Saturday, March 7, 2009

Welcome Chiron O'Keefe

First off, I’d like to thank the Prairie Chicks for inviting me to visit! I love reading this blog, and actually purchased my Kindle based on one of the posts here. *smile*

I wasn’t quite four years old when I began learning to read. Even before my eyes traveled over the printed page, I knew words were magic. Nestled within those letters was the key to everything my youthful heart yearned for. I still remember sitting at my desk in fourth grade, staring with amazement as cursory letters were introduced. Wow! Printing I could take in stride, but script just knocked me for a loop. Secretly, I eyed the adults around me in awe. *laughs* Magic!

Books were portals into other worlds. Henry and Ribsy, Beezus and Ramona, these whimsical creations of Beverly Cleary became my best friends. At age ten, my mother gifted me with the entire series of Oz books. They still sit perched on my bookshelf, a reminder of many wondrous adventures with Dorothy, the Wizard, Ozma, and Eureka the pink kitty. I remember during unhappy times, fervently willing Glinda the Good Witch to read of me in her magic book and whisk me away to the land I knew so well. *laughs* I solved mysteries with Trixie Belden and Brains Benton, explored science with Danny Dunn, had wild adventures with Elmer and the Dragon, cast magic spells (that often went awry) in Half-Magic by Edward Eager, and vroomed along with a certain Ralph S. Mouse. *grin*

Throughout my life, books were always my stalwart companions. From Herman Hesse to Robert Heinlein, from Agatha Christie to ‘The Cat Who’ series by Lillian Jackson Braun.

My first ventures into writing were not fiction. A practicing astrologer, I published articles in American Astrology and had a column exploring beliefs and positive thinking in a Tahoe Newspaper. My focus for many years was on the analytical side of writing—communication. Numerous commentaries in my local newspaper and written astrological reports kept me busy. Ten years ago, I retired from astrological counseling and began to explore the notion of creating stories. Little did I realize what a transition it would be! Bit by bit, I began to nudge my right brain into awakening, beginning with short stories and gradually penning novels.

Like most authors, I truly believed my first novel was a sure-fire bestseller and the world would weep with gratitude. *snort* Some first novels are amazing. Mine was not. *grin* That’s when I discovered that after years of right brain calisthenics my left brain needed to learn how to dance.

I tackled a second book, and a third. It wasn’t easy and there were plenty of times I wanted to fling pages in the air and walk away. This is where comrades-in-words are so vital. Without fellow writers to nod wisely and wipe away those inevitable tears, few writers would survive. I was half-way through my fourth book—a psychic suspense and a complete departure from the light-hearted romantic tales completed—when I fell into a puddle of good fortune. Here’s where the magic really happens.

Early last year I was invited to join a small group dedicated to producing quality work. Leading the charge were two women possessing decades of experience with writing and editing, mostly behind the scenes. What I didn’t know is that my mentor had been quietly setting the stage to open a small press publishing company. Since I’d already had the benefit of her editing expertise, the announcement seemed almost inevitable. She’d called me up to chat about character delineation, or so I thought. So casually I almost missed it, she said, "Oh by the way, I’m publishing SIDEKICKS." My state of shock lasted for weeks. Not until I caught a glimpse of my cover did the magic seem real.

Now here I am in the midst of edits, learning more than I ever thought possible. Ironically, her notes aren’t just showing me different dance steps. *grin* This new perspective is tapping into my internal rhythm and giving me a new sense of writing. Now I can’t wait to get back to my psychic suspense! *laughs*

My first release is scheduled for October 2, 2009 from Eirelander Publishing. Until then, I’ll be editing, juggling two WIPS (a sequel to SIDEKICKS and my psychic suspense), and continuing to post motivational essays for writers on my blog, The Write Soul.

Writing is more than a career to me. Writing is a magical adventure, a continuous path of self-discovery and the most delightful dance I could ever imagine. The world is comprised of stories, and my greatest blessing is to be able to read. Books are my best friends. Knowing I’m adding even one more ‘friend’ is the best reality I could ever dream of.

