Down to Earth Book-Signing

Freeda Baker Nichols Book Signing for "Call of the Cadron."

Freeda Baker Nichols
Book Signing for “Call of the Cadron.”

It was noon on a Wednesday– November 13, 2013 to be exact–and there I was at the Dirty Farmers Community Market in my town. I’d been invited to come in for the express purpose of signing my book. In other words, a book signing. I was the first of a few local authors invited to bring in our books. This was my second book signing for my first novel, “Call of the Cadron.” One gentleman bought a copy for his wife. Another person bought my children’s book for her granddaughter.  That gave me a chance to sign my name a couple of times. Got my picture taken, too. One copy is here and another is on Facebook. The one on Facebook doesn’t even tell who I am or give the name of my novel. So if anyone wants to know what the Cadron is–It’s a creek! A real creek in Arkansas.  But my book is not about the Cadron.  It’s about the characters who live along that creek.  Only, it isn’t true. Not one word. But I’m supposed to be writing at least one true sentence even in fiction because that’s what Hemingway said was how you could learn to write. I’ve been trying that. That one true sentence.  And I just don’t know if that’s so or not. But it might could be.

My first signing for “Call of the Cadron” was at a book store in another town, back in April.  If I recall correctly, I sold one book. Most people walked on past my table to buy whatever it was they came for.  Which was not my book. I’m sorry to say. To admit, actually. The newspaper in that town had run a great article about me and my book, with a picture and all.  And the person who bought that one book from me had already bought three when the books first came out.

Oh, at the Dirty Farmers Community Market, one man wearing a black cowboy hat went past my books and bought some hot peppers and green tomatoes.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

NaBloPoMo #19 November 2013

NaBloPoMo#12 – To Write or to Blog?

NaBloPoMo_November_smallIf “To Write” is my destiny, then why am I blogging? Am I blogging because “they” said I should? “They” being the pros, the published authors, the mentors, speakers at writers’ conferences, my colleagues.

Somehow, I can’t picture Hemingway holed up in the barn studio, clacking away on his typewriter to instantly send his masterpieces out to a world of instant readers. Only that, and nothing more. No, I cannot picture that.

Do I blog to keep my name out there? If a name is only a name and nothing more, then why does it matter what my name is? No one will remember me by my name. They will only remember me by my stories, as readers remember who it was that wrote the Harry Potter books. J.K Rowling.  The two go hand in hand.

So until I write something memorable, my name will remain overlooked among the great writers of my time. I do have a published novel, children’s books, and a poetry book.  Many anthologies, newspapers and magazines have published my poems, articles and features. One of my photos captured an Honorable Mention once in a contest and was published in the Arkansas Times.

Now, if I could publish a book of my blogging material, wouldn’t I be mighty pleased?

© Freeda Baker Nichols

Writer on location at Piggott

Freeda Baker Nichols at Writers’ Retreat. In background, Hemingway’s barn studio where he wrote some of his stories.

Books by Freeda Baker Nichols

Books by Freeda Baker Nichols

While Sleeping Hunter Dreams

Fast Asleep

The yellow leaves come down.  The gusting wind
unhooks their stems from limbs, releasing them
to furl and swirl through cooling air.  At last,
no more hot summer days.  The chill of frost
on morning-glory vines sets out to kill
their will to live and bloom in blues and reds.
The wasps, too numb to sting, fly slow in search
of clefts to shield them from the coming freeze.
The ladybugs attach to windowsills
like beggar lice to slacks of velveteen.
A buck with eight-point rack meanders through
a hunter’s yard where large, synthetic buck
stands bolted down–a target for son’s bow
and arrow.  Snorting buck begins to paw.
A fight commences when the antlers lock.
The phony head falls off.  The buck holds high
his rack, big headedly, returns through fog
to oak-lined woods while sleeping hunter dreams.
The autumn sun arises bright and round
as basketballs—or pumpkins, carved like jack-
o-lanterns, snaggle-toothed and smiling by
the porch, October thirty-first.  Wild geese
fly south.  They bid adieu to all who hear
their cry.  The cold and blowing snow appears
and mummy-wraps the world in softest white.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols


November 09, 2013

Writing Attitudes    (Note: borrowed this from somewhere. Found in my notes on writing tips)

1.  Write with nouns and verbs,
rather than adjectives and adverbs
2.  Don’t overwrite or overstate

3.  Avoid rhetorical questions
4.  Stay out of your story
5.  Break all these rules —

Hemingway did.  Faulkner did.

