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Jennifer Swan's Blog

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Have you heard about "The Secret"? Several of the book's techniques have been around for years and championed by none other than Oprah Winfrey herself. One method uses positive visualization and thinking to achieve your most desired goals. Basically, if you picture yourself healthy,...
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 There are many spiritual elements to writing the book In Wake of a Following, and with them, comes fear.   I worry that stirring up memories from the 1950s Virgin Mary sightings will release a measure of bad karma.  My investigation is a lot like descending into a dank, unlit basement.  Deep down...
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  It has been advised repeatedly, that to be a better writer, we must dedicate ourselves to on-going reading.  I’ll admit, most of the books I’ve read in the past few years have been related to “how to be a better writer”.   It’s ironic, really.  Does this mean I’ll be doubly good at my craft...
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  When a person stumbles upon a deeply rooted secret, it’s nearly impossible to keep quiet.  And yet, that is exactly what my family did for decades.  None of us had the gumption to ask dad about the bizarre happenings in Wisconsin.  We each furtively hoped he’d one day grant us an exclusive tell-...
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Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something - Thomas A. Edison Recently, I attended a LIVE Q & A with agent Mark McVeigh at www.writeoncon.com.  The session got me thinking.  Many participants asked questions around the rules and etiquette to submitting a query.  One...
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Share your family stories before it is too late.  That’s my motto in a nutshell. I believe everyone has a story to tell.  It’s just a matter of digging deep to find those memories. Of course, proof is in the puddin’ - alright, no more tacky clichés - I'm about to issue you a challenge: Grab a pen...
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shrine n.  A place of religious devotion or commemoration, such as: a place where devotion is paid to a deity or deities, the tomb of a saint or other venerated person,  a location where an important event in the life of a holy person is thought to have occurred. 2. A container or receptacle for...
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 "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery." - Jane Austen  A heavy fog infiltrated my creative mindset ten days ago.  I became discouraged and frustrated.  But I was not alone, others felt it too.  On Saturday, I followed a hash tag (#writers) on Twitter and found a steady stream of...
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Black Swan Theory
Randomness can be defined as events that happen outside predictability, prior knowledge and beliefs.  I’ll start with an example.  What has Paris Hilton done for the fine arts?  The answer: NOTHING.  And yet, she became the next big thing.  Now let’s take this concept to the world of publishing...
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Do you want to come along?  I am on my way to impress the great OZ with a brilliantly written query letter (version # 53, to be exact).  I’ve been here before. In fact, it was just last week that I marched to the emerald city only to discover the doors strong-armed by guards holding WEAPONS OF MASS...
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“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” – Psalm91 I didn’t much care for my Grandmother when she was alive.  That sounds so blunt and hurtful, but it’s true.  Here’s what contributed to my hasty judgment: my other grandmother, on my mom’s side, was so sweet...
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I prayed a lot as a kid. As you may recall from an earlier blog post, I had several strange neurosis’ as a child.   My prayers were an attempt to protect myself from all things menacing.  It began with a nightly plea to the heavens, hoping someone, anyone would listen:  "Dear, God.  This is...
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The Saint Paul Cathedral
A few weeks ago, our family of five embarked on a cultural excursion to see the Saint Paul Cathedral - a historic Minnesota landmark.  Before getting out of the car, my husband cautioned our little mini-me's in the backseat, "This is God's house.  You need to be very quiet - no talking....
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Well-crafted dialogue is especially important in memoirs and historical fiction. My book, In Wake of a Following, takes place from 1949 – 1959.  Looking back on this decade, my mind swirled with Norman Rockwell images; baseball’s Babe Ruth, episodes of Father Knows Best, and John Wayne – one of...
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When you stumble upon a deeply rooted secret, it’s nearly impossible to keep quiet.  And yet, that is exactly what my family did for decades.  None of us had the gumption to ask our dad about the bizarre happenings in Wisconsin.  We each furtively hoped that he would one day grant us an exclusive...
Continue Reading » 2 comments