Guest Post – Who has a new Book? – Ned Hickson #Humor

  Welcome to my new series for authors with new books. I’ve chosen to start the series off with a blast and few good laughs as well as great information. I’m thrilled to have Ned Hickson, author, blogger, humor columnist, editor, and volunteer fire-fighter here today to start the series.   On the serious side – Ned does write a humor column for the Siuslaw  News, a small Oregon paper, where his motto is: “Your dependable source for local news. Twice weekly. Unless we lose count.”    For those of you who don’t know Ned, you’re in for a treat and lots of laughter. Ned sure does wear a lot of hats, and not to mention he’s a dedicated family man and looks for the funny in every situation. Oh, and I just have to mention, Ned loves bacon. If you want to know how much, just go over to his blog and type in ‘bacon’ in the search bar, grab a coffee, and prepare to be thoroughly entertained. According to Ned, bacon is almost a universal item that could be eaten, worn, or even part of a book cover (which he chose not to use). Please visit Ned’s ABOUT PAGE to get a great idea of what he’s all about.   Ned’s first book –Humor at the Speed of Life is rated 5 Star Hilarious, and today Ned will be introducing his newly published book  here today- Pearls of Writing Wisdom and share a bit about the book and himself.   From the dangers of family forays in the kitchen (Flaming Pop Tarts), and the careful maneuvering of male-female relations (Women are From Venus, and Men Won’t Ask for Directions), to the dangers of working as an under-appreciated JURNALIST, Ned takes us through day-to-day misadventures we can all relate to. Link to Humor at the Speed of Life: http://www.portholebooks.com/products/humor-at-the-speed-of-life   ABOUT NED:   Ned is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist and editor-in-chief at Siuslaw News. He has been awarded “Best Local Column” from both the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and his weekly column appears in dozens of newspapers in the U.S. and Canada as a syndicated feature for News Media Corporation.   He was also a corporate chef for 10 years and has been a volunteer firefighter since 2011. Both are topics that have made their way into his columns, along with daily life experiences and important social issues, such as glow-in-the-dark mice and injuries caused by overheated pickles in fast food. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, was published by Port Hole Publishing and is a collection of his most popular columns during his 16 years as a columnist.   His latest book, Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 Shucking Years as a Columnist (also from Port Hole Publishing), is a writer’s survival guide offering tips, insights and inspiration from his 16 years as a writer and columnist. It was written for writers and anyone pursuing their love of the written word — whether for publication or personal satisfaction.   Ned is a firm believer in the value of humor in daily life, and its role keeping perspective in an increasingly fast-paced and stressful world… especially during seasons of “Dancing With the Stars.”       Blurb:   If you are a writer, or fear you might be one, I wrote this book for you. It contains my pearls of writing wisdom: insights, tips and encouragement shucked from my 16 years as a newspaper columnist and writer. Think of this book as a conversation we’d have about writing if we were sharing a cold beer. We’d talk about technique, style, personal experience and hopes. We’d encourage each other and share a few laughs. We might even get a little rowdy and start using air quotation marks. In the end, we’d feel inspired about our love of writing. So pull up a stool, turn the page and let’s talk about writing… — Ned Hickson   Link to “Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist” http://portholebooks.com/products/pearls-of-writing-wisdom-from-16-shucking-years-as-a-columnist     So without any further ado, here’sssssssssssss Ned!   Welcome Ned and congratulations on your newest book, Pearls of Writing Wisdom! Can you tell us a little bit about how this book came to be? First, thanks for having me as your guest, Debby. And also for the bowl of bacon bits. You’re very thoughtful. And hopefully know how to administer CPR. The idea for “Pearls of Writing Wisdom” really started with a feature called “Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing, which I had been running each Friday on my blog for almost two years. It was aimed at sharing tips, insights and ways of staying inspired as a writer — things I wish I’d known early on in my career. It was a popular series of posts that got me thinking about expanding into a book that writers could keep as a resource for ideas, perspective and inspiration when they need it, from someone whose been there — and still is. I wrote it as if it were a conversation between two writers while having a beer together. The goal was to make it fun to read while, at the same time, being the kind of book writers will nod their head while reading instead of nodding off.   How do you manage to have the time to write books, blogs, fight fires, be a family man, and be a ‘jurnalist’ full time? It’s true that I’m busy. But I’m busy doing the things I love, which I think is the key to staying motivated and inspired. I also try very hard to make sure most of the things I do work together in my life. Writing books, blogging, being a journalist and a family man all dovetail together. Being a volunteer firefighter? That’s important to me because it’s something I’m passionate about and completely unrelated to everything else. It’s important to have something in your life that forces you out of your normal groove. Being tapped out at 3 a.m. for a house fire or someone lost in the woods reminds you to appreciate the groove you have — and that it can change quickly. Plus, our station has a really great dinner together once a month that almost always involves either beef or pork.   