Tag Archives: inspiration

IWSG and What’s Up Wednesday

InsecureWritersSupportGroupPurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! (Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG)

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are M. Pax, Karen Walker, and Melissa Maygrove.

Insecurity sets in when we are the most vulnerable. I’m well versed in this now because I have been sick. As a healthy person, the sick thing is not something I have had to do often and I have little patience for. I’m humbled by those who fight illness chronically. Ugh. Totally, NOT fun. In the first place, it does lower all your defenses. Not only was I low physically from the illness but convinced that I was the biggest loser on the planet for all the things I was not accomplishing this summer on my writing that I swore I would. In the boxing ring of insecurity I was beating myself up pretty good. Then, the medicine began to work its magic and logic took hold. My life has been in limbo for a year and given that I’ve done remarkably well just keeping my sanity, crucifying myself for not meeting arbitrarily set goals felt cruel and unusual even for a writer. 🙂 Thus, I have a new goal for the near future: be kinder to my inner writer. We experience enough judgment from the outside. Let’s not add to it.

What’s Up Wednesday

ButtonSmallNoBorderI spent another week lost to illness. Thus, if you read above, you know I’ve already beat myself up over the whole ‘what I didn’t accomplish’ thing. Mostly, I fought to get well.

What I’m reading: Nothing. I’ve been too sick even to read. Trust me, this was a first.

What I’m writing: I did get edits made to one chapter. I’m set to begin again now that I’m actually vertical.

For the week to come August 8-14 (OMG! Is it really time for classes to begin?)

Reading: I look forward to starting a new book. Haven’t decided if it will be fiction or non-fiction. Hmm. So many books…so little time.

Writing: FINISH EDITS OF THE GAP PROJECT.    ready set write button

I am frustrated, but I am undaunted.

Go me!

How was your week?

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ISWG – Diffusion, Best Sellers, and Strong Will

InsecureWritersSupportGroupPurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! (Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG)

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Sheena-kay Graham, Suzanne Furness, and Laura Eno.

Everyone knows about rejection. Writers live it, in fact, all artists do. We all talk about that nature of what we do. The problem is no one, and I mean no one, but another artist understands what we do. The average reader thinks books appear through some bizarre act of diffusion from the brain to the page in their entirety and ready to sell. They believe every talented writer finds an agent immediately and sells their books quickly. They believe writers make a lot of money. They believe everyone with talent is on top of the Times Best Seller list.

Therefore, if you are a writer and haven’t seen that level of success, you are obviously without talent. I suppose in a way this is another form of rejection, back-handed as it is.

Like any job seeker, writers find themselves getting to the last interview and not making that final cut. Now, obviously talent took them that far, but to the outside world…nada. When the outside world assumes you’re a failure, it can be all to easy to succumb to their assumptions. It’s what has left many a talented writer behind. In fact, what really leads someone to publish is much different. Luck or strong will. The ones who publish easily had luck on their side. The others had to keep up the fight long after others fell.

As one of my favorite writers, Nancy Pickard, once said, “Show me a published writer, and I’ll show you a stubborn son of a bitch.”

As writers, those are words to write by.

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“The Life”

Ranch2The recluse at the typewriter who eschews all press. The garrulous womanizing drunk. The pensive thoughtful academic. There have been many stereotypes of the writer over the years. The writer’s life has been romanticized in some ways. The book signing where Beatles size crowds of fans show for a signature. Yup. Reality, the author wanders the store looking for  people to talk to about books. Increasingly, we’re wandering towns looking for bookstores.

The inspiration that sends us to our machines and drives a book onto the page in finished draft condition and ready for submission to agents and publishers who will be knocking each other over to gather at your door for that piece of wonder you’ve wrought. It’s like that, right? Non writers believe the “life” is as good as the archetypes. Even without a constantly morphing marketplace, it wouldn’t be because the reality is that invention simply doesn’t work that way. How many tries before Edison came up with the light bulb?  How many for Salk with the polio vaccine? How many times did Leonardo attempt the Mona Lisa before he considered her complete? Whether science or art, no first attempt will bring about success at the goal.

