Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Sword Swallower's Daughter is Conceived

My friend EJ posted a comment to the previous blog entry, kindly reminding me the post was getting a little old. More than two weeks old. Truth is I’ve been busy. Everyone gets busy, but I mean buried with details. But you don’t want to hear about the two-day holiday event for 500 people that I’m coordinating for SITE-SoCal. I’m pumped up about this annual event, excited about mingling and jingling with industry friends, and most of all hoping to raise $200,000 for the three charities (Camp Alandale, La Calle, Oasis of Hollywood) we’ve chosen to support though this event.

It’s not like I’ve been holding out on you, but the holiday event is not what’s been filling my early morning creative hours. I’ve started writing a new novel. I’ve joined several of my writing pals for a month-long novel writing challenge called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). NaNoWriMo is kind of like the Boston Marathon for writers. The course is 30 days of 1667 word writing stretches. Everyone who writes 50,000 words and submits their manuscript at the end of the month is a winner. Although I’m not a quantity over quality writer, and I haven’t met the daily 1667 goal every day, as of this morning I reached 22,297 words in 16 days. I’m behind the nano quota, but I’m confident I’m going to cross the finish line with a novel I am proud of.

THE SWORDSWALLOWER’S DAUGHTER is a coming of age novel about loving people despite their failures, faults, and fetishes. The title, which has boiled around in my head for years, is autobiographical and many of my character’s experiences are loosely—emphasize loose here—based on my experiences growing up with an unconventional father and an over-conventional mother. Set the turbulent 1960s of my white Southern California childhood, it was an era when divorce was a sin, negroes were untouchable, Vietnam sent bloody images into American living rooms, and the Beatles led the British invasion of rock and roll.

You can read the first chapter of THE SWORD SWALLOWER’S DAUGHTER on the fiction page of my website. Click the title above to get there.

I’m nearly half-way through with the NaNoWriMo challenge, but THE SWORD SWALLOWER’S DAUGHTER will end when the story has been told. Check my daily word meter to see the progress. And leave me a comment to cheer me on.


Dan Meyer said...

Carolyn -

I just ran across the first chapter of your book "The Sword Swallower's Daughter" and read it until tears filled my eyes. What a touching story, and I am only on the first chapter!

I don't know exactly why I am writing you, Carolyn, except to let you know how much I enjoyed the first chapter, and how eager I am to read the rest of the book. Of course, being one of the last of the true sword swallowers performing around the world today, and the Executive Director of the Sword Swallower's Association Int'l, ( I am most curious about the sword swallower aspect of the book...

Is this book a fiction or is it really a loose autobiography based on a true story? In other words, was your father really a true sword swallower? If so, what was his name? I am not familiar with any sword swallowers by the name of Burns, and am eager to learn more about your father! If he was indeed a true sword swallower, I would like to honor him by adding him to our Sword Swallower's Hall of Fame at I would also love to get any tidbits of information you might have about him - his full name, date of birth, where he lived, how he got into sword swallowing, shows he performed in, any particular innovations he was known for in his act, types of swords he swallowed, photos, details, whatever information you might have on him... If possible, I would be glad to help you search for more information on him as well, and would be glad to share anything I find about him with you.

As you might know, the last really good book with the words "Sword Swallower" in the title was Daniel Mannix' "Memoirs of a Sword Swallower" which is still selling well almost 50 years after it was published around 1950. I am so glad to see another book coming out that deals with a sword swallower! If you are interested, I'd be glad to proofread your book and offer to write a forward from the viewpoint of a sword swallower and historian who appreciates what sword swallowers of your father's day went through to make a living. I'll also be glad to promote your book to all of the other sword swallowers as well as other circus and sideshow buffs who might appreciate it as well. (Of course, I'm extremely interested in getting one of the first copies for my own personal library!)

I'm really anxious to read more in the book to find out whatever happened to your father! Best of luck on the rest of your Good luck on finishing writing the rest of the book this month! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you (any technical tips on sword swallowing or the performing aspect of sword swallowing?), or if there's anything I can do to write a forward or endorse the book somehow (Would love to get both of us on Fox News to promote it! :)

Looking forward to hearing back from you, Carolyn, and to reading the rest of the story!

All the best,

Dan Meyer
Executive Director
Sword Swallowers Association Int'l
Sword Swallower's Hall of Fame

Ovation Leader said...

Dan, you can't imagine the rush I got from reading your comment. How did you find me and my book?

My father was, indeed, one of the true sword swallowers. He had retired from professional sword swallowing in my early childhood. Sadly, he passed away in 1989 and many of his stories with him. I do have some photos and news clippings about him which I'll be happy to share. He would be very proud to know he was listed in the sword swallower's hall of fame.

Thanks again for the visit. I'll look forward to hearing more from you.


Cat Connor said...

Wow Carolyn, this is an awesome story! Are you going to post another chapter? I was so enjoying the read I didn't want it to end. :)

Swanny said...

Carolyn, I thoroughly enjoyed your first chapter. How awesome it must be to be in a club and write a novel in thirty days. Yours is mezmerizing!

I'm so glad you have been noticed by a sword swallower. I can't wait to learn more about your life and your father.

Devon Ellington said...

Congrats on the great Nano work. Yes, the novel is done when it's done, 50K or howeverK.

It sounds fantastic!

Ovation Leader said...

Thank you Cat, Swanny, and Devon. I probably won't post another chapter at this point--you know how so many things can change before a first draft feels right.

I took off for a day of writing yesterday, and though I didn't get as much written as I'd hoped, I'm happy to report that I've passed the half-way point in the NaNo challenge.