Now, I’ve shared some of my favorite stories. Are there any early books that really had an impact on you? Recent books that transported you to another world? Or perhaps an author who so takes your breath away you scour the shelves hoping for a new release?

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!
Smiles,
Chiron O’Keefe
www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

Stardom isn't all it's cracked up to be........when you're hiding the real you.
Holy Aphrodite, Megan Reed has finally made it! Her book's soaring up the NYT's bestseller list. There's only one hitch. With the greatest accolade of her writing career comes an even greater responsibility - hiding her true identity: a wannabe love goddess who couldn't find a leading man if he leapt out of the pages of her own How-To Guide.Two men step into the spotlight, making her head spin. Between dodging the nosy media, and searching her own heart, Megan discovers not only who she is, but also the real meaning of the term 'Leading Man'.
SIDEKICKS, October 2009, Eirelander Publishing

37 comments:

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Applause, Chiron! Way to go. This was a delightful intro into who you are and what writing means to you.

To answer your question, one author I scour the bookstore for is Sophie Kinsella. I reread her work allt he time, and every successive read makes me laugh just as much as the first time I picked up the story.

Was happy to hear your story of 'The Call'. It's really an amazing feeling, innit?

Hugs

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn)
Light My World - Aasiyah Qamar
October 2, Eirelander Publishing

Karen said...

Good Morning, Chiron. Welcome to the Chicks. Thank you for sharing your writing journey. It's always inspiring to hear how writers come to be published. It makes me want to sit down and write.

I can't remember a time when I didn't love to read. As a child and now an adult one of my favorite books is Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery. I have read it many, many, many times over the years. In high school I was fortunate enought to read To Kill A Mockingbird and to this day it retains a position in my all time top five. I could go on and on but I won't.

Congratulations on your first release! I look forward to Sidekicks. It sounds very intriguing!

Janet C. said...

First, let me apologize for the formattng error - all my fault. Now, because I'm technically inept, I can't figure out how to remove the "non-image" from the blog without deleting the whole blog :( If anyone knows (looking at Anita), please instruct me (or go in and do it for me). Argh - technology.

Second - welcome Chiron. You are such an inspiration. Your story of determination really moves me - and I'm so happy for your success. Thank you for sharing that journey with us today.

Third - books have always been a major part of my life. As a child, I read anything and everything. As an adult, same thing. Jack Whyte, Ian McEwan, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Barbara Kingsolver - I have too many favorites to list.

Question - where do you get the inspiration for your weekly essays? All of them are so great and the quotes you use are perfect. But to come up with one a week - well, let's just say coming up with a blog topic every week has really given me new respect for your committment.

Janet

Hayley E. Lavik said...

Welcome Chiron, what a lovely post! I really enjoyed hearing about all your early inspirations, and was pleased to see some common ground. I can't remember the last time I met someone who know little Ralph S. Mouse! What wonderful memories came back, reading that paragraph.

Going back to my utterly earliest books, I love the Mousekin series (such beautiful pictures) and Dr Seuss, particularly "Are You My Mother?" Anyone who understands the phrase "you're not my mother, you're a snort!" makes me smile.

The biggest influences in forming the sort of writer I am came in my pre-teens with the books I burrowed into from 8 to 12 years. Most importantly, Michael Tod's Woodstock Saga, which I've actually mentioned here before. I'd never read a book for younger readers (I think I was probably younger than its target audience) that told a story about animals, but also had such an epic quality, such sorrow and harrowing, and truly made me cry for the loss of favourite characters. I loved that trilogy :)

Chiron said...

Hello Z!

I adore Sophie's books! My two favorites are "Can You Keep A Secret?" & "The Undomestic Goddess"> She's such a hoot!!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Karen,

Thanks so much for the welcome! Isn't it lovely when you reread a childhood favorite and discover it's just as wonderful as you first believed? *smile*

I remembered reading Demiam by Herman Hesse back when I was 19. What a profound impact that book had on me! I pulled it up a few years ago and was swept away yet again.

