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 – The Dark Moment

maxresdefault-2After several weeks of editing I am back in writing mode.  It takes getting used to though I like to tell myself switching gears is good exercise for my brain.

Ahem.  The difficulty was only an excuse, however.  I’d been stalling for quite some time because this is the phase in the Metatron’s Army series known as middlegame.

In chess, this is the portion of the game between opening and endgame. 

There is no clear line between the opening and middlegame or between middlegame and endgame.

 Your setup is to play and your play is to win.

This is the part of the series where the strategy and positions set in motion in the opening are put in play.  Not everything that is about to happen is fun.  I like my characters, so I have a bit of grief over this.

What Doesn’t Kill.  In the early stages of the series, I knew bad things had to happen to likeable characters.  Even so, I worried about ticking off readers.

I get really irritated with authors who kill off characters for no good reason. 

 I spent weeks talking with a number of people who read all manner of fiction, to ask their thoughts on the matter.  The overall consensus was that if there was a reason for death or harm then they had no issue with it, as it is unrealistic to think nothing bad ever happens.

Interestingly, more than a few expressed frustration with authors who write about warring factions but have everything tied up in a bow so there is no suffering or harm.  They felt it was distracting because it was not realistic.

Makes Strong.  Some of the events were part of character building.  I’m big on understanding the motivation behind characters.

  • Why do they do what they do?
  • Why are they who they are?
  • What forces shaped and molded them?

 Reality.  In creating the heroine for MA, I considered not only what her qualifications were but how it was she got them.

This is why I spent so much time on opening. 

I wanted the readers to really be able to identify with a character who had extraordinary experiences.

Reality.  I worked to keep Christine grounded even as she developed skills and gained powers.

It wouldn’t have been realistic if she gained powers and suddenly became a totally different person.  As Dr. Erskine points out to Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, it’s what’s inside already that will be enhanced.  We also see evidence of this in the 2002 Spider-Man with Norman Osborn. 

 Fantasy.  I also had to be true to the character in terms of the fantastical situation she finds herself in.

Born in one universe, raised in another.

 I had been working with this story since 1982 and while I knew what happened from the when and why, I hadn’t bothered to think about the how.

That’s the cool thing about a fantasy when it’s in your head.  You don’t have to question unless you want to spend time on it; you can just accept.

 It wasn’t until I sat down to write the series that I had to work out those details.

I’m still working some of them out which is funny because I’m almost to the endgame part of the series.  You’d think I’d have worked them all out out but I find “little details” missing.

 Education.  I always like to make my fiction go beyond simply entertaining by including bits of truth.

I do a lot of research.

 Specifically, with Metatron’s Army, I included real places, like the bar and the diner in Berkley, Michigan.

The bar is/was on the same road as the Doll Hospital and Toy Soldier Shop, though the diner is not across the street.  It’s actually in a neighboring town.

 Sila’s and The Red Coat Tavern are real restaurants.

The New Agey store in Royal Oak is/was a real place.

 The Turner house is a real house in Berkley.

The Turners are made up, however.

Entertainment.  This is a no-brainer for fiction – escapism.  Put together a story that will take you out of the moment and into a world you never knew existed.

Simultaneous Display: Metatron’s Army Book 5 will be available March 2018.


Bringing a Story to Life – The Story’s Inside

1hek06Metatron’s Army Is Unique.  One of the challenges of bringing this story to life is that it’s so integrated into my memory that I sometimes forget the reader doesn’t have the inside information.

In editing, I find areas where I have failed to elaborate on key elements then realize it’s because I feel so connected to the reader – through my story, – I assume the reader has the knowledge I do.

This has not been a challenge with any of my other work.

Time Travel.  Certain scenes act as time machines.  I will be typing away – pretty much on autopilot – and suddenly I can see exactly where I was at the moment the scene was hatched in my imagination.

Every detail is suddenly brought to life.

