Category Archives: Bringing a story to life

Bringing a Story to Life: Those Pesky Details

lot-of-11-medieval-south-german-ButtonsI was working on a scene of passion in Cauldron of the Gods, the first of the Dragon Core series when I found myself having to stop to verify what I was writing was possible.

As happens sometimes, I was both writer and reader and it was the reader side that caught the potential mistake.

The male character is undressing a female, undoing buttons on the back of her gown.  The problem?  Had buttons been invented yet?

This scene takes place in the fourteenth century.

Fortunately, I was able to verify that yes, buttons had been invited by this point in time.  However, I realized that I wasn’t done with the research.  The other potential problem?  The male character’s clothing.

I had to move beyond the time period and zero in on a specific part of Europe during that time period.

In this case I only needed to make a couple of minor adjustments though the entire exercise took a few hours of back and forth between writing and researching.

I’m pleased with how the scene turned out.

The scene itself took me four days to finish.

On another note.  Adjudication: Book 13 of the Metatron’s Army Series is available for pre-release.

This is the final installment of the Metatron’s Army Series.  The book will be released on October 1, 2019.

 

 

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Bringing a Story to Life: The Paranormal in Action

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So, today hasn’t exactly gone as planned.

And it’s far from over.

I decided to go to one of my local haunts to work on Dragon Core.  I’m having trouble connecting to one of the characters and the first draft of the book cover is missing something.

I thought a change of scenery and vibe might be just the thing to get me back on track creatively.

After delivering my salad the lady waiting on me told me they were giving away mimosas for free for a limited time and would I like one after my lunch.

I rarely drink mimosas. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had one.

I said sure.

After finishing the salad I turned back to the manuscript.

At this point I’m doing a read/write/edit sort of thing and was rereading a scene I’d written about two weeks ago.

I was reading the manuscript when she set the mimosa next to me.  My eyes widened and I called her back to the table so I could show her the scene.

EXCERPT:

They’d had breakfast at his place, bagels and cream cheese and Italian sausage.

“Mimosa?”

“Neither of us has to go to work.”

It was Sunday and though she would have loved to spend the entire day with him, she had errands to run. 

Mimosa?  Just as she set one next to me?

For just a time I was able to smile and feel as if once again, life was giving me a thumb’s up.

I’ve been a bit frustrated with how slowly this novel is progressing and this little “coincidence” definitely sent the message it was all going to work out and I could relax about it.

Bringing a Story to Life: Location Scouting

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Note:  This article is lengthy.

Having a location to visualize when writing a scene puts the writer on the stage with the characters. For me the process of selecting locations for my work is complex even as it’s fun.

The Why.  Choosing a setting for a novel is an important step in its creation.  It sets the tone for the reader so they can identify with the tale but it also provides the foundation for character behavior.  A number of factors encompass the location.

  • Time
  • Place
  • Locations within locations (i.e. business, residences, infrastructure, etc)

When Dragon Core began to take form as a viable idea for a story, the only location piece I had was a bar.

There is a historical element that factors into the plot but that was easily dealt with.  I simply needed to do a bit of research on historical events to get a feel for that environment/location.

Just prior to Christmas I came up with the name of the bar – Aesop’s Cove – but otherwise had no details on the location or setting.

Outside that it would be in an urban environment.

Urban Fantasy. For several months I considered whether to use a real urban environment or make one up.  In the end I decided on a hybrid.

The decision to use a hybrid came from the need and desire to pull elements from a variety of locations.

Considerations. Portland and New Orleans were both in the running for a long time but each presented unique challenges for my story.

New Orleans.  To represent the city with justice I would need to provide insider details that add vibrancy to the story, and I haven’t lived in New Orleans for decades.

There would also be elements I didn’t want to bring into the story, such as Cajun lifestyle, Mardi Gras, hurricanes, and the oil and gas industry.  These don’t fit into my storyline but would have to be dealt with if not included were I to choose this city.

Portland.  The layout of this city – that it is on a river as opposed to the coast – meant I would have to make alterations to the overall environment.  There are also cultural norms for this city that I didn’t want to use as a focus in my story.