The writing life does not follow a stereotypical road. It is as varied as the writers treading the path. When people ask writers the secret to being a writer, I want to laugh. This idea that there is some magical elixir that allows everything to take place in the vacuum of a fictive dream is comical. The writing life is no different from the path to becoming a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer. It involves an almost sick passion for something that will allow you to drive your body, your psyche, and your mind as close to the brink as possible. It involves placing your skill out there knowing there will be others better than you and that you may never achieve the success you hope for but for you there is no other path.

For a writer, writing is as necessary as food and water. We take the rejection, the depression, the empty bookstores, and the muse on permanent vacation. We accept it as a small price to pay for the joy of creating worlds on the page. If there are people who will read our words, we’re thrilled. But the “life” is about more than selling books. It’s about sharing humanity through art.

Sometimes, we forget that.

Prayers for the people of Oklahoma this week.

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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Recently a new author friend, Karen Welch, tagged me to participate in this blog hop. It’s an opportunity to share information about The GAP Project and then I get to tag two other people giving them an opportunity to tell about their work in progress. You can check out Karen at Lost in the Plains where you can learn about her (a southern transplant to the Midwest) and her book (Offered for Love) which is about how far we’ll go to sacrifice for those we care about.

Now for the questions:

What is the title of your book?

The GAP Project has evolved. It’s had a couple of titles as the book has gone through revisions. This is the one that makes the most sense with the story and actually came about after talking to Louise Fury at a conference. My critique group and I sat down and brainstormed new titles and The GAP Project was born.

Where did the idea come for your book?

I had a dream one cold January night. As dreams go, it was tragically inadequate for writing a novel. However, the main character, Ginny, a teenager who spent her life believing she’s adopted finds out in a most horrifying way that she wasn’t. She was “made up of goopy stuff in  lab somewhere.”

What genre does your book fall under?

GAP is a sci-fi suspense novel for young adults. The main characters, Ginny, Toad, and Mayo, are all 17. The book is heavily based on medical research and science and since one faction of the government sold Ginny and another faction is trying to “shut her down,” she spends the entire book running from bad elements.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Like all writers I’ve thought about this. I don’t know many young actors, and the few I do, not impressed with. However, Jennifer Lawrence is amazing and if you put curly red hair on her…maybe. 🙂 I think if I were ever so lucky, I would allow the casting people to do what they do best but I would ask to have final approval. I have seen enough bad casting to know I’d want the power to say, “That’s a horrid fit.”

What is the one sentence pitch for your novel?

Ginny Carrera discovers she’s genetically engineered to regenerate, but there are people who seek to appropriate her for her unique DNA, and they’ll have to beat out the government seeking to shut her down before anyone else realizes The GAP Project exists.

How long did it take you to write the first draft?

About six weeks. It was horrid, of course, but I needed to get down the kernel from the dream before I lost it. I’ve spent the time since trying to make it make sense.

What other books would you compare it to in your genre?

I’m sure there are some closer but I haven’t read them. Being by Kevin Brooks is creepy and definitely has some of Ginny’s elements. Here and There by Denise Grover Swank reminded me in ways of Ginny. Mostly in the running from bad elements. I highly recommend them especially if you’re intrigued by parallel worlds.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The dream inspired the character and basic idea. However, the idea of writing for teenagers came from 18 years of teaching them. They were always giving me ideas and keeping me intrigued even on my darkest days.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, there’s romance, of course. It’s also the first of three books that will explore the impact on Ginny and others like her, intended to rescue society, and then left to die.

Thanks for stopping by my spot on the web. I’m back to those edits. I’m almost done. Yeah!!!

I’m tagging Randi Lee to tell us about the novel she’s working diligently on and Leatrice McKinney has an amazing novel to share with us. Enjoy their tales next time.

