Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Zealous

Z is for Zealous
As a fellow writer, I can assume you share my zeal for the craft.  You feel less than alive if a day goes by and you didn’t get a chance to write. The idea that someone is reading your work fills you with both excitement and dread. Will they love it?
 In the end does it matter?
I started writing for others, for the trends. Now I write what is in my heart. What I am passionate about. My zeal demands nothing less.
It has been a real pleasure doing this A-Z in April Blogfest. I have enjoyed viewing some of your blogs and have loved hearing your comments to my posts. Starting on Monday I will go back to my regular format of posting continual short stories. For those of you who have recently joined following my blog are welcome to have some of their stories displayed here as well. I look forward to following up on the new blogs I have found through this fest and hope to continue to see your comments on mine.
Zank you, Zank you very much.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y for Yeller

Y is for Yeller (as in Old)
I am a sucker for sob stories, but I in general love a happy ending.
It doesn’t feel complete unless there is a ride off into the proverbial sunset.
On the other hand happy endings would feel out of place with some stories, like the aforesaid Old Yeller.
Which do you prefer, happy or sad?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for Xanax

X is for Xanax
You have no idea how much of this stuff I give out during a typical twelve hour shift. I try to teach people coping skills and relaxation techniques, but in the end it is always the same.
“Give me my Xanax.”
I have often wanted to do a study to see just how many of us are on the stuff. It wouldn’t surprise me if half of the population were taking it. (Or its sisters: Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium.)
What is the draw?
I know that for some people anxiety is debilitating, and medication is needed to help them function in life. I am not talking about them.
It kind of reminds me of the use of Soma in A BRAVE NEW WORLD.
Instead of dealing with life, people want to ignore it, going on a “Soma Holiday”
Have you read A BRAVE NEW WORLD?
It is particularly chilling of late.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for Weeds, WIldflowers, and Wishes

May all of your weeds be wildflowers.
May all of your wildflowers be wishes.

What do you wish for today?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Violin

V is for Violin (a very small one)
I have a gesture I make to my children whenever they are being particularly whiney. It involves my index finger and my thumb rubbing together. I tell them I am playing the world’s smallest violin. In other words get over it.
I have no idea where this gesture originated. My husband has done it as well, so it is not just my family.
Do you have any quirky sayings or gestures that you have no idea where they came from?

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Utopia

U is for Utopia.
Many people write about or dream about a utopian society. Their versions are as unique as the people themselves.
What is yours?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Taking Tea

T is for Taking Tea
This is one of my favorite things to do. My daughters have all been initiated into the tradition. When my son gets older he will be introduced to it as well (minus the frilly dresses).  Ok so my twelve year old won’t wear them anymore either.
We sit down at table and enjoy all the finery that our English ancestors have passed down to us. Complete with linen napkins and freshly picked flowers to decorate the table.
Sometimes we invite our friends to join us, sometimes it is just us. But whichever one we chose, it is a time of relaxation and refreshment.  
What is yours?
Please enjoy the following recipe, it is one of my favorites.

Chicken Salad
2 split bone in, skin on chicken breast        salt and pepper to taste
Good olive oil
1/3 cup mayo                                                   1/3 cup good honey
1 bunch of red seedless grapes                    ¼ cup chopped pecans
Salt and pepper to taste
Place chicken breast on a sheet pan skin side up. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Allow to cool. Discard the skin and bones, chop into cubes.
Mix mayo with honey. Cut grapes into small slices, mix mayo/honey mixture into grapes and pecans. Fold in chicken breast. Salt and pepper to taste. This is best made the day before, allowing the flavors to marry.

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Symbolic Secrets

S is for Symbolic Secrets
I love to use symbolism in my writing. It adds to the twists, gives it something unexpected.
It goes deeper than the ordinary and makes the reader pause. Is that what was intended or is it something else entirely? What fun would a book be if all of the secrets were disclosed in the beginning?
And every good book needs secrets. What else would keep you up until 2 am flipping the pages as fast as you can in desperation if not to discover them?
What have been your favorite literary secrets, symbolic or otherwise?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Real

R is for Real
So many people like to look like they have it all together. I know I am one of them. But the universal truth is we don’t, none of us do. And the sooner we are honest with ourselves and others the sooner we can have real relationships.
How many times have you asked yourself, while talking with someone: If you really knew me, knew what I was thinking and everything I have done, you wouldn’t like me at all? If you only really knew me.
It is hard to be real. It makes us vulnerable.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t spew out my realness to just anyone. I’ve made that mistake before. Some people aren’t real worthy.
But when you find it, you’ll know. Someone you can be real with.
And then I hope you can say: See, they know me, and they’re still here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Questions

Q is for Questions
Questions, Questions. Do you remember those surveys that magazines used to have: like how to tell your in love, etc. Maybe they still have them. I don’t know I haven’t purchased a magazine in a long time
My twelve year old daughter has a book called COKE OR PEPSI that uses the same format. Only this time it is between you and your best friend, as a way of discovering things about each other.
As part of my job as a psychiatric registered nurse I run group therapy. And I have learned that this truth applies there as well. People love to answer questions about themselves.
Why is that do you suppose?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

O is for Oops, P is for Patience

O is for Oops
I apologize, I didn’t forget to post yesterday, I was just really tired after working an overnight. I am sorry I know this is no excuse, but I offer it anyway.

P is for Patience
When will it happen? When will someone read the book I have written and decide they have to represent it, or edit it, or publish it, or buy it or read it?
The days drag into weeks, the weeks months and the months hopefully not years.
Patience is a hard one.
I stopped praying for it when all that happened was my kids got louder and the traffic got slower.  And that is how I am getting patience yet again. As the rejection letters roll in, or not at all.
What has or is happening in your life to develop patience?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Neverending story

N is for Neverending story
This was a popular movie in the eighties (the generation I grew up in). It was about a book that came to life through its readers. I have found that is true in my own writing as well. It doesn’t feel complete unless I know someone is breathing life into it, or in other words reading it.
I get the same excitement that I had when I was initially writing it whenever I know someone is reading my novel. Will Joel fall in love with Rachel this time? Will Rachel realize her prejudice before it is too late? Will the book come alive for them like it did for me?
I hope so. And I hope so for your stories as well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Memories

M is for Memories.
We all have them. These glimpses of our childhood that rush back into our souls when we smell a familiar scent or see something we haven’t seen in years. We are transported back to that happy place when times felt simpler and much, much sweeter.
It is one of the main reasons we as writers carry our notebooks with us where ever we go. We never know when we will get one of those precious glimpses. They lend their heart and soul to our writing, making it real. Because it is real to us.
What memories are you cherishing today?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Like not Love

L is for Like, not Love.
Have you ever written something you liked, not loved?
The nagging suspicion fills your head, plagues you in fact.
It’s good…..just not right.
And you can’t go on until you have it.
That’s where I am today, at a standstill. I am writing my second book in The Newstead Project trilogy and I am stuck. I’ve written something I like, but don’t love. Any advice on how to get past this block?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kiss

K is for Kiss
There are many different types of kisses. Some of them soft, some fierce.
All stir in us a deep emotional response to our characters, as if it were us that were being held so tenderly.
Why is a kiss so powerful? Both in books and in life.
What has been your favorite kiss (literary)?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J- is for Just

This seems to be one of my favorite words when I write my first draft, because in subsequent revisions I have to eliminate tons of them. The funny thing is, that after I remove all of those extra justs, the sentence reads the same, if not better.
Just is just a filler.
How many useless words could you eliminate by just editing them?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I for Insanity

Who decides what is insane?
Oh, I know that there are a variety of mental status exams and DSM classifications in an attempt to name the indescribable. Because there is no lab test or x-ray that can diagnose insanity. It is all purely subjective, and I write this as someone who has worked in the field of psychiatry for many years.
I have learned one thing though, from the people I have observed, both professionally and socially. All of us are just a little bit crazy. We just don’t want to admit it.
Why else would disturbing books rock us to our core and keep us up at night? Because they are a little too real for us. Somewhere deep inside, we know those are our fears as well. We just never wanted to admit it to anyone.
Try telling someone your deepest fears today. What keeps you up at night. How many times you check to make sure your doors are locked before you go to sleep; all the wildest imaginings of your heart.
 They just might look at you like you’re crazy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

H is for Hunger Games

Please pardon me for posting this early. I have to leave for work at six am on Saturday and am working 12.5 hours. I thought now would be better than posing at eight pm.

H is for Hunger games.
I have to admit it took me a long time to pick up this book. I am a fan of Steven King, and the back cover of Hunger Games felt a little bit too similar to The Running Man.
But eventually I did, and I am glad. I loved it. Maybe Suzanne Collins did get her basic starting idea from Steven King’s book, maybe not. But on the same note I have felt that a lot of King’s work may have gotten it’s initial flavor from some Edgar Allan Poe’s stories.
This is not only inevitable, it also gives me hope. It is inevitable because we are what we read, and writers are usually readers. So it is only natural our ideas may flow from what we have already read.
It gives me hope because I can’t count the number of people thinking that they were being helpful who have told me that my book has already been written by someone else. These people have never read my book, they have only heard my pitch.  Just like I had incorrectly judged Hunger Games based only on the back cover.  

G is for Gratitude

I don’t know about you, but I live on a rollercoaster. I will really want something, and try, try, try to get it. And then when I do get that thing, (Be it a house, husband, kid, new car, wonderful writing career.) I get a momentary piece of happiness before I am onto the next thing, my next want.
I have found that I am not alone. As a Psychiatric Nurse I often meet with people who are despondent, tired of nothing measuring up to what they had hoped. They thought for sure once they got that house, etc… they would be happy. But they’re not. They’re depressed, some to the point of suicide.
I often give them an exercise when they first come in, one that works for me, to remind me to pause the rollercoaster.
It’s simple. A list. A list of things you’re grateful for. For some this list is hard to start. They haven’t been grateful for anything for years. For others the list is hard to stop. It’s contagious, once you start seeing them, you realize there are blessings everywhere.
It works because it gets your mind off of what you want and teaches you to want and appreciate what you already have.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Faults and Failures

I am currently writing the second novel in the Newstead Project Trilogy. One of my MCs is doing something very unexpected. She slips up big time, and I mean big. No matter how many times I tried to talk her out of it, she just kept going in the same direction. And then I went back and read that particular part of the book and it is hands down my favorite.
It is real.
Because you and I have faults and failures, so should our characters. Who can relate to someone perfect? I know I can’t. And above all that is what our characters must be, relatable. (mm… do I hear an idea for R coming on?)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Envy

I have a confession to make. For most of my life I have struggled with envy.
I am sure I was envious as a child, but for me this disease didn’t make its ugly presence known until just shortly after I was married, when I began to long for a baby.  I battled with this for the entire ten years of my infertility. Envy is a terrible thing. It will take a perfectly content person (me) and make her glare with hatred at a completely innocent pregnant woman.
I thought I had gotten past it. I thought envy no longer had such a strong hold on me.
I was wrong.
It reared its ugly head once again as I started writing my first novel. For me writing is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done. And the thought of other people reading my work makes me burst with satisfaction. It doesn’t matter that the only people to read it are my friends and family. Sort of...
I will get a wave of it (envy) whenever I hear about a new author getting published. I feel like I did six years ago looking at that pregnant woman. They have what I want. Not the money. I can honestly say I am content with that part of my life. (I’m not rich, just thankful for what I have.) For me it’s the readers. People, lots of them are reading their work. People are falling in love with their characters.
But I’ve dealt with this disease in the past and I have learned the cure.  (You’ll have to wait for letter G when I discuss gratitude.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Damsel's in DIstress!!!

A couple of years ago my daughter was in this play where she was casted as Damsel of the first order, no other name, no other title.
During the production her only job was to run out on stage every few minutes or so with her fellow damsels, singing loudly:"In distress, in distress, we're damsels in distress. We wish that we were stronger but were damsel's in distress!" Then they would all run off the stage leaving the audience laughing hysterically. That was the whole point, comedy relief.
Are we doing that with our female characters? Are they only showing up briefly with the same old lines, waiting to be rescued? Now don't get me wrong. I love a strong male characer who cherishes and protects the woman her loves, but... But only if it's on occasion. And only if the female has more than one line. Not only: "In distress, in distress, we're damsels in distress. We wish that we were stronger, but we're damsels in distress."

Monday, April 4, 2011

C-is for Catalyst

What makes your story move forward?
Here your MC is having a perfectly normal day and them WHAM!
His/Her life has changed now, forever.  Maybe for the better, maybe not.
But either way they can never go back.
So... what is the catalyst in your story?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B- for Blonde Jokes

Have you heard the one about the blonde...?

No, I haven't. In fact most of the stories I have read lately have all had anything but blonde MCs. I know that there are some out there, but they are few and far between.

My theory? We are so afraid to create Barbies that we avoid it all together.

At least that is what it was for me.  How about for you?

On another note... I revised my pitch. (again) Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. They were all seriously taken. So forgive me as I combine the two blog fests into one post (A-Z, and Epic Follower Blogfest/Contest)
My latest pitch:

He is deceived. She is blinded by prejudice.
A school? A cult.
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they're not out to get you.

Are you allowed to seperate the lines like this? I didn't know, but I thought it added to the voice.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Revised Pitch

Genre: YA Paranormal
Word Count: 75,500

Thank you for all of your comments. After reading them and viewing other pitches I have revised mine. Please let me know what you think.

Joel has been deceived. Rachel’s arrogance makes her blind. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.

My Pitch

In blogging today for the A-Z blog fest I came across the blog : Is it hot in here or is it this book? - they are having a contest in the next 2 days: Epic follower Blogfest/Contest. Please see the blog for infromation. To comply with the rules of the contest I am posting my pitch. Please let me know what you think.

Joel has been deceived. Rachel’s arrogance makes her blind. Neither fathoms the threat that Newstead, an exclusive prep school for boys in Weston, Vermont may pose. When are you just too much of a liability to be kept alive? Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.
Yes it is the same thing that is posted on the left of my blog. (In case you thought you were seeing double.)

A Short Pause for A to Z blog fest- A is for Amiable

Hello, I will be taking a short pause from my regular format to participate in the A to Z blog fest. I will continue to post my short story snippits (a good preview for S day) weekly. But for the month of April I will be posting alphabetically. Starting with today, the letter A

A- is for Amiable. Ok, so I am reading PRIDE AND PREDJUDUCE for the hundreth time (seriously) and I decided to count exactly how many times the word amiable was used. So far I am up to 37 and Mr. Darcy has just been spurned. Do people even use that word anymore? Try using it in conversation today and see the looks you get. It just gets me thinking. How many other beautiful words have we lost over time?