Hybrid to the rescue. In spite of the challenges, these two cities definitely provided potential by way of locations within the location.

In other words, neighborhoods within the city at large that held elements conducive to scenes in the Dragon Core series.

These neighborhoods provided some of the vibe I was looking for.  They also contained businesses and/or architectural uniquenesses that I was happy to include in the location I was building.

Living within the location.  I decided the characters would not only work in an urban environment; they would live there. This led to the need to choose the type of living situation they were going to have.

  • Condo, loft, apartment, or house?
  • Roommates or not?
  • Walk to work, take public transportation, or drive a car?

These were some of the details I needed to work out.  Having lived in several urban environments throughout my life I was able to draw from my own experiences for these details.

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit other urban environments throughout the years, traveling for work, so was able to pull details from those experiences as well.

Work within the location.  In this case, it helps to have an understanding of what any specific urban environment is known for.  Large metropolitan areas are often associated with a specific industry and the nuances that go along with the people, places, and businesses that feed that environment.

There is a symbiotic relationship between the industries and the communities that surround those industries.

  • Detroit/Midwest with its auto industry and union influences
  • New Orleans with its Voodoo culture, Mississippi River, and oil and gas industry
  • Los Angeles with its Hollywood and Bel-Air vibe along with being the land of dreams if not dreamers.
  • San Francisco/Silicon Valley with its tech and Gold Rush boom bust history

I pulled from a number of cities along the west coast when creating Dragon Core’s urban environment.

  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Portland
  • Seattle

I also pulled in from a specific neighborhood in New Orleans.

History within the location.  In addition to where the characters currently live, I needed to decide where they came from.

While important for cultural influences such a location isn’t as detail dependent as the current location/setting.  In fact, it was more important to elaborate on personal experiences than environmental details as they have more impact on my character development.

The stage within location.  I use the term stage to refer to a scene setting within an overall environment. In the case of Dragon Core there are a few main stages.

  • Aesop’s Cove
  • Clare’s office
  • Warehouse Square

Each of these stages requires a location and setup of their own.  I drew from personal experience when creating them.

Warehouse Square.  For this location setting I drew from Washington and Jackson Squares in San Francisco, the area in and around Portland’s Chinatown as well as the area near Voodoo Donut, and Pioneer Square in Seattle.

Clare’s Office.  For this setting I visualized the building I worked in my senior year in high school as well as the area around one of the police stations in San Francisco.

Aesop’s Cove.  This was a toughie.  For whatever reason I felt I had to really be able to “wear” this location when writing.

In order to get into the vibe of the interactions with the characters as well as the mood of the place and the people within that place as it changes throughout the story.

I visited a couple of prospects for locations that would fit the vibe I was looking for.

I visited new locations as well as bringing to mind various pubs or bars I’ve been in over the years.

Goldilocks would be proud.  There is a scene in Cauldron of the Gods where I have the character – Clare Edwards – reflecting on the fact her friend described Aesop’s Cove as gritty sophistication.

She tells him she doesn’t want to go to a dive bar to which he replies “Have you ever been in a dive bar that could be described as sophisticated?

To be in the vibe when writing scenes taking place in Aesop’s Cove, I needed a bar that was “just right” (aka gritty sophistication).  It was more difficult to find than I thought it would be.

  • Some bars were too gritty.

gritty = dive.

  • Some bars were too sophisticated.

Sophistication = yuppy and/or beautiful people and/or trust fund babies

With a little imagination I was able to find one that worked though it had enough differences that I needed to meld it with a different location in my mind to get it just right.  The result is Aesop’s Cove, a combination of a place in Pioneer Square in Seattle and a brewery in San Diego.

I’m not going to disclose names only because I don’t want to leave anyone with the wrong impression since Aesop’s Cove, while inspired by real locations, is made up.  It doesn’t exist.

Synchronicities.  I did have a pretty cool experience visiting the bar that serves as the primary inspiration for Aesop’s Cove.  One of the distinctive features of the character who owns Aesop’s Cove – Lage McAskell – is the color of his eyes.  When visiting a very cool bar in a historical part of Pioneer Square, I explained to the lady behind the bar what I was doing and would it be okay if I took a few photos of the place.

