Category Archives: My Blog

Where the rubber meets the road. How real life experiences and knowledge are woven into my writing.

Bringing a Story to Life – Did it Happen?

no-entrance_no-exitCatch-22:  A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently illogical rules or conditions.

 

 

 

The Catch-22 of being a fiction writer is creating a fiction story that is believable enough that readers can imagine it being true.

Reality vs. Fantasy.  Is it possible to make it too realistic?

Think War of the Worlds.

The first time I ran into the challenge of someone reading my fiction and deciding what I’d written really happened, was in first grade.  I submitted a short story about a girl finding a wounded deer and nursing it back to health before rereleasing it to the wild for a fiction writing contest.

One of the judges knew my father was a hunter and that we spent time up north Michigan.  She was so convinced the story was true, she was about to disqualify me for not submitting a work of fiction!

I managed to convince her – with the help of my father – that the story was pure fiction.

That story went on to take first in the contest.

We celebrated at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor.

There have been a number of times since then that people have read my fiction and believed I was writing from real life.

It got downright ugly a couple of times, so I stopped allowing family members or coworkers to read unpublished manuscripts.

Dangerous Territory.  I’m not the only fiction writer to run into this.

When working with Writer’s Digest, my mentor told me her mother-in-law was convinced she was having an affair because of one of her novels.

It’s also not limited to writers.

Mike Farrell spoke of getting letters from fans asking the fictional character he played on M*A*S*H – Dr. B.J. Hunnicutt –  for medical advice.

Write What You Know.  This is one of the fundamentals of fiction writing and it definitely contributes to the issue.

It isn’t that you have to, it’s just that it’s a lot easier and less time consuming than writing something you know nothing about, that would require lots of time spent on research in order to make it sound realistic,aka believable.

I have the additional challenge of writing not just to entertain but to educate.  This necessitates throwing in a bit of truth.

Like I said, Catch-22.

There are a number of specific pitfalls when dealing with Fantasy vs. Reality.

PEOPLE:  Since I write character driven stories, creating believable characters is particularly important to me.

It’s also important to me as a reader.

It helps that I find people fascinating.  I enjoy watching them, talking to them, learning from them.

Including what not to do.

This has provided me with a rich pool from which to draw when giving characters personality quirks or behaviors.  I also draw directly from some personal experiences.

PLACES:  I’m fortunate in that I’ve lived in several different regions of the United States and have traveled internationally for work and pleasure.  I know how regional factors influence behavior and drive people to do certain things in a certain way.

EVENTS:  My life experiences, including all the adversity, have given me unique perspectives I can give to the characters in my stories.

Not to mention, drawing from paranormal experiences which have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

I can take readers through some of those same experiences by having the characters go through them in the stories.

All this and more goes into my creative process.

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Fantasy or. Reality?  If I’ve done my job well, you’ll not know the answer.

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Bringing a Story to Life – Turn Up the Heat

sidewalk_eggAfter a bit of writer’s frustration [read: BLOCK], I decided to go sit in the sun.  Closing my eyes, I lifted my face and allowed the heat to seep into my soul.

EMF-Land.  Given the interesting [read HELLISH] turn my life – post-2000 Bay Area relocation – took, my first thought was that heat is radiant energy.

Analytical, if not truthful, it was kind of a sensual buzzkill.

As I sat there, I considered that I’m a fiction writer, and explaining heat as radiant energy was oversimplifying things.

And dull.

I challenged myself to describe the heat.

It was unlike what I was used to.  I stopped to think about about why that was.

To do this, I had to feel.

So?  The heat was not uncomfortable.  It wasn’t the kind of heat that would drive someone indoors or leave their clothes sticking to them, though they wouldn’t want to be reading an ebook on their phone in it.

The phone would overheat.

I continued to analyze the heat and how it felt.  The thermostat suggested it was hot enough that I should be uncomfortable, yet I wasn’t.  Why?  The answer was in EMF-Land!

Story of my life.

Radiant Heat.  If its radiant, it’s probably radiating from something.

Or, it could be bouncing off something that changes its intensity..

In this case, it was bouncing off natural wood, making it comfortable, not too hot.

Like sitting in a wood sauna.