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Be Inspired Meme

Be Inspired

I was tagged by blogger Natasha Hanova for the Be Inspired meme. The instructions say to answer the following questions, and then tag five people. Thanks for tagging me, Natasha. Now, for those questions…

1. What is the name of your book?
THE G.A.P. PROJECT
2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
The concept and the main character came from a dream.
3. In what genre would you classify your book?
YA Science Fiction Suspense

Ginny

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose? I know enough to know I’d have no say so I’ll not go there. Like many writers, I have pictures of my characters. My main character’s looks are based on a former student. Her other characteristics are a composite of many people. Which is, of course, the real fun of building characters.

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book. Ginny Carrera discovers she’s genetically engineered to survive a nuclear holocaust AND on the international auction block so with the help of friends, Toad and Mayo, she sets out to take down an evil senator and his crew of human engineers.

6. Is your book already published / represented?

It is being shopped with appreciable interest so I’m hopeful.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

The first writing was three months. The rewrites and edits have been unending.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?
Not a lot of books that I’m familiar with, but there are authors who inspired me. Kevin Brooks, Caroline B. Cooney, and Harlan Coben.
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
An author didn’t inspire me to write this. My childhood fascination with only one aspect of science class did. I was not a science kid but when the introduced genetics, I lit up. It fascinated me and still does. The ongoing growth in this area of research keeps me reading everything I can get my hands on.
10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book. 
Puberty is hell for everyone. Try doing it after discovering that you really are the freak you feared people thought you were. Then, try doing it on the run because nearly everyone is after you for your invaluable DNA.

Now to tag five others…

Victoria Dixon @ http://victorialeedixon.com/

Rachael Harrie @ http://rachaelharrie.blogspot.com/

Michelle Wallace @ http://www.writer-in-transit.co.za/

Hildred Billings @ http://hildredbillings.blogspot.com/

Andria Parker @ http://anchorsandfreedom.com/about/

I can’t wait to hear more about you. Please leave a note in the comments if you decide to participate. Thanks!

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Do You Believe?

My mother is an intuitive. I would stop short of psychic, but she’s in touch with parts of the psyche the rest of us don’t normally tap. A totally creepy incident in my childhood that saved the lives of my brother and I convinced me she had one of those extra senses people talk about. But she doesn’t see the future or talk to dead people. Yet, with someone like her in the family, I grew up with a sense that there is much that we do not know or understand in this realm we exist in.

Last Wednesday my friend Shelly’s daughter, Kelsey, lost her battle with brain cancer. She was a daughter to me, and I have struggled with the loss. She even called me Mom #2, an honor I cherished. Through the months before her passing we talked about death, with me attempting to answer and allay her fears. I’ve never felt so inferior as during those discussions. While I have never questioned my faith, these last months have been difficult for me to understand or explain. How could God take away everyone in Shelly’s world? Her husband, then her son, and then her daughter? With those doubts, who was I to answer Kelsey’s questions?

Still, with prayer I muddled through. One of her biggest concerns at the end was for those she was leaving behind. I believe this is because she had experienced it so much in her young life. In just a few years, she had buried her dad, her brother, her uncle, her cousin, and her grandma. She wanted to know if I thought she could let everyone know she was “happy” when she got there, that she was with family and loved ones. What could I say? I told her I believed she would be with loved ones, and I hoped she could let us know. She told me then, and it was the first of several times, “Mom, if it’s at all possible, I’ll send you all a message letting you know.”

Fast forward to a week after Kelsey passed, and my phone buzzed. It was a text from her. I did a double take. Shelly had canceled Kelsey’s phone the day after she passed. So many horrors stories these days of technology being hacked upon the death of someone, it’s best to take care of those things immediately. Her number had already been reassigned. Still, how would that person have my number? The message had said, “who is this. sorry. new phone.” I replied by saying who I was and asking who she was. She didn’t answer that question. “I’m sorry. I don’t know you.” It didn’t make sense to me since she contacted me so I told her so. Her words set me back. “You sent me two texts, blank ones.”

