Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Author Spotlight: Vivian Zabel

The following was posted on http://clcreviews.blogspot.com/ :

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Author Spotlight - Vivian Zabel, on her award winning picture book, I Like Pink

Author Vivian Zabel 

on her Award Winning title I Like Pink

I always told stories to my friends and siblings. The first time I shared my desire to write, was at school when I was an eighth grader in Morocco (my father was in the Air Force). I told a classmate I would write a book some day. She laughed at me and ridiculed me about that until my family returned to the states. I wish I could remember her name and find her so I could "show" her now. 
I wanted to be a teacher as well as a writer. I taught for 30 years, high school mainly: English, writing, yearbook, newspaper, speech, drama, and debate. In my early thirties, I began writing poetry, articles, and short stories, which were published. 
After the family Thanksgiving dinner two years ago, my three-year-old great-granddaughter climbed on the sofa beside me. "Granny," she said, "we need to visit." During our visit, she informed me, "You know, I like pink: dark pink, light pink, even almost white pink." Discovering she knew shades of colors existed gave me the idea for a book, not only about colors, but about shades. The main character also has my great-granddaughter's name, Haylee Rose.
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:  The first book I wanted to have published concerned experiences family members suffer when a child or children are "stolen." However, one of my grandsons had a reading problem. I thought if I could find him some books about athletics, his main interest, perhaps he might find he liked to read. I couldn't find any for middle-school-aged and older boys, other than a few boring biographies. So, I wrote one, The Base Stealers Club. I know baseball, even helped coach the sport. I like mysteries, grew up on Nancy Drew. I combined my two interests, wrote a book, mixed in some black and white photos from some of my grandsons' baseball games, and, voila, one book that did interest a reluctant reader. Then, I wrote a sequel, Case of the Missing Coach. Not only did my grandson enjoy the books, many other pre-teens and younger teens did, too.
I have always been a voracious reader, reading different genres, different authors, and different styles. As a result, my style is a mixture of that of many authors.
When I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte as a seventh-grader, I knew I wanted to be able to write like Bronte. I wanted to bring characters alive, make readers hate for the book to end, take someone out of reality into the world of a book I wrote. 
Every time any of my writing won an award, I felt I had proof I accomplished something. Having I Like Pink win the Children's Literary Classics Silver Seal gave me a thrill and a sense of pride. However, when a librarian asked my grandson if he had read his grandmother's book The Base Stealers Club, he answered, "Only three times," success was mine. 
The process of becoming published is arduous and often disappointing. The main ingredients needed to succeed - determination and a thick skin. Another aspect of the process includes a writer's continuing to learn, improve, and refuse to give up. My pile of rejection letters and emails would paper my office, and most authors have the same experience. All submissions to 4RV Publishing, including submissions from company officers and staff, are sent to acquisition editors anonymously. I was rejected by my own company once. The head of the editorial department asked if I wanted him to send the manuscript to another editor, and I said no because the reasons given for the rejection were valid. I learned what I needed to do, where problems with my writing existed. Yes, rejection hurts; however, a good writer picks up the pieces, after having a short pity party, and either improves the manuscript or puts it aside to work on something else -- but he keeps writing, learning, and improving.
I wish I had good advice that wasn't expensive, but I don't. Of course, some publishers help promote, but most promotion must be done by authors. Entering competitions is one way to promote. Speaking at conferences helps. Networking with other authors gives a writer support. I attend writing conferences and all sessions dealing with marketing, which gives me ideas. I don't have space to share some of those ideas, but speaking with a marketing professional is a good idea.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?Becoming a good writer requires learning how to be a better writer, through reading, workshops, and conferences. I taught writing for thirty years, but I attended workshops and writing clinics every one of those years, often two or three a year. I still attend at least two writing conferences a year. If we, as writers, don't continue to learn and improve, we begin to die.
All can be found or ordered through any bookstore or from Amazon as well as through the links provided.
Young Adult books:
Suspense and mainstream novels:
Yes, I'm working on a historical novel, Burnt Offering.
During the 8th Century BC, King Ahaz of Judah followed the idol Moleck, and he, along with others, sacrificed their children by burning them alive. Women during those days were considered property and had little to no say or control over their own lives. The question that kept popping in my mind wouldn't let me forget the topic, "What would I have done as a mother during that time period?" 
Little information of that time period exists, but my imagination took the research I found and turned it into a story of treachery, mystery, and struggle to survive. 
Burnt Offering, hopefully, will be finished by next summer and submitted. Until the novel is accepted, I will have no idea when it will be available.