The thought of a sauna reminded me of a scene in The Lover.

Hot it Hot.  Not!

Michigan.  Michigan summers vary depending on which part of the state you live in.  For the Detroit Metro area, the general pattern is warm and humid with heat and humidity increasing throughout the week so that many weekends have rain/thunderstorms, after which it cools, only to repeat the cycle.

Especially in late May and throughout June.

As the summer progresses, so does the heat and humidity.

As do the horse flies and brown outs.

By the end of August, it’s the Dog Days of Summer.  Being a Michigander, however, you’re loving every minute of it as you know cooler days are a-comin;.

Trick or Treating in a winter coat and snow boots is a real possibility.

Florida.  Once again, it depends where you live.  I was fortunate enough to live on the Suncoast, so the humidity wasn’t bad.

Though it did rain pretty much daily at 3pm – at least on one side of the street.

Louisiana.  Probably the closest I’ve ever come to getting heat stroke.

The bus drivers decided not to show up for work on the last day of school.  My  brother, his friends, and I had to walk home in that ungodly heat and humidity.  Not fun.

Fortunately, the friends’ mother worried when her kids weren’t at the bus stop and drove out to see what was going on – picked us up walking along the hot busy freeway.

San Francisco.  Well, once again we have the caveat of it depends. If you’re over near the coast, bring your Midwest winter coat.  If you’re on the bay side, you’re going to be fine.

If you’re north, south, or east of the city, you’ll be hot in the shade, though at least it’s a dry heat.

Scottsdale.  The day we moved into our house it was 118 degrees – actual.

The day we moved into our Fort Collins’ home was minus 18 – actual.

My husband and I unloaded the truck by ourselves.  I just had lots of bottled water to keep us going – along with the stares and comments from the neighbors who thought we were nuts.

Shrug.

Perception.  When I moved to the East Bay, CA, a local told me I didn’t know what heat was.

Really?  Try Louisiana.  Try Michigan in late August.  Humidity puts a whole new angle to a 90 degree day.

While living in the East Bay, I had someone from Chandler, AZ say I didn’t know what heat was.

It was 114 degrees in Walnut Creek.  I’d say that was heat.

Adjective please.  As I sat in the sun and searched for the words to describe what I was feeling, I realized that the answer was actually in EMF-Land.

Radiate.

The heat I was feeling wasn’t so bad because it was radiating off of natural wood.

As opposed to asphalt, gravel, metal, or some other man-influenced substance.

It wasn’t the kind of heat that left your clothes sticking to you.

Eloquently please.  A waiter in Durham once told me the difference between heat in North Carolina and heat in So Cal was that at least in So Cal you could cool off in the shade.  To me, this beautifully summarizes the different ways you can put context into heat.

Important in fiction writing.

Now That’s Heat!  Imagine an outdoor passion scene in those locales.  If everything else was equal, in one place you’d be peeling the clothes from your already sweaty body while in another you may be feeling a breeze off sunburned shoulders.

Bolsa_Chica_State_Beach_sunset

 

Or you might shiver as shoulders burned from staying too long on Bolsa Chica Beach touched cool clover grass.

 

There are just so many things to love about heat…

Bringing a Story to Life – Latin Helps!

Latin

There was a time – for Catholics – when learning Latin was basically a requirement.

How else could you understand mass?

 By the time I was in high school – a public high school – the need, if not the desire to take Latin had all but vanished.

Not for me – I LOVE language!

Fortunately, my high school offered Latin.

Vive La Difference!  I also took two years of French and had the good fortune to have a teacher who was born and raised in Paris.  She taught us so much more than how to read and write French.  Great teachers definitely make a difference!

The Latin class was actually full. On the first day, our teacher asked if there were any Catholics in the class.

About half.

She made a point of explaining that she would be teaching Classical Latin, not Church Latin.

Different alphabet.

She went on to explain that come parent-teacher night, she had no intention of arguing with parents [who had gone through twelve years of Catholic school] over how the j was pronounced and whether or not there was a v.

The class was awesome. In addition to learning to read and write Latin, we learned about the Roman empire and about Roman mythology.

I have never regretted taking Latin.**

It keeps on giving.  In college, I took German.  Our professor asked how many had taken Romance languages in high school.