Thanks for the congrats! I can't wait for October. *grin*

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hey Janet,

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit!

I'm with you on the 'too many authors' to list! I love to read and my appetite is endless. I freely admit to being Hooked on Books!

About your question... First off, thanks so much. I appreciate your kind comments! Writing an essay a week has been an interesting commitment, to say the least. It was about a year ago that I wondered if I had it in me to write one more! And yet here I am, still plugging away.

The essays come about in different ways. Sometimes one of my fellow writers will make a comment that will get me thinking. Or I'll be thumbing through a magazine and a passage will jump out at me, and I'll think, THAT would be a great focus for an essay! With the theme already in mind, I then search for the perfect opening quote.

Other times I use the serendipity approach. *grin* I begin perusing quotes until one of them awakens my heart. When I feel a tingle I know I'm on the right track. I'll pull up half a dozen and get to writing. It's rather a magical process, as at some point I can never tell if the quotes are inspiring the next passage or just appearing magically to support my focus. *laughs* I'm big on fantasy books (and there's that whole Oz background) so I always reserve the right to believe in magic.

Thanks for your great question!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hello there Hayley,

Thanks so much! Ah, yes. Ralph S. Mouse. What adventures for a little boy and an even littler mouse. I love those books! Now, the series about The Borrowers pops to mind. Remember that?

The Woodstock Saga sounds very intriguing! I'm jotting down the name to remember. Isn't it wonderful how a book (or trilogy) can make such a change in our lives?

Every book that is written is like a hall of mirrors, extending endlessly. All those reflections in so many hearts and souls. To me, writing IS magic. *smile*

I love being a writer AND a reader. Even more, I am thrilled and honored to know so many fellow readers! There's something eternally precious about sharing memories of books. Like 'summer loves'. *grin*

Smiles,
Chiron

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Chiron, welcome to the Prairies.

I enjoyed reading your post. I think yours is the first ever I've read that was face-to-face vs a phone call. How exciting.

And since you asked... I'll say it again, The Pokey Little Puppy started me on my path of being an avid reader.

And Hayley, Are You My Mother? was another early kick. I believe because it did use the word snort. Up til then, it never occurred to me that 'funny' words could be in books. :)

Congrats on your new release, Chiron. May it bring the conviction that yes, you are indeed a writer worthy of being published.

Chiron said...

Hello Anita!

Thanks so much for the welcome. Yes, getting that first book picked up is the best affirmation ever. *grin*

How delightful to read of your early foray into the wonderful world of books. 'Snort' is such an awesome word! *laughs*

I remember when I was very young, probably seven or so, reading a book meant for a group slightly older and obviously with a more extensive vocabulary

Well, the character falls down and the only thing he hurts is his 'dignity'. Now, I'd yet to read that word and so it was totally unfamiliar. Sounded pretty intense though so my mind conjured up all sorts of possibilities. *snort!!* A few years later I found out what it really meant. *smacks head* Now I laugh at the memory.

Smiles to you,
Chiron

Misty Evans said...

Hi Chiron! Great post and huge CONGRATS on the upcoming publication! SIDEKICKS is a funny, touching story that will definitely be on my keeper shelf.

You're an inspiration to so many. The writing world is blessed to have you and all your wisdom to guide us!

You listed some of my early favorites. I also loved mysteries...Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc. As a teenager, my all time favorite was To Kill A Mockingbird, just like Karen. *grin*

Again, congrats and I can't wait to get my copy of SIDEKICKS!

Love and hugs,
Misty
www.readmistyevans.com

Captain Hook said...

Hey, Chiron! Congrats on your first book being released soon. You've attained the Holy Grail we all strive for.

I'm another one who has loved reading my entire life. My mother still (32 years later) tells the story of how a 4 year old me refused to go out for recess during preschool and instead stayed in to read the Charlie Brown dictionary.

Hayley, Are You My Mother? was a really important book in my younger years. Because I'm adopted and always wondered why my mother gave me up, the little bird's search made me cry every time.

Ree Mancini said...

