19. Beware of Sharks

08/19/2017

Twit Warning copy

I’m writing this to inform my friends and fellow honest writers of this horrifying hazard. THIS IS A FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNT using my name illegally. I have no idea who it is. If you ever encounter it, DO NOT CLICK on it. If you want to know me, or anything about me, you are welcome to email me personally,  at “contact at victoriachames dot com” or visit either of my writer websites: Writer To Writer, http://w2w.victoriachames.com – or my personal blog, More About This-  http://moreaboutthis.wordpress.com

When I “Googled” myself as part of building my Author Platform, I discovered a FALSE twitter account in MY NAME, which when clicked on, installed a virus or “witch” onto my laptop which and instantly rendered it inoperable, and cost me about $100 in repair costs to get rid of. I don’t want anyone looking me up and falling into this trap, so I filed a complaint with Twitter demanding that they remove the fake account. They made me send copies of my driver’s license and other private information to prove I was myself, which obviously they had NOT done to this guy, whoever he is.  To my shock and horror, when I reported this to support@twitter.com and jumped thru all their hoops to get Twitter to take it down, THEY REFUSED! They responded:

Re: Case# 65397557: Impersonation – Harleystrummer    [ ref:_00DA0K0A8._5004A1FqMsx:ref
Hello, We’ve investigated the reported account and have determined that it is not in violation of Twitter’s impersonation policy.  In order for an account to be in violation of the policy, it must portray another person or business in a misleading or deceptive manner.  (It certainly does!!!)

And worse, as the day went on, I also discovered that a chapbook I self-published a few years ago is now up for download, for free, on at least 2 “readers” websites, with all sorts of other books downloadable by anybody for free. These two sites appear to be located in China or the Far East, though not connected to each other. They don’t provide any way to report plagiarism or theft. One has a “contact form” for this, but it DOES NOT SEND. It only leads  to a page that says “Go back.” I tried dozens of times and wasted a lot of very frustrating time on this.

There may be thousands of such sites, and I don’t know if there is any way to protect ourselves from this, except to NOT put ANYTHING onto the web anywhere (even robots-noindex pages can be hacked) except on password-protected pages, shared only with people you know and trust, with a system that has a printed log-record of who went there, when. There is a good one and it’s free-  Bravenet dot com, in Canada. Relly nice, non-greeedy people. The system easy to set up and use, and it prevents anyone or any search engine from accessing your pages without a username and password controlled entirely by you.

All of this is so sad and sickening. It’s more of that same New Great America we’re seeing on TV every day, that now it’s okay and cool to steal, lie, assault, and kill. Just for the fun of it. Those websites didn’t even make any money on this, but they destroyed my right to publish this work anywhere for payment, since it’s no longer exclusive. Beware. Take care how you share. The sharks are invisible, until they strike.


17. Writing From the Inside

08/11/2017

What I’m writing is a memoir but has become something of an epistle of faith. When I look across my history and the history of my family from the outside now, I see patterns and meanings I didn’t see when I was looking from the inside out. I’m not leading, I am led. It is being written like a letter not from my usual ego view, but more as if spoken from some inner voice, seen by inner eyes, uncontrived and unplanned. Whatever comes to me that rings true and real, I write it down. If it has value, it will stay. If it is meaningless or useless, it will be discarded. These things take care of themselves. All of my poetry came this way – as gifts of grace, never as the product of conscious effort, craft, or intention. I trust the soundless voice that speaks, much more than I trust my own limited and confused intellect.

When I was in my twenties, an artist and a fledgling poet, I said to God “Make me your instrument.” Maybe God will finally do that, or maybe that’s the One who placed the desire there to begin with. Either way, the prayer has not really changed much, for I have learned and relearned: by myself I can do nothing of real importance or significance, but when I’m driven to the page by that unnamed voice, something clear and clean and beautiful emerges into the light of ordinary day. In that moment, the ordinariness, the stories, the simple truths of life become what they have always been, but unseen: they become sacred. My response to this can only be awe, wonder, and gratefulness.


#16 About Writing Your Memoir

06/21/2017

Angelou quote.png
I always tell people, “Everyone should do this.” But with the caveat that you probably should not do it until you’re at least 50 years old, because you might not be able to handle it.

It’s no small deal. Telling your truth honestly and earnestly means time-travel, not just remembering. Being a disembodied observer looking down impartially like a sacred voyeur. You will see things you never saw– about your life, yourself, and the people along your path– truths and revelations you could not have seen with your younger eyes.

This will be painful. It will also be healing. Old wounds you didn’t realize you had will open right before your eyes, and bleed and leak other nasty stuff you never realized was in there. That’s the bad news. The good news is, you will see other things too, that you didn’t notice before: the beauty of yourself and other “imperfect” souls in your story. I promise you, you’ll be astonished, and quite possibly overcome with love and respect for that stumbling, blundering, courageous innocent that you really were.

Emotional wounds,  big and small, are like abscesses, scarred over with guilt and denial. When opened again in a clean place with a good light, they have the opportunity to drain their poisons and finally heal. We all have old wounds, many from our earliest years on earth, because they go with the life-path. A big part of the adventure of life is about managing them, rather than just allowing them to manage you. This takes a mature observer, an experienced blunderer, a sympathetic listener.  This is the heart of my book.

Writing a memoir forces us to re-open the time again, to look at ourselves and others in our story with mercy and compassion that puts whatever regret or guilt we have been carrying into a truer perspective. We can honestly forgive, and be forgiven.


