Tag Archives: creativity

Back in The Saddle

Well, technically, the saddle is a chair.

 

At my desk inside the master bedroom. That’s where I keep my laptop.

The Fall Semester has ended and the Holidays have passed, (Thank God! They were exhausting, weren’t they?)

While I am awaiting the start of Spring classes at my local Community College, I’ve been trying to make use of the downtime with WRITING!

And just in case you’re interested, I am working on the third and final book in my thrilling Sci-Fi trilogy!

The book is called REACTION and I’m planning on releasing late this year.

Still tinkering with the cover

INERTIA  and …

*free with Kindle Unlimited!
*free with Kindle Unlimited!

FORCE

*also FREE with Kinlde Unlimited
*also FREE with Kindle Unlimited

were the first two, and as exciting as those plots were, this last one is going to blow them both out of the water. AtomicBomb

I’m just over 20k words so far, but the book is already plotted out in my head! The final, BIG ending is going to be SO much FUN to write. I can’t wait for you all to read it.

terX20j

 

Plots and Socks: a writing process

(2014 re-post)

I like my plots the way I like my socks. Tight and free of holes.

GoldmemberMeme

And, let me tell you, it isn’t easy.

I never really thought about ‘my process’ until this past weekend, when my husband and I had some friends over. I am one of those people who never really talks about their writing unless asked because I will go on and on and on until you are sorry you ever asked the question.

But, at some point during the many conversations, some unfortunate soul made the mistake of asking me how I come up with ideas for my books.

After the initial, “I don’t know,” it got me thinking about how, thus far, my stories have ended up nothing like the way they started out. And that lead me to the realization that I am an odd-builder.

Yes, I said odd-builder.

Let me explain it you you, reader, like I explained to my company:

I start with The End. It’s an image in my head, or a feeling that I get about a certain situation or story. Usually sparked by some event I read about or see taking place within the lives of people around me.

Then, I hit the internet. I search blog after blog, read endless amounts of advice on the creative process and the proper way to structure a story. But then, after a week or so–less if I’m really inspired–I remember that my brain won’t let me do it the usual way. I cannot tell you how many unfinished outlines I have stored in my computer.

Then, I jot down all the ideas about my ending (how it might have been reached and by whom) into a spiral notebook which then finds it’s way into my bedside table. It’s like binder after notebook after binder inside my nightstand.

This is my only form of organization when it comes to writing. Each idea, each plot, and character that graces the pages of my  books gets it’s own section in a binder. The binders are labeled with the wroking title and the notes on plot or character are tossed in there like a paper salad. It’s messy, but it works for me.

From there, I go back to whatever it is I am writing at the time. I try to finish one project before moving along to the next. This way I dont have a million manuscripts I feel pressured to finish.

Then, once I have had time away from the idea, I go back to my notebooks and re-read everything. If i am still stoked about the idea, I start constructing.

construction1

UNDER CONSTRUCTION 

This is where it gets a tad messy. See, I have my ultimate ending, but I don’t know who the characters are yet. So here is the place where I begin the inquisition. I ask myself

What events must happen for the story to reach it’s ending?

What motivates the characters to make the choices they must make to lead to the end?

What type of person makes those choices? A pschopath, a lonely girl, a guy who’s strapped for cash…the posibilities are endless.

Who do I want my character to be? What age and/or gender would fit best with the situations presented?

What traits do they have that I can relate to? What type of upbringing would they have that might influence their choices?

And the list goes on. These questions are also helpful when I reach that point in the story where I’m not sure what the character should do. I can go back to these questions and find an answer.

Once I reach a point of comfortable familiarity with my main characters, I begin free-writing. And through the process of turning on the voice in my head and letting it flow to the page, I find out who they really are, beneath the choices.

Well, that’s my crazy process.

What I’m Working On

Some time last summer, I decided that I should finish TWO books by the end of 2015. Well, I didn’t finish them but I haven’t stopped trying.

I did release my very first SCI-FI novel, INERTIA! (It’s got really great reviews, you should give it a read!)

