|If you missed my classes in the Fall, it’s not too late to catch one of them this Semester. I am teaching two writing classes for Laramie County Community College in their Life Enrichment program this Spring. I would love to see any of you in these online ZOOM classes. |
Creative Writing: Power Workshop to Jumpstart Your Story
This is a two session workshop on Mondays, March 1st and March 8th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM MST. Learn more at the following link: https://lccc.coursestorm.com/course/creative-writing-power-workshop-to-jumpstart-your-story?page=4
Memoir: Write Your Story
This is a four session workshop on Mondays, May 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM MST. Learn more at the following link: https://lccc.coursestorm.com/course/memoir-write-your-story?page=2
I hope you all are healthy and well, and my prayers to those of you who are struggling. I hope 2021 brings new reason to find hope in your life.
Happy Reading and Writing!
I would like to thank the Wyoming Arts Council for the Professional Development Grant I received for 2019-2020. It allowed me to further my education as a writer and as a professional. Being an artist presents many challenges, but organizations like the Wyoming Arts Council increase opportunities that we writers, artists, and musicians may not otherwise be able to obtain. I am honored to be a recipient and exceedingly grateful.
Part of this grant allowed me to benefit from author critiques at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference. The conference was online due to the Pandemic, but here’s to hoping next year is an in-person conference.
If you are interested in my work, please go to https://tinaannforkner.wordpress.com/books/
I read this book on Kindle in two days and defy any reader of any genre not to read it as nonstop as time permits! Nashville by Heart is joyous, entertaining, and uplifting. A young woman from a small town, in the prime of life sees her dream come to fruition in the musical mecca of Nashville, Tennessee; what could be better? Perfectly delightful escapism deftly penned in an action-packed narrative with characters so vividly drawn you can feel them in the room. I loved every single line of Nashville by Heart. It soars from the opening paragraph and holds you tight. It will thrill romance readers, those who love contemporary fiction, and everyone who loves a good story with a wonderful ending!
#1 Amazon best-selling and award-winning author Tina Ann Forkner “delivers a fairytale” (Publisher’s Weekly) in this sweet romance.
A happily ever after romance, Nashville style… Small-town girl…
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I have always fished with my dad. Even back when my sweet, but old-fashioned, grandpa didn’t think that girls should go fishing, my dad made sure he took me anyway. It wasn’t a political thing for him, though. It was just fishing.
When I was young my dad and I fished often, but as I’ve gotten older, and him too, we’ve had less fishing time. I guess it happens to the best of us. We grow up, our parents get older, we assume the roles of adulthood and just can’t seem to line up our calendars with everyone else’s to do the things we love. I used to tell Daddy that it would never happen to me, and he would just smile. I guess he knew that when I became a mom, it would probably change for a while. I fought it for years, but eventually I was only fishing when I was home for an Oklahoma visit, if we were lucky to have time.
Fast forward to this past Christmas, my first as an empty-nester, when my husband gave me a fly fishing rod for Christmas. My schedule had finally opened up, and I knew that my first time fly fishing had to be with my dad. It had been too long.
For my first foray into fly fishing, I took my new rod with me to Oklahoma, where I grew up. I knew pretty much nothing at all about how to do it, but I knew my dad would help me figure it all out. My plan was to do a little fishing on the Illinois River just outside of Tahlequah, Oklahoma where hardly anyone would even know what the heck I was doing, unless they had recently read the novel, or seen the movie of A River Runs Through It.
Since I’m no Robert Redford in A River Runs Through It, or C.J. Box for that matter, I started out by watching the video from Cabela’s. Then my dad made me a yarn fly and I practiced in the front yard, mostly without hooking mom’s rose bush. Next, my dad made me a practice fly, in about 5 minutes, with a real hook to use at the river, so that I wouldn’t lose my good ones too soon. He’s very sweet, but realistic.
Finally, we were on our way and we drove the 30 minutes to the river where small mouth bass are the thing a fly fisherman might try to catch. I admit I was nervous. I admit that I’m totally a girl and was worried that I would look stupid to the occasional person who might recognize that I was fly fishing. Trust me, I had good reason to worry. I was still hanging my hopes on the plan that anyone who saw me fishing probably wasn’t a fly fisherman.
At the river, my dad, a regular Robert Redford type, got into the water and started showing me how it was done. He doesn’t fly fish much, but he’s just one of those guys who knows enough about fishing to catch on fast. He also explained that fly fishing has been catching on in the Illinois River more and more, but that most people still don’t know much about it. This proved to be true for most of the first day. As rafters floated by, some asked what I was doing, some already knew, but said they had never tried, but no one laughed. One guy said he’d stick to his Zebco, which made me laugh.
Practicing my cast on the second day, I was starting to feel like Robert or C.J. might even think I was doing okay and was about to reel it in for the night, when I look up to see two men, probably in their late twenties or early thirties, floating towards me on fancy paddle boards, and… fly fishing. And fly fishing well. My heart skipped a beat at their beautiful casts, but then sank to the bottom of the river when I realized that I wasn’t as good as I thought. My dad, and even my mom, had come to observe and they’d filled me with false hope and praise, the way I used to do the kids when their Violin or Saxophone squawked.
