Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just in time for the new year!

Good morning, world! :) Today, I have a VERY exciting announcement!

No, I'm not getting married. That would be...Well, illegal! LOL.

No, I'm not pregnant. That would be...Well, impossible! LOL

No, the news I have is...Starting February 1st, 2010, I will RESUME my on-line book club discussions. Those will be held the first of every month and I will host them on here, on my myspace page and my facebook page as well!

In conjunction with that, I will also resume my Ask the Author day. That is the opportunity you have to ask me anything you want regarding my books, characters, writing, writing style, voice, etc. Unless it's personal, no question goes unanswered! :) Again, those will be held here, on myspace and on facebook. Those will take place on the 15th of every month!

I will also do a Quote of the Month. Those will be done on the last day of every month. They will be excerpts from my various works. Some will be longer than others, but they'll all give you just a tase of my books. ;) Those can be found on all 3 sites as well.

Last but not least, I will have occasional interviews with other writers! GASP! I know! :) I am going to start with some of my fellow VHP authors and go from there. There is no set schedule for those as we all lead fairly hectic lives and I'll post them when I have them. I think it's important for the writing community to support each other. As well, for my fellow writers out there, this is an opportunity for you to learn from some absolutely incredible authors. These are some of the best of the best! So enjoy those! I will be sure to make announcements as the interviews come up! :)

So, I guess you can call that my new year's resolution. It is for writing & work, anyhow. ;)

So happy new year, folks! Be safe. I'll catch ya next year! ;)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where do stories come from?

Today we're talking about the birds and the bees. As far as story telling goes, that is.

So, where do stories come from? Do they come from the stork?

(Has anyone ever seen the Family Guy episode where the Stork makes the baby with the woman? He puts a red light bulb in her lamp & cheesy 70's porn music starts playing. Absolutely hilarious!)

Anyway, stories can come from anywhere or any thing.

Look around you. Look at the people and personalities you encounter every day. I'm sure there is at least one colorful character who would be great writing material!

What about work? What kind of work do you do? What happens in your day-to-day at the office? I'm sure you have to deal with some interesting situations.

What about your car? Do you love your car? Do you hate it? Remember, Christine is about a car (as was My Mother the Car). You can write the story about all the owners your car had and all the trips and adventures it went on, or you can use it as a character's car. In Unbreakable Hostage, Lareina drives a black S-10 King cab. Guess what. I used to own one of those ;) And Tony's old 'Stang? Yeah, that was my ex-husband's old ride. Sometimes we can use things as simple as a car and really add to our stories!

What about your family? Have you or a family member lived through any interesting events? My grandfather is 90 years old and has a million wonderful stories. I am dying to do a biography on him. No one else may find it interesting, but his is a story that needs to be told.

Got any pets? Animals are GREAT for telling stories. They can be on the sideline, or they can steal the show! :) They are a gold mine for stories!

What about your life experience? One thing that I think is so important is to write from experience. We've all heard the old addage to write what you know. Well, let's take that one step further. Write what you know, but put a twist on it. For example, I began writing Imperfect at a very dark time in my life. Now, I was not going through anything near what Carol was going through, but I took my emotions and stress and fears from my own life and put that into her story. There are some similiarities between her and I, but hers is a deviation from my own story (at that time in my life). Unbreakable Hostage is also like that. I never went through exactly what Lareina went through, but I used my own experiences to create her story. There are parallels, but again, hers stands on its own. Our own lives are an endless bounty of ideas. Just put a new spin on them. It makes for a great novel, trust me!

You can also take a walk or go somewhere (either familiar or new), and see what you feel as you go around. Those scenarios make excellent starting points for stories! Even if you're not sure where the story will go, that's fine! Just start it there and let the story write itself!

You can also use a picture or a person. Maybe a particular painting or photograph holds special meaning to you. Why not base a story around that?

I openly admit that I use certainly celebrities as inspiration for my characters. There's nothing wrong with that! Create a character based on yout favorite actor or actress and see what happens to that character!

If you find yourself scratching your head, think you have nothing to write, you are akin to the women with the endless closets who say they have nothing to wear.