I’ve read some of your hilarious ‘handyman’ posts. Would you like to share one of your misadventures about your mission to repair something? My stepfather was a terrific man who could build or fix anything and was never afraid to tackle a project. He instilled in me the belief that I could do the same. He was wrong, of course, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. For example, when I decided to increase the space in our bathroom, I discovered there are certain walls in your home that should not be removed because, as it turns out, portions of your home will collapse. In my own defense, these “bearing walls” aren’t marked as such and, as a general rule, look just like other walls in your home. In this instance, I found myself standing in the middle of the downstairs bathroom while surrounded by the upstairs closet. Everything eventually turned out alright, thanks to my family’s show of support by not hiring a professional. Such as a hit man.   Can you tell us about the time you were voted for sexiest number at Public Blogger? What do you think was your winning strategy? Was it bacon? I have to say there were plenty of other bloggers who were much sexier than me. However, nothing is as sexy as bacon. I knew using bacon in the “Sexy Poem” portion of the competition would overcome things like age and having a stomach that’s closer to a pony keg than a six pack:   An Unhealthy Love The taste of you continues to linger on my tongue along the tip of every finger   Your pliant curves against my lips all at once yet savoring you in bits   They say this hunger and constant yearning will lead to pain and my heart burning   But I don’t care if I’m forsaken I love you because you’re bacon   How do you handle rejection letters? (Although I find it hard to believe anyone could reject you.) I have to credit my sixth-grade crush Sarah Getlost with teaching me how to handle rejection. I spent a lot of time trying to be who I thought she wanted — jock, brainiac, musician, future millionaire — until I realized acceptance for who you are is what matters most. It’s the same for being a writer. Rejection is a necessary part of the process in finding your readership and those who appreciate you for who you are as a writer. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to be something you’re not because, even if you build a readership or get a publishing contract, you will never truly be happy. It took me a while to figure that out as writer. I spent several years early on jumping from genre to genre, changing my writing style, trying to copy the style of other writers… Ultimately, it’s your voice that defines you as a writer. And you can’t do that in a voice that isn’t your own. Once I understood that, I started seeing rejections as something guiding me to a readership as opposed to an obstacle keeping me from finding one. Incidentally, that same belief guided me to the amazing woman I’m lucky enough to call my wife. And she’s way hotter than Sarah Getlost…   When you were asking your readers to help vote for your new book cover, I know you got a lot of votes for you on the sand wearing ‘the red thong’. Do you think you may eventually use that photo for another book? Hahaha! I’m saving that for the cover of my first horror novel…   Please share some of your ‘writing pearls of wisdom’ about some good tips you have for writers. Every writer is different, but these three things are what I consider the most important aspect of successful writing: A) Find your voice — This is easier said than done, but critical in avoiding getting lost in the “white noise” of the writing world. Despite the fact that all humans essentially possess the same speaking components — vocal cords, nasal passages, etc. — we recognize a voice in the crowd because each of us has something that makes our sound unique. A writer’s voice is the same way. We all use words and ideas, but it’s the way we put them together that defines our voice and makes it recognizable to readers. B) Treat your writing as a way of life, not a hobby: If you take your writing seriously so will others. You have to make it a part of everyday life in the same way you do going to work, doing laundry, shopping, etc. Unless you incorporate writing into your routine — whether it be daily, weekly or even monthly — it will always be treated as an extracurricular activity instead of a serious pursuit. Especially if you start wearing a smoking jacket around the house. C) Don’t write for publication; write for yourself: Chances are you started writing when you were young. You did it because it satisfied a need for self expression. Writers are writers because they can’t NOT be one. It’s important to remember that because it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you are a “legitimate” writer unless you are published or get paid for it. Money doesn’t make you a writer — writing does. Focus on that and the rest will take care of itself. And no matter what happens, the end result will be something fulfilling that you can feel good about — the same reasons we started writing … Continue reading Guest Post – Who has a new Book? – Ned Hickson #Humor