Monday, June 23, 2014

My Writing Process and How to Meet Other Authors!


Elizabeth Mueller, a fellow author that I met at a conference years ago,  emailed me one day and asked if I wanted to do a Blog Hop. I had never heard of one and after a flurry of emails, with many questions from my end, I finally figured it out. I was to introduce a few authors on my blog, maybe write how I met them, and then have a link to their blogs in a list to the right. I set out to find some of my favorite bloggers and authors and that's who you will see down below. It's a great way to discover new talent, new friends and enjoyable blogging. Elizabeth told me I was to write about my "Writing Process" in this blog so here you go. You can see her thoughts on this over at her blog

I write like I think: free-flowing, brainstorming, different thoughts coming out at the same time but eventually weave together to tell the whole story. Sometimes, I write the end first then backtrack to the beginning. Other times I will cut an entire scene I wrote and place it in a different "file" knowing it'll never fit back into the story but since I created it, I don't feel right deleting all those words! There really is not set way, no outline or notes that I follow. Occasionally, I will do research because I don't know enough about the subject. This can range on anything from the military to fairies.

I am not one of those people who always have a pen and paper at the ready, either in my purse, in my car or on my nightstand. I can only remember one time that I had such a vivid dream I wrote it down and made note that it would make a great story...at some point. Usually, plot structure or scenes come to me as I'm writing--my characters lead me to certain points--or as I'm doing something fairly relaxing like driving or watching TV.

So, there really isn't any structure to my writing process except to write almost every day wether it's one sentence or a few thousand words. I find I do this better when I'm in a place where nothing is expected of me: son's instrument lesson, babysitting, waiting in the car for pick up at school etc. 

Do you have a writing process or rules that you follow? I think everyone has their own way of doing it, just like everyone has a unique blog quite different from yours! You will meet three authors below. Feel free to click the links at the right and find their blog. See what they have written, ask a question or just read their blog and see if you connect to anyone. You may just find someone who would be a great writing partner or even beta reader for your Work in Progress (WIP).


Sabrina is a blogger I found just recently. Admittedly, her picture and title of her blog drew me in. Her posts are witty, mature and intelligent. You can tell she is passionate about her writing craft and dogs! I'm so happy I stumbled onto her.


Sabrina Wolfheart  is a teenage writer and blogger, who has loved to write ever since she can remember. She has been published in several short story and poetry anthologies, including Lekha's Young Wordsmiths anthology, and Poetic Power's A Celebration of Poets Anthology in Spring 2013. She is a NaNoWriMo enthusiast, and finished her first novel-length manuscript, a YA science fiction, in April 2014. She's currently working on her first YA realistic fiction novel, and hopes to get both of her manuscripts published once she revises and finishes them. She has been blogging about writing since August 2013,  and is thrilled with the positive and supportive community she has met.
Other than writing, she enjoys reading any type of science fiction, watching science fiction TV shows, and volunteering with dogs. She also enjoys science, and, strangely, school (when it's interesting). She also started a campaign for pit bull advocacy, called Pits4PEACE. When she is facing Writer's Block, Sabrina spends her time identifying every font in Microsoft Word.

She lives with a soon-to-be-six-year-old Border Collie/Pitbull mix, and spends the majority of her time waiting for the hours in which she can write.



Lani is a personal friend of mine. We met in 2007 on a Twilight Fan Club Board. She was planning an "I Love Edward Cullen Party" and I offered to help. From the moment we talked on the phone, we licked! I flew out to Utah, from the east coast, and met her in person and we immediately greeted each other like old friends! She writes like a madwoman and can go all day; I envy the amount of concentration she has and her creative mind. She has numerous books you can read, listed below.