I’d also taken photos of the area that I can reference when trying to pull up an image for a scene in the story

She had no issue with it and after I placed an order for food and wine, she gave me her name, Amber.

Amber is the distinctive feature for the main character, the color of his eyes.

I do so love synchronicities.

It’s like life giving you a thumb’s up.

Bringing a Story to Life: Writer’s Limbo [is NOT] Writer’s Block

8103856-wooden-foot-bridge-across-the-stream-in-mountain-forest-croatiaThis afternoon I finished slides for the book trailer for Adjudication, the FINAL installment of the Metatron’s Army Series.

 

This book will be released October 1, 2019

The Process.  The trailer is more or less the final stage in a Metatron’s Army installment.

Each installment of this saga is a chapter in the life of the main character(s).

The book cover and back of book description were done weeks ago.

The beta reader has the final draft.

Edit to the End.  I’m probably going to make a change to the final paragraph in the back of book description, which is why the landing page has not been put up.

Now What?  This is an interesting time for me because it’s not just the completion of a book, it’s the completion of a series that was over thirty years in the making. 

A story I honestly never intended to publish.  Best laid plans and all that…

I’ve more or less enjoyed the process.

There’s no doubt I’ve grown as a person, a business owner, and a writer.

I had to become someone I never thought I could be.

Next Up.  I’m always creating so I have a number of projects in the queue

  • Paranormal Journeys
  • Ghost Games
  • Dragon Core
  • Metatron’s Universe

Having a map doesn’t mean putting a foot to the path.

I need a breather between projects.

Rinse. Repeat.  I have to give myself permission to take breaks between projects.

Projects = individual books.

I don’t feel guilty about not putting fingers to keyboard, I feel compelled to get it down because I can.

But as a friend of mine once said, “Just because someone can, doesn’t mean they should.”

I am in a sort of writer’s limbo, which is not at all the same as writer’s block.  

The stories are ready to take their place in the ether.

I spent the past few days writing the rest of the first and the entire second installment of the Dragon Core series.

For this particular project that simply meant listening to music and playing Free Cell while watching the mental movie of the entire story play out on the screen of my mind’s eye.

Balancing Act.  The difficult part now is determining the point at which rest is morphing into something else.

In other words, when limbo turns into a block, an oxymoron given I know what it is I plan to do with the characters and the story they live in.

Really, Now What? 

  • I could spend the break catching up on housework that doesn’t need catching up on.

No, I don’t need to help others take care of theirs.

  • I could start a new hobby.

That I will soon have no time for.

  • I could spend more time listening to music and playing Free Cell.

That wouldn’t be a break. I’d end up writing more novels on my mental screen.

  • I could learn to embrace limbo.

Hmmm.

Stay tuned…

Bringing a Story to Life: When Life Meets You Halfway

knight-horse-jousting-vector-cartoon-clip-art-illustration-armored-scary-black-red-eyes-charging-lance-111436248“It is seeking me as I am seeking it

                  – Thomas Pauley

 

This morning as I was pulling the car in near the coffee shop where I get my double shot a song came on the radio.  Initially, I rolled my eyes as it was a cheesy 80s love ballad.

I prefer heavy metal – big time.

I was about to turn it – and the car – off – when the lyrics caught my attention.  A smile spread across my face and I decided the doppio could wait a little longer.  You see, the song solved a writing problem.

This isn’t the first time.

The Problem.  Last night I began working out a scene in Cauldron of the Gods.

An urban fantasy I’m working on.   

I’m 43000 plus words into the story and this scene takes place much later in the novel.

The scene is a bit of a challenge as there are elements that are in conflict with earlier ones.  I tried resolving the conflict off and on before bed to no avail.

For once it didn’t keep me awake.

To my surprise and delight – yes, author word – the lyrics of the song provided the answer I needed.

I rarely IF EVER (can’t think of one instance) say I’m delighted – too dated a term.

Not a One Off.  This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this phenomenonBeginning some eight months ago, while driving, I would notice a song on the radio that solved a writing issue.

I say notice because most of the time songs are just background music. 

Time is Immaterial. The song doesn’t have to be a current release.

 The keyword is notice.