Hey there, Wonder Woman! Your post was, as usual, inspiring and a joy to read. I can't wait for Sidekicks to be released.

I was a "good" reader in grade school but I don't really remember reading a lot of children's books. When I was a teen my sister gave me a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss', The Wolf and the Dove and that was it for me! Out of that one book grew a love of not only romance but other genres as well. My must read authors are many and varied.

Ree

Chiron said...

Misty!

Thanks so much for stopping by. You are a treasure!

Those early mysteries sure were fun! Stories can help us see different aspects of our very own self. What a learning!

Smiles, love and hugs,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hey there, Cap'n!

What a cool story of the 'four-year-old' you! She and I would have gotten along just fine. *grin*

I really related to your experience with the "Are You My Mother?" story. We always tune into the tales that help us process, eh? My father died before I turned four which may be why I so loved Edward Eager's magic books. The widowed mother, the children and the wonderful stepfather did offer a world I could slip away to.

They say the world is comprised of stories, for which I say, Thank Goddess!!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hey Ree!

Aw, thanks so much. I can't wait for the release either. *jumps for joy!!*

How wonderful that your sister's offering was the turning point for you. What an amazing gift that is. I'm like you now, my reading list is wide and scattered among genres. As a kid, I'd read the cereal box just to have SOMETHING... ANYTHING to read. *laughs*

A long time ago I read Heinlein's 'Glory Road'. The main character admits to having a 'habit'. *chuckle* He's hooked alright, and he can't sleep without something to read. That's me!

Smiles!
Chiron

Janet C. said...

Hey, Chiron, me again. Wow, lots of chatter here in the comment room. Great to see that - and too see all the new visitors to The Prairies.

Question for you - your doing edits, working on 2 WIP, writing weekly essays (I'm tired just thinking about it), so how do you juggle it all? Do you have a schedule you try and stick with? Do you find you're more productive with creative endeavors at a certain time during the day? As an unpublished author, I just struggle to find time to write, never mind all the other stuff I should be doing.

Janet
(Love Kathleen Woodiwiss, Ree - thanks for reminding me. I'm off to find my copy of The Wolf and The Dove)

Janet C. said...

I should really proofread :(

You're, Janet, not your!

Suse said...

Hi Chiron, congratulations on your upcoming book. I'll look forward to your pub date.

Unlike a lot of writers, I struggled with reading in the younger grades. We didn't have a lot of reading material in our home - just the local small community paper and the Western Producer (an agriculture based paper) and a bible. My mom didn't enjoy reading and my dad, with only a grade 7, struggled with reading.

Thank goodness in grade 6, we had a reading program that helped build my reading skills. Before that, books and libraries were a mystery. Once I was able to read better and found I enjoyed it, I loved going to the library in my small town. I was amazed when I met my husband and been taken to his parents home. There were books all over the place; they even an entire encyclopedia set. Suffice it to say, when I had kids, libraries and book stores were visited on a regular basis.

One book I read in high school, "Mara, Daughter of the Nile" by Eloise Jarvis McGraw has been a favourite of mine. I just recently bought it in paperback. This book had first been published in hardcover in 1953 and then in paperback in 1985. I was afraid I'd never have a chance to read that book again if the libraries got rid of their hardcover copies and the paperback went out of print, so I bought it. I recently lent to my 21 year old daughter to read. I hope she enjoys it as much as I do.

I wish you continued success in your writing career.

Chiron said...

Hi Janet,

Good questions!

I'm luckier than most, since I don't have an outside job. However, I do still have to juggle, as you said.

When time slips away, my inbox gets neglected. I'm involved in two writing groups, those digests fill up my mailbox until I get a break. Although I'd love to visit dozens of blogs, those also slip by the wayside.

My schedule is that I usually read news and emails while I sip juice and eat my oatmeal. By the time I'm slurping back my tea I'm either answering those emails or working on a story. I work fairly steadily (with breaks to stretch or to make more tea) until mid-afternoon, depending on my schedule. Then I shower and exercise. If I have errands to run, I hop to it much earlier. If not, I've pushed myself up til almost four before I race to get cleaned up before dinner. *snort*

However, many things do slide past my attention. My housekeeping leaves much to be desired. *sigh* My beloved Sims 2 game sits neglected on the shelf. *laughs* And dinner often consists of a salad and whatever else I can throw together. I'm lucky to have a patient husband who encourages my writing and doesn't mind a less than sterile environment.

