Personal Pictures Enhance Your Story

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I’m so pleased to share this picture!

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It was sent to me in 1973 as a Christmas card by a dear friend, Anita K. Dennis, who at the time was living in West Africa with her Mende Tribe and college professor husband, Ben Dennis. He is in tribal dress, with Anita standing next to him on the right. Anita is holding onto their son, Ben.

In 2014, Anita published her book “Beyond Myself The Farm Girl and the African Chief” and a snapshot with a slightly different angle than this one was chosen for the cover of her volume.

Never throw away old pictures, writers! They easily could find their way to a gratifying ending!

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Also, see Chicken Soup for Buckeyes to read “A Story Behind A Book Cover Picture”!
http://www.chickensoupforbuckeyes.wordpress.com/2015-02-14/a-story-behind-a-book-cover-picture

Anita’s book, “Beyond Myself The Farm Girl and the African Chief”, is available on Amazon.com

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***Credit:
Two views of my Christmas card gift photo (taken in Africa) of Anita K. Dennis and her family sent to me in 1973.

Your Thoughts and Story Ideas

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One should always keep some kind of notebook if writing aspirations dwell within!

Sometimes the smallest thought can blossom into an idea for a wonderful story. And your thoughts on a daily basis should be recorded in a notebook that is private only to you. Within those pages come inspiration to fire aspirations!

Here are some of my little gems that have come along over the years as mere thoughts evoked from within a creative brain. They were written down in my special “Writer’s Notebook”.

No. 1 = “Without a dream, there is no story; nothing to tell.” (BAH)

No. 2 = “Surviving: Always, the biggest trial in life is life. You smile and give it away, and it comes back to you, one hundred-fold, and life is yours!” (BAH)

No. 3 = “If we all would stop to think about the tracks we will leave behind, before going forward, there would be less derailments in life.” (BAH)

No. 4 = “Writing is in the blood, and it seldom leaves the writer lonely. It does often inspire a desire to connect with others of a like nature, even as the passion to fill pages consumes.” (BAH)

No. 5 = “Stray thoughts lead to deep, wandering trails.” (BAH)

Is it really any wonder that birds inspired man to seek flight?

Is it really any wonder that birds inspired man to seek flight?

Observe your world, write your thoughts, create your stories!

See also http://www.batpublishingstories.wordpress.com

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Credit:
Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Self-Interview About Self-Publishing

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For most of my adult life, I’ve worked with self-publishing efforts. I enjoy creating my own appropriate artwork for my stories, and I like to put my own hand-crafted touch to my finished products.

When I wanted to advertise my products, I used a self-interview to help gain an audience (and a website now no longer in use). Here is a portion of what I said in the interview some years ago:

BP (BAT Publishing): What is BAT Publishing?

BAH (me): BAT is I. The letters b-a-t are simply family initials. I conceived BAT Publishing as a way to self-publish.

BP: Why did you choose self-publishing?

BAH: The big publishing houses had closed their doors to newcomers, for the most part. A new writer needed either an inside string to pull, or an agent to get published by the bigs. So, I began to think smaller and that led me back to myself. Of course, publicized success in any other career, these days, assures book publication for anyone, even those who can’t write a lick. The big houses use name power to their profit advantage. It’s business. John Grisham was a lawyer. Carol Burnett was a comedian. Kirk Douglas was an actor. Billy Graham was an evangelist. But any big publishing house would grab their stories in autobiographical form. Name power. That puts the rest of us who love writing at a great disadvantage. We don’t have a name.

BP: You’re obviously opinionated on this subject. Any pet peeves in particular about the writing industry?

BAH: Not necessarily about the industry, really. It is a business. If I have a pet peeve, it would be to hear writers, published writers, I mean, say how much they hate the writing part. Success, money, fame, sure, that’s nice, but they hate the grind of writing. Why, then, I ask, do they torment themselves? Why lift a pencil again? I write because I love it. It’s no grind. It’s a joy. I’ve done it all my life. So, self-publishing, having the ability to use my own touch, is very appealing to me.

BP: But have you always yearned to be a published authoress in the traditional sense?

BAH: I am published. I’ve been published since I put the words “The End” to my first story, aged six. (See my blog: http://www.mywritinglifexposed.wordpress.com.) Also, I’ve submitted some of my finished self-products to the Ohioana Library in Columbus, Ohio.

BP: Ohioana? What is that?

BAH: It’s a preservation library open for submissions from Ohio authors, artists, and musicians; an institute in which all our work can be preserved as reference material. Submissions are used only in house.

BP: Interesting. Your beliefs concerning self-publishing must have had other motivations?

BAH: You mean points of beginning? Yes. I was influenced by Edward Uhlan’s book “The Rogue of Publisher’s Row”, First Edition, 1956, written about vanity publishing; “The Publish-It-Yourself Handbook — Literary Tradition & How-To”, 1973, edited by Bill Henderson for Pushcart Press; and others like those who spoke about how you can control things yourself when it comes to publishing your work. First for yourself, and for the thrill of it.

BP: So you don’t dream of commercial publishing success?