About 5/6ths.

He asked how many of us had taken Latin or Russian.

Small handful of us.

He explained learning German would be far easier for those of us who had taken Russian or Latin since we understood that languages didn’t always follow the sentence structure of the Romance languages.

i.e., English, French, Spanish.

He pointed out we would have a much easier time.

True!!!!!

It keeps on paying.  Perhaps the best evidence of a good investment has been with writing.  Not only is my vocabulary more expansive, my editing skills are sharper as a result.

The rules are different.  Where knowing Latin has been particularly helpful is in sentence structure.  There are more combinations in Latin and the verbs, nouns, etc are in different order than in the English language.

Same with German.

Past tense takes on an entirely new meaning in Latin-land.

Which has been very helpful with editing.

I’m currently doing final edit for Pawn Storm, Book 6 in the Metatron’s Army series.  Because I wrote my draft at lightning speed, I’m having to rewrite a few paragraphs, combining sentences in order to convey the meaning using fewer words/sentences.

As Hawkeye says to Radar in The Gun, “Radar, if you bring that sentence in for a fitting I can have it shortened by Wednesday.”

What happened WHEN?  Catching readers up in the middle of a series can present unique challenges.

I don’t like using backstory as filler.  I’d rather get to the point.  However, I know that

  • Some people may be just joining in/haven’t read the previous books
  • Some readers may forget some of the early stuff/need a refresher

Dealing with past tense can be tedious.

Do I say she had had or she’d had?  She went or she had gone?  Or she’d gone?

I can’t count the number of times when – while editing – I’d have a flashback to Latin class – learning about pluperfect or some other verb tense  lesson I was putting to work.

I also occasionally remember my 5thgrade teacher saying comma when deciding whether or not to put a comma – something for which the rules change constantly in publishing land.

Eye rolling – but true!  As early as second grade, I remember hearing – from parents and teachers alike – “Someday, you’ll use this.” You know what?  It’s true!

**  I achieved Magna Cum Laude in the National Latin Exam.

Pawn Storm will be available for purchase June 2018.

Bringing a Story to Life – [Building] Character Identity

cartoon-character-identity-card-70930838-2I’m preparing Pawn Storm, Book 6 in the Metatron’s Army series for publication.  While I’ve enjoyed writing the series, I’m particularly excited about this installment.

It’s where it all starts coming together. 

 Hard Work.  Putting together a backstory that supported the story has been a painstaking process.

I knew what happened…I had to explain 

  • How did this happen?
  • Why?

Patience.  I have known this story and where it would lead for years.  Developing the subplots and supporting characters has been fun but I’ve been very eager to see the story arc – rather than any individual book – come to be, and that took time!

I was eager to see it come together but worried if I didn’t slow down the pace of my writing, the story would suffer.

Who Needs Patience?  Slowing the writing pace led to weeks of insomnia.

The need to keep writing was too strong.  I ended up writing my story in my head as I stared up in the dark rather than on the screen. 

In February, as I was putting the final couches on Simultaneous Display, Book 5 in the series, I realized something had to give.

I was losing way too much sleep.

I decided to allow myself the freedom to write with abandon.

The first draft of books 6, 7, 8, and a first draft of Metatron’s Legacy were written in a little under three months.

To be fair, I’d done a little work on 6 last summer – a handful of chapters.

Whew!  It brought great relief to know I had the primary elements down.

I was more than happy to go back later and fill in.

I no longer felt compelled to write mentally before bed though I had to retrain myself to go to sleep.

It took about four days to create the new routine — and it was new.  I could not go back to the way it was before – I tried – was unsuccessful so I did something new.

Rhythm is a Dancer.  Throughout my career, each book I’ve written has come to be in its own way and time.

Sometimes I finished in weeks, sometimes in months.

What I learned from this series is that I need to allow myself the creative freedom to do what I need to.

Otherwise, lots of stress.

Slow down, take it easy.  Some parts of the series could not be rushed.  Getting the heroine where I needed her to go – stepping into her destiny – had to be accomplished over several books.  She didn’t have to grow into the role, she had to earn it.

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Hollywood aside, it isn’t realistic to expect someone in their late teens or early twenties to save the universe if they don’t have the credentials [read experience and wisdom] to pull it off.

