Tuesday, July 21, 2009

View from the Cart: The Writer's Perspective

People have asked me "An elementary school teacher and golf course superintendent collaborating on a book? How did that work?" I'm going to turn the blogging pen over to my mother and author, Jan Shaffer, for this post. She can probably answer that question more articulately than I, so here are her comments.

The collaboration process is easier to understand if you listen to one of the audio files Greg sent me as we began working on the book. If you have the book, you can compare the finished chapter (pages 16-17) with the initial file and see the process in action. This is the story of hiking with Mulligan in Golden Gate State Park in Colorado.

Greg has so many interesting anecdotes about Mulligan, that I threw the "what if we wrote a book" idea out to him last winter. We both believed Mulligan's story had elements that could make an engaging story with a very unique point of view. We also knew that time was a factor. Mulligan is eleven years old, now, and we certainly didn't want to be writing a eulogy. Greg wanted a recorded history of Mulligan's life for himself and his family, and I believed I could make his efforts more meaningful if we could combine my limited experience with publishing the Summoning Stone children's books with his stories. Greg also thought readers might like to know more about the life of a golf course superintendent, too. It seemed like a natural fit and, if you've read View from the Cart, I hope you'll agree.
He sent me 20 audio stories that I transcribed and turned into short "life lessons" by adding quotes and introspective comments. One of the more interesting challenges came from my husband who suggested this would be too feminine if a retired female elementary school teacher and mother added her perspective. To check that out, I found Gender Genie, a website that analyzes text for gender, and submitted one of the finished stories. It came back with 68% of the indicators showing it was written by a man! My husband became a valuable sounding board and objective critic during this process.

I would mention that Greg's brother, Kirk, our go-to tech guy, works for Yahoo! and takes care of special website requests, like linking this audio file, for all of our websites and blogs. This really has been a family effort: a story teller, a writer, a techie and a critic! If you enjoyed the book, feel free to tell a friend and/or leave a review on the publisher's website!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From Blog to Book

View from the Cart: the Story of Mulligan, a Golf Course Dog is finally published and ready for purchase. There is something for everyone in this story of second chances. Dog lovers will make a connection to a wonderful Black Lab, while golfers will appreciate the description of the golf courses and peek at a golf course superintendent's life. The book's 8th grade readability level makes it a quick read appropriate for readers from preteen through retirement!

Ten anecdotes invite readers to take a ride on a golf cart and see Mulligan at work. Stories include such topics as golf etiquette for the course dog, Mulligan's first ladies' day, encounters with members and other wildlife, work related injuries, and a touching story of his adoption from the Colorado Lab Rescue group.

Purchase or preview View from the Cart: the Story of a Golf Course Dog written by Greg Shaffer in collaboration with children's book author Jan Shaffer.