WRONG! You do. You have endless possibilities for a story. Just look around you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


And a late good morning to all of you! :)

I knew what I wanted to write about this morning, but before we do so, I have admit that I am sitting here scratching my head! LOL. I just got an e-mail from my publisher, whom I adore. I have written 3 versions of Imperfect (my first full-length novel ever, and a story that is very close to my heart). I sent her the latest version maybe 2 months ago. It's ironic. I started writing that book Christmas of last year. With all the re-writes and changes in my life, it's basically taken me this long for it to be ready for publication. Now, version number three is VERY different from versions one and two. It's the same story, but told very differently. Anyhoo, she just told me we're going back to one of the original versions! LOL. I'm smiling. I'm surprised, but still happy to see it come to fruition! :)

Moving on. Today, we're discussing freedom. I know you're asking, "freedom of or from what?" Simple: REALITY.

The truth is, we live in a society that crushes our imaginations. We are not allowed to be creative or fun, otherwise we will be viewed as crazy. But, boxing us in like that only squashes our abilities and talents as writers.

Sci Fi/Fantasy writers have always had my respect. Why? Because they create new worlds and creatures. That takes some SERIOUS imaginative skill!

I don't have that. Not in the least. I have allowed my childhood imagination to die.

Now, that doesn't mean I can't write a good book. It just means that I flat out suck when it comes to writing about unicorns and dragons. Sorry!

As writers, we NEED to be imaginative. It is important for us to lose ourselves in the worlds and characters we create. We must let go of our inhibitions and just fly in these stories.

If we don't/can't, then our readers can't. Does that make sense? We are the story tellers here. If we can't truly feel or believe what we're writing, the reader will see right through it. NOT good.

So, let yourself go & be imaginative!

I'll be honest & admit that I see myself as a rather boring person since I can't write fantasy to save my hide. I live in the real world, and thus, so do my books. BUT, I still allow my mind to wander. I'll narrate my actions and thoughts in my mind as I was the dishes (and stare out at the church next door that I REALLY want to buy! Anyone wanna lend me $27,000? I'll pay ya back! LOL). Anyway, I allow my thoughts to just go wherever they please. As I come out of the shower, I may think about the towel and its texture and let my imagination run with that. There's a part in Donna's story in Loving Her where I describe a towel. Why? Because I let my mind go there.

I also (don't laugh here, folks) absolutely LOVE the captchas on Facebook. The ones on Myspace are just jumbled letters and numbers. The ones on Facebook are mostly real words, or even sur names! I freakin' love it! :) LOL. I just had one that said, "have daemons." Now, for those of you who don't know, daemons is the Olde English way of spelling demons. So, my mind just started toying with the idea of someone or something that had demons! How cool is that? You get inspiration from any little thing - as long as you give yourself the freedom to enjoy that inspiration.

My bottom line is this, folks: let your imagination run. Remember when we were kids and the sky wasn't the limit, it was actually just the beginning for our imaginations? That's what I want for you now as an adult. We can still fly and run and create. Just because we've aged (and may be jaded a bit from reality) does not mean that our imaginations are all shot to hell. If ever there was a time to let yourself be child-like again, it's when you're writing! That's the beauty and joy of writing! It gives you permission to dream and create.

Never written a fantasy story? GO FOR IT!!!! Just because you haven't done it doesn't mean it's not possible. Let yourself be free, creative and imaginative. Even if what you write isn't your best, you're still opening yourself up to all kinds of possibilities. Have fun! Be creative! Be imaginative. It is then that you will be truly free!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why Blog About Writing?

Recently, I was asked why my blog is aimed at writers, writing and readers. Good question. My answer was, "I don't know."

LOL. Sad, but true.

The truth is I love writing about anything & everything. There is so much that goes on either in my head or in my life that I'd love to share with the world, but most of it stays just with me.

Why? Here's my take on things: I have a family. I have a personal that needs to remain...well, personal! :) I don't think it's appropriate for strangers to know my daily routine or to find out the details of my life.

Don't get me wrong. I have an amazing partner who I could go on about for ages about how smart, beautiful, talented and wonderful she is. And no, I don't get paid for saying those things. They just happen to be true! LOL.