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket ph...

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for the first edition of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portrait of William Faulkner

Portrait of William Faulkner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking Through the Door into the Hemingway Barn-Studio

Freeda Baker Nichols at Hemingway's Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Freeda Baker Nichols at Hemingway’s Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

From My Notes:

At the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, I put my pen to  paper to write and I look around, thinking, “Hemingway was actually here in this barn-studio, in this house, on these grounds.”  I’m impressed and excited when I think of that.  After all, he received the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.  And I love his story, “The Old Man and the Sea.”  If only I could write like him.

In June of 2007, I attended my second Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas and signed up for the next one.  Because writing is a lonely job, it’s encouraging to gather with other writers.  The Retreat inspires writers to reach toward goals at their own pace, in their own way.  I always leave eager to create new stories as well as finish my stories-in-progress,

At one of the retreats, I set my goal to finish my first novel at the end of 2010, but it was one year later that I completed “The Call of the Cadron,” a 200-page fiction, set in Arkansas. In May, 2012, I had a printed copy in my hand. My self-publishing experience has been both rewarding and successful.

In November 2012, the staff at the Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas hosted a book signing for me, along with two other authors, Donna Austin and Jo McDougall.

This year of 2013 is the first time  in seven years I’ve missed attending the Writers’ Retreat in Piggott. Sometimes other things become my priority, but writing is my destiny and always on my mind and in my heart.  The poem below is one I wrote at the Retreat and it was published in the Retreat’s brochure.


Although I try, how can I write like him,
a writer honored with the Nobel Prize?
I watch the robins light on dogwood limb
and hear the sorrow in their constant cries.
Have they descended from red-breasted birds
that looked for worms in cool of early dawn
and sang contented songs with smoothest words
when Hemingway once strolled across the lawn?

Today, I write from break of day to dark,
not far from Ernest’s barn loft studio,
beside an oak where lightning cracked tough bark.
Goodbye, great oak.  How sad you have to go!
If I create one sentence that is true,
might I be worthy of the Nobel, too?

© 2006, Freeda Baker Nichols

Freeda Baker Nichols at her book signing at Hemingway Writers' Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas

Freeda Baker Nichols at her book signing at Hemingway Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas

Cat and kittens at Hemingway's Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Cat and kittens at Hemingway’s Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Those Days in Piggott, Arkansas, USA

The Pfeiffer-Janes House

The Pfeiffer-Janes House

Writer on location at Piggott

Freeda Baker Nichols at Writers’ Retreat. In background, Hemingway’s barn studio where he wrote some of his stories.

On location at Piggott, Arkansas
where Hemingway sat in his studio
to pen now famous stories of his time,
I, too, attempt to write. Will I succeed?
In spring and fall, I meet with writer friends–
each working hard to meet a writing goal.
Some strive to write a book of poetry.
Downtown, another plots a mystery
around the dining table at The Inn.
Lou’s Jalapeno relish is a hit
among the writers gathered there each day.
If friends of Ernest helped critique his work
those days in Paris when they socialized,
why not believe that we, as friends, can help
each other to become great writers,too?
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Writers’ Retreat
held here in Piggott, Arkansas, is fun–
a place where skillful mentors gently guide
the writers on to meet their highest goals.

© 2013, photos and poem by Freeda Baker Nichols

To Write is My Dream

Along the way to Piggott

Along the way to Piggott

Writer on location at Piggott
Freeda Baker Nichols at Barn Studio where Hemingway wrote at Piggott, Arkansas

When I return to Piggott in the fall,
I often write of Ernest Hemingway.
An author, among others, he stands tall.
His books appeal to readers still today.

Although I write
my best,
my work does not
compare to his.

His masterpieces line library shelves,
the titles bold as black and silver braids.
My dream to write becomes reality
when I return to Piggott in the fall.

c Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

This poem, in the Dorsimbra form, was written recently at the Writers’ Retreat at Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center at Piggott, Arkansas. While I was at the retreat, the staff hosted a book signing and reading. I read from my book, “Call of the Cadron.” I read also from my poem collection. Two other authors  participated in the reading and book signing–Jo McDougall, mentor for the retreat, who is the author of a memoir called “Daddy’s Money”, and Donna Austin, author of “The Sunflower Principle.”  We read in the living room of the Pfeiffer House, which belonged to the in-laws of Ernest Hemingway.  It’s always inspiring and exciting to write in a location where a famous author visited his relatives, and wrote stories in the barn studio.

The Pfeiffer-Janes House