TWN WWW 300

 

through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Helen Dunn Frame, author of the mystery novel, GREEK GHOSTS.

 Welcome, Helen!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

 

helen1

Author Helen Dunn Frame

 

Although “retired” for ten years, I am self-employed as a writer, editor and author, scribing articles, books, letters, e-mails (to keep in touch with people worldwide) and newsletters. Travel is high on My Bucket List, accomplished as often as the budget permits. At six years old my grandmother had me cut out a pattern laid on very expensive fabric, which led to lifelong ability to sew. Most people don’t realize my age as I have a lot of energy, love to dance, and have a ton of projects, and tout being the new fifty. Here’s a bio written in the third person by the man who created my original website years ago to which I’ve added updates.

 

Helen Dunn Frame combined many skills including professional writer, marketing/public relations specialist, and accomplished businesswoman during her business career. Her love of travel culminated in the fascinating mystery Greek Ghosts, published by iUniverse in 2003, into which many threads of her personal experiences were woven.

In Costa Rica, where she has spent most of her time since 2005, she authored an anecdotal book full of data to help Baby Boomers jump start their due diligence in order to find their paradise for retirement. Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida, second edition, and Greek Ghosts are available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

Helen, a former real estate broker specializing in retail and restaurants in Texas, became Editor of Coldwell Banker Costa Rica’sVista Magazine in 2008. It not only listed properties and businesses for sale and rent, but offered information about the country, its people, as well as living and investing in Costa Rica. Subsequently she contributed to the Coldwell Banker Coast to Coast Properties website and wrote articles for the Weston Magazine Group in Greater NYC, contributed articles to online sites, and to The Tico Times, now only available online.

A graduate of the Journalism School at Syracuse University she has been published in Costa Rica, England, Germany, and the United States.

Living abroad and traveling at least once in 50 countries as well as having a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Anthropology from New York University, has given Helen a deep appreciation for the value of diverse cultures. In addition, over the years she has developed various skills in Spanish, German and French.

 

 On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

My office (second bedroom that has a futon for guests) has a three-part, large louvered window, the original outside wall. Another similar window is on the current outside wall across a hall. It faces a beautiful garden which I view from the office. The house was renovated from a small Tico one so it has lots of character. The room also includes a horizontal 4-drawer file cabinet (jammed full of files including writing samples), a futon, and a traditional desk. Years ago, a water leak in an apartment damaged about 60% of my hard copy files. When I made an insurance claim, the rep wanted to know why I just didn’t send prospects copies of my samples from my computer, apparently not knowing those hiring want to see a published version. My reply:  “Hon, we didn’t have computers before you were born.”

The computer desk came with the rental. The owner made me a separate little table on which I have a keyboard and Track Ball at the proper height.  My current laptop (hate those flat keyboards and “mouse” because I’m a touch typist) no longer has a screen. It’s hooked to a flat screen TV in order to have a monitor. This laptop cum desktop computer gets replaced by a new laptop in November.

 desk

2. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

My desk is arranged so I can reach some supplies and files, get to two printers and much used reference books (including Spanish verbs and bilingual dictionary), as well as the lamp, landline and Magic Jack phones. Of course, the usual tools (pencils, pens, markers, scotch tape, stapler, tissues, clock, sharpener, paper cutter, note paper, blank DVDs and CDs, bug spray, hand lotion, petroleum jelly, and more) are also within an arm’s reach. People complain about my penchant for organization, but having everything in its place facilitates my production.

workspace

 

3. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

The view, not having air conditioning or heat, having two ceiling fans and a vertical floor fan for when it’s warm are some of its great features. My favorite items are a sterling silver letter opener in the shape of a sword, my son’s first jigsaw puzzle that I made into a hotplate, and a paperweight with a flower inside it. My escort to a fraternity ball in college gave it to me the sword as a favor and my deceased son bought the paperweight with his allowance as a young boy.

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4. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

During the day I drink two cups of coffee, then a glass of 50% cranberry juice, followed by glasses of sun tea made outdoors. It’s poured over ice, flavored with lemon or lime juice without sugar. I rarely have anything alcoholic when I’m writing.

 frame

 

 

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?