As much as I would love for the entire world to know how great she is, I do need to respect her privacy, and our privacy. I don't think it's a good idea. Romantic relationships are supposed to be private. I'm not going to risk what I have just to gain readers who are interested in our "alternative" family.

There is also a little one involved. I love that little girl, and I definitely do not want to do anything that could possibly jeopardize her in any way, shape or form. Except for maybe sharing the occasional moment she just makes you laugh your arse off when she says things like, "that's how I roll," or "Dude, I'm hungry!" LOL. Gotta love three year olds! :)

Plus, I write my blogs to help gain readership. Yes, I'll admit it. I'm a writer, and I want to reach as broad of an audience as I can.

I also have so many friends who are readers and writers, and we're all at different places and levels with our writing. I think it's a good idea to help contribute what I can. Granted, most of my blogs are generalized because everyone is in a different place, but what I discuss are good building blocks for every writer.

So there you have it. That's why I write about writing. Sound good?

Hope you all have a great day, and happy reading & writing! :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On Climaxes & Resolutions

Good morning! I took the day off yesterday so we could have a family day. It was really nice. :)

Anyhoo, today we're talking about climaxes.

Get your minds out of the gutter, folks! I don't mean it like that! LOL. No, we're talking about climaxes & resolutions in stories. Sorry to disappoint you. ;)

Ok, as we all know, the climax is the high point of your story. That should be the point of the most intense action or emotion. You can have small build ups along the way, but the climax is the highest point in your story. Those little incidents should help contribute to the larger climax. Your entire story needs to build up to that very moment.

How do you do this? Well, first off, it's important to know how you want your story to end and go from there. I have a strange way of writing and that is from both the beginning and the ending and then working my way towards the middle from both ends. It helps me to build a good climax because I already have the resolution written out. That gives me the ability to foreshadow and really build up the story line to an intense point. Even if you don't have your ending completely written out, as long as you have a vague idea of how you want your story to end, you can figure out all of the events and emotions that lead to your climax so you can end it with the resolution you want. Does that make sense?

I'd really love to reference Unbreakable Hostage right now because the climax of that book is really strong and I could break it down for you. However, that would not do me any good as it would ruin the point of my book sales! LOL. :)

So, let's just imagine you have a good love triangle story that leads up to two men fighting over the same woman. Every event and interaction these characters have had throughout the book have led to this confrontation. These two men are in this situation, emotions are running high and they just go at each other. They're screaming, punching, whatever. The fight needs to be detailed and intense. If your climax is...well, anticlimactic, then you're doing your readers and yourself a huge disservice.

Make that scene as strong, detailed and suspenseful as you can. This is it. The height of your story has to be high, otherwise you might as well have no climax at all. So really describe how they're breathing on each other during the fight, their grunts, the sweat pouring off their bodies, etc. When I wrote the climax to Unbreakable Hostage, I actually choreographed the scene (as best I could since it was just me). Use your own physicality and physical abilities to help the scene. The more detailed and realistic it can be, the better!

Now that brings us to resolutions. Technically, the resolution of the story comes right after the climax and shouldn't be too long. BUT,it is important that you tie up all the loose ends. You can't just have a climax and leave your reader wondering what happened to character x. Do they live or die? Are they in the hospital? Do they live happily ever after? What happens about this event?

You get my point. My resolution in Unbreakable Hostage is a couple of chapters plus the epilogue. Is it slow and boring? No. I'll tell you why. Because every loose end, every character, every detail is tended to in my resolution. My reader does not wonder about any of the characters. They know what happens to them all. Now, just like life, you could really carry the story on from where I end it, but the story ends where it needs to end. It does not need to go on any further. I don't want to bore my readers, and I certainly don't want to make this as long as War and Peace. Nobody wants to read a book like that.

So, be detailed in your resolution. Don't leave your readers hanging, but be sure that you get to the point. We (the readers) are catching our breath after the climax, but we really don't want to be bored to tears afterwords, k?

So build, build, build your story to an incredible height, and then tie everything up and end it nice and neatly.