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Monday, July 14, 2014

Blog focus to be limited to 5 categories

     Beginning the first of August, 2014, this blog will cover five (5) categories: 1.Crime, 2.History/Research, 3. Behavior, 4. Conferences/Festivals, and 5. Odds 'n Ends. All previous posts can still be found in Archives.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Importance of Reviews

    I have read and heard that a good review, or several good reviews, can help boost a book's appeal to readers. I have written many reviews, myself, over the years, some even for important, well-known authors. Reviews sent me or published in a paper about one of my books, I have treasured and kept. However, I've never kept up with reviews on Amazon for my books. I mean, my books don't sell extremely well, and I thought that any reviews were probably few and far between. I wasn't even curious, until last night.
   True, the reviews were few for each of my main four books (Stolen, Midnight Hours, Prairie Dog Cowboy, and I Like Pink), but the reviews sent me a message from the readers.
    For example, let me share two excerpts from reviews of Stolen:
"Stolen crafted by Vivian Gilbert Zabel is the proverbial page turner done with sensitivity and emotions that will keep you wanting more." 
"Zabel pens a taunt, edge of your seat thriller with 'Stolen'." 
    Reviews about Midnight Hours included the following snippets: 
"Once I started reading about the mysterious and treacherous Midnight, an online predator who targets disabled men, I couldn't put the book down."
"Zabel has created a fast moving plot with characters you come to care about, a satisfying romance, and suspense that keeps you reading. Readers of crime fiction will appreciate Zabel's latest novel and will be hoping for more. I love a good murder mystery. I recommend this one highly for readers who are looking for interesting and believable characters, a tension filled plot, and a realistic setting."
    My young adult novel Prairie Dog Cowboy, which appeals to older readers as much as to the young, also had a few favorable comments:
"The author has a talent for speaking to her readers and putting them in the middle of the story, as if they're actually riding the range or breaking horses with Buddy and his friends."
"I got so interested in the book that I just wish it would have continued and told us about Buddy as a mature man. Good book I can recommend for all age groups."
    Finally, I'll share a couple of excerpts for I Like Pink, my first children's book:
"I Like Pink is a book with which many little girls will relate. Expressive illustrations are a wonderful complement to this book, which will educate and entertain little girls ..."
"My daughter loves this book. It is her absolute favorite."
   The reviews were all good, even if the ratings weren't all 5 Stars. They let me know that I'm doing my job as a writer, that I'm keeping the readers wanting more, wanting to read my work. 
   Even if you haven't read my books, please go to Amazon and read the reviews. Who knows, they may create a desire for you to read one or more. IF you have read one or more of my books, would you please write a review or reviews?  If you do, I'll know more about how readers accept, enjoy, or don't, my books.
     Yes, using reviews as indicators of my success in addressing my audience is the best use of reviews.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Poetry Winner 2014

I read my poetry as part of the award luncheon
     The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Department of Aging, holds a conference each year on aging. As part of the conference, a poetry contest is held earlier in the year. Winners are honored at a luncheon Friday of the conference. This year, my poem "Tapestry" took 3rd place in the women's division. All the poetry entered, over 100 poems from all parts of Oklahoma, was published in a book and given out at the conference.

     For those who have asked to read my poem, here it is, a tribute to a marriage lasting over 52 years, and one that may end any time when one of us leaves the other as we vowed, "until death do us part."

by Vivian Zabel

As a sun peeking o're the horizon
spills streams and sparks of fire
into the tint of night sky,
love pours light into a dark life.

Bubbles of joy burst, erasing
the deep sorrow of loneliness,
leaving pools of calm, of peace
mingled with shards of broken storms.

A baby's cry, children's laughter,
sobs of despair create a mosaic
held together with blooms and thorns,
silky softness joined with ragged roughness.

Hand clasped in hand join two
whose hearts entwine with one beat,
lasting year after year together
through eternity, even after death.

Receiving my award

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I have something to brag about:

      I may not be considered for book awards in my home state. I may not be considered anyone of importance in the local writing community, but my first published picture book was considered good enough to earn Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Yea!!!

      Below the copy of the book cover with the seal shown is the review from Children's Literary Classics, and below the review a book trailer by Aidana WillowRaven.

I Like Pink, by Vivian Zabel, is the story of a little girl who is on a quest for the perfect pink dress.  While shopping with her mother, she considers countless dresses that are all made from fabric in varying shades of pink.  At first she is bemused, and a little frustrated, with all the different colors.  But as the sales-clerk and her mother help her to understand that pink can come in many varying shades, she comes to realize and accept that she likes all kinds of pink. 