At times, it’s a song I’ve never heard before.  Other times it’s an older song I’m hearing in a new way.

Lyrics.

Words V Tunes.  It’s typically lyrics that resolve a problem.

Not necessarily the whole song, either; sometimes just a stanza. 

Rarely is it the rhythm.

Though it can be. Especially in the case of percussion led songs.

Let Me Count the Ways.  It’s not always the same issue that’s resolved.

Character.  The following are some of the songs that have helped with character related issues  

  • ET – Katy Perry
  • I Am Machine – Three Days Grace
  • Wicked Game – Ursine Vulpine Remake
  • Ever It Hurts – Sam Tinnesz

Setting.  The following songs have helped with setting related issues

  • Circadian Rhythm – Silversun Pickups
  • Love Walks In – Van Hagar
  • Sunrise – Blackwater Holylight
  • Windswept – Bryan Ferry

Scene.  The following songs have helped with scene related issues

  •  Story of Love – Peter Cetera
  • When Legends Rise – Godsmack
  • Angels Fall – Breaking Benjamin
  • Prologue/Twilight – Electric Light Orchestra

Ask and Ye Shall Receive.  What stands out the most is how the problem is being solved.

  • I mentally consider that I’m feeling frustrated.

But other than considering the various ways I can approach the issue I don’t spend time on it.

  • I analyze whatever part of the writing process is the challenge 

Character, scene, plot, other.

  • I go about my life

Though the issue rattles around in the background

The point is I don’t pray/meditate for resolution or otherwise actively try to solve the issue

It honestly doesn’t occur to me to do more than say to myself, “Yeah, I am frustrated.”

Kismet.  In spite of the lack of effort toward resolution, an answer presents itself – in the form of a song – within a very short time of acknowledging the problem.

As Pauley said…it (the answer) is seeking me as I am seeking it.

As I approach my dreams, Life is meeting me halfway.

Bringing a Story to Life: The Rhythm of Writing

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This morning called for a second double shot espresso.

I’m ripping apart a paragraph in Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core adventure for the fourth time.

Dragon Core is part of the Metatron’s Universe project.

It’s amazing how many different ways you can arrange a sentence and get the same meaning even as some just sound better than others.

And how many times you can change your mind about what sounds better.

It was while working on this novel that I came to see there is a rhythm to my writing.

It’s been some time since I’ve worked on something totally new.  The Metatron’s Army installments follow one to the next so in many respects it’s like one long novel.

Which is why it’s an Epic.

Soothsayer is connected to Port in a Storm and even though Blue Skye, the next Paranormal Journeys story is separate with new characters, all these novels and others in the queue fall under the P J umbrella.  Cauldron of the Gods– Dragon Core – I’m starting from scratch for the first time in years.

The Ingredients. The concept for Dragon Core, an urban fantasy, took root last fall as I was in the midst of the Metatron’s Army series and pondering what to do with Soothsayer. 

Actually, I was pondering what to do with my writing career.

Intrigued by the concept for this new series I set up a folder and began taking notes and doing research.

As the story has roots in real incidents that took place centuries ago, I quickly saw that research would not only be a big part of the up-front work, it would be a time-consuming part. I needed to factor that in when working out release dates for various projects in the queue.

By the New Year I had all the pieces in place

  • iTunes playlist for the project
  • Photographic images that represent the hero of the story
  • Files containing links to relevant historical data
  • Sample of academic work on relevant subject
  • Solid feel for the story arc that would carry not only Cauldron of the Gods but the follow-on stories in the Dragon Core series

Content I’d done everything I could given I had other priorities – aka other novels to finish and release – I set Cauldron aside and returned to finishing MA and Soothsayer

I trusted that in the ensuing months, as is typical, I would give time to the story while sitting outside observing nature, playing Free Cell and listening to music, or lying awake in the middle of the night.

The Sauce.  I’ve come to see that every book I write has its own pace and style of development.

It had been awhile since I’d worked on something completely new.

Cauldron is spaghetti sauce style.

This means I start at page one and write straight through, getting the main story arc in place, before going back and adding spice – intrigues and subplots – as appropriate.

