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Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Morning Musing: A Shot of Adrenaline

I found the review below on Facebook last week when someone posted it about Northern Temptress, and it lifted my spirits considerably. Last week's critique meeting also served as a shot in the arm as we brainstormed ideas around the corner I thought I'd written myself into.  Feeling much more positive about moving forward with Wild Texas Bride.  If only I could find a little time to write! I spent most of Sunday working, so hopefully my schedule will allow for some down time by mid-week to do just that.

Meanwhile, here's the review.

If you loved 'Gone With The Wind', you will love this book. A great love story and history of the Civil War showing the horrors and sadness of war but also the hope and redemption of the human spirit. One of the best books I've read.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Inspiration

I love this quote because it's pretty much how I write--create the characters, turn them loose on the page and chase after them.  I hope you find it helpful for this week's Friday Inspiration.

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!
– Ray Bradbury

Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday on Writing: Body Language Basics

As writers we're often reminded to show rather than tell, and it can be a difficult thing for a writer to learn.  Even after nearly thirty years of studying the craft, I still have to remind myself to do it sometimes.

In case you're new to the craft of writing, let me explain: When you're in one character's PV and you want to get something across to the reader about the emotions of the non-PV character, basic body language is a great help.  Clenched fists, furrowed brows, a flex of the jaw, eyes cast downward--these are all great non-verbal, non telling cues. And we all know what they mean when we see them. (I realize I rushed that explanation; if you want to know more, I'd be glad to post a longer blog about it.  Just ask.)

I recently found a site on YouTube that takes videos clips of famous (and infamous) people and dissects their body language.  I warn you, though, it's addicting!  I highly recommend it if you struggle with showing rather than telling, or if you just want to take your body language skills up a notch.

I hope you find it fun and informative.

Happy writing!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Morning Musing

Had a busy weekend though I can't complain about it.  Got to see some old friends at a graduation party over the weekend, people I grew up with and even one person from high school.  The pictures sent to me afterward had me wondering who those old, fat people were wearing our clothes.  ;o)

Sunday was largely spent working in the yard with hubby and dog nearby. Bliss.

Since I didn't get time to think about what to blog about, I leave you with this gem from Maxine.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!


Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Inspiration

Once upon a time this spot was reserved for a feature called Friday Friends, where fellow authors answered interview questions and promoted their latest story.

But since I'm still getting my feet wet at blogging again, and the main visits to this page have been from me, checking to see if I've had visitors, :o) I think I won't try that just now.

Instead I'll leave you with some writing inspiration, something I have loved for many years and have probably shared before.  But for me, it never gets old:

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him... a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.
-Pearl S. Buck

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday on Writing: Conflict and Character Conundrums

Part of getting to know my characters again involved re-reading Wild Texas Wind, the story in which the hero, Kip Cooper, was initially introduced. It's been an enjoyable time reliving that story, but the problem remains the same: turning a scoundrel into a hero.

Sounds fun, right?  Maybe.  Yes, I loved Kip when I was writing for him, and of all my secondary characters, he gets the most mention.  Everyone wants him to have a story. Including me.

But herein lies the problem. He's not hero material.  He was introduced as a side kick, a bad boy, a con, a cheat. But secondary characters don't have to be quite as complicated as heroes and heroines --they don't have to be heroic (certainly not when you're creating them with no plans to give them their own story, as I did).  I did lay the groundwork for his "reawakening" toward the end of WTW, a near death encounter had left him shaken and ready to change his ways.  But by the end of the book, it's clear he's struggling with the whole "leopard changing spots" idea.

So Wild Texas Bride is partly about Kip's journey to becoming a hero, he's thrust into a position where he learns to care about someone more than himself, even as he's saving his own hide in the process (because Kip is all about saving his own hide--at least he was in the past). Easy peasy, right?

Not so fast.

Now, more than halfway into the book, he's taken my conflict and blown it to bits (I won't bore you with the details). And you know what? Without a conflict, there's no story. That's the first thing that jumped out at me when I opened up WTW to re-read.  Conflict. Convinced this was just a fluke, I grabbed my copy of Northern Temptress and read a few pages.  The first thing to hit me? Conflict.  The same thing happened with The Model Man.  Conflict, conflict, conflict. Maybe this is why I've been struggling to finish this story--it needs more conflict!

So how to wrangle your characters back onto the proper path when they've taken off in a direction of their own choosing? I've always let the characters drive the story, they seem to know more than I, so my gut tells me to simply take this journey with them and see where they lead the story.

I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I am going to take my own advice and re-read everything I've written so far in WTB, just to reacquaint myself with the story.

BTW the picture of Owen Wilson is more than just eye candy. This is pretty close to how I picture Kip.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Morning Musing... Is Blogging Still Relevant?

So a week or so back, while looking for the post on the heroes of Gettysburg (turns out, I had never posted it here, but on another blog) I came across my old author blog.  I say "old" because I'd forgotten all about it, neglected it, and quite honestly, thought I'd deleted it ages ago.

As I scrolled through, I was struck by how many memories it brought back.  Of my dad during the long journey of his illness, my boys when they were just little guys, my beloved dog when he was just a pup.  I've never been one for keeping a journal (Yikes! I don't want anyone reading my most private thoughts after I'm gone) but this was the next best thing.  A snapshot of a time in my life that was very different than now. Not better or worse, per se, just... different. Life now is teenagers (who ever said boys don't do teen drama was very, very wrong!) elderly in-laws who are not well, worrying about hubby, whose health is affected by the stress of caring for said IL's on his own and an old dog who, at 11-1/2 is slowing down on me. But here I am, still trying to balance, home, job, kids, etc without sacrificing sanity.

When I reached a milestone birthday last fall, it triggered not quite what I'd call a midlife crisis so much as evaluating and taking stock. I realized I'd let life and work push writing to the background and that I went days at a time without doing something for myself--not even one small thing.  I guess as moms we just get used to putting ourselves last, but I realized I was letting something important slip away--the writer in me.

I reconnected with my longtime critique partner and have been trying to resurrect my writing self.  It's hard.  That same muscle that we know gets stronger with regular writing definitely has weakened from lack of use. And reconnecting with characters I created a decade or more ago hasn't been easy, but I really want to get to know them again and see where they take their story. The new characters clamoring for space in my head can wait their turn.  ;o)

So here I am, trying to find time in my day for a little writing and, since I realized how much I'd missed blogging, trying to resurrect that as well, at least once or twice a week.

We'll see if life lets it happen!

The Struggle is Real Week 8: When Life Hits Back

  It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. Did anyone notice I was missing?   But I have good news/bad news.   The good news. I wr...