For instance, I was working on a major scene with Christine and the Council of Twelve.  Suddenly, a vivid image of my bedroom in high school appeared in my mind’s eye.  There was a newspaper spread for an upcoming movie that was not sci-fi on my wall.  When I’d originally seen the image in the Detroit Free Press, I remember it evoking a memory from the Near Death Experience that morphed into the Council of Twelve.

il_fullxfull.1260208837_s2qtOn my dresser was a little cast iron globe pencil sharpener.  There’d been a misprint on one of the continents and that became Perm, the Capital City of Catana.

The warehouse bar, complete with mercenaries and aliens,  was created at that same time. 

Verix, who originally had a different role, was inspired by a picture on a calendar I’d received as a Christmas gift that year.

1200px-Salto_del_Angel-Canaima-Venezuela08All of this cascaded into my mind as I was working on the scene.

A follow up scene transported me to the apartment complex my father lived in in Downey.   As a teen, I sat by the pool and wrote.  The image for the Iconoclast came when the guy working maintenance showed me the cassette he was listening to,

Krokus Headhunter.

The image had evoked another memory from the Near Death Experience and though it wasn’t a complete superposition, it became the “bad guy” for the story,.

The Iconoclast.

Now, what was I doing?  Other memories surface.  I’ll remember a book I might have been reading around that time or a TV show or movie I’d seen or was watching as I typed.

Remembering such detail has come in handy when my beta reader needs clarification.

Let Me Introduce you.  There are plenty of new characters who were developed for the fictitious plot but there are central characters who have been with me for thirty-five years.  I

know them well. 

I just have to remind myself, my readers are just meeting them

Simultaneous Display: Metatron’s Army Book Five will be released March 15, 2018.



The trailer will be available Valentine’s Day.


Bringing a Story to Life – Where’s Your Reality?

SpiralElizabeth draws from knowledge, personal experience, and imagination in creating.

What does that mean, exactly?

Imagination.  I’ve been telling stories all of my life.

It starts out with playing house, then dolls, cars, army, then expanding – creating new worlds that include elements from an ever-growing knowledge and experience base.

Knowledge.  I’ve always had a passion for learning.  Having a deep understanding of a subject is empowering.  It is also imperative in industries such as tech where processes, tools, and trends are continuously updating, changing and evolving.

As Gretsky said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it’s been.”

Apparently, this quote is actually from Wayne’s father, Walter.

In addition to industry specific news, industry groups, conventions, and trade publications are excellent sources of information that can add to an author’s knowledge base.

Experience.  I’ve had a full rich life.  I’ve lived and worked in multiple locations, enabling me to see and/or experience the impact various industries have had on society

  • The oil and gas embargo

Lines of cars half a mile long waiting to get gasoline – gasoline that was going to run out within twenty years.  That was almost fifty years ago.

  • Automotive manufacturing

Which has dragged Michigan through an economic downturn about once a decade through the latter half of the twentieth century.  Seeing plants close, neighbors lose their jobs.

  • Technology/Dot com chaos

We don’t need no stinkin’ business plan.  Build it and they will come – not

  • Fracking

Environmental impact.

  • Real estate

Prop 13, bubble impact

I have gained perspectives from personal experience

  • EMF Sensitivity
  • Rheumatic Arthritis
  • NDE

I draw from these factors when creating stories.

Spires and Spirits.  I have a great deal of experience with the paranormal.  I’ve also made an intensive study of the various phenomenon associated with it.

The US and other world governments have done extensive scientific research for decades.  Their findings are widely available, though scattered.

 Metatron’s Army.  This epic is a work of fiction.  However, I did draw from the Near-Death Experience for various aspects.

  • Parallel universes

After I was home from the hospital, my dad came in to find me sitting up in bed.  He asked, “What are you doing up?  It’s late.”  I told him, “Do you realize that in another universe, I died?  I can feel it.”  His reply?  “Well, you’re alive in this one, so go to sleep.”  Pretty perfect response.  The awareness stayed with me.  Over the years, I’ve learned to just accept it.