I coined the spaghetti sauce descriptor  to describe this style of writing early in my career though not every story follows this pattern.

Only the first in the MA series – Advantage– fit that writing style profile.

This style of writing is the most energy intensive because it’s a slower paced style and requires intense focus that can be and often is cyclical.

I alternate rapid free-flowing sessions wherein I’ll get 3 – 6K words in one sitting with methodical and more time-consuming sessions which may yield 2K if I’m lucky.

Another characteristic of this style is the need to go back and reread what I’ve written in the previous session to regain momentum before continuing on.

This style is also cognitively draining relative to the rapid free-flow style that carried most of the Metatron’s Army works.

Free flow is a style where I’m simply the physical go-between for the muse, my fingers typing before I even think what it is I want/need to write.  It’s like being in a trance state, what some refer to as being “in the Zone.”

Understanding the rhythm (or not) has big time repercussions because the variability of the pacing can result in frustration.

It’s been years since I’ve dealt with a spaghetti sauce novel.  I’ve had to repeatedly remind my runaway train of a writing brain to slow down and relax – that it will all come out [right] in the end.

I have no idea at this point when Cauldron of the Gods will be ready for release but I’m enjoying the interesting path it’s taking to get there.

 

Bringing a Story to Life: The Circle of Creation

df34550d4b98c906ab78970fee0a7818.jpgAnalysis:  Book 12 in the Metatron’s Army series is available for pre-order.

While I’m excited that Adjudication, the final installment of the series has been turned over to the beta reader, I’m also bittersweet and a bit anxious as the series ends.

I have new material in the works but my mindset has been so focused on this project that was 35 plus years in the development that I’m having to gauge the best way to move on to the next projects.

Ghost Games, Metatron’s Universe, and Dragon Core works.

It’s been a bit like going up and down a variety of staircases, often simultaneously.

Like in an Escher Work.

In spite of the apt visual metaphor, I decided it’s really more like a circle; a circle of creation.

Because the circle is  creation and creation doesn’t end. 

One project winds down while the next spins up.  Thus, the circle remains complete.

And unbroken.

Creation as industry is Unique.   I once belonged to an organization of executives and former executives who’d come from a variety of industries.  During one of our meetings, we went through an exercise in which we were to envision where we saw ourselves in  five, ten, twenty-five years, and beyond.

It was a goal oriented exercise.

To my amusement and surprise, I was the only one who could go out beyond ten years.

I explained I planned to continue writing and – creating.

Soon after, I was contacted privately by the facilitator who explained he’d never heard anyone talk about contributing and “working” into their twilight years the way I did.

He was used to people talking about where they would spend their retirement years and what they would be doing. 

It wasn’t work and it wasn’t creating.

I’ve heard that if you love what you do, it isn’t work.  I think that is a misnomer because every artist I know, though they love what they do, works incredibly hard.

What’s unique about creation is the nature of it.  You create. If you have a drive to create, that drive is not dependent on earning a living though you sure as hell try to marry one to the other.  Still, if you have a need to create, money – or lack of – won’t stop it.

Creation is a circle that never ends.  There’s only a segue of continuity, the constant expression of life in one form or another.

images.jpegNote:  I’ve known many a scientist and researcher who has worked up until the end.  That, too, is creation.

 

Analysis will be available August 1, 2019.

Adjudication will be available October 1, 2019.

Bringing a Story to Life: Alien Romance

1920x1080_px_abstract_angel_artwork_demon_fantasy_Art-774620.jpg!d-2Just listening to the playlist I created for the upcoming Dragon Core series and finishing final edits on Analysis:  Book 12 in the Metatron’s Army Series.

I need to remind myself I have upcoming projects as I wind down this series.  It’s been with me so long I occasionally feel a twinge of anxiety about it ending.

As I wind down the series, two elements have taken center stage.

  • Reveals
  • Relationships

Reveals. In coming along on a journey that traversed thirteen installments, readers of the series have put their trust in me.

The nature of the story necessitated this format where each book in the series is like a chapter in the life of the main character, who was born in one universe, raised in another before returning to her home universe to fulfill her destiny.

To end a century’s old war and save a race of energy beings which are not always complimentary objectives.