 

She’s – HOW OLD?  Before I began the series, I realized that by the time my character actually took the reins of command, a lot of time had gone by.

Interestingly, a voice – the muse? – said “What else would you expect?  Do you honestly think someone just out of school, in their early to mid-twenties – with little to no experience – could do what she has to do?”

Good point.  

The wisdom needed to deal with what lay before her could only be earned through experience and that happens over time.

Even people who have a lot of adversity in their lives need to absorb it before putting it to good use.

If you look at the US military – command isn’t handed out to fresh faced kids.  My heroine was going to lead troops – she needed

  • Training
  • Experience
  • Guidance

This meant developing the supporting characters along with my heroine.  She wasn’t the only one who had to accept her identity and authority/right to lead.

You Need Patience!   I couldn’t rush the heroine’s character development.

Other authors may deal with backstory differently.  I did what was best for this series and the characters in it.  I absolutely refused to short-change them.

As I recently stood contemplating the sun shining on buds and blooms, it occurred to me that I’d learned something interesting while building my character.

  • You can tell someone who and what they are but until they accept it, it isn’t true
  • You can tell someone who and what they are not but if they know it and feel it in their heart and soul – you will never convince them otherwise

In other words, we are BORN, not MADE.  No piece of paper or certification will give what we aren’t and the lack of won’t take it.

This played out in the story in an interesting way.  The heroine has a destiny to fulfill and though this has been explained to her, and the reality of it corroborated by events and supporting characters, she hasn’t really come to terms with it.

Yet.  This changes in book 6, though it had already been in the works subconsciously.

Ohhhhh!  To my delight, feedback from my beta reader supported this.

I’d received feedback throughout all the books in the series but in this instance, some of it really stuck out.

  • “I wondered…”
  • “Oh, now I see…”

b57cb3fe060b4e365f4756e99b2b4287w-c264861xd-w685_h860_q80It made me smile because I realized I’d successfully navigated the difficulty of developing a backstory that had to span several books; a backstory that showed a character coming into her own – and into her destiny.

Pawn Storm will be available June 2018.  Trailer coming soon.

Bringing a Story to Life – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

film-cutting-7202477Due to production timing, I’ve gone back to finish Metatron’s Legacy.

It was in 1stdraft.

 

50-50 Work.  When revising, it’s part edit, part continue the story.  It’s the chance to add scenes and enhance characters, polish dialogue, and transform the story from the basics to the finished product. It’s also the time to determine what, if anything, should, be cut.

There is a philosophy among certain editors that it is more difficult for a new/aspiring writer to add than cut so it’s best to avoid those who fall short or barely make minimum word count in their proposals.

As Stephen King points out in his On Writing, this, as well as the improper use of commas, can be viewed as an excuse.

Deciding what to cut is not as straight forward as it might seem.

Easy.  For me, the obvious scene to cut is one that takes the character out of character. If I write a scene wherein any character, including secondary/ supporting characters suddenly behave in a way that is inconsistent with who they are supposed to be or what they are supposed to be accomplishing or preventing, it ends up being cut later.

It doesn’t take long to realize it needs to go.  Usually, some part of me knows immediately and generally, while drifting off to sleep I give myself the directive to revisit the scene in the morning.

Not So Easy.  There are times when the scene is good and appropriate to the character – in a given context.

In Metatron’s Legacy, there is a scene that wouldn’t normally make sense.  However, given the situation the main character finds herself in, it’s conceivable she would do what she is doing.

Considerations.  If it isn’t clear whether or not a scene should be cut, I put myself in the reader’s shoes.

Will the reader be able to empathize with the character/understand why the character is/is not doing something specific?

I put myself in the author’s shoes.

What is it I think I’m going to accomplish by keeping the scene versus what I would lose if I pull it?

Decorations.  If I decide that it’s worth keeping the scene – as I’ve done in this particular instance – I may edit it and/or partially rewrite it so that it works.

In doing so, I cater to the reader and their need to empathize with the character and why that character is/is not doing something.