But I’m still working on the next two books in my Savor The Days Series: November Mourning and January Falls (note: titles and covers may change)

Anyhoo, I’m pasting an excerpt of the first chapter of January Falls, just so you all can get a feel of what the story is like. Below is a rough blurb and a tidbit of the opening chapter. Be warned, there is a smidgen of bad language:


JANUARY_Cover_Morguefile

January Smith: that is the name Elise Wilkinson chose when she started her new life, but the past has a way of breaking into the present.

Finally putting her abusive history behind her, twenty year-old Elise is anxious to start over. She finds a job, a place to sleep, and gets a new name, January. When she makes a new friend with a high profile family, the fear of discovery and the threat of her past catching up to her becomes all too real.

When January Smith meets Noah Zuniga she can’t help but fall for his gentle heart and deep brown eyes. When she learns that Noah is the step-son to famed Hollywood actor Rhys Matthews, she must make a choice: to keep hiding from the life of shame she’s tryingto leave behind, or stay and fight for the new life she’s found.  


Excerpt from Chapter 1–I Snapped

 

The car eased up. From the tilt, I guessed the flat tire was on the front driver’s side. We must have hit that coyote pretty good. I thought I saw it skitter off, but who could tell in the pitch black? The car made creaking noises with each rotation of the jack and dread filled my stomach. It was a steady, almost rhythmic cranking that made me think Jade would have us back on the road in no time.

My heart ached at that thought. I didn’t want to go to back Vegas. I hated that city. I’d only ever been there a handful of times, even though I grew up just outside Reno, but I hated every trip I ever took there with Jade.

Made me want to shower just thinking about it.

A noise drew me from the dark memories. It sounded like Jade, like he was calling my name. My heart beat faster. If he wanted me I couldn’t waste time. Just as I pulled the handle to open my door, the raised end of the car dropped and the bleak night surrounding the empty road was suddenly filled with Jade’s pained cries.

I was all adrenaline, scrambling from the back seat to run around the car.

I couldn’t see past the beam of headlights, but when i got around to the passenger side of the car, i could see the flashlight rolling over the pavement. I reached for it, calling out.

“Jade! Are you alright?” I heard him answer with cursing, only it was much quieter than before. Flashlight in hand, I turned the beam in the direction of his voice and gasped.

Jade was on his back, one arm trapped under the car nearly up to his shoulder. The flat tire was completely off the axle, lying in the gravel. Jade was squirming and demanding. Screaming at me to “Get the jack!”

I searched with the flashlight, aiming it under the fender. The small jack had flipped over. I could tell from the position how it had slipped out from its’ bracing and didn’t waste any time. I flipped it back up but couldn’t get it under the lip of the fender. I needed to lower the head if it was going to fit back underneath the car. To do that, I needed the lever.

“Jade, where’s the crowbar?”

He cursed some more as I searched the ground. I asked Jade where it was again, partly becasue I thought talking might help keep his mind off the pain, and partly becasue I didn’t see the thing lying around anywhere.

Did he throw it?

Why wasn’t he answering me?

Maybe he couldn’t hear me; he had to be in a lot of pain. Then, something else occurred to me—the possible reason why Jade’s arm was under the car near the wheel.

With my heart climbing up into my throat, I got back down on my hands and knees, and bent low to look underneath the car. Jade was still cursing me out like always, but there was something in his voice I hadn’t heard before. Or maybe it was just so long since I heard it that I forgot what fear sounded like. Well, Jade’s fear. Mine was a constant. I knew what my fear sounded like. It sounded like, “Yes, Jade.” “Of course, Jade.”

I spotted the end of the crowbar wedged between Jade’s trapped arm and the gravel. Just on the other side of that, I spotted a few lug nuts. He must have been trying to hold the flashlight and loosen the nuts from the tire. Stubborn man—changing a tire is a two-person job in the dark. Jade was trying to pull double-duty and shot it all to hell. He probably dropped the dang nuts and then reached under the car to get them. His shoulder probably knocked the jack loose. I shuddered to think of his stubborn flesh trapped beneath the heavy car. I had to get it off him.

“Never reach under the car.” I spoke the thought.