My focus in these final books is to ensure I share various secrets and individual and collective character motivations that reveal the numerous plots within the plot in a way that honors that trust while not revealing too much at one time.

I need to keep the reader entertained – and guessing.

Relationships.  Relationships between a variety of characters definitely take center stage in these final books for the simple reason I need to answer the question Then what?

Through much of the series, the characters have worked together for a variety of common goals that included

  • training to do the jobs they need to do
  • doing those jobs to the best of their ability while continuing to grow as individuals
  • protecting each other and themselves while keeping their eye on the overall objective.

Having something in common does not equal compatibility though I have created characters who not only respect each other, they generally get along well, even as they often work at cross purposes.

Alien V. Culture. Most of the characters have grown up in a universe where different species are akin to what humans would consider a different culture.

It’s just no big deal to have different physiology or physical characteristics that make you stand out.

That doesn’t mean the different species trust each other, even as they work together for a common purpose.  Focusing on how those relationships evolve and transform throughout the series has been fun and something I only had an overarching understanding of.

I knew the overall goal but not what any specific character(s) would do to fulfill that goal. 

I’ve had the joy of allowing characters to evolve in such a way as to transform from being a minor background character to a main character that contributes significantly to the plot and the saga.

I didn’t plan for these changes, they just happened as the story progressed and I got to know certain characters better.

I also need to deal with interdimensional relationships as I’ve brought people from Earth to the Vetria system.

From Analysis:

“Look, can we file this under the Light Beings don’t understand humans category and move on to the reason you are in my apartment?”

“For the moment.”

Fuck.  He so did not want to get roped into the help the Light Beings understand the subtle nuances of intimate relations.

There is also the necessity of addressing how characters move from one type of a relationship to another.

  • From being team players to individual leaders as their careers transform
  • From reporting to someone to becoming a peer as the roles evolve
  • From colleagues to lovers
  • From culturally different species to lovers

On the path to love. Those last two points have been surprisingly less challenging than the two above.  It’s not only been a joy to take various characters from soldiers to lovers, it’s been relatively easy.

The key has been to think – really think – about the challenges they would face.

  • As an individual
  • A couple
  • A team
  • A community

Individual.  When dealing with different species I needed to take into account individual expectations based on social customs as well as individual likes, dislikes, expectations.

There’s Two.  I had to address the challenges of being a couple.

Emotion isn’t a switch to be turned on so imagine being involved with a species for who emotion was forbidden for centuries, for example.

Team Player.  I had to consider how the characters would view themselves in terms of their professional roles, as well as how their teammates would view any changes in relationships.

How do you go from soldiers who fight side by side to lovers? 

Who’s coming for dinner?!  Imagine bringing someone considered the enemy into a community with the implicit expectation that he would be entering into a romantic relationship with a member of that community.

Assuming the individual would have them to being with.

In this situation the relationship is under a microscope as every member of the community takes note of every move.

Which actually happens with multiple characters who enter into romantic liaisons.  As Christine puts it, the universe is watching.

To facilitate the process, I simply looked at each relationship through those four filters.

But wait!  The challenge has been to pace the development of the relationships relative to upcoming plot developments and the reality that such relationships typically evolve over a period of time.

As Christine says at one point, loving someone isn’t the same as being in love with them.

I have to think ahead to what the characters will be facing and make sure that their feelings and thoughts about the relationship are in line with where they are in the progression of the story.

There’s more!  And of course, there’s the whole physical side to the relationships.  That has been a lot of fun to deal with as I’ve had the challenge of incorporating different cultural and personal views on sexuality.

And stopped to think what would each character be worried or excited about in taking that step with the one they love.

This last was a central focus of multiple characters in Promotion: Book 11 in the series.

Front and Back. As I wrap this article before going back to Analysis, I will add that another facet of relationship development is the need to shift the romance from front and center to back burner out of necessity as characters remain true to their roles.

There’s still a war and they are still soldiers, even if some of them are now “closer.”

It has been fun even as it has been, in spite of the implication of emotion, an intellectual exercise.

Analysis will be available August 1, 2019.

Note:  This article is cross-posted to metatronsarmy.com.

