Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Author Guest post - Dot Ryan (and a giveaway - closed)

Readers, please join me welcoming Dot Ryan, author of Corrigans' Pool who's guest blogging here today, courtesy Pump Up your Book Promotion.

About the book - The South is embroiled in a bitter Civil War by the time Ella Corrigan discovers that Corrigans' Pool is much more than the exquisitely beautiful pond she had thought it to be all her life. But by the time she learns its dangerous secret she is deeply entangled in a secret of her own . . . one that has made her a virtual prisoner, hopelessly trapped in a world dreadfully different from her previous existence as mistress of her gentle father's palatial plantation home along the Savannah River. Stunned by what she sees, she must harden herself to her new surroundings or perish . . . along with the cowed and scarred Negroes who toil in her husband's rice swamps and cotton fields.

divider,separator
Life’s Lessons 


Thank you very much for inviting me to A Book Blogger’s Diary. Lately, I’ve been looking back, thinking about my long journey from a wannabe writer to a published author. We all know that incidents throughout life, even the silly, seemingly inconsequential ones can affect us forever, but good experience or bad, they likely taught a lesson. My life’s lessons definitely helped me to be a writer.

I experienced many of these so called life’s lessons, some of which turned out to be more valuable than I ever suspected they would be at their time of occurrence. Now, when I reminisce about the past, the humorous incidents of my life always seem to crowd out the cheerless ones. Friends tell me they have the same experiences with their mental journeys into the past. Perhaps it’s a physiological break our brains award us after we’ve reached a certain age. Anyway, three such life’s lessons come to mind, all of which influenced my writing. Maybe other writers will learn from my lessons.

Number One: I’ve never been one of those women afraid to tell their age, so I have no problem admitting that I was born in the late thirties, and grew up in a small farming and ranching community in Texas. I still have memories of my parents and grandparents talking about the Great Depression … that they said ended when I was born, which made me believe, until I was seven years old, that I was the reason it ended!

Lesson learned here? Writers, check your facts! Research and research again. Never assume anything. You’ll save yourself a lot of embarrassment.

Lesson Number Two: I was eleven when a timid boy from school, who was often teased by classmates for his shyness and his freckled-faced, Howdy Doody looks, sneaked up behind me one day as I walked home from school, spun me around and gave me my very first kiss—which was actually just a quick peck. I had always pitied this poor lad and had never partook in taunting him, but now, after giving out a loud shriek, I landed a hard left hook to his jaw, knocking him down. At that age, I was a year shy of shedding my tom-boy ways and would have pressed a wet frog to my lips before I’d kiss that boy or any other.

Decades have passed since that day, and I think of him occasionally, ashamed that I treated so harshly his innocent act of adoration for me—the only girl in class who had never made fun of him. I somehow knew the instant he kissed me that it was a harmless thank you kiss, nothing more. But, you see, I had an audience that day—a small group of my peers—who would have teased me about him forever if I had only said UGH! and wiped my mouth.

Lesson learned? Follow your instincts. Write from you heart, even if it separates you from the crowd. Know what secretly motivates your characters before you write them into your manuscript or out of it; it may mean the difference between just another book or a darn good one. Also, never throw a left hook at anyone when just a look or an UGH! will do.

Third Lesson and probably the most important: My Irish paternal great-great grandparents came to Texas from Pennsylvania in 1819, and my maternal German grandfather was born in New York harbor aboard an immigration boat coming from Germany. Stories passed down from generation to generation about the hazards they and others faced in their new homeland, especially Texas, piqued my interest in history even before I was old enough to read and write. Because of the exciting stories I heard from family, I grew up loving to read, always envisioning myself a writer someday.

Evidently my dream to write did not preclude my dream of love and marriage, because I wed at seventeen and settled down to family life. College had not been an option and I’m not sure I would have taken off the blinders of youth long enough to choose education over the promise of love ever after, anyway. But after ten busy years of marriage—in which time I became the proud mom of two daughters, ages eight and one, and a six year-old son—my desire to write became stronger than ever.

I wrote bits and pieces of Corrigans’ Pool in the 60s’ and 70s’, then put it away for months and years at a time while I struggled with the realization that I needed more knowledge. The two years of college business courses that I had completed a few years after marriage, so that I could go to work, were not enough. College was still out of the question.

After pondering awhile, I realized that I did have an option—my own initiative! I immediately began a campaign of self-study, hours in libraries doing research, reading and re-reading dozens of books on writing, subscribing to every writer’s magazine I came across, enrolling in every writer’s course available within reasonable driving distance from my rural home. I finished Corrigans’ Pool in 1982 … and lost every page of it in a fire a few months later, along with most of my research notes.