Jade shouted, reminding me how I didn’t need to tell him anything. He was sure this whole mess was my fault after all because the only reason he needed to make money this way was because I was a fat pig who ate too much. Of course, I moved inside the car, too. He was sure I made it fall on purpose. I was evil. I was trying to hurt him. I was a worthless piece of trash that belonged under the wheels of the car, not him. I did it on purpose, I must have, because he was too smart. He knew what he was doing. I was the one who was too stupid to know anything about anything.

That’s the way our relationship was. His mistakes were always mine. ANd i knew that he was just getting started and the longer he had to think on it, the more reasons he’d come up with to make his stupid accident my fault. It was always me. Present or absent. Jade would make me pay for my mistakes. In any way that crossed his mind.

Suddenly I was not feeling as hospitable and barely suppressing the urge to roll my eyes, even though with Jade, that’s about the worst thing I could do, short of kicking him in the man-parts.

I stood up from the ground, empty-handed, running the flashlight over his pinned position, inspecting his injury. It looked like his forearm was trapped. His hand and forearm, just below the elbow were pinned under the bare wheel mount. I was wondering if that made any difference to his body. It just seemed like it’d be a whole lot worse to have your upper arm pinned under there, too.

I stepped back, going wide, as Jade’s free arm swung wildly for me.

“You stupidfuckingbitch! Get me out! I’ll put you in the ground, too! Where you going? Get back here!”

Where was I going? I had no idea, but it’d be the direction opposite of wherever Jade was headed. I was already on the passenger side of the car. My hands were moving but my mind was all blank, back in that protective space where I learned to hide most of me away.

Aside from the fact that I never thought I was smart enough to form a plan—a real plan beyond the ‘if only’ and the ‘one of these days’—I knew the only things that kept me with Jade for so long were money and opportunity. I never had either one available to me at the same time.

I could never get out. Never get a big enough head start. He kept that house locked up so tight there was no way I could find my way to the other side of the front door. And I was not allowed to have cash. I couldn’t go to the store or Laundromat without him. Even the worst criminals under lock and key got an hour in the yard to exercise, but I couldn’t get a minute with the bathroom door closed.

Also, I couldn’t just leave Jade like that, all hurt and helpless, but I sure as hell didn’t want to be around when he was back on his feet.

“I’m calling you an ambulance. You’re bleedin’ bad, Jade. You need a doctor. Where’s your phone?” I sounded so scared. I was scared, but also numb.

He was terrified to die, I knew he was. In one of the few conversations I overheard him having with a rotten friend of his, I heard Jade admit that he thought dying was the scariest thing there was. It was also the threat he made most often.

“In the glove box,” Jade grunted. “Give it to me! Hurry the fuckup!”

Of course it would be in the glove box. The glove box he kept locked at all times. The glove box he wouldn’t let me near, which was why I was always riding in the back seat.

“What’s the combination?” I shouted sounding just as panicked as I felt, but panic was nothing. I spent most my life in a panic.

“Bitch, get this car off me!” Jade screamed. “Please Elli. Please!”

I ran back around to lock eyes with Jade. I hadn’t heard him say please before. Not sober anyway. Still, I kept myself out of his reach. My face was very serious as I broke the news that would surely end up breaking my jaw. “The crowbar is stuck under your hand Jade. I can’t get it out. I can’t raise the car off you. I gotta call for help before you bleed out on the road. You need an ambulance Jade and I need you! Who’s going to take care of me if you don’t?”

He took a short breath and something passed over his eyes. I felt so sorry for him. It must have hurt like crazy and he had to be so afraid.

“J-F-B-F-D.” Jade strangled out the letters to the combination lock on his most prized compartment within his precious car. It was like a safe combination at the Federal Reserve as far as he was concerned. The glove compartment is where Jade kept all his worldly possessions.

Scrambling back around to the passenger side, Jade hollered the combination to me once more because he was so sure I’d forget it.

I punched in the letters, the glove box opened and I took out his cell phone and started dialing.

“What road are we on?” I scrambled back toward Jade and he quickly supplied the highway number and the mile marker we’d just passed.

I waited on the line as it rang and rang. Then, I walked back around to the passenger side of the car when someone finally answered my call. The metered voice of the A-1 cab company dispatcher came over the phone line loud and clear.