I’m thinking my stupid phone is acting up when she says, “do you know anyone with the prefix ___” and my stomach drops two feet. It’s the prefix for Kelsey’s life long best friend. Seems she got two blank texts from her as well. Okay, one time? I can explain away. Twice, at the same time, exactly one week after her passing, is not a coincidence for me. It’s a message from another realm. Goosebumps erupted on my arms, and the ache in my heart eased at the thought that Kelsey, who lived to text and I think communicated this way 24/7, had found the best possible way to send us the message she promised. She had arrive safely in the arms of her loved ones.

What does this have to do with writing? Sometimes as writers, we allow the world we live in to limit our writing. We question whether a reader will believe this or that is “realistic”. What we need to worry about is whether it is organic. Did it naturally arise from the story? If it did, the reader will accept it as I did that message from Kelsey. I don’t need scientific proof. I merely needed what happened to have been the direct result of everything that came before. It did.

Kelsey was one of my beta readers. I’ll miss her thoughts, but I can get other beta readers. I can’t replace my daughter. She was one of a kind. Rest well, baby girl. Love you much!

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Kreativ Blogger Award

Kreativ Blogger Award

A BIG thanks to Natasha Hanova blogger and paranormal writer who passed this award on to me. Her blog posts are upbeat approaches to writing and the writer’s life and include insightful advice, as well as, personal experiences she and her critique group have had. (I’m lucky enough to be a founding member) Find Natasha on Twitter here.

The Rules:
1) Say thanks and link back to the awarding blog.
2) Answer the following 7 questions.
3) Provide 10 random factoids about yourself.
4) Pass this on to 7 deserving others.

Questions

1. What’s your favorite song? This changes practically by the hour so catch me any time and you’ll get a different answer. Currently, it’s “Run” by Matt Nathanson (Featuring Jennifer Nettles)

2. What’s your favorite dessert? Anything pumpkin. I love it. If you need a specific dessert, I love spice cake.

3. What do you do when you’re upset? I have a prayer journal. I go there and pour it out. Sometimes I feel better. Sometimes it takes chocolate.

4. What is your favorite pet? We lost both our dog and our cat this last year. I admire traits of both but I find dogs are more my type of animal. Although they aren’t pets, I LOVE our horses best.

5. Which do you prefer – black or white? I’m Casper. Seriously, I’m glow in the dark white. Hate it. So, I will take black!

6. What is your biggest fear? Read my stories. Our work reveals our worst fears.

7. What is your attitude mostly? I’m a bit of a cynic, a child of the post sixties era. I accept nothing at face value. Prove it or I won’t accept it.

Ten Random Facts

1. My favorite age to teach is high school freshmen.

2. My favorite job is teaching college composition to college freshmen.

3. I danced for 36 hours in college to raise money for muscular dystrophy only to have my father be diagnosed at 82 with one of the diseases in the MD family.

4. I’m a lousy cook so I married a man who is a marvelous one.

5. Got my first kiss in kindergarten.

6. I’m not a girly girl and never have been. However, I have a fascination with jewelry. Costume because I’m cheap.

7. My critique partners are some of the best writers I’ve met.

8. I’ve visited every state in the union except Florida, Alaska, and Hawaii. My favorite was Colorado and my least favorite was Utah(apologies, I’m sure it’s a lovely state but I was fifteen and bored by it).

9. If I were graduating from high school now, I would go to school to become an FBI agent.

10. If I could bring someone back from the dead to talk to them, it would be Mark Twain.

I’d like to pass this award to:

Carol Riggs: She offers practical advice. Her blog gives actual critiques of manuscripts showing strengths and weaknesses. Invaluable to all writers writing for publication.

Becca Weston: A humorous, often irreverent, approach to writing and writing process, her blog always makes me smile even about things that often cause me grief.

Carla Luna Cullen: Into research or it’s important to your genre, check Carla’s blog out.

Laurie Dennison: Another blog with a humorous approach, her down to earth voice is relaxing when I’m tense from my writing demons.

Alice M. Fleury:Go to Alice’s blog to make sure you’re crossing your T’s and dotting your i’s in terms of craft.

JE Fritz: A great writing site with a literary approach.

Regina Kennedy Linton: A potpourri of anything and everything writing related.

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