That could have been the end of my writing and, for a short spell, it was. But only a short spell. I pushed my anger and devastation aside and started Corrigans’ Pool all over again. Six years later, with time off to run a business, Corrigans’ Pool had risen from the ashes of the old—better, I believe, than the first.

Lesson Learned: Never give up! Don’t let anyone or anything take your dream away. No matter what happens in your life that slows you down or perhaps even brings you to a screeching halt, never give up the journey, no matter how long it takes to get there. Like most everyone else, I once believed that achievements in life were so much more enjoyable if one was young. How foolish that belief turned out to be! So far, my greatest achievement was finally finishing that first book. And by the way, it’s true that you are only as old as you feel … so I must be somewhere between twenty-five and thirty.

AUTHOR’S BIO: Dot Ryan, author of the historical novel, Corrigans’ Pool, attributes her lifelong interest in history to the diverse cultures and personalities of her Irish and German grandmothers, both of whom came from pioneering backgrounds and had many tales that had passed down from generation to generation. Because of these two incredibly strong women, Dot’s ardor for writing and researching began early in her childhood, although neither love was validated until she had raised a family of her own and finally completed her first novel, Corrigans’ Pool. Dot and her husband, Sam, make their home in “The Sparkling City by the Sea,” Corpus Christi, Texas near their sons and daughters and grandchildren. She is busy writing her second and third works of historical fiction, one of which is the upcoming sequel to Corrigans’ Pool. To learn more about Dot, and read Part One of the sequel, visit her website at dotryanbooks.com.
Thank you for sharing that with us, Dot. It's great having you stop by here.

Photobucket
GIVEAWAY

The Prize

A copy of this book will go to one lucky reader.

To Enter
  • Just tell me why you want to win.
  • Please list your email address within your comment so that you can be notified should you be chosen as a winner.
For Extra Entries

Please leave a NEW comment for each extra entry you do.

Deadline   Midnight CST of  January 8, 2010.

Eligibility  US only.

Please read the Disclaimer. Good luck!
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you like this post, then please consider subscribing to my Full Feed RSS.
You can also Subscribe by Email and have new posts sent directly to your inbox.


36 comments :

  1. The story line itself, a Civil War mystery, is intriguing enough on its own. However, after reading Dot's interview, I realize that Corrigan's Pool is a story that refused to die and demanded to be put into print! How could I not want to read such powerful words?

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a Google Friend Connect Follower.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am an email subscriber.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am a Google Reader subscriber.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. This time period intrigues me, and I'm curious about the plot now!

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Subscribed to your feed.
    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  7. And a follower...

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I the daughter of 2 people born in the south, i have a love of the history of the south and the civil war. i also inherited a love of mysteries from them. therefore, this seems a perfect book for me!
    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. 1 ENTRY - Subscribe to A Book Blogger's Diary feed
    i do
    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. 1 ENTRY - Subscribe to A Book Blogger's Diary Email Updates
    i do, how do you think i heard about this posting?
    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. http://hodgepodgespv.blogspot.com/
    your button is on my book blog roller
    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. 1 ENTRY - Add A Book Blogger's Diary text link to your blog roll
    done
    http://hodgepodgespv.blogspot.com/
    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Rashmi CallmeaBookwormAwaiting friend confirmation
    sandra vaughan is still waiting on you.
    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. 1 ENTRY - Follow this blog
    i do as HODGEPODGESPV
    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Follow A Book Blogger's Diary on Twitter
    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. twittered 2 ways
    http://twitter.com/spvaughan/status/6500237317

    http://twitter.com/spvaughan/status/6500310355

    spvaughan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I like to read about people experiencing life during the Civil War period.

    clenna at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I subscribe to your feed

    clenna at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  20. I subscribe via email

    clenna at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm a fan on FB

    clenna at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love reading anything about the South, and The Civil War era. I'd love to win this book! Please enter me in your giveaway. Thank you!

    Sandee

    Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm an email subscriber.

    Sandee

    Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love historical fiction! Thanks for the giveaway.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  25. I would like to win this book because it takes place during the Civil War. I love reading about the Civil War. Please enter me. Thanks!

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am an email subscriber!

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  27. I want to win because Dot Ryan is a new author for me & this book looks good.
    Thanks ~ megalon22 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  28. I subscribe via Google Reader
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm an e-mail subscriber
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm a fan on Facebook (ID-CherylS22)
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  31. I follow in GFC
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  32. This seems like an interesting book I'd like to read. Thanks.
    partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  33. email subscriber
    partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  34. I follow your blog.
    partymix25(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you all for stopping by and leaving your comments. The Winner has been notified.

    ReplyDelete