I Like Pink is a book with which many little girls will relate.  Expressive illustrations are a wonderful complement to this book, which will educate and entertain little girls who are fans of the color pink. I Like Pink earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

 LITERARY CLASSICS Book Reviews & Awards http://literaryclassicsreviews.com  

Friday, November 15, 2013

How to Describe Deep Emotional Pain

   When writing or living, at times a person suffers emotional pain, a deep shearing hurt. When living the hurt, words can't describe the agony, but when writing about the pain, the writer must find words.

    However, after having someone loved deliver to a writer a spat of words, oversight, or action that tears the heart, a writer might try to find a way to describe the physical manifestations suffered to him or her.

 1. Pain and crushing weight in the chest.
 2. Stomach tied in knots, yes, not a cliche but for real.
 3. Brain whirling.
 4. Feeling of suffocation.
 5. Weakness 
 6. Vision blurred
 7. Desire to run, to move, to leave
 8. Overwhelming need to cry: deep, tortured sobs that rip a person apart
 9. Wanting to strike out, to hit a wall, kick a footstool, take physical action
10. Sick, nauseated. 
11. Want to crawl in bed and stay there forever.
12. Feeling hopeless and lost

    Now, if I ever need to write about a person suffering a deep, agonizing, emotional pain, I have a starting point.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Looking forward to Holidays

   A week from tomorrow, we "fall" back an hour, to me the beginning of the fall/winter holiday season. Thursday will be Halloween, and I have a bowl of goodies ready to give to little ones (and some probably not so little) as they come to my door. Robert has some candy to pass out if tricker-treaters come to visit him. I remember when I had most of my Christmas shopping finished by Halloween so I could enjoy the holiday seasons and not scramble to find gifts for all the family. Oh, yes, I remember because now I do well to shop anytime for any reason. But, I still like the idea. However, Halloween signals preparation for Thanksgiving.

   Thanksgiving this year is unclear: Will there be a family get-together? Where? When? Bob and his crew will be in Oklahoma the week of Thanksgiving, so we'll surely see them. Usually Randy and Janelle host a family dinner. I no longer am able to host a dinner, do well to provide a meal for myself. No, no pity, just the facts of life. I know since Robert can't leave the skilled nursing facility I'll be spending most of Thanksgiving Day with him. He needs company, especially on a holiday. I understand that Grace Living Center holds a big celebration for the residents and their families. Wonder if some of our family can join us? We'll have to ask. Thanksgiving is important to me because I believe we all need to pause and realize what God has given us, and to give thanks.

   A month after Thanksgiving comes Christmas. Robert will be on long-term care and can leave the center for the day during that time period. Therefore, he can be driven in his van to a family dinner. Once we know what the family plans are, we can make our plans.

   For me, Christmas has always meant family being together. Of course gifts are nice, symbols of sharing with those we love, but expensive gifts that place a person in debt is not the spirit of Christmas. As we have gotten older, we can't afford much anyway, but I like to give a little something to "show" those I love that I love them enough to want to share with them, even if only a card or a photo.

   I have begun to shop for Christmas. As I've seen something I think someone will like or could use, I saved and bought. No, I didn't buy a grandchild a new car or a new wardrobe, much as I would like sometimes. However, I found something Robert could use with his power chair (his poor, worn out power chair, oh, for the funds to replace that). I discovered something for one of the kids. I have an idea what to obtain for another grandchild. Not much, but a token of what those people mean to me.

   When I was a child, my parents were poor. At the time I never realized how poor, after all my dad was in the service, but ... Christmas was always special, and my parents made sure my brothers, sisters, and I had at least one special gift. My dad read Christmas stories to us on Christmas Eve, ending with the Bible story. We sang Christmas carols and hung our stockings before heading for bed. Robert didn't have any family traditions because Christmas wasn't treated as anything except another day other than having a good meal. 

   I tried to pass some traditions to my children, but after they became adults with families of their own, they soon adopted the traditions of their own or from the other side of their growing families. One tradition we started seems still to exist: new pj's opened on Christmas Eve. With our children, the new sleepwear was from Daddy, for grandchildren, from PaPa. I hope even after he's gone, that the families will continue the practice with the pj's for children from their daddies.

   This season beginning in a few days brings happy memories and a few of sorrow. To me, though, enjoying family and remembering all for which I should be thankful and giving praise for the symbol of Christmas is most important.