  • Light Beings

 The Light Beings in the series are totally different than what I have described in After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens When We Die.  They are fictional characters created for this fictional story.

  •  The Iconoclast

This character is based on a sensation experienced but again, is totally fictional.

  • Location

 The only real place is a bar in Berkley, Michigan that had video games in the breezeway.  A friend of mine and I used to play the games when I’d spend the night at her house.  The owner would grumble it was okay as long as we stayed out of the bar – “Don’t need no trouble with cops…”

  •  The Weird

 In the eighties, I created the warehouse bar in Perm on Catana.  Gambling was the primary activity and information was the currency.  In order to better bluff, I had the character – who was still evolving at that point – smoke electronic cigarettes.  This is before there was any such thing.  When they showed up on the scene, I was pretty shocked.  I’d totally made it up!  Jung’s Collective Consciousness? 

A major difference:  Unlike in reality, in my universe, there are no health risks associated with smoking the electronic cigarettes.

 The fictional story came about as a way of coping with an experience.  It evolved over decades.  When it came to publishing Metatron’s Army, I was able to draw from the various fictional elements in place – but I also had to tighten the story, build the world, and bring it to life.

All in a fiction day’s work.


Bringing a Story to Life – A Vision Comes to Life

fantasy book cover.pngAt ten years of age, as a result of damage from a brain hemorrhage, I had a Near Death Experience.  When I was able to talk, people asked me what I saw.

I was paralyzed, blind, and in a coma, so it took a bit before I could talk about it.

What I talked about in those early weeks and months after the surgery was a sliver of the entirety of what I saw and experienced.  Part of the issue was that I didn’t have the reference points to adequately explain and/or describe what I saw and experienced.

I never went down any lighted tunnel or up any lighted stairs.

It wasn’t until I was in high school and took math and science courses that I was able to understand what was supposedly a religious experience.

Science has done more to explain the NDE than any dogma, an interesting oxymoron.

 I began filling my room with items that illustrated various aspects of the experience.

Several were hand drawn illustrations that I put up like posters.  One was a full-page ad for a movie – not science fiction – from the Detroit Free Press.

Although these objects and illustrations could never do justice to the real thing, they brought a sense of peace.

When I decided to publish Metatron’s Army, I ran up against the reality that the vision I had in my mind not only needed to translate to the written word, it needed the appropriate imagery to go with it, primarily for the website.

For the World of Metatrn’s Army.

Taking an image experienced/seen in 1979 and bringing it to life in 2018 is no easy task.

It’s far more than describing it to the artist who is helping you.

 I found myself explaining the scientific concepts behind the beings, the images, the universal laws of mathematics and physics involved – to individuals who, while intelligent, did not have a common frame of reference.

Even engineers and mathematicians can only conceptualize so far before an artist’s vision needs to emerge – and artists need a concept of deep science to conceptualize the beauty of mathematics in time and space.

Early work was satisfactory but somewhat incomplete.  I needed more.

As I progressed through the series, an interesting curiosity began to emerge.  The world came alive, not only on paper, but in the tools used to create merchandise and a website designed to draw readers into the World of Metatron’s Army.

It was as if I was finally doing a mind meld with the artists.

Vintage+Drafting+TableTrust the expert.  When I gave a hand drawn sketch of the Vetria System to the artist who would digitally render it, I worried he wouldn’t understand that system the way I did.

I knew Eol, Catana, the Azlaan Research Station and the Ivory Isles like the back of my hand.  I could smell the air, feel the heat of the Catana tropical environment, smell stale alcohol in the mercenary bar on Perm, hear the imperious voice of Estan, the petty bickering of the Lesser Kings…

When I saw what he came up with I was thrilled.  He’d understood!

classic-artist-paletteTrust the artist.  For the color work and subtle illustrations, I turned to an artist who has come to understand me well enough that when I tell her what I’m envisioning, she can make a quick sketch on a scrap of paper and ask, “This?”