“I need a car out on the highway. Mile marker 1-3-7-1.” The guy seemed a little confused, so I explained in the lowest voice I could manage that my car had a flat tire, and then repeated the important information. Once they told me how long it was going to be—he estimated a half hour—I had to break the news to Jade and pray the anger wouldn’t give him enough gumption to find his way up off the ground.

But before I did that, I hung up the phone and emptied the glove compartment. Like the selfish bitch he always accused me of being, I pocketed all the cash in his wallet, his cell phone, and the .25 caliber pistol with the extra magazine. Lastly, I shook out all but one of the baggies of dope onto the front seat and floor of the car.

Then, I had to say goodbye to the first boy to ever tell me that he loved me. I stood for a moment in the dark, pretending to say the words aloud as I looked down at him. Jade understood what was happening when he spotted me running for my life.

I heard his screams for at least a half-mile. Once I got to a place near a street lamp, I tossed the flashlight. The second I spotted my taxi coming up the way, I made the call for the ambulance, giving them the information in an urgent tone, which I didn’t even have to fake. I was worried about Jade. I wanted him to be okay, but I also never wanted to see him again. So I told the 9-1-1 dispatcher to make sure the police came along with the ambulance. “The driver was swerving all over the place before he crashed and he’s been screaming at everything that moves. I think he’s high on something.”

After, I hopped into the back of the taxicab, asking the driver to take me into Vegas and telling myself that I was doing what I had to.

I wasn’t a bad person.

I’m not a bad person.

What I’m Working On

You all know that I have been in the writing cave for some time now. So, I thought it might be a good time to share what I’ve been working on.

In Between Octobers, readers were introduced to Evan, aka Rhys Matthews. If you remember, he is an actor who has never received any real recognition for his body of work, then you should understand what and why he is so angry in this opening scene . . . .

Here’s an excerpt from Book 3 in my Savor The Days Series: November Mourning.

NOVEMBER

CHAPTER ONE–“There is no loneliness greater that the loneliness of a failure. The failure is a stranger in his own house.” —Eric Hoffer

There’s a storm brewing inside me.

Hot and cold fronts are clashing.

It’s the heat of my temper flaring against a cold reminder.

There is a roaring wind climbing up my throat, aiming to tear through the thin veil of my lips to make its’ presence known in the quiet if this house. That glower from the mantle, so cruelly illuminated, makes me want to scream.

I literally feel mental because like the storm there is also this calm—small though it may be—in the center of me that I must cling to. Cling just as plainly as my white-knuckled grip on the edge of the mantle over the living room fireplace.

Control it. I command myself and work on a deep breath.

What’s got me so twisted is the simplest, most benign thing: a ray of sunshine. The way it brashly shoots through the window that overlooks the back garden is bloody dreadful. It’s not so much the light itself—it’s rather gloomy this time of the year; an early morning in November—it’s that the damned light has found a way through the patchy fog. It wouldn’t bother me if this seemingly inoffensive ray simply floated through the window as most shafts of daylight do, but it’s not.

This ray is taunting me in the way it callously lasers past me to hit a glass portrait on the opposing wall of the great room where I’m standing. The golden beam is then bounced directly from the glass that protects the image of my late wife to land again on the object of my gaze: a golden statuette. Something I once coveted.  

I’ve kept the thing hidden away since I got it because I can’t stand looking at it, but I’ve been gone for several weeks and in that time someone—Lily, I’m sure—must have found it and placed it atop the mantle of the fireplace to be illuminated by this ridiculous stubborn beam of sunlight that first strikes my wife, then the award.

Like it knows.

A Song For @Rhys_Matthews

If you don’t know who Rhys Matthews (known as Evan to his friends) is, that’s because you haven’t read my first novel, Between Octobers. Well, that’s okay.

You can still enjoy the song below. It’s mellow, don’t worry.

wpid-924094_330710330451929_1012121567_n.jpgAs I have stated numerous times, Rhys is a fictionally famous actor inspired by Robert Pattinson.  But under the surface, the two have nothing in common. Rhys has a great career and wonderful family, but all of that has been overshadowed by the loss he has experienced in his life. I am currently working on the next installment of his story, November Mourning, and am building a playlist.