#15 Why We Write

05/01/2017

I believe absolutely that life is inherently and necessarily about adventures, starting out innocent, blundering along, and discovering things. Learning about life, for better or worse, one way or another.

Going off to college in Austin Texas was an adventure that took me out of the shelter of home to another city and an infinitely more exciting and joyful way of life. When I quit school and got married, I went on another adventure, not so joyful, to a lonely East Coast. Again my life changed completely– I gave up my life to support his.

When I got divorced, I took my life back. That was the biggest leap of faith, and the most terrifying: to set out alone into unknown territory. Then I came to California– another new state, another new time zone, and another new life.

All these adventures were great learning experiences, far beyond anything I could have imagined or ever would have planned. Some were wonderful, some were terribly painful and wounding. But I survived them, and I’m “still here to tell the tale”

I learned a lot, but I think the most valuable thing I learned was that this is the nature and function of life— to venture out beyond our beginnings, to discover. It’s why we came here at all– to have adventures, and then to share the stories.


#14 Dear Beta Readers

03/10/2017

First of all, thank you for participating in this pre-publication First Read, and helping me to write the best book I can. Some of you have known me at some period in my life. It’s going to be a task for you to step back from that, and read the stories as abstractly as possible, as a group of characters you’ve never met. That’s the way you can help me most, in the writing process.

As you read, or after a chapter, just notice things like “what was my impression of this chapter? What stood out for me? What seems strong? Weak? Too fast or slow? Confusing? Unrealistic? Vivid?.” Was there enough of __(fill in the blank)__ or too much? Those are the things I need to know, that if spotted and corrected, will make the book clearer and better at saying what I really want to say, in a way that is understandable, not phony, not preachy, not fancy, and as genuinely as I can.

In writing the stories, I found it enormously helpful to think of the protagonist/ storyteller as simply a character in a book. Not me. That changed both my perspective and my perception surprisingly. When I stepped back and looked at this funny little girl from a distance, as someone I was observing like a character in a movie, I saw things about her that I never could have seen when I was her.

So if you are one of my friends, don’t take Victoria with you into chapter one, dump her at the gate and leave her out of it. She is someone else, who came much later. The first time you meet Vickie, see her as somebody you have never met before. And in your comments and suggestions, please refer to this character as “the little girl” or “the storyteller.” That will really help you keep a fresh unbiased perspective. For example, write “she was…” Not “you were…” Other than that, just enjoy a free book.

Congratulations, you are now a Developmental Editor. Professional ones make big bucks for this. So please know how much I value and appreciate your participation in my creative process. This will surely bring you lovely Karma. I’ll be blogging more here about the beta reader experience, so y’all come back.


#13 Beta Readers = Fresh Eyes

03/08/2017

A beta reader is someone who reads an unpublished manuscript at an early development stage and gives feedback to the writer. Beta readers provide a second perspective (or third, or fourth) which can often spot fixable flaws or shortfalls in the manuscript that the writers didn’t see, because we are too close to it.

How does the process work? Choose the way that’ easiest for you:

1. Read the chapters on the web and give feedback on the Beta Readers Comments page.
2. Download chapters as PDFs to read later, then email me your response in a note.
3. PDFs can also be exported as Word.docs and marked-up using the “Review” system.
4. Can be sent to you by Email, you read at your leisure and return your notes.=
5. The old-fashioned way (that most editors like) Chapters can be sent to you by snail-mail, as hard-copy print-outs , to be read, ”marked-up” and sent back with your comments scribbled right on the actual pages. Organic!
On the web, the works and the comments are both  password-protected; they can’t be seen by search engines or anyone else except you and me.

I’m seeking two or three readers who might be:
(1) fellow-writers, but don’t know me personally, and
(2) non-writers, people with life-experiences who like to read.
(3) people with backgrounds in EMS, Fire Service would be especially helpful.

The book is Victory Is My Name, A Memoir. If you are interested in reading and being a contributor to my creative nonfiction book, please go to this page, request a password, and tell me about yourself. http://w2w.victoriachames.com/workslogin.html


#12 Trust The Inner Voice

01/03/2017

I have learned to trust my intuition and the lines that come to me in the middle of the night, I get up and write them down. So many times, this is a stream from an unseen source, but it very often, very surprisingly, tells me truths I don’t even know yet. The book I’m writing was intended as a memoir but has become more like an epistle of faith. Looking

The book I’m writing was intended as a memoir but has become more like an epistle of faith. Looking across my history and the history of my family from the  outside-in, I can see patterns and meanings I didn’t see when I was looking from the inside-out. It is being written like a letter not from my persona’s usual view, but more as if spoken from some inner voice, seen by inner eyes, uncontrived and unplanned. Whatever comes to me from this source, I write it down. If it has value, if it that rings true and real, it will stay. If it should turn out to be unimportant, it will discard itself along the way–these things take care of themselves. All of my poetry came this way – as  gifts of grace, never as the product of conscious endeavor, craft, or intention. I trust the soundless voice that speaks much more than I trust my own limited and conflicted intellect.

When I was in my twenties, an artist and a fledgling poet, I said to God “Make me your instrument.” Maybe God will finally do that, or maybe that’s the One who placed the desire there to begin  with. Either way, the prayer has not really changed much, for I have learned and relearned that by myself I can do little of real importance or significance. But when I’m driven to the page by that unnamed voice, something clear and clean and beautiful emerges into the light of ordinary day. In that moment, the ordinariness, the stories, the simple truths of life become what they have always been, but unseen: they become sacred. My response to this can only be awe, wonder, and gratefulness.


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