Friday, March 27, 2009

Author Guest Post - Lin Wellford

The New Grandparents Name Book
 Lin Wellford and Skye Pifer
64 p, ArtStone Press,  0977706524
About the Book

When the first baby is born into a family, grandparents are also “born.” Just as parents take time to choose the name they will call their new arrival, grandparents-to-be will enjoy exploring the many options they have when it comes to selecting the name their grandchildren will call them.

The New Grandparents Name Book is divided up into categories, including traditional names, heritage names, trendy names, and names that are playful, or that reflect some special interest or personality trait. There is a section on creating custom names, and suggestions for paired names. Quotes on grandparenting and anecdotes about how others got their unique names are also included.

This attractive, small-format hardcover book makes a lovely gift and is also a fun way to announce the big news that a grandchild is on the way.

About the Author

Lin Wellford displayed a talent for art and an interest in writing at an early age, but it took decades to find success as an author. A move from Florida to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas sparked a passion for painting animals on rocks. In 1994, her first book, The Art of Painting Animals on Rocks, was published and soon was reported to be “flying off the shelves”. That led to eight more books covering a variety of rock painting subjects, including painting flowers, cottages, garden art, zoo animals and more. She appeared regularly on The Carol Duvall Show on HGTV, and her work has been featured in dozens of national publications. Becoming a first-time grandmother inspired her interest in collecting grandparent names, and resulted in her newest book, The New Grandparents Name Book: A lighthearted guide to picking the perfect grandparent name (ISBN: 978-0-9777065-2-5; $9.99).

Guest Post

Ever since I was old enough to hold a book in my little hands and knew enough not to try and eat it, I have loved books. They are a source of entertainment, solace, information, escape, and insight. At the age of seven, I was already trying my hand at creating my own books; the first on how to catch fairies was followed by an alphabet book of fantastical animals, complete with illustrations. I loved words and writing, but it was my artwork that attracted the most attention. So, when it came time to choose what to study in college, art won out. I should have listened to my heart.

After college I got married and helped my husband run his business. Children came along, but the desire to write, and the dream of creating books, never left me. We moved to Arkansas, and I began painting the rocks I picked up along our local creek. It felt like magic to transform an ordinary rock into a three-dimensional piece of art. Soon I was painting and selling my creations. Still, the desire to write would not go away. Somehow I carved out little pieces of time for myself from a crammed-full life, and slowly I accumulated several full-length novels that no one wanted to buy. I still have a drawer full of rejection slips to prove it.

In frustration, I decided to try my hand at an instruction book that would share my techniques for painting my rock creations. Happily, I found that writing non-fiction was just as satisfying as writing fiction. It still meant choosing the right words and finding the best way to get my message across. The fact that it combined my skill as an artist with my interest in writing made it really fun and exciting. Perhaps that came across in my work, because the first book I did became something of a phenomenon in the world of craft publishing, selling many hundreds of thousands of copies. It has stayed in print and is now considered a classic.

The road to publication was not without its pitfalls, however. The first publisher I submitted to kept the manuscript for over six months without a word. I thought they must have been giving it serious consideration. But when I finally called to check, I was told that, no, they were not interested in the book. They were simply short-handed and had not gotten around to sending it back to me.

I guess I could have given up then and there, taking that as a sign that the book was not meant to be. Instead, I chose to allow myself to get angry at their callous attitude towards me and my book proposal. I did not wait for them to return my submission. I made up a new proposal, fine-tuning it and making it even better than before. I had it in the mail to another publisher in a matter of days. And that time I only had to wait two weeks to get the call every hopeful writer dreams of, the one from an editor saying, “We are interested in publishing your book.” Eight other books followed that first one. In all, more than 1.5 million copies of my books have sold worldwide.

Nine years ago, my oldest daughter announced she was expecting. Even though I was in my late forties and easily old enough to be a grandmother, I found myself thinking that I felt way too young to be called “grandma.” I began researching various options, and finally, after a few false starts, settled on “Mimi” as my grandparenting name. That search planted a seed, because afterwards I found myself noticing the many different names other new grandparents were choosing to be called. I started jotting them down and talking to my daughter about them. We decided that there was a book idea in all those names I was gathering. So I kept on collecting until I found myself with over seven hundred names. What fun! With my daughter’s help, we turned my research into a book.

When I look back over my career, I realize that the desire to write and the determination not to give up are the two things that made the biggest difference. I know many incredibly talented people who should have succeeded, but who lacked those qualities in sufficient quantity to get them past the disappointments and detours that are the hazards most writers must deal with. I also discovered that the hundreds of pages of those stillborn novels I wrote were not a wasted effort. I learned from doing, from making myself sit down and write instead of just dreaming about it. Natural talent is wonderful, but for most writers it is practice and effort that ultimately predict success.

Thank you for that interesting post, Lin. And thank you, Lisa, for being instrumental in Lin posting here!

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