Father-Daughter Fiction

October 1, 2013 by · 4 Comments 

Pin It

Image 3I have been in “radio silence” for the last weeks while working pretty long hours to get a first draft of That Autumn in Edinburgh finished by October 1, and–glory-of-glories–I managed to do it! Next up? Starting on page one to do a polish (or two…or three…) and hoping that I can make the deadline of getting this second novel in the “Four Seasons Quartet” published before the end of the year…perhaps by December 1.Harlan_Ware_circa_1950

Meanwhile, I heard from a very good writer and reporter who recently wrote an initial blog about a film made from a novel that my father, Harlan Ware, wrote called Come, Fill the Cup starring James Cagney, Raymond Massey, and Gig Young. The translation of the book-to-movie is a rather involved story–with some great photographs–and Moira Finnie has done a terrific job telling this rather tortuous tale.

A few days after she posted it, she tracked me down with a few questions, which I answered, including some family photographs of my own, and soon a second blog appeared. I thought both of them might be of interest to some of you classic movie buffs!

That Autumn EdinburghSo enjoy…while I’ll get back to work on this novel (see new cover on left!)…which would make a terrific movie, in my unbiased opinion…

Tea Addiction in Fiction

April 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Pin It

urlThere must be a “tea gene” running through the Ware and McCullough clans, because I’m pretty sure there’s a scene where someone is making, delivery, pouring, or drinking tea in every single one of my seven works of fiction…Back Camera

 

 

 

 

In That Summer in Cornwall there must be about a half dozen such scenes, and in each one, I try to recall some wonderful repast that included tea, scones, cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon, and—gasp—even little cream puffs.

Harlan_Ware_circa_1950

 

 

 

I think it all began with my father, Harlan Ware, a mid-century writer of novels, screenplays, short stories (remember The Saturday Evening Post, anyone?), and—for fourteen of its twenty-seven years on the air, the radio drama One Man’s Family set in Sea Cliff, San Francisco, not too far from where I live.

one-mans-family-cast

The Barbour Family in that show was always discussing “life” over a cup of tea…but, of course, listeners only heard the clinking of  the chinaware, courtesy of the sound engineer baffled behind the sound-proof screen in the old NBC studios.

photoWhen I was growing up in Carmel, California, my father and I would walk the length of the beach at four o’clock when I got home from school and he’d finished his daily script…and then go home for a “nice cuppa.”

The strange thing was that my dad had never set foot outside the United States, but he was as British as any Londoner, and having tea between four and five o’clock every day was just one example of the strength of his family origins tracing back to Devon and Cornwall.IMG_4528.JPG - Version 2

 

 

 

And now, I, along with many of my closest friends, are likewise addicted to teatime.  In my case, however, I am very likely to inset a scene—or two or more—into my fiction where the characters find themselves discussing life, love, and whatever problems they are having over a nice, strong amber brew.

stock-footage-woman-drinking-a-coffee-while-she-is-reading-a-book

 

 

So perhaps I can persuade you one day soon, to cozy down with a good novel, put your feet up, and enjoy a cup on me?

Writers’ Conferences 101

October 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Pin It

Fall and spring in pretty places–that’s pretty much the routine when it comes to holding writers’ conferences, and the Scribblers’ Retreat is no exception!  Held quarterly, the next one is November 10-14  at the King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort –shown here–on gorgeous St. Simons Island, Georgia and will feature historical novelists like Diana Gabaldon and yours truly, along with my publisher, Dominique Riccah, CEO of Sourcebooks.

I just got the promotional material that kindly said:  “Ciji Ware,  veteran of all forms of print and electronic media, will talk about “New Publishing Trends–or–How I Survived as a Scribe.” Certainly a timely topic, given the revolution (and convolutions) going on in the print and publishing worlds, and when a visitor to this site merely clicks from page to page, you can certainly deduce that the main message I probably want to convey is:  keep writing–no matter what!

That is how one gets to be a “veteran.”  As my sainted late father, Harlan Ware, used to say about producing reams of material over his professional writing career, “Writers write.  They don’t make excuses.  They put the seat of their pants on the chair and their hands on the keyboard and they keep typing!”

And if you’re me, you start at about 9a.m. at least five days a week, as you can see from the image of a former (very mess) office on the right.

Maybe “Writers Write” should be inscribed within view of every would-be novelist or scribe.  If you click on the “Ciji’s Covers” page on this site that displays the eight books I’ve written, you’ll see what comes from being consistent. To earn my keep,  I’ve also written  nonfiction, 2 screenplays (neither so far produced), a play (produced in my home town), magazines, news, television, and radio copy, online articles for the web, e-books, e-guides–you name it, I’ve typed it!

I usually mention this when I speak publicly, and offer forth other bits of wisdom from my father who wrote screenplays,novels, a biography, short stories, and for fourteen of its twenty-seven years on the air, the radio classic One Man’s Family: “The best way to be a writer who can pay the light bill is to pretend you work for the phone company. Punch the clock, day in, day out.”

Not every budding writer wants to hear this message of how to survive as a professional scribe.  They want to write “when the spirit moves them….”  or when their head is full of vibrant, fabulous ideas.  And that’s fine, if writing is a hobby.  But if it’s a living, there’s only one way to survive, and that’s to, as they say in the Nike commercial:  “Just DO it!”

Onsite courses are held at the 1010 Westwood Center in Westwood Village as well as the UCLA campus, or at our satellite location at Occidental College in Eagle Rock.When I taught “Writing the First Novel” as an adjunct professor at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program,  I had 17 members in my class, and only one of them finished a book.  The next year when I taught “Writing Women’s Fiction”–same thing. One person completed her manuscript and the rest of the class never crossed the finish line.  I was worried that perhaps I wasn’t a great teacher, but the supervisor running the program looked up my student evaluations and said, “No…you got great marks from your class.  It’s just they never understood how hard it can be to write a book, to say nothing of getting it published.”

Apparently, nearly every lawyer would like to be John Grisham, but few have the stamina to work as hard at the writing craft as Grisham has.  Hundreds of people over the years have said to me, “Oh….I’d love to write a book, if only I had the time,” or “I know a great book that you should write!”

I haven’t spoke to a full-fledged writers conference for quite some time, lecturing mostly these days about my nonfiction work Rightsizing Your Life:  Simplifying Your Surroundings While Keeping What Matters Most. But now that all my historicals are being reissued with wonderful covers from Sourcebooks Landmark–and my first new historical novel in a decade will be published next April–it’s going to be interesting to see if audiences of fledgling authors who “love to write” have changed at all, especially as it has become tougher and tougher to earn one’s living in the Digital Age.

I’ll let you know how it goes….