In spite of this, I find myself hovering and worrying that the world that has lived inside of me since I was a teen wouldn’t mean as much to them as it did to me.

Was I just another client?

One Artist to Another.  I needn’t have worried.  Both artists told me numerous anecdotes that clearly illustrated they understood the passion for perfection that lived inside of me for it lived in them as well, even if it found an outlet in a capacity other than through the written word.


Pulling It All Together.  I cannot leave out the work of the engineer who pulls it all together.  This man has to be the most patient man on the face of this earth because he has heard me lament – ahem – at the injustice of not having the tools to bring my vision – the world that has been inside of me for decades – to life in a manner that would do it justice.

Fortunately, he’s a huge music fan.  He’s likened my pursuit of perfection to that of Neil Young and Kurt Cobain.

He gets it.

So, it is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of

Simultaneous Display: Book Five in the Metatron’s Army series will be available in March 2018.



Bringing a Story to Life – The Haunted


“You mean it’s not the house that’s haunted, but you?”

  • –   Clint Malek to Shellia Hamilton in Port in a Storm

Merriam-Webster defines paranormal as strange events, abilities, etc that cannot be explained by what is known about nature and the world.

When it comes to writing, that’s a pretty broad definition to work with and one that authors use to their advantage.  In recent years, the paranormal has broken away from its typical home in the horror genre and found its way into mainstream fiction and romance.  From monsters to ghosts to astronomical phenomenon and time travel, paranormal has a lot to offer writers and readers alike.

For Port in a Storm I chose a heroine with the ability to communicate with ghosts.  When her sexy neighbor finds out she talks to spirits, he assumes she moved into a haunted house.

Makes sense given her house is over a hundred years old.

When he learns the truth, he has to decide whether he can live with that; live with someone who talks to people he can’t see or hear himself.

I had a total blast with the scene with Clint, Andrew, and Shellia in his hallway.

I really tried for a lighter tone in this novel because while mainstream media tends to paint haunted houses and hauntings as scary or creepy, they can also be fun, if not funny.

Ghosts play practical jokes and express their “feelings” in a variety of ways.  Just ask anyone who’s ever lived in a haunted house.

Moving and hiding objects is perhaps the most common phenomenon.

I worked for a New England company.  Several employees lived in houses over a hundred years old, many of them haunted.  Their biggest complaint was the hiding of objects they needed to get ready for work (i.e. combs, shavers, keys, etc).

 Employees regularly shared advice on how to deal with these mischievous yet harmless spirits.

 I’ve had my share of experiences.

Doors that closed by themselves, IPod pushed off the sofa, clock radio smashed to the floor, songs being added to my iTunes library.

 My immediate reaction to these events was a wide-eyed “Holy Cow!”  The secondary was delight.

Experiencing the paranormal is a wonderful adventure.

When I write paranormal, I blend experience, knowledge, and imagination to create stories that reflect the fascinating nature of the unknown.

The Real. recently conducted a survey of whether people would be willing to buy a haunted house, and under what circumstances.

The answers were consistent with the feedback from my New England colleagues.

 What’s it like to live in a haunted house?  Should you tell company that your house is haunted?  How do you know if it’s the house that’s haunted and not you?

I explore these and other aspects of the paranormal in my work.

Port In a Storm is now available.

Show your spirit, get the shirt.

Help a spirit


Bringing a Story To Life – Frame by Frame


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.




Bringing a Story to Life – Being One With Your Character

MindMeld1“I think singing and acting go hand in hand.  Take an R & B singer; one song says, ‘I love you,’ the next is, ‘Baby, don’t leave me,’ the next is, ‘If you leave me then I don’t care.’  You have to drop in and out of different perspectives.”    – Ice T

As the release date for Bishop Pair, Metatron’s Army Book Two drew closer, I halted the book I was working on to do a final edit.