Frankly I can’t recall who inspired me to write. I really began creating in the Long Island City High School when I was an editor of the school newspaper. While I was seventh in my graduating class, one of the advisors asked me to write the Valedictorian’s speech. He felt the boy who was number one was not capable of penning it. I still use a word I learned then: pinpoint.

Citing a favorite author is difficult. . One writer I read regularly was Art Buchwald who could speak as well as write with such humor, an ability few writers enjoy. If you were to look at the shelves occupied by books to read, you would find Austin, Cornwell and Brown among other known and lesser known writers. It pinpoints that I’m catholic (lower case meaning universal) in my reading tastes.

Fortunately my parents did not censor what I read as grew up, not being educated, Long before becoming a teen, I would go to the storefront library branch in Woodside, Queens, and read the entire row of books on a shelf. Throughout junior high and high school, I would read about a dozen books a week, including an occasional book banned by a teacher as being too adult. One author from that period was Noel Streatfield who wrote books including Skating Shoes and other “shoe” titles (listed on Amazon). Currently I read many newsletters, forums, articles and columns.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

My days are far from typical and have no rituals or quirks. Some days I write, others not, giving myself permission to enjoy relationships, attend Club meetings, and do all my chores. Here’ an example of one day.

Not having a car, I got up at 6:30 and walked in to the center of town for a quarterly lab test at 8 a.m. Breakfast was eaten at a neighborhood Soda (small family run restaurant that serves typical food), followed by shopping at a convenience store, before returning home to answer these questions. The Talk and Dr. Oz were broadcast on TV while I prepared and ate my main meal. Then it was back at the computer to accomplish some of the things on my To Do List that needed to be done before going to the States. I found a few moments to post on my business Facebook page. To keep limber, at regular intervals I stand up from the computer and walk in the house or garden.

 

garden

Tweaking my latest manuscript continues as uploading it to Create Space and ordering a hard copy proof is a priority before the trip. In the evening I recorded Wheel and Jeopardy to view later to solve puzzles and answer questions as part of my effort to keep a keen mind. This particular day I participated in an online seminar.

Afterward I relaxed while watching programs of interest (not sitcoms because I abhor canned laughter) whether on TV, online, or those I recorded with WinTV. If a newspaper, magazine, or copy of something I’m writing, like this interview, is available, I read or edit them during commercials.

 

9. Do you write every day? How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions?

As noted before, writing doesn’t happen every day and the number of hours varies. It all depends on deadlines. My two dogs will usually lobby for their lunch about noon by standing on their hind legs, putting their paws on my ergonomic desk chair, and wagging their tails. However, when I’m concentrating, I’m really disciplined.

 

10. Why do you write?

While writing is five percent inspiration and 95% work, it’s easy for me and provides joy, happiness and contentment. Creating marketing materials and promoting the books are also fun. I’m never bored or depressed, and never have writer’s block.

 

11. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

My personal writing quote is: “Revenge is mine, said the writer, author, and editor.” This warns people that they can show up as a character in a book or be quoted.

For several years my byline graced a column aimed at beginning writers. Someone recently suggested creating a small e-book with them because the website is dark. One tip that will appear in it is “keep the word “I” to a minimum.” Write from the reader’s point of view. A friend, Carolyn Howard-Johnson has a number of e-books designed to help writers. Find them on Amazon. She also provides pointers online with “Sharing with Writers” and “Feedblitz.” In the meantime, look for my next book on the same site soon called “Secrets behind the Big Pencil,” a fictional book that features elements of reality that was inspired by an actual scandal.

 

Website: www.helendunnframe.com

Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/helendunnframe.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RetiringInCostaRicaOrDoctorsDogsAndPuraVida

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Helen!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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4 Responses to “Wednesday Writers Workspace Welcomes Helen Dunn Frame”

  1. Be wild not to have a car. Be wild not to need air conditioning!

  2. I enjoyed your post! It sounds as if you have things just how you want them, and I am happy for you. I look forward to checking out your work. My parents never censored my reading either, but they were both avid readers and I usually read their books and was at the library often.

    Hugs,
    Kathy M.

  3. Nas says:

    I loved reading about your workspace and awesome advice for writers. And your reason for writing is great.

  4. Love this interview and your neat pix, Helen.

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