Career author and writing instructor, Norma Jean Lutz is the author of over 50 published books under her own name, in addition to scores of ghostwritten works. Prior to the books, she saw over two-hundred magazine articles and short stories appear under her byline.
Most recently Norma Jean has launched a program for aspiring novelists called, Be A Novelist. Making use of all the Internet has to offer, the program includes website, informational blogsite, Twitter, FaceBook, and instructional videos. Through the Be A Novelist program, she hopes to be a positive influencer in the lives of up-and-coming authors.
To receive a free 15-page writer’s workshop entitled, Don’t Dilly Dally at the Starting Gate: How to Start Your Novel With a Bang, simply go to the website or FaceBook and request it.
Marjorie Holmes first influenced my writing life when I got my hands on her book entitled, Writing the Creative Article, published by The Writer, Inc. By the time I was introduced to this little classic, it was already in its third printing.
In the introduction to this book, she mentioned other previous books and noted, “At this writing, the hardcover trade sales of my books are well over two million copies.” I was dutifully impressed.
But back to the book on writing creative articles. From this little book I learned:
· about writing in sensory terms
· about developing an inner ear for rhythm
· about how to develop style and what writing style really is
· about tone, focus, and pace
· about how to use fiction techniques in non-fiction writing
· and on and on!
The book quickly became marked-up and dog-earred.
Fast forward a few years. I am now coordinator for the Professionalism in Writing School, an annual writer’s conference held in Tulsa. Who do I want to invite as keynote speaker for one of our first schools? Of course. Marjorie Holmes.
I invited; she responded. I am now terrified. By now I’d also read other of her works – especially her YA fiction, the genre in which I was most interested. I am not only impressed with this author, I am in total awe of her. I’m sure I’ll look like a country bumpkin to her. I’m excited she is coming; I can’t bear to meet her. (Ever feel like that?)
When I met her at the airport she came toward me calling out my name as though we were long-lost, now-reunited, dear friends. She nearly bowled me over with her openness and friendliness. At that time, as a widow, she’d only recently married Dr. George Schmieler, a gregarious old-timey general practitioner who loved everyone and was never without a funny story. The two of them were a hoot.
At that time, Marjorie was 74 years-old and acted younger than 50. (At that time I was mom to two teenagers. I knew I wanted to be just like Marjorie when I grew up.) I later read a book of hers on health and nutrition which also influenced my writing life.
Everyone at the conference loved Marjorie and George and I was hero of the day for having invited her (them).
From that time on, I was a friend of Marjorie’s. That meant Christmas cards, signed books in the mail, mentions when my books were eventually published. Much later, Christmas cards came from her loving daughter because Marjorie was then bedfast and suffering from dementia.
The Book that Never Dies
As an added note, the aforementioned book later appeared in an updated version, Writing the Creative Article Today, again published by The Writer, Inc. Still more years later it was again re-written and updated, entitled, Writing Articles From the Heart, published by Writer’s Digest Books.
I have copies of all three, but it’s the first one – the one I cherish because of the moments of discovery – that is the most tattered, marked and worn. The first two copies are autographed by Marjorie in her lovely swirling script – always in green ink. (Her trademark!) Marjorie passed away in 2002 at age 91.
I could make a list of others – authors, editors, and those in the publishing industry – who through the years have been influencers in my writing career. All so giving and humble. So ready to give. To extend a helping hand. To give an encouraging word. All of them contributed to what and who I am today.