I work on writing or editing usually Monday through Friday. The essay is written either Friday (if I did enough during the week) or Saturday if I'm pressed for time.

I take Sunday off completely, with hardly any computer time just to give myself a break. Since I sometimes stay up late on Saturday, playing music (yup, I play guitar and sing too) with hubby, it allows me to sleep in and just be lazy at least one day.

For me, the most productive time of the day is first thing in the morning. At night sometimes before bed I'm catching up on messages (like at RWAOL!), answering comments on my blog, or clearing out inbox items.

Hey! I exhausted MySelf just thinking about it!! *chuckle* Truth is, when I'm on a roll it's hard to step away from the computer. I have found that anytime I think I'm too tired to work I give myself permission cut back.

"Just do one page," I whisper to myself with a sly wink.

See I know how I am. *grin* Once I start the energy picks me up and my fingers can't stop. The real secret for me is just beginning that one page.

Thanks for the question, Janet! When I talk to other writers, juggling jobs and families, I actually feel like I've got it easy!

Smiles,
Chiron

Miss Mae said...

Hi, Chiron. Beautiful post, as all of yours always are. :)

I, too, loved Trixie (I think we've mentioned this before) and I devoured Nancy Drew. My 6th grade teacher read all the Laura Ingalls Little House books to the class, and I remember another she read (can't remember the author), but the title was, "Mrs. Baggins of the Cabbage Patch."LOL Does anyone know the author???

Also, I loved the Doctor DooLittle books. I always wanted to talk to animals too. :)

MM

Chiron said...

Hello Suse!

Thanks very much, I appreciate that.

Wow, it's so easy for me to take for granted the easy access I had to reading material throughout my life. Your childhood sounds like a story in the making. What an awesome feeling it is when we discover the magic of reading, eh?

Ah yes, the encyclopedia. Even though my father died very young, one of my faintest memories was of him pulling out the various letters and reading to us. That still tickles me to remember. I also remember that my favorite letter was "S", especially the part about 'making soap.' Fascinating!


"Mara" sounds intriguing. Very wise of you to snatch it while you could! There's a couple of Taylor Caldwell books I love that are now out of print. I scour the used book stores and hope someday to find copies. I hope your daughter loves your 'impact book' as much as you did.

Thanks so much for your well-wishes and for your comments!

Have a lovely day!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Hello Miss Mae!

We do share that love of Trixie. *fond smile* How wonderful to have a teacher who read books to the class!! Very cool indeed.

Now I did some searching and I found a slightly different title for you. Could it be "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" by Alice Hegan Rice?

I also loved the idea of talking to animals. *sigh* There is an old Disney flick, "The Three Lives of Tomasina" where a 'witch' in the woods was actually a healer of wild animals. I loved that so much!

Thanks for stopping by, Miss Mae!

Smiles and hugs,
Chiron

Miss Mae said...

I think you're right, Chiron. That does sound more familiar, "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch." I can't remember now a thing the story was about, but I always thought that title so catchy! LOL

Sandy said...

Hello, Chiron,

Great post as usual. I can remember my mother reading to me always. Chicken Little was one of the stories I liked as a toddler. Three Little Piggies and others. I was always a reader. Family members always bought me books for Christmas and my birthday.

As I grew older, I read on my own and of course, Trixie Belden was a huge favorite along with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. Another story I loved at this age was Black Beauty. To Kill A Mockingbird was also a favorite, but also, A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter and Christy by Catherine Marshall. Oh, there were so many more I couldn't possibly name them all.

Congratulations on Sidekicks, my dear.

Hugs,
Sandy

Chiron said...

Hello Sandy!

What great memories about your mom. Being read to is the greatest thing ever.

