Category Archives: Bringing a story to life

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.

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.

Advertisements

Bringing a Story to Life: The Not So Neat Bow

Just listened to Tinnesz and considered which scene I wanted to work on next in Adjudication: Book 13 in the Metatron’s Army series.

The songs are part ofa Verix playlist.  I have two. Each serves a different inspirational purpose.

Whew!  Book 13 is both a relief and a challenge.  Analysis: Book 12 was, by far, the most challenging of the series, for a variety of reasons.  It’s a relief to be past it and yet it’s a challenge because, with Adjudicationthe final book in the series, there’s a lot riding on it, not the least of which is, addressing open issues/questions.

Typing up bows – or not.

Do what works, not what’s popular.  I have never been a fan of formulaic writing.

Something created by a select few– mostly male – at the Big 5 in the 80s.

Happy ever after is one thing.  Tying up in a pretty yet very unrealistic bow – you’ve lost me.

You lost a number of people which is why there was a revolt in and around 2003 by – predominantly female – writers and agents alike.  New to the industry, I sat back and watched, listened, and learned.

Roll Up The Sleeves.  There are a number of outstanding issues and questions to address in the series and yet I can’t just go down a list, checking each one off.

Timing is only one of the considerations.

Best Way?  The techniques used can vary.  For instance, I realized while listening to music from Babelthat a reveal I was going to do by way of a flashback can actually be accomplished by reentering a scene and keeping it in the present.

For this particular reveal, I will adjust timing rather than character participation.

Timing.  I have to be careful.  I can’t just rush through this installment tying up loose ends as I go.

Hurried and unrealistic.

I also don’t want to lose the cadence of the saga by shifting gears at the end.

This consideration applied to the End Game in its entirety which was another reason Book 12 was such a challenge.

Not so fast.  Even though I’m coming up to the finale of the Metatron’s Army series first draft, there’s a lot of work to do.

And the challenge of having my next project in the works.

Stay tuned.

Diagonals:  Book 10 in the series will be available on April 1, 2019.

All in How You Write It

grammatical-errors-1210x423So, turned in final draft for Promotion: Book 11 in the Metatron’s Army series and working on Analysis: Book 12

Promotion is currently available for pre-release.  Officially available June 1, 2019.

I took the schedules of my team into account and decided the sooner I get book 12 ready to go the less stressful it will be for all of us.

Edit, edit, and more edit.  Though I continue to have to deal with past participles more than any other parts of speech*, I was amused to see an example of the nit picking that can happen during “final draft” editing.

Do I really need to “fix” this?**

The phrase in question is “No Light Being ever could have…”

I stared at it and pondered “ever could have” versus “could ever have.”  

Weirdly, it does make a difference. 

In keeping it “ever could have” I am drawing attention to the fact the Light Being in the scene is

Wow – I just caught a typo because I did a direct copy from the manuscript to this article – didn’t capitalize the L and B. 

In keeping the phrase as is, I’m drawing attention to the fact the Light Being in question is unparalleled relative to his peers.

In other words, if he couldn’t do it…***

This is the level of editing that goes on – for me at least – in final draft stage.

For me, final draft is the draft I turn over to the beta reader.  I do one last read through immediately prior to release just for sanity’s sake.  For book 11 that was yesterday.  It was uploaded today and will be live on time.

* I was able to let go of comma issues – issues set in place when my 5thgrade English teacher decided the rule in place back when the abacus was the computer was set in stone.

** Stephen King does a great job of covering the BS involved with nit picking – including commas – in his work On Writing,,which I highly recommend to aspiring writers.  It’s the real.

***For a bit of insight into this passionate character…

Analysis will be available on or before August 1, 2019

Bringing a Story to Life – I’m in the Mood (Not)

wine-by-log-fireAs I sit here staring at the screen I find myself wanting to write, knowing I need to write, but unable to get started.  I’m not in the mood.

Unfortunately, that isn’t a very good excuse.

It isn’t the post-holiday blahs.  It isn’t the environment.  I suppose I could lay the blame at my recent detour back into nonfiction, though even that is stretching it.

I love writing fiction and prefer it.  I also have a desire to make a difference in the world which leads me to periodically release information I believe will help improve the lives of others.

It isn’t that I don’t have ideas.

Quite the contrary, I have a partially completed novel in front of me and other stories in the queue. 

In spite of this, I find myself unable to find the motivation to get to it.

Just put the fingers on the keys, right?

As I sat here, staring sightlessly, I considered a variety of potential stimulants.

I’ve already had a rare second espresso – it didn’t clear the cobwebs.

I considered listening to music but realized it would probably send me in the wrong direction.

I really need to work on the novel in front of me, not the one I’m releasing in March.

As I wrestled with the idea of working on the March release now – just to be working on something – it occurred to me what was wrong.  I’d lost touch with my current novel’s character.