BAH: Oh — yes and no. I’ve thought about it forever, but I didn’t really want my life to go there. Extreme changes? Not for me. I’m an old farm girl who values her homey privacy. The greatest thrill for me in writing is not just having written. It’s the work itself. The process. Writing, planning more, revising, playing with it. I have stacks of files, ideas in various stages of completion. I play with it constantly. My day jobs are always my existence, but writing always is my life. Writing pleases me.

BP: What have you self-published?

BAH: Novels In A Nutshell — they are stories of various lengths shorter than the accepted 60,000-word novel; short stories in booklet form; and poetry, which I began tinkering with later in life. All of those include my creations of artwork and the handcraft work that make them uniquely my own.

BP: And would you recommend self-publishing to other writers?

BAH: Absolutely! It’s good for the writing soul — it’s you, your work at your time, with control. Everyone has to find their own way in the writing game. Self-publishing can remain self-satisfying all one’s life, or, perhaps, help one’s confidence to launch himself  into the writing world in other ways.

BP: So self-publishing is mostly about controlling your own work?

BAH: Yes, and having fun. Self-publishing is a great way to learn to have fun with your craft of writing. And that’s the main point — control and having fun. My goodness, it should be fun!

*** Credit
Self-Photo and Self-Interview from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

For more on self-publishing, also see:
http://www.batpublishingstories.wordpress.com

Other Dog Art Forms

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Somewhere along the way as I owned a Newfoundland dog and began writing the novelette “Factory Tails: All Good Dogs Walk on the Left”, I began to experiment with loosely drawing Ebony’s head and giving it a geometric-like background effect around the image.

One of the results is this drawing of “Rocky”, a main character in “Factory Tails”, and another version is offered below.

“Factory Tails” is a world in which dogs are the protagonists, the antagonists, and…well, dogs are all the characters in this story told in a time when only dogs remain on the Earth. Just like their human predecessors, these dogs compete for work and retirement benefits in the factory, Big Blackie Biscuits, the only working industry in the country.

You may read more of “Factory Tails” here.

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*******Credit:
“Factory Tails” and the artwork in this blog are part of the personal and copyrighted work of Barbara Anne Helberg

A Word About Writer’s Block

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Most of us on WordPress live a potential writer’s life. That is, some of us write all the time for a living, and others of us write when we have time because we love to write. We find places to write.

And some of us suffer bouts with writer’s block.

I never have had writer’s block. Nothing ever has stopped my blabber-pen!

However, I believe I do things with my writing that may unconsciously prevent writer’s block, that effectively allow me to avoid the pitfall of mental blockage.

Photography and artwork are part of that unconscious effort. I like to take pictures; the one displayed here was taken in the 1980s. (Non-digital, it uploads with no difficulty onto the modern writing sites by the way.)

When people talk to me and ask, “Where do you get your writing ideas?”, I’m sure my expression is one of incredible disbelief! That’s because I’m thinking, “What? Are you kidding? Look around! The answer is ‘life’ in all its ups and downs!”

What do you see in the above picture? Or is it just obvious to me that a storyline jumps forward here because I’m a farmer’s daughter? Old pictures, and pictures just taken, as well, and artwork are powerful forces to use to avoid, or to overcome, writer’s block. Look at pictures. Do some artwork, which, after all, doesn’t have to be Picasso-esque!

Those things help unblock the stopped words.

Never pass up the opportunity to write down your thoughts as they come to you! Keep a writing journal. Everything that can be called an idea is worth it’s weight in gold to a writer. And the more a writer observes and records, the less credence writer’s block will have to exist in his world.

See also: http://www.storypromptsdeluxe.wordpress.com

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*** Credit:
Top Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg
Photographed Book Cover of “The Creative Writer”, Edited by Aron Mathieu, 1961, published by Writer’s Digest, Cincinnati, Ohio

Equine Geos

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In experimenting with my own artwork for my fiction stories, I’ve found that using simple geometrics is a good place to start.

In the artwork above, I used geometric figures over stenciled horses to complement one of my novelettes, Triple Crown Run by Smarty E. Jones, which will appear later in another of my blogs.

I enjoy using colored pencils, markers, and color, or gel, ink pens, as well as black and white drawings for my projects.

Below is another piece of handcrafted artwork which I created for “Factory Tails“, which can be read in chapters here.

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Creating my own artwork is something I like to do. It enhances my own enjoyment of the writing project at hand, and creating it is a relax mode for me as I roam the woods of wordsmithing.

*******Credit:
Artwork from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Canine Geos

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As I am not a true illustrator but I do appreciate “hand” artwork, I always find myself trying to create something different and entertaining for my fiction. Using geometric forms has helped me to achieve this.

The above artwork, with a basic geometric background, is an example of this effort.

I used colored pencils and gel inks to create this drawing that became a major format for my Factory Tails trilogy, from my Novels In A Nutshell series.

Cover artwork for the novelette FANS, also from my Novels In A Nutshell series, is shown below.

+++++++ Factory Tails may be read in chapters here.

+++++++ FANS may be read in chapters here.

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*******Credit:
Geometric and Cover Artwork from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg