Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Long Hot Summer

I had a dream.  It was a simple dream.

This summer, I would get a ton of writing done. My daughters are thirteen and nine now.  They are fairly self-sufficient.  In my dream, they would go about their summer with a moderate amount of help from me (mainly with the driving parts) and I would write all day.  Heck, I would write more than during the school year because there would be two extra people who could help with the cooking and the cleaning.  It would be paradise.

Then I woke up.

*Pan in on me working at my desk.*

"Mom where's that thing?"
"What thing?"
"That thing.  You know that thing we had at the pool last year that was really fun."
"What did it look like?"
"It had like a fan and a squirt bottle and you could mist yourself with it."
"I think it's down stairs."
"I looked down stairs, I couldn't find it."
"Did you actually look, as in moving things around, or did you just stand in the middle of the room and wait for it to fly off the shelves toward you?"
"I LOOOKED MOM!  Can you just help me, pleeeease?"

Gadget is easily found in basement storage behind a small box. I resume writing.

"It's not working."
"It probably needs batteries."
"Where are the batteries?"
"In the battery storage unit on the wall of the storage area."
"UUUUHG!" Kid stomps off

I resume working. Five minutes elapses.

"It still isn't working."
"Did you find the batteries?"
"Are they in correctly?"
"Are they in the way the picture on the cover shows you to put them in?"
"I guess it's broken."
"Can you fix it?"
"Let me see."

I open the battery hatch and replace the batteries in the correct position according to the diagram.

"There it works."
"I'm going outside."
"Have fun."

I resume working.  Five minutes elapses.

"Mom, can you take me and Olivia to the pool?"
"I can't right now I'm working."
"There's nothing to do here.  It's so boring."
"Clean your room."
"It is clean."
"Really?  Your bed is made and there's nothing on the floor."
"Well, no. But it's not that bad."
"If you're room's not clean you have something to do.  See ya."

I resume working.  Five minutes elapses.

"I'm done cleaning my room.  Now can you take me to the pool."
"No. I told you I have work to do."
"WHAT!  I cleaned my room for NOTHING!  You said you would take me to the pool if I cleaned my room."
"No. I didn't.  I said if you were bored you could clean your room."
"Mom, come on, pleeeeese."
"No. I can't."

Kid pouts.  Kid crawls under desk and plays with my toes.  Kid finds rubber bands in desk drawer and shoots it across the room. Kid sings the anthem to the most annoying commercial ever over and over again at the top of her lungs.  Kid makes a snack and sets off the smoke alarm.

"Okay. Let's all go to the pool."

Other kid who has been happily playing on the computer, "WHAT! I don't want to go to the pool."

Rinse and repeat.

Monday, July 25, 2011

G.P. Who? Social Network MIA and Obscurity

Sometimes I like my obscurity.

I mean, sure a few more sales would be nice but let's face it, I'm no Hocking.  Some people have read my book. It's well liked. End of story.

You won't find me on TV wearing a meat dress.

But something is happening in my life that's different than before. A few people are recognizing me.  People who I don't know.  People who stop me at the grocery store or pool and tell me they've read my book and loved it. This is a good thing. It's a flattering thing. It makes me want to keep writing for the sake of my readers. But it's also a bit of a scary thing because The Soulkeepers is snowballing, and I honestly don't know how big it's going to get.

There is a blessing in obscurity.  I've recently emerged from several weeks of intensive writing and editing.  I sort of went MIA on my social networking friends.  I neglected my blog.  But to be honest, only a few people care at this point and four out of five will forgive me. (Fifth person, you know who you are and you are being unreasonable).

But what if I was a Hocking?  I don't mean her personally.  You can replace that name with a number if authors in cyberspace.  I wonder how hard it is to take time to write when everyone is watching.  When a post that you've changed your toilet paper roll ellicits 300 comments, there must be a lot of pressure to never take time to do what it is we do...write...quietly...alone.

As for now, I am sheltered in my obscurity. I'm happy that my readers are finding me organically. It's a thrill to learn someone was pleasantly surprised by the adventure I took them on. And even though I take time off from Facebook, Twitter and G+,  I'm still here.

I love that some of you missed me. But for now it's kind of nice to be able to come and go as I please.  And to concentrate on what I love the most, to get lost in a fantasy world that I create for you one word at a time.

Oh, and I'm back, for now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to Tell If Your Boyfriend (or Girlfriend) is a Supernatural Being

We all know how awkward those first dates can be. Sometimes it's hard to break through the facade and get to the person underneath.  Some of you may be wondering if the boy (or girl) you're dating might be a vampire, shifter, or other paranormal entity.  Here are ten warning signs:

1. He is oddly unavailable the same hours each day.  Like not even to text.  And when you secretly check his phone to make sure he got your texts, the screen is splattered with blood.

2. His wardrobe changes frequently.  You find the My Chemical Romance T-Shirt you loved shredded at the back of his closet... splattered with blood.

3. He listens to My Chemical Romance.

4. When you go out to eat, he never does.  Oh sure, he pretends to eat but then you find a napkin in his lap filled with bite-size chunks of his meal.  Despite never seeming to eat, he is over 200 pounds of rippling muscle and changes the flat on your Volkswagen Beetle without a jack.

5. Alternatively, he eats meat but only if it's very rare or an organ.  (Kidney pie, yum.)

6.  He seems fixated on your head and spaces out a lot.  Gross motor control is not his strong point.  (Warning: if your boyfriend meets these criteria, you might be dating a zombie or frankenstein.  Get away.)

7. He kisses you like he's tasting you.

8. Moodiness.  He wants you.  He doesn't want you.  He insists you shouldn't be together and claims he's not good for you, yet follows you around and shows up in the most unlikely places.

9.  Perfume doesn't turn him on, but when your hands smelled like BBQ sauce after the family picnic, he went absolutely nuts.

10. An aura surrounds him.  It could be a subtle glow, a faint sparkle, or the smell of decaying flesh.

If your boyfriend meets any of these criteria, you may be dating a paranormal entity. Take necessary precautions.  I recommend finding another boy(or girl) with these qualities, and feigning attraction in exchange for protection.  Or, becoming obsessive about silver jewelry.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weaving Destiny (The Soulkeepers Book Two) Cover Reveal

alini Gupta thought Jacob Lau was her destiny, that they were meant to be together. But after months of failing to decipher how she fits into the Soulkeepers, frustration threatens to tear their relationship apart. As does a new Soulkeeper named Mara who is ready to stop time itself to earn Jacob's love.

When Malini faces her worst fears and even death, she learns a funny thing about destiny; nobody said hers couldn't change. The future is a tapestry of choices, and she's about to weave hers.

Adam Bedore of Anjin Design creates all of the covers for The Soulkeepers Series. Adam uses a special technique to build depth, emotion, and a little mystery into the art. It is truly multi-dimensional. This cover features Malini wearing the same red stone from book one. You will also notice a tapestry design shadowed over the background that plays an important role in the story.

Learn more about the artist at

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Showing vs. Telling: The Myth of "Never Tell"

Every writer has heard it said that showing is better than telling.  You know the drill.

Sue felt angry.

Sue hurled the frying pan at Pat's head with a demon-tongued curse, and landed a kick to his newly prone limbs before heading for the exit. "See ya in hell, a-hole," she said, slamming the door behind her.

But, one problem I often see in manuscripts by amateur writers is showing to the extreme.  A manuscript that only shows and never tells becomes weighed down.  Most of the time, the reader  interprets this mistake as the novel being "overly long", "having weird pacing", or sometimes "lacking depth".  That's because if a writer always shows and never tells, their novel will jump from scene to scene like a screenplay but without the advantage of the acting and cinematography to bring it to life.

Here are five examples of when telling is preferred over showing:

1. Establishing the point of view 
ex: "My mother used to tell me about the ocean" -The Forrest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

2. Communicating the narrator's thoughts about others
ex: "I didn't go to Alice's funeral....I hated Alice by then and was glad she was dead." -Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James.

3. Slowing the rhythm or pacing of the work so that the reader can digest an earlier scene
ex: "Can I help you?"
The man Jack was tall. This man was taller....People who noticed the man Jack when he was about his business--and he did not like to be noticed--were troubled, or scared...
"I was looking for someone," said the man Jack. - pg 18 of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  See how that paragraph of telling interjected in the dialogue slows the pace and allows the reader to catch up with the scene?

4. Backstory, especially in a sequel or series.  
ex: "Harry was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he hated summer holidays more than any other time of year.  For another, he really wanted to do his homework but was forced to do it in secret, in the dead of night. And he also was a wizard."-Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling.

5. When what happens isn't important enough to the story to develop a scene.
This is self-explanatory.  We don't need a scene to show a character doing the dishes or mowing the lawn. Also, we don't need a scene to show that minor character A talked to minor character B about subplot C.  Just tell.

Interesting to me is the fact that you can find more telling in classic literature than modern literature.  You can speculate why that might be (short attention spans anyone?).

I hope this helps you decide when to show and when to tell.  Write on fellow word-jockeys!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Call for Book Bloggers and Reviewers

Weaving Destiny is coming along nicely and is currently slated for a September release.  At this time, I am seeking bloggers and reviewers who would like to receive the book in advance of its release for the purpose of providing honest reviews on or around its release date. If you are interested, please complete the form below.

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