You have named a few I don't know! I know for awhile my mom had us enrolled in book of the month club for kids. We got so many cool books! What a treasure.

One of my earliest books was The Little House (I think that's the title). I read that in third grade. The story very simply was of a beautiful house on a lovely hill. As progress moved forward, the 'city' encroached on the little house steadily until tall buildings crowded out the trees and obscured the beautiful blue sky. Eventually, the grandkids of the owners came and rescued the house, propping it up and relocating back to the country.

What a message, eh? The book swept me away. I think I actually cried for that poor little house. I suppose it was inevitable that I would wind up somewhere like Oregon as a result! *laughs*

Thanks for sharing, Sandy. And thanks so much for stopping by!!

Smiles,
Chiron

Captain Hook said...

Just popping back in to mention another book that I really loved.

When I was about 11, I read Yesterday, Today and Forever (at least I think that's the title) by Maria von Trapp. The Sound of Music had been one of my favorite movies for years, so my mom thought I'd like to read the book.

Loved it! Then about 3 months later, we went and stayed at the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT. I was beyond excited to actually meet Gretl!! Much fun.

Janet C. said...

Captain Hook - you met Gretl? Oh, I am in awe now.

I love The Sound of Music.

Janet C. said...

Not sure if Chiron is still up and checking in, but I want to take this opportunity to thank her for joining us here on The Prairies. It's been a wonderful day of new friends, great books, and inspiration. Thank you, Chiron.

And thanks to all the new visitors - it was a pleasure having you stop by. Come on back and visit again, soon.

See you over at RWAOL, Chiron.

Janet

Chiron said...

Oh wow, Cap'n, that's fabulous! Imagine meeting Gretl! That's incredible. I loved that movie, although I actually saw the play first in a little community theater in Crestline, California.

How amazing! Thanks so much for sharing that.

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Janet,

Thanks so much to you and all the Prairie Chicks for having me here! It's been a blast! I loved seeing some familiar 'faces' *grin* and making some wonderful new friends.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and sharing fascinating tidbits about favorite stories over the years.

Stop by anytime and visit me at The Write Soul. www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

See you at RWAOL, Janet! Thanks again.

Smiles and hugs,
Chiron

Donna Sundblad said...

Hi Hiron,

I loved this line: "That’s when I discovered that after years of right brain calisthenics my left brain needed to learn how to dance." For me it was almost the opposite, I had to learn to harness my dance steps. LOL

My first novel was fan fiction. That tells you a lot. But it was a good learning project as I learned how to write a novel length project with a beginning, middle and end.

Sounds like you're juggling a lot of projects, isn't it great fun!

Donna

Donna

Chiron said...

Hello Donna!

How fun to start with fan fiction! And the whole 'beginning-middle-end' was actually why I wrote my first book. *chuckle* I started experimenting with short stories, only to feel I couldn't quite 'get' it.

I decided a novel would give me a bigger playing field so to speak, and so I began.

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Smiles,
Donna

jilljames said...

Chiron, wonderful post. I learned to read at 2 1/2. I haven't been without a book since. LOL I remember reading the Little House books and being in awe that a little girl could tell the story of her life and have it made into a book.

Beppie Harrison said...

Oh, Chiron, reading about your early reading made me remember mine. My mother gave me Heidi when I was eight years old, telling me I might be too young for it, which made me determined to read it. I did, and I still remember whole chunks of it!

And now there's the fun of reading books of friends. Waiting for yours --

Beppie

Chiron said...

Hey Jill,

Wow. 2 1/2? That's amazing. Like you I was hooked as soon as I devoured that first word.

So many books, so little time! I have a paperback tower near my bed *laughs* and now with my new Kindle I'm already itching to fill it up! *grin*

Love being a reader!

Thanks for stopping by!

Smiles,
Chiron

Chiron said...

Beppie,

That's so cool! What a great incentive. Not old enough? *grumble-grumble* I'll show them!

And yes, now we have friend's books too. YAY!

Thanks for visiting, my dear!!

Smiles,
Chiron