Surely these young male fly fisherman were pros. Thinking back on it, I am sure of it. Anyway, I wanted to duck under the water and hold my breath until they passed by, and if I could have held my breath long enough, I would have. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to hold my breath for long, so instead I bravely cast out my line and waited for them to pass. Since there was no way I could avoid, or ignore them, I called out over the quiet of the evening.
“It looks like y’all (because I was back in Oklahoma, y’all, and the accent comes back quickly) know what you’re doin’.”
Fly Fisherman #1 said, in a kind, but slightly amused voice, “Just a little bit.”
Fly Fisherman #2 chuckled, but nicely, and said, “Watch this.”
Fly Fisherman #1 joins in and they float towards me showing me how to cast.
They coached me for a little while from their paddle boards, balancing and fishing like the pros they probably were while I tried not to slip on the rocks. I tried doing what they said, and they offered kind comments, but I could see I wasn’t getting it. Eventually, Fly Fisherman #1, got out of his boat and I got a first-rate fly fishing lesson that I’m pretty sure most people would have to pay for. He helped me catch a small mouth bass, which was small, but still a fish. He shared a fact that it was unique to that River and that people come from all over just to fish for it, and then, after my parents chatted with them, they both bid us farewell.
On the drive home, we wondered who I’d just received a lesson from. Maybe they were fishing guides, maybe just good at what they do, but I felt lucky they’d come down the river at that time, after all. Daddy and I went fishing again a few days later and I caught several little fish. Nothing big enough to count, but still something to whet my appetite for the big one I’m looking forward to catching someday.
I’m back in Wyoming now and I have gone fly fishing once with my friend, Kim, and my daughter. Let’s just say I need to practice. I’m still no Robert Redford character with my fly fishing, but who knows? Someday I might be.
By the way, if you want to read the novel, A River Runs Through It, it’s by Norman Maclean and I am sure it’s in your library.
I hope you won’t mind my sharing my author’s heart with you for a few minutes. We authors are like that, you know, a little emotional and wordy at times, but that’s just how we are. So, if you want to know how authors feel about you reading our books, and about how we feel about sharing them with you, here’s a little bit of that story from my point of view.
While in Jackson Hole, recently, I had the opportunity to talk books with some folks around town, and I was reminded of how much I truly love to share my books with my readers. I like to talk about them, I want you know about them, and I want you to read them.
“Tina, of course you do. That’s why you write them,” is what you might be thinking right now. In fact, the idea that I would tell you all about my books, and share my thoughts about them, seems like a no-brainer, right? But you might be surprised.
We authors receive a plethora of mixed messages all the time about how we should promote our work, or even if we should promote it at all. For example, some people think it’s rude to ask someone to buy your book, others think it’s crazy not to. With all the different advice out there, it’s confusing!
“But Tina, I thought your publisher does all that advertising for you,” is what you might be saying now. Well, yes and no. The truth is, if we aren’t super bestsellers, like J.K. Rowling (and most of us aren’t), then we need, and are expected, to help get the word out.
So, why are some authors still reticent about promoting their own books? Well, for one thing, a lot of us are introverts at heart, and announcing our books to readers means we must brag about ourselves. We also risk being dismissed as hobby enthusiasts or trying to make a little extra money on the side (Yeah, that’s not a good idea, by the way). For example, some people compare publishing to being a home party consultant (Hey, I love Thirty-One bags, Avon, AND Tupperware, too, but selling them is not the same thing as being an author. This is my actual career we’re talking about.)
Also, side note here. It’s worth mentioning that in my experience, men are much less shy about talking about their books like it’s their career. This is how women should be too, no matter if we are writers or not. What we do matters, whether it IS selling Avon or working in an office. Whatever you do is important, it is unique and different than what others do, and you should do it with all your heart!
So, let’s get back to talking about books and why I wanted to share this information with you in the first place. It’s because I’m tired of walking some line worrying about offending readers by talking about my stories too much. I don’t think you’re all that offended! You want to hear my stories, right? That’s why you’re here! You all deserve to hear about them, and to have a chance to read them for yourselves.
And sometimes I’m going to tell you about books written by others, like books by the Tall Poppy Writers, or books someone else told me about. Because you deserve to know about them too! The point is, my friends write books, I write books, and I hope you will read them.
On that note, here is a quote from my third novel, Waking Up Joy, which I truly hope more readers will discover. I hope readers will fall in love with, and be touched, by Joy Talley’s journey, which is mysterious, heartbreaking, and some say hilarious. I really hope you will buy a copy or find it at your library as soon as possible. I think you’ll be glad you met Joy Talley. Happy Reading!
P.S. I also want to know what else you are reading! Share away.
“…I soaked in the goodness of it, the protection in his grasp, as if he’d reached out and caught me before I could fall off that precipice and back into the secrets of Spavinaw Junction Creek.” – Joy Talley, Waking Up Joy