just wrong. When I finished writing it, I knew it wasn't "right." The words I used were not the right words to convey what I was trying to say. I left it alone for a while and when I came back to it later, I did change some words. Still, it was not right. It wasn't ready. I will see if giving it extra time to "breathe" will help me to revise it better or maybe getting some feedback. Whichever comes first. Only when the words are right will I submit it.

Tonight, my daughter and I went outside to stare up at the Harvest Moon. It was beautiful. We've been doing that ever since she was a baby, going outside and staring up at the moon. That's our way of sharing something magical.

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