I may add dialogue or a supporting scene later to elaborate further on character motivation/thinking and though it may appear that if such is necessary, that’s a good reason to cut the scene, it comes down to a simple question:

  • What do I gain by leaving it in?
  • What do I lose by taking it out?

Hesitations.  I can think of one instance when it isn’t a good idea to add/keep a scene, word count.

This is the equivalent of using the a and but and that unnecessarily and screams novice.

Readers are smart. They know when a scene is a desperate act.

Like keeping up small talk to be polite when you’re both probably better off just going off to do something else.

Bringing a Story to Life – Perspiration for Inspiration

depositphotos_67013105-stock-photo-people-running-on-treadmills

So, my beta reader is working through Pawn Storm, Book 6 in the Metatron’s Army Series.  The central theme for this book was created in the winter of 1998, in Michigan, while I was running on a treadmill.

Though I loved to hike at Kensington in the winter – trudging around a sub in the ice and snow isn’t the same, nor as efficient during a Michigan winter as running on a treadmill.

I was listening to the Soundtrack from Riverdance.  I LOVE Reel Around the Sun.

I also played Vangelis’ Themes and  bit of Robert Miles. 

This was back in the day when portable music was either a Walkman or the portable CD players that had to be flat and skipped repeatedly when jarred.

I had the CD player which was just so fun on a treadmill.

We had a ½ bath in the basement where I was running.  Though I’d done my best to decorate the small space, it was still a basement and therefore, cold.

This is Michigan, we’re talking about.

As I let the music carry me to Ceative-Land, I slipped into my favorite past-time, weaving the story that would become Metatron’s Army.

Beat the hell out of thinking about an irritating senior manager who was – to the good fortune of all – let go not long after.

In particular, I imagined a heroine – a student in the military academy – alone in a tiny space in the bowels of a ship, studying.

Think governess in a Jane Austen novel.

I further imagined her surrounded by soldiers either on short term transport, who had no need of luxurious state rooms, or those who needed to have distractions removed because they needed to bring up their grades.

Of course, she was there because some jerkweed commander had it out for her.

The book evolves far beyond that as only the skeleton plot events were in place before I put fingers to keyboard in summer, 2016.

Action scene to action scene to action scene, necessitating I develop characters and subplots, and add descriptors – what does the stateroom look like/contain, what is the deal with the jerkweed and why does he have it out for her, etc.

Titles Too.  I was on the treadmill in my basement in Fort Collins in the winter of 2011 when I again received inspiration, though not for Metatron’s Army.

Talk about cold!  It was minus 18 actual the day we moved into our house.  Yeah, sure Michigan – with its “wet winters”- is colder.  Um –no.  

I needed a title for a nonfiction book I was writing.  As I ran, listening to Good Lovin by the Rascals, it came to me.

This is an AWESOME SONG to run to!

 After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens When We Die was published that year.

Ironically, not long after that, the movie Hereafter – which I’d never heard of before – came out,  Interestingly, I identify far more with the psychic played by Matt Damon than the woman who had the NDE.  Either they cut corners or her experience was a blip compared to what I lived through.

Get Moving!  Walking, running, and hiking, are all therapeutic, and can really stir the creative juices.

Pawn Storm will be available June 2018.

Bringing a Story to Life – Time Loop

two-clocks-and-tunnel-in-fibers-ring-time-travel-concept-background-loop-4k_ribjb0wb__F0005.pngI just finished the first draft of Metatron’s Legacy, a single title follow on to the last book in the Metatron’s Army series.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing this book as it was a return to my writing roots in a way.

Metatron’s Army

 The Idea:  As I’ve written previously, this story was inspired by what I saw and experienced during a Near Death Experience.  The story developed over a period of some thirty-five years.

The Method:  In all honesty, I hadn’t planned on publishing the story I’d been weaving.  I was “inspired” to do so in 2013, though I had several other projects to complete before starting.

Inspired is polite-speak for something nagged at me to go for it.

 Getting the story down was a monumental task.  The primary challenge was making sense of the images and sensations.

I was ten at the time.  I easily accepted everything I’d seen and experienced.  It was only when a number of adults began asking me to explain what I saw and felt/experienced that I began to have issues.  There was no common frame of reference, so getting them to understand was difficult.

 Fortunately, by the time I put fingers to keyboard, I’d had plenty of education and life experience to help me understand – or at least articulate – the concepts.

As I’ve written, math and science did far more to explain it all though it would be misleading to say there was no paranormal [read celestial] component. 

I decided that, given the enormity of the information to be disseminated, the story would best be served as a saga, and as such, would span several books.

Each book would be a chapter in the main character’s life.

Whenever possible, I integrated actual events though I integrated them in a meaningful way.

i.e. Spirit School became Energy School.

I changed celestial/energy beings/characters as appropriate for the story and edited out anything that didn’t move the story along.

An entire fight scene I mentally “wrote” in 1989, while stuck in traffic near the Pontiac Silverdome, was tossed.

I initially wrote each book from beginning to end, taking breaks between, but discovered that it was better for me to just keep going.

Unlike a regular series, each book in this series is part of the story itself.

I have most of the story in first draft format.

I am writing the climax/endgame first drafts and hope to have them done within the next few months, even as I continue to publish the previous works on a regular schedule.

Metatron’s Legacy

The Idea:  I had no intention of writing a follow on story to Metatron’s Army.  

I was dealing with the climax of the series and, given the intensity of it all, was looking forward to getting back to “regular” paranormal fiction.

The furnace needed servicing and I was down chatting with the awesome guy doing the diagnosing. Suddenly, sparks started shooting out.

He didn’t even bat an eye, was as cool as a cucumber.  The guy is just awesome.

He found the source of the problem – a wire was frayed – and given it was in a metal environment – was arc’ing.  I’d seen arc’ing years before when a repair guy was diagnosing an issue and – oops – hadn’t turned off the circuit breaker.

Watching electricity arc across the bedroom ceiling is interesting. I have to admit, he was calm about it, though I was concerned – about him/his ability.  I asked if he knew what he was doing and suggested my very handy EE husband might be a good consultant to tap.  Turns out the fixture was wired incorrectly but the lightning spark show was from his not having turned off the breaker before starting the job.  Fun.

The furnace guy took care of the problem.

Convenient to have heat in the winter.

I lay in bed that night thinking of Metatron’s Army and how I have Arcs.

The Iconoclast’s army of bad dudes.

Given how electricity, magnetics, and energy in general play such a key role in the story, I couldn’t help thinking how cool it would be to use arc’ing in some unique way.

So, thanks to a broken furnace, I got a great plot device.

The Method:  Port in a Storm** was the last single title I’d written and though I’d done series work before, Metatron’s Army is unique in that each book is part of the overall story instead of being a single title within the series.

Even though I had characters crossed over from the MA series, I was delighted to take brand new characters with their own story and write something unique and stand alone.

Though if someone has not read the series – there are several spoilers in Metatron’s Legacy.

I am thrilled with and proud of both projects but it really was special to have a stand alone with a unique, if tangent story.

And a blast to work with old characters in a totally new way.

Now, it’s time to get back to the first draft of Pin, Book 8 in Metatron’s Army.

Pawn Storm, Book 6 will be available June, 2018.

 

What I learned

  • Inspiration can come from unexpected places – go with it
  • Ignoring inspiration is not a good idea and will likely cost you sleep, if not peace of mind
  • Develop a work routine that works for the project

I wrote Metatron’s Legacy in 9 days.  That is a first as it is close to 90,000 words.  The story would not let me rest but now it’s done and I feel ahhhhhhh. 

  • Working backward (in a time loop) can be really helpful

Metatron’s Legacy takes place 19 years after Metatron’s Army. Telling of events that already happened before I’ve written them – in Metatron’s Army – from the point of view of characters in both series provided insight into what I need to do in these last books. It was as if I was getting advice from characters who had gone through events I hadn’t yet written – a “make sure you do this/talk about this/convey this character’s feelings about the event.” 

As time/dimension travel is a key plot element, I had to also acknowledge that characters who appear in different times are different because in one dimension, they have not yet been changed by the experiences they go through, while in the other dimension, they’ve been changed by events that are often traumatic and definitely life-changing.  This provided incredible depth to the characters.  It was a great opportunity and one I hadn’t planned in advance.  It just grew out of the situation and became a learning opportunity for me as a writer.

  • Don’t force yourself to take breaks

Because the books in the series are so closely linked together – the next one picking up where the previous left off – I discovered I do much better moving on to the next book right after getting the current one published.  Taking a break caused a tremendous amount of stress as I tried to pick up the emotional thread of the work after days if not weeks off.

  • Celebrate the magic in the process

More than once when I found myself wondering if there was a point to it all, some synchronistic event would happen that let me know I wasn’t alone and that I was on the right path.

  • Tap into the creative force

Watching movies, talking to other creatives, and creating music play lists for each book has been incredibly helpful.  Music, in particular, has fed my soul while I poured my heart into my work.

  • Write what you love

Figuring that out can take longer than you might think so if you want to be a writer – start!

  • Celebrate completion

I admit, I totally suck at this.  Finish one, on to the next.  But I AM enjoying the process – I LOVE writing!  This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was 3 years old.  Everything I worked at in life – my career choices – was with this in mind. 

**I have more adventures for the tiny town of Port Gallatan scheduled for future release, so stay tuned.

 

The Paranormal At Work

superbowlwine
Fate or Not?

I still can’t believe this..

I just got back from a deliberate break from writing.

So much for the break part as the moment I got home I sat down to write out what took place on that break.

 Normally, at this time of day I’d be writing and as I’m finishing up the first draft of Metatron’s Legacy, I was more likely than not to be writing.  But…  knowing I needed a break, I decided to go out to an establishment that serves drink and food and provides a good atmosphere.

I wanted the peace and quiet I’d come to associate with it.

 To my surprise, I walked in to find the place packed.  I was ready to walk out but my husband gently encouraged me to stay.  I scanned the place, picked one of two available seating areas.

Unbeknownst to me, he was eyeing the other.

 When we sat, I deliberately took a specific side of the booth.

Something told me to put my back to the couple behind me.  I didn’t like the feel of the energy.

 Now, for the paranormal.  Something drove me to go there on this day – at this time – and to not walk out.  Something told me to pick a specific booth and to sit on a specific side of it.

And then…

 When I heard the guy call the waitress sweetie, I rolled my eyes and told my husband how women have to put up with this “crap” all the time.

I said, “He thinks he’s paying her a compliment when really, he’s being an ass.”

I then heard the giggle of a fool who’d agreed to dine with the guy.

Think the chick with Joe Jr. in While You Were Sleeping.

 My husband left to run an errand and I stayed to finish my wine and just chill.

Like I said, break from writing. 

To my complete disbelief, the guy started blabbing unbelievable things…

I quickly deducted he was some sort of rep for wineries.  Interestingly, one of them was supposedly owned by a very famous NFL star.

He was bragging to the woman who was with him how he knew the family…suggested he was a friend.  

Some friend.

 He went on to explain this individual had actually … I can’t believe this … married up in station.  He then went on to talk about all the wines the family served at their dinner table.

As if he’d been a guest at said table many times.

 He took a moment to discuss the type of “cutie” employees who were employed by the winery in less than flattering terms.

Minority cuties, apparently, though the term used was new to me.

I remember wondering what this NFL guy would think of hearing himself talked about like this.

 It didn’t stop there…

The guy went on to talk about the markup put on the alcohol and how the locals were too naïve to know the difference.

I’m paraphrasing his vernacular.   Naïve would have been the nice term. 

 He went on to talk about how “naïve” the locals were and how easy to dupe, as if they wouldn’t know the difference were it blinking in neon.

He disparaged a particular locale, suggesting the locals wouldn’t know whether or not they were overpaying because they were so desperate to be acknowledged, they were culturally bankrupt.

The woman then suggested involving the local real estate agents, who were “all in collusion anyway,” to help sucker the locals.

Who – though they apparently have long memories and “forget nothing” – are incredibly gullible.

Obviously, the two clowns were not local.

The guy continued to name drop his relationship with this famous NFL dude – explaining to the woman in tones that suggested he understood she was an uneducated moron who had been living under a rock for the past twenty years – that this NFL star was – you know –  from one of “Those” teams…

Demographic purposely omitted because I actually LIKE this guy and would never perpetuate the pathetic garbage being spewed …

 As I sat there, the two discussed methods to take advantage of people they deemed too naïve to know the difference. $$$$

Naive.  Read:  Ignorant/Desperate

And the whole time I kept thinking  … What would this NFL guy think if he knew how badly his name was being smeared?

 Not to mention, as my husband pointed out, his agent.

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What’s that Saying?

 

Amazing…

 

Fate? 

  • What if I’d decided to do my normal routine and work on my novel?
  • What if I’d walked out of the crowded restaurant?
  • What if I’d taken the other seating location?
  • What if I’d sat in the other seat, further from the blabbermouth?
  • What if I’d left earlier and not finished my wine?

 What if I’d decided not to share my story?

He really painted this NFL star as a loser and a gold digger.

Trust me – there was far more to what I heard.  I absolutely STILL cannot believe the stuff that came out of his mouth – in what appeared to be an attempt to impress someone.

 

Bringing a Story to Life – Lead Me On

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If music be the food of love, play on. -Shakespeare.

Eight Days a Week.  I am finishing what has been a marathon writing session.  Producing over ten thousand words a day during a Sunday to Sunday week, I am about to finish the first draft of Metatron’s Legacy.

Though I have periodically gone through spurts of producing 5 – 15K words/day, this is a first; completing a first draft in such a short time.  A marathon.

A single title, Metatron’s Legacy takes place nineteen years after the final book in the Metatron’s Army series.  It was a much-needed break.

I was working on the first draft of Pin, Book Eight in the seriesIt’s the climax of the series, the start of the End Game.  It’s also incredibly intense.

At least, for me.

This book in particular took me back to the original concepts that inspired the series.

The Near Death Experience I had at age 10.

 In the Beginning.  I was in tenth grade when the story really started coming together.

Though I started conceptualizing it a year earlier.

I was in my room, staring at a wall calendar.  The male model was the inspiration for Verix, the Energy Shifter/Protector/Protagonist.

It wasn’t always that way.

 His character was originally a bad guy.  However, while staring at the image the idea came to me that he wasn’t bad, just misunderstood.

Grin.

As I continued to gaze into dark brown eyes, I allowed my mind to wander.  Over the course of the next few hours, if not days, plot twists and the climax – the dark moment if you will – took shape.

Send Me An Angel.  I’d like to say I came up with the idea on my own, but I feel as if it was given to me by – something.

The muse, I suppose.

Though the actual ending and numerous subplots didn’t crystalize at that point, the story was more or less completed that week, after a geometry theorem set off a series of events related to the NDE and what I’d seen during it. **

The ending and subplots evolved over the next thirty-three years.

Don’t Cry.  As I got to the climax – the dark moment – I found myself taken back to those high school days – and before.

To the NDE, the images and sensations..

It wasn’t necessarily a bad experience.

Outside what got me there – brain surgery, blind, paralyzed, coma, death.

 It’s just that once the door to that world opened, it stayed open

Not just memories, connections

Street of Dreams.  Throughout the years, I’ve integrated those connections into my life, learned to live with the open door.  In reviewing if not reliving certain aspects, however, I found myself feeling an emotional weight that choked me up a bit.

Not at all my nature.

 One evening, an idea for a new book came to mind.

To put it in perspective, I should have been sleeping.

 At first, I groaned. I’m not a big fan of creating branch stories for every secondary or tertiary character in an original series. However, the plot that popped into my consciousness was not only intriguing, it was complete as a single title! It was also, in my opinion, a perfect follow-on to the last book in the series. Related, yet separate, it would be a good story on its own merit.  That was a week ago.

Rock Me Amadeus.  There were times I felt like Mozart at the end of the movie, with some invisible task master driving relentlessly.  It was as if the book was writing itself.

The muse?

It’s hard to imagine writing a book in one week as a break from months of work on a series but it has been.

An emotional break. 

I’m Alright.  It was a pressure release valve, a reminder that everything works out in the end.

Wash.  Rinse. Repeat.  This article has been a break from Metatron’s Legacy.  Now, it’s time to get back to it.

I have a first draft to finish.

Simultaneous Display:  Book 5 in Metatron’s Army is now available.

 **  For more on this, along with other details regarding the NDE, read After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens When We Die.

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Musical references were deliberate.