Had I fallen out of love with the plot?

Careful consideration told me that no – it wasn’t the plot that was bothering me, it really was the character.  I’d lost touch with her.  How come?

Damn break!

stock-photo-months-and-dates-shown-on-a-calendar-whilst-turning-the-pages-170786750I had been away for too long.  Even before my work on Calcium: The Old Man Mineral and Its Role in EMF Sensitivity, I had been on a break after releasing two novels close together.

My mistake.

What I learned, even before this pensive episode, was that I’m not cut out to take breaks.

I actually suffer more not writing than I do writing when tired.

I’ve been writing and telling stories since I was three.  To be away from it is painful.

It’s as if I’ve had a part of me ripped out.

 Deciding that I would find a way to work through in the future wasn’t enough to get me back on track at present.  As I started to feel a bit of panic, I asked myself what would.

What’s the problem?  Identifying the problem sets us on the road to a solution.

It also keeps us from wasting energy on something that won’t fix it.

Imagine the scene.  I recalled where I left off.

When last we saw our heroine…

Listen to the director.  I imagined myself an actor on stage.  The director is coaching me.

“Picture your character.  She’s 27 years old.  She’s just flown for over fifteen hours.  She’s been living in the Outback for the last six months.  What’s your mindset?  Are you tired?  Exhilarated?  What’s your state of mind?  What are you looking forward to?  What do you dread?

Back to basics.  What am I trying to accomplish?  Who are the key players?  What is the obstacle facing the character(s)?

Of all of the tools I tapped, listening to the director  was the most helpful.  Perhaps this is because there is a bit of acting required when writing fiction.  As a novelist, you have to get inside the heads and hearts of the people you are writing to life.

Even the bad guys.

You need to strongly identify with the characters in order to write them realistically.  Yes, this takes imagination, but if you put yourself in their shoes, it brings you into the story and sets up so that the character becomes so real it’s as if he or she is telling the story and you are simply taking dictation.

You are simply the medium, your fingers the method by which the story gets down.

When I looked at it like that I found the idea of getting back to the story less daunting.

Time to get to it.

celebrate-311709_960_720

Happy 2018!

Happy reading!

Bringing a Story To Life – Frame by Frame

540128324_tp

Some authors find the first fifty pages of a novel the easiest.

Some veteran writers suggest if you have trouble getting past the first fifty, you need to go back to the drawing board because your plot needs work.

For me, the first fifty pages can be the most challenging.  This is especially true when I’m starting a new series or a single title.

Though somewhat challenging in each Metatron’s Army book, the continuity of the storyline – knowing where it needs to go in any particular book – helps me set up the opening chapters.

When?  Pacing is the most difficult aspect of a new story.  I have a solid idea of what I want to have happen and my mind is tripping over itself in an effort to get it all down.

It isn’t so much being in a hurry as wanting to get introductions out of the way so I can get to the meat of the story.  I’m eager to get things rolling along.

 To help myself slow down I take a frame by frame approach.  This involves stepping back and seeing the character or characters in a single moment, as if capturing them in a photo frame.  It allows me to consider important details such as:

Where?  Not just where are they in the scene but where is my story taking place?  What cultural influences may be present that affect the characters or the props in the scene.

 Props such as food, décor, house/hospital/motel/etc age or style.

Who?  Not just who is in the scene but who may be present – not physically – but in the mind or spirit or heart of the character(s)?  Who might be about to interrupt the scene and how will that change it and/or the characters in it?

What?  Not just what is going on but what is the key mechanism at play in the scene?

  Is it dialogue?  Physical appearance of one or both characters? 

What is supposed to happen?

Is there an action that needs to happen?  If so, what is the best way to achieve it? 

What is the objective of the scene?

To move it along to the next scene or is there a specific achievement that needs to happen, such as having a character transform in thought or feeling or philosophy?

Why?  This isn’t generally a question I need to focus on because for me, the answer is ever present.  Why is fundamental to the plot so if this is a question that needs exploring, it may be time to step back further and consider the overall plot rather than the scene.

I don’t do this with every scene.

The story would never get written if I did.

What is special about this scene that I needed to?

Is it the where, who, when, or what?

In answering these questions, I am able to settle into the pacing of a brand new story. more easily than if I avoided the exercise.

The fifty pages and those that come after proceed normally.

 Further along.  I can use this technique at any point in a story.  Answering any of the above questions provides insight, reminds me where I’m at and where I’m going.  It pulls me out of the story and into the role of observer which is necessary at times in order to effectively write it.

My New Project.  Port in a Storm will be available Fall 2017.

Additional books in the Metatron’s Army series will be forthcoming.

Zwischenzug: Book Three in Metatron’s Army will be available  Sept 15, 2017.