Lani Woodland: I've been an avid reader since elementary school. In sixth grade I began writing stories and recruiting (with force when necessary) my friends to act them out.
I've always loved scary stories, and have a hard time enjoying any book without at least a little romance in it.
I live in Southern California with my husband, our two children and a large collection of board games.
I have worked as a spot-welder, babysitter, janitor, photographer, gymnastics coach, and movie extra. I enjoy bonfires at the beach, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, speed talking, chocolate as a cure-all, and the word "precisely". I have written: The Yara Silva Trilogy: Intrinsical, Indelible, Inevitable. Pirates of Orea, Pieces of Jade, The Pom Pom Periodicals: That’s The Spirit (The Pom Pom Periodicals, Book 1) Give Me A C (The Pom Pom Periodicals, Book 2). Short Stories include Enchanted: Love Stories of the Paranormal (Kiss of Death and The Kiss of the Siren). These two short stories originally appeared in Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal.
Please visit my website & blog


I stumbled upon Lori's blog from the "Insecure Writer's Group" Blog that Elizabeth Mueller pointed out to me. Lori mentioned swords, kids (not kids running with swords), had a castle on her blog and talked about self-publishing--she had me hooked! Her posts are informative, consistent and there is always something you can learn from reading them!

Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.
She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.
When she's not writing (or doing chores), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.
Lori will soon be publishing her first novel, a romantic fantasy adventure entitled Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Stuck like glue...

Have you ever had a book that sticks with you days, weeks or longer after you've read it?

As a child and teenager I remember re-reading the same books (and this may give away my age) but books like: Stranger With My Face, Sweet Valley High, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Meet the Austins, A Wrinkle in Time, Dicey's Song.  Honestly, I haven't picked them up since early high school, but I do have all but the SVH on my shelf. I loved them; they were comforting, familiar and well used like your favorite blanket or toy as a young child.

Nowadays, I find books that stick with me for other reasons. An example are two books written from a dog's POV: A Dog's Purpose and Racing In the Rain. If you have a dog, love a dog or just work with them, these books will definitely change how you relate and view them. I tend to give my cat and dog voices (think Doug in the Pixar movie "Up") and notice other animal lovers do this, too. When reading them you can't help but think of your own dog. Or, even cats! I read Dewey, The Library Cat years ago and couldn't help but think of mine in some of those chapters. As an adult, we have seen and heard more about animal abuse or neglect than many children so these kinds of book can strike you at your deepest, emotional level.

Some of my other favorites like: Outlander, The Language of Flowers, A Certain Slant of Light, Harry Potter and The Fever series I love because of a 'lighter' side. These books were different enough to catch my interest and had characters that were real and vivid to me.  The storyline was unique and I hadn't read anything like it before which is why they are on my bookshelf and will be some of the first books I recommend to people if I am asked.

Sometimes, though, especially when on vacation I just want what I call a "beach read"--you sit back, read and don't have to think or feel sad. My go to books for this occasion are Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series or some Nora Roberts books (I recently read Chasing Fire by her and thought it was very well researched and less romantic than her others.) I did read Stephen King's Under the Dome while on a cruise two years ago but it was so riveting and different I didn't mind that it made me think at the end!

So, what are your go to books? Do you have favorites on your shelf that are the first ones you'd recommend to a friend? Are there books that you've read and you could not stand for whatever reason?


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Can you take a compliment?


On Mondays I babysit/nanny a wonderful little girl (we'll call her S) who is almost four months old. This past Monday, we took a walk up to a new bakery as I am on the search for the best croissants around! I ran into a mom with an even younger baby and she began asking me questions about S and I answered politely. Eventually, she told me, "Congratulations" and I said, "Thank You", even though S is not mine; she was getting hungry and I needed to place my order and then walk back to her house, so I didn't bother correcting the other mom.

However, as I walked back, I realized it was a compliment that she assumed S was mine. I'm in my 40s and I must still look natural taking care of a baby even though it's been awhile. This exchange made me realize how hard it is to accept a regular compliment these days. We always seem to shake it off; if someone likes your hair many of us say, "I just had it done" instead of, "Thank you." "I like your shirt/shoes/pants," may have a response similar of, "Thanks, but they are my sister's" or "they were the only clean ones I had." Can we just say "Thank You" and mean it?

When it comes to our writing, I think many of us view it as personal --or as Anna Nalick says in her song, "Breathe": "These words are my diary speaking out loud." 

It may be hard for some people to accept that the inner workings of their mind has affected someone in a good way. As writers we have chosen to walk this path and enjoy the positive and endure the negative. Has someone complimented you on your writing; a story you wrote, an essay in school or even a funny one liner? Were you able to just say "thank you" and did the other person offer "you're welcome?"

On the flip side, have you done the complimenting and didn't receive the answer you were expecting? Why do you think it's hard for us to accept and embrace compliments?

I look forward to reading your comments. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Title Reveal for WIP...

When this story began, as a dream of Cindy's (my co-writer), she wrote it out as a short story. When I read it, I realized there was just too much of a story to be confined to just a few pages and offered to write, if she kept the storyline coming.

Up until a few months ago, this Work In Progress (WIP) was labeled as "Cindy's Story". I was trying to think of a good working title that encompasses the feel of this book. Because I am only slightly superstitious, I don't feel comfortable revealing the plot...yet.

I will say it is a Young Adult book, the characters are in their last year of high school and some are beyond it. There is a younger brother who hasn't spoken a word in his 14 years of life and no one knows why. There are three boys dressed up around Halloween time in demon costumes, or so our main character, Nicole, thinks. While navigating through her world she begins to realize there is a group of ancient beings who protect her. She has no idea who or why at first. As she learns new names, overcomes almost-insurmountable objects and navigates love and loss, she become stronger;  physically, emotionally and with the powers that lay dormant...until she turned 18.

"Sticks & Stones" seemed to be the perfect title to work with.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hump Day! Productive Day!




Edited on 6/5: Late last night, I found the group you see above. Thanks to Elizabeth Mueller, I found out there are so many people like me out there it is a bit scary. The original post from early yesterday seems to fit the rules of IWSG, which are: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.


So, I figured I'd go back in time and offer Wednesday's post as my first IWSG post:

********

I've been fighting a cold and sore throat my children so lovingly shared with me and today, I am worn out. It's gray outside and only 56 up here near Boston. I have nothing going on until this evening and realized that all the ideas I have in my head, for the current WIP, needed to get down on paper...laptop.

After talking to Cindy about an underlying theme we needed for our story, I got to work this morning on writing. I am up to 21K words. 60K is my goal, then I will edit/spell check and send it to Cindy. I'm hoping to coincide with her summer break so she can read it, add her flair, then we'll combine her notes into the story and find some beta readers. I am keeping my fingers crossed the first draft of this story will be ready to go out to a beta reader(s) by the end of August.

I do not see any YA or Adult books of this genre on the shelf. I find limited information in the library on what we are writing about. My instincts are telling me to try and get this out there soon because someone will beat us to it. We can make up whatever we want in this genre and as there really isn't any guideline out there now, I feel we have more freedom. (Think "Twilight" and how Meyer introduced us to the non-human killing Vampires who sparkle.) Now that I have given myself a deadline...and have a job...I should be able to do this.

My job consists of watching a lovely 3 month old little girl who takes two naps in the time span that I watch her, early in the week. This gives me time to write and since I am not in my own house and do limited housework, I have more free time there than I do in my own home; I have to utilize it!

We have the end of this book all worked out. We have a working title, finally, which I will reveal in the next post! I am beginning to form scenes in my head (I think in movie scenes and then try to get it down into words) and I'm slowly filling in the gaps between those scenes. We are also making a concerted effort to make this a 'clean' book. No, or very limited, swearing, no drug use...things like that. Cindy and I both have preteens and are more than conscious of what they are reading and can get their hands on. There are many good stories out there that don't have numerous four letter words or graphic sex scenes in them. Of course, since we are writing about 18 year olds-ish, we have to be realistic in their language, which is a fine line to try and balance upon.

Now that my break is over, off to work towards 22K words before the kiddos come home from school. Stay tuned for the working title reveal...