It’s a good idea to set a manuscript aside for several days to several weeks.  When you pick it up again, rereading with fresh eyes, you find mistakes or see where subtle tweaks can strengthen the story.

I remember you when.  Going back to Book Two meant having to go back in time.  My mind was in Book Five – Pawn Storm.  My character had gone through numerous life-changing experiences since Bishop Pair.

A lot happens in Book Three – Zwischenzug, and Book Four – Positional Play.

She was no longer the young woman returning to her home system to start a new life, and yet that is who she has to be in Bishop Pair, which meant that is where my perspective had to be.

Remember me?  Fortunately, putting myself back in the mindset of the “innocent” she was at this point wasn’t as difficult as I initially feared it would be.  Simply reading the story drew me into her world, enabling me to see it through her eyes.

And her heart.

 Going forward was another story.

What happened to you?  Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen for years and find yourself astonished by the changes?

Going back to pick up the threads of Pawn Storm was like running into someone I hadn’t seen in years.  I had to take time to study the changes, understand who she’d become.  This was no easy feat.

Because Pawn Storm is a work in progress, there isn’t yet enough story for me to get drawn in.

 Even more challenging, with a release date days away, Bishop Pair is still fresh in my mind.

Christine is newly arrived at Dynamic.

To go forward, I had to become one with the character.

Getting into character.  Writing through the eyes of the character requires a bit of acting skill.  You have to put yourself in their shoes.

Switching between characters within a story isn’t difficult since, as the author, you have a bird’s eye view of everyone on stage, but going between set changes can present a challenge.

Especially if the character goes through a life-altering experience.

Who are you again?  Editing isn’t the only reason a writer might go back to a previous scene.  Going back in time can help the author reconnect with the character because the personality difference acts as a contrast, sharpening focus.

Though character evolution happens in every story, it’s tougher to manage with a saga.

Metatron’s Army is unique in that the story takes place over several books.  This was the best format to do justice to the story and  for me to illustrate character evolution that spans years.

This story telling format introduced unique challenges for managing character growth.

Staying true to the character as new characters are brought in, older characters are phased out, and secondary characters go through their own evolution is a full-time job.

Fortunately, in the seed of the challenge is an advantage.  I’ve been living with Metaron’s Army for the past thirty-five years.

Each book is more like a chapter for me

I know the characters well.

I already know who they will be at the end of the series.

The tough part is, as Ice T says, dropping in and out of different perspectives.

It can be mentally exhausting.

Bishop Pair, Metatron’s Army Book Two is now available for pre-order.


Bringing a Story to Life – The Life of a Character


My books usually end where they began. I try to bring characters back to a point that is familiar but different because of the growth that they have gone through. – Sara Zarr

Foreground.  As a writer and a reader, I prefer strong characters to strong scenery.

I can picture a forest easily enough.


Show don’t tell.

 A spy is a different story.

Male or female? Russian or British?  German or American?  Cold war spy or current day hacker? 

 As a writer, I have to remind myself not to lead the reader, to let them fill in the details.

 This is a balance in paranormal fiction where readers often have pre-conceived ideas, though little personal experience. 

 With Metatron’s Army, the characters drive the story.

It’s been this way since its inception 35 years ago.

That they found themselves in a science fiction novel was simply the “clothing they wore.”

Though some of the paranormal elements are tied to real life experience; the NDE.

The characters were born before the plot.

Though not by much.

Background.  Character motivation is important to me.  Why is a character the way they are?  What shaped them?  What continues to shape them?  What is driving them to do what they do?

As a reader, I hate it when I find myself thinking a guy/woman/child/etc wouldn’t act like that, wouldn’t do that.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time “getting to know” my characters, getting comfortable with them before putting them in their places (i.e. antagonist, hero, strong secondary character).  This process isn’t the same from series to series.

In Silicon Valley Hangover, the characters just appeared one day.  I had to spend time observing them, reading their body language, trying to understand why they were feeling awkward with each other.

The plot grew out of the answers to the “why’s?”

I try to learn as much about my characters’ motivation as possible so that writing them is seamless.

I spend time interviewing men or people of other cultures and/or religions to gain insight that helps strengthen the characters.  I talk with professionals, such as pilots, or those in the military, if I need their perspective. 

As a reader, I love it when I find a writer who either has experience or has done some great research.

Victoria Laurie comes to mind.

With Metatron’s Army, I had lived with some of the characters since the story began to take shape but it wasn’t until I started to write that I really got to know them.

 In fact, I’m still learning them as I go along.

Sometimes character roles flip.

In Metatron’s Army, I ended up liking one of the antagonists so much, I turned him into a hero.  A character who had been somewhat of a benevolent despot became a vindictive antagonist.

In the Middle.  To be vibrant and interesting, characters need to grow throughout/as a result of the story.

This is particularly important in a series.

Life experiences change people.  The same should be true of characters.

Remember your English tests?  How did the character change as a result of [the plot]?

In a single title, a writer can start at any point in a character’s life.

They are a child who grows, a teen who is on a journey of self-discovery, an adult who already  has the skills to take on the adversity presented by the plot.

With a series, it can be a bit more difficult.

You can start anywhere but you need to pay attention to character development.  If you drag it out the character stagnates.  If you go too quickly, you run out of options for character growth and the plot goes stale.

Metatron’s Army takes place over decades.

Some of them passed before the reader joins the story.

To deal with the complexity of the characters, the fact they have separate yet parallel goals in some cases, I have worked to keep each book self-contained, even as it is key to the overall series.

A good idea in a series, anyway, I think.

Pacing the writing.  A multi-tasker, I typically think ahead, even as I’m working on a project.

Sometimes, it’s the next book, sometimes, the next project.

Given the complexity of plot and character evolution in Metatron’s Army, to stay organized I have approached my writing differently.

I have several of the books written already, though most are in draft form.  This allows me to go back to an earlier book and adjust if I need to.

If, for instance, I decide to take a character in a different direction down the line – did I set it up to be a believable development/change/evolution?

I also go back and read previous drafts to ensure there is continuity in the series.

And, more importantly, in the characters.

Characters as writers.  This project is unlike any other I’ve done.

Thirty-five years in the making, it evolved through a series of visual shorts, in dreams and daydreams.

After decades of living with this story, I tend to slip into autopilot when writing.

That doesn’t mean the story has become” familiarity breeds contempt.”

My unconscious has introduced some surprises for me.

At the end of Positional Play, Book Four in Metatron’s Army, I found myself led to an unplanned, yet completely logical plot twist.

Through Metatron’s Army, I’ve learned that sometimes, characters know best.


Bringing a Story to Life – Dream Works

eyesA dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.

  • Colin Powell


What’s in a Dream?  Dreams are so much more than stories we tell ourselves in our sleep.  The information and imagery in dreams can help us solve problems and achieve goals.  They can also help in our careers.

In 1993, I had a dream in which I was standing on a planet with a hot wind blowing on me.  As I stood there, other planets, disproportionately large came close then moved away again.  Repeatedly.

In 2016, I read an article about a NASA discovery.  The image in the article was a match for the one in my dream.

I framed the image and display it where I can see it while working on Metatron’s Army.

This morning, I was sent a link to an article about another NASA discovery.  Imagine my surprise and delight to read the following:

“Standing on the surface of one of the planets, you would receive 200 times less light than you get from the sun, but you would still receive just as much energy to keep you warm since the star is so close. It would also afford some picturesque views, as the other planets would appear in the sky as big as the moon (or even twice as big).”

 Exactly as in my dream.

When I scrolled through the images accompanying the article, I saw that the same one from the 2016 article had been included.

 Some might call this a coincidence.  Others will see it as I do, the magic that is and has been a part of life.

I look for it.  I choose to see the magic in my life, in my dreams.

 Dream Works.  This isn’t the only time a dream has had a positive influence on my writing.

Spirit School.  In After Here, The Celestial Plane and What Happens When We Die, I describe a dream state I call Spirit School.  Located on the dream plane, it is a type of celestial classroom where the attendees listen to lectures.

Fiction – Or Not.  In writing fiction, I draw from experience, education, and imagination.  I have inserted dream sequences into novels when appropriate.

Ghost in the Mirror.  In the fourth book in my Psi-Adventure series there is a lecture on the nature of time given by one of the characters.

Time is a Lens That is Curved.

 This lecture was inspired by a very vivid dream I had about time.

As I often do with such dreams, I’d written it down so I was able to pull from it when writing the scene.

 Metatron’s Army.  Just after I began working on the Metatron’s Army project, I had a lengthy dream about time.

It was in the form of a lecture. 

This dream was interactive.

The lecturer was adamant I prove I was listening.

I was asked to recite the entire lecture back, twice.

Upon waking, I wrote it down, knowing I would use it somewhere in the series.

The sequence appears, unedited, in Metatron’s Army, Bishop Pair.

 I’m not the only professional who has benefitted from dreams.

Dmitri Mendeleev.  The Russian chemist and inventor had a dream in which all the elements were arranged in a particular fashion.  He utilized this information to create the periodic table.

Elias Howe.  The inventor of the sewing machine was having difficulty getting the needle to work properly when he had a dream that provided him with the answer he needed.

It was actually a nightmare in which he was being repeatedly stabbed by cannibals.  The spears they used had holes in the top.  The up and down stabbing motion, along with the holes in the spears, provided him with his answer.

 For more stories of dreams that turned into great things, see this article.

Metatron’s Army Bishop Pair will be available in 2017.


Hero to Supporting Character – Writing Jeremy

In The Lover, Book 2 in the Awakening Series, Jeremy Williams, a romantic hero with a physical disability, takes center stage.  This character challenged me as a writer.

For weeks I was stuck in a scene where he is looking out the window, contemplating.  Why was he there?  What was he thinking about?  How could I move the two main characters forward romantically when there was such an awkwardness to get past and why was there such an awkwardness between two people who are supposed to be romantically attracted to each other?

 Working with this character definitely helped me grow as a writer.

Writing a romantic hero with a disability forced me to look at intimacy from a perspective outside what’s typical or predictable which turned out to be a wonderful experience, in spite of how challenging and humbling it was.

 At the conclusion of the manuscript I found myself missing working with Jeremy and though I knew he’d appear in The Messenger, he would be a supporting character.

I wanted to honor him as a strong character but I couldn’t rob Logan Doyle of his role as the romantic hero.

As I wrapped that manuscript, I knew that I was more or less saying good-bye to this character.

He and Josie had returned home and were theoretically carrying on with their happily ever after. 

When I began work on the final book in the series, The Seer, I realized that Jeremy wasn’t finished with me.

As I started  putting the pieces of the story in place I realized that this unique hero could play a significant role moving the story forward.  It seemed a great way to honor a fabulous character.

But Jeremy refused to be sidelined as a supporting character.

Supporting characters are often bit players in the greater drama.

So once again I found myself challenged by a character with a disability.  What was his day to day life like?  How were things between he and Josephina progressing?  How would he fit into an atypical family that was growing and evolving with each new book?

Looking at events from Jeremy’s point of view provided plot twists I hadn’t considered and showed me where various aspects of the storyline were weak.

Supporting characters are observers so they are able to come up with conclusions about characters and the characters’ behavior.  This can tip a writer off as to when something is a flaw or help them identify a quality that should be exploited further.

He shaped the book in ways I never expected, given all of my focus was on the romantic hero, Parmeet Sarin, and his challenges.

And my challenge of bringing a character who had been on the sidelines for awhile center stage.

I hope you will enjoy reading about Jeremy’s continuing adventures, along with those of the other characters, in The Seer, available this autumn.