Bringing a Story to Life: Relationship Turning Point

kosmos-zviozdy-zviozdnoe-nebo-starry-sky-romantika-romanticSo, as I write adult fiction, sex and romance put in an appearance, in one form or another, in my work. My journey along this path has been anything but straight and smooth.

  • The first time I wrote a sex scene – in a wire bound notebook – it was fine.

I viewed it as a plot device and didn’t have any issues with it.

Then someone I knew read it…

  • I went through a period where I had to put on headphones and play music really loud so I didn’t have to think about anyone I knew reading what I was writing.

For the life of my I could not convince them I wasn’t writing from personal experience.*

  • Over time I got back to it being part of the plot/overall story

I told certain people to skip over the sex scenes.

  • I went through a crisis where I thought I would run out of ways to write the scenes, that it would get boring

A friend listened politely, listened, laughed, then pointed out that not only are there as many ways as there are couples, but that with my imagination, I would not have a problem. In other words, believe in myself as a writer. 

  • I went through another round of “Oh my god, people who know me will read this!”

My husband, who not only worked in the same [previous] industry as me but who had worked with me, helped me get pas this challenge. 

  • I took on projects that forced me to really challenge myself about the characters having sex / a romantic relationship

My first implementation of this stage was with Jeremy in The Lover.   

Metatron’s Army.  Dealing with alien species has introduced its own challenges with relationships and sex and due to plot progression, I’ve had to cross that bridge with a number of characters from the Metatron’s Army Series.

As in Books 11, 12, and 13.

I’ve found that though I had an idea where things were headed, I needed to truly think it all through.

I had to really put myself in the various characters’ shoes and ask myself

  • What are they thinking right now?
  • What are they afraid of at this moment?
  • What do they want to get out of this moment?
  • What is their life going to be like individually and as a couple as a result of taking this step/crossing this bridge?
  • How will other characters adapt and respond to this change in circumstance?

It has been quite the journey.  It’s also laid the foundation for bouncing between series and dealing with a variety of characters coming from a number of different backgrounds.  In other words, the experience has given me courage to tackle a number of plot and character twists that will come up in the following projects

Stay tuned!

*I still can’t convince some people I don’t write from personal experience but…

I just can’t care anymore if the people know me or not.

It bleeds too much energy.

Sex is how we got here.  It’s a part of life and I write with life in mind.

Bringing a Story to Life – The Paranormal AS Reality

I’m about to post a vlog that gives a bit of insight into the Port Gallatan series.

 

The FICTITIOUS location for the series.

The West Virginia part of that story has a bit of personal meaning, and is a great illustration of how having the paranormal AS reality in my life has played out.

In a way that went way beyond being a writer.

YEARS AGO, on October 12, I found myself in West Virginia.  Though a series of events that took place over that weekend were of a paranormal nature, it was the weekend itself – and the events that led up to it – that transformed my life.; a situation where the whole was far more than the sum of its parts.

  • I was invited to come down and spend a weekend.

 

  • I would drive down right after work on Friday and arrive very late.

I had had the WEEK FROM HELL so I can’t begin to explain the basket case I was when I arrived, nor how it felt to be swept into a loving embrace, accompanied by an assurance that I was welcome and I could leave it all on the front porch.

  • There were no expectations

The individual who extended the invitation is one of the only truly altruistic people to ever cross my path.

  • The house was over 200 years old.

Spending the night in a place that had been there when my country was birthed from a REVOLUTION FROM TYRANNY – at the hand of COMMONERS who dreamed of being free from the TYRANNY of King George III cannot be described nor manufactured in a factory.  Farmers – not trained soldiers – led by great men – won that war.

  • The smell of cedar touched/connected with something from my Irish great-grandmother

My parents kept the quilts she handmade to keep out drafts from the walls of her home in Ireland in a cedar chest so the moths wouldn’t destroy them.

  •  My host provided acceptance that healed parts of my soul in need of healing

 

  • I was reminded of who I was at a soul level, reminded that corporate (and those in it) did not define me

Though God knows they tried.

  • I was reminded that life is what I make it (No excuses).

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay the individual who invited me – nor fully explain what that weekend and those nights in that house did for me.

If you think those emotions and those experiences don’t make it into my characters and my writing – you don’t understand writers who write from the soul.  NOT EXPERIENCE – THE SOUL!!!!!  BIGGGGGGGG DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So – the paranormal of that weekend.

We ventured to a park where there were a number of ghosts.

Story of my life since LONG before the brain surgery!

I tucked this part of the weekend into my normal “Wow, this is really cool…” space and went with it.

With regards to all the ghosts I saw on my way to the payphone?

I had to call someone to wish them happy birthday!

I believe in Democracy for ghosts.

Who am I to scream at them to go to the light when they are intelligent and capable of telling me off/explaining they are here for a reason?

If they weren’t? – they would have ALREADY gone to the damned light! 

 I’m serious.  They’re watching over loved ones or otherwise completing tasks and make no bones about telling me about it.

Paranormal experience aside, it was a turning point for me.

Did the ghosts play a part in that?  Not as much as staying in that house did.

Going Home.  I drove the PA then OH Turnpike, knowing I wouldn’t get back to MI until well past midnight, needing to report for duty to the corporate black hole early the next morning.

I was a completely changed person though I had no idea at the time just how much.

160826012942-black-hole-breakthrough-lee-pkg-00002217-exlarge-169To give a perspective of the degree of dysfunctionality of our particular sinking ship…

 

  • There was a sandwich board in the 1stfloor hallway that read the difference between us and the Titanic was that at least the Titanic had a band

 

  • There was a Far Side Cartoon with God looking at the animals and contemplating “Hmmm…pretty good – all I need is something to eat you guys…” on my boss’ office door.

With an arrow over God’s head that had the current black hole program name on it.  The animals?  There was an arrow with the name of our “sacrificial” team on it.

My boss was NOT amused.

I was NOT the orchestrator of this chaos!

Hey, at least we had a sense of humor while we were going down…

Scott Adams would have been proud.

YES – I know Scott Adams did not author the Far Side.

Around 11pm Sunday night, close to the OH-MI border, I checked my vmail.  There were a number of messages from someone who was another energy drain on my life.

Prior to the nights spent in that house – talking to the woman whose family had owned it for generations – I was somehow oblivious to the energetic damage being done by this psychic/emotional/psychological vampire.

By the time I was listening to the sixth – or seventh – vmail DEMANDING that I call him and tell him WHERE I WAS – I was rolling my eyes and acknowledging that my life needed some serious work.

Ghost to the Rescue!

Not long after, I had a visit from the ghost of my deceased maternal grandmother, reading me the riot act because my husband was about to come into my life and there was WORK TO BE DONE and there I was screwing around with a vampire!

Rattled by the dream – my maternal grandmother NEVER yelled at me – I nonetheless blew her off.

My mistake.

Immediately after, my life took a turn into a nightmarish if entropic direction.

It was as if someone yanked the tablecloth off the table of my life and every damned glass thing on it fell to the floor where it proceeded to smash to smithereens.

Those were some rough months afterward…

But as I recount in After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens After We Die, my husband DID enter my life a few months later.

The transformation – Cosmically Guided – was set in stone.

 The Paranormal as Reality Revisited…

I was reading an article the other day and considered where I was when this guy was blowing out an amp.

I was living in the Bay Area, seeing my husband-to-be in a vision on my Silicon Valley apartment balcony.  I actually asked him to wait – explaining I wasn’t ready yet.  This was BEFORE being chewed out, mind you.

Cosmic Time.  Upon reading the article, I realized that though it seemed like an eternity at the time – the actual space between when I saw my husband in that vision and when he showed up in my life was relatively short.

My grandmother’s admonition notwithstanding. 

heartThe rapidness with which everything else was swept away once I touched his hand when we finally found each other?  It left me with no doubt that

  • Destiny Exists
  • Love is a powerful force
  • Paranormal IS reality if you’re smart enough to look for it/see it.

On a side note:  Just before we were married, my husband took me to a place where he used to spend time during a difficult part of his life.  It was the exact location I’d seen him sitting in in the vision, though he was there two years – almost to the day – before I was in my apartment.

The speed of desire across time?

Just the information a storyteller loves to draw from.