If you did read Between Octobers, than you know that Rhys has had it really tough the last few years. Well, his whole life actually. And all of the stuff he’s been running from is about to catch up to him in this next book.

If you’re not up for listening to that mega-awesome song, you’re missing out! But, you’re also in luck.I am feeling generous! Here are the lyrics that, to me, reflect most of my characters issues with privacy, trying to cope with the darker side if fame, and many other problems that I can’t list quite yet because I’m still molding them:

ENJOY . . .

AFI– “It Was Mine”  Off The Album “Crash Love”

~~~~~~
Don’t move
Don’t do anything
What we captured, got away
Slipped from us

Don’t sleep, don’t
Don’t say anything, they’ve
been recording all we say,
For years now

You won’t see them right away
But you’ll hear them singing
Hold me closely now, but don’t
Don’t say anything
They’ve come to take me away
And won’t leave until I’m gone.
I know.

Don’t feel
Don’t rub anything
Love attracts all those who taint
the cherished
Don’t try to
to change anything
Nothing pure can ever stay

Oh!

You won’t see them right away
But you’ll hear them singing
Hold me closely now, but don’t
Don’t say anything
They’ve come to take me away
And won’t leave until I’m gone.

They’ll say
“Relax you’ll be fine”
(All we love goes away)
Oh
They’ll take
All you that felt fine
(All we love goes away)
It was mine
It was mine

You won’t see them right away
But you’ll hear them singing
Hold me closely
And don’t say anything
They’ve come to take me away
And won’t leave until I’m gone.
Oh!
Don’t say anything
Don’t say, anything
They won’t leave until I’m gone  

I am a writer by nature and really enjoy song lyrics.(As evidenced in September Rain!) A person/musician/writer’s ability to share in the abstract is something that has always fascinated me. My writing style has always been very direct. I use first-person narratives, mostly. And music like the song above provides me with a general feeling of insecurity that I am able to read into and craft personal character experiences.

Fan-girling For Art

I don’t usually blog about art, though it’s something close to my heart. It’s not often that I simply run across a piece that speaks to me. But then, two weeks ago, my husband took me to see a local band called We Killed The King. They were really good–mostly instrumental stuff. I’ll be getting their album soon. But what I took away from that night was the deep swell of emotion I felt when I first saw the work of artist Bryan Pickens:

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This is my favorite!

All over the walls at this venue, there were these enormous paintings. Seriously, they were at least six feet tall, and tagged with for sale signs and the artists website: bryanpickens.com

I’ve always had a love for the canvas, paint a most admired medium. But I always preferred the more classical type of work. So it shocked me a little that I found myself so captivated with this mans work.

Like playing the piano, it’s something I’ll never be able to do as well as I would like, so I leave it to the one’s with the drive to excel and admire from afar.

IMG_20150404_194723 Yeah, the photos aren’t doing them justice. And there were many others that I didn’t take pictures of because the lighting was bad and my camera phone sucks.

Here is some of the other amazing work I found on his website:

infusedcu

sanserifcu

pickens_untitled4I hope you like his work and check out his website!

Toodles!

Writing Music

My upcoming novel, September Rain (Out May 15th) is about a lot of things, but a good chunk of the story is about a teenage girl who’s in love with the lead singer of her favorite rock band, Analog Controller, an ahead-of-their-time type of progressive rock band. The band isn’t famous yet, but they’re getting close. I thought I might take some time to share a little bit about the main character, Angel, and the music that inspired certain aspects of her story. The plot was inspired by a song (I have mentioned before), called Sick Love Letter, by The Accident Experiment. Lyrics are here, ICYI

SRQuote1I found myself writing song lyrics for this book. Fortunately for the readers, not many of them actually made it into the final draft. But the above portion of this book was inspired by Inside, by The Accident Experiment. Actually, their whole United We Fear album is basically a soundtrack for the book.

SRQuote2The above portion was concocted to a totally different type of song that speaks of how bad things happen to unsuspecting people and how sometimes when you think something good is happening, it isn’t until after everything breaks down that you realize that incident was actually the beginning of the end. That’s all for now!