Thursday, August 28, 2014

Too Many People in my Head

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It happens all the time, actually. So many characters, so much to say. Every writer has that--People yammering away inside their minds, begging, bargaining and downright demanding to be written. It's what makes us writers both unique and strange, and we wouldn't trade those voices for world domination.

So I'm wondering, with all those different voices, why would any author write in only one? I ask because I've noticed that my readers either don't like my multiple P.O.V. format, or find it odd to get used to.

I'd like to explain myself.

Again I refer to all the voices. When we get a book idea, we can't listen to only one. There's so many people talking at once. It's a curse and a blessing in equal measure. Myself, I find it both absurd and difficult to write as only one person. I can't understand WHY anyone would choose to do that.

It's kind of like this: Two people you love ferociously were a couple, but suddenly they've split up. You're confused, worried and upset for them. What do you do? Do you take sides immediately? Do you ignore them both and hope they work things out without getting involved?

I'm actually experiencing this right now, and I've decided to invite them both to go for lunch--separately I'm going to get BOTH stories in the hopes that I can remain friends with both, regardless of what happens next.  Because I love them.

My attitude toward that kind of thing might just be why I write in several different Points of View. I believe it's more important for the reader to UNDERSTAND what makes the character think and do what they do, to hear their side of the story. I want you to feel them they way I do.

Sometimes, like in the case of Ares, my characters announce, in no uncertain terms, that they WON'T be who I planned them to be.

The character Ares, from 'Aphrodite's War' was meant to be a charming, manipulative ladies man, a rake. But when he told Aphrodite "No one needed you to teach humans how to fuck." my hands flew off the keyboard. I'D written those words, but Ares had just informed me that he WASN'T going to be the endearing rogue I'd planned him to be. A lot of readers think he's over the top, but he wrote himself. I never felt like I had any control over him, and I never even wanted to go inside his head.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that a writer's characters can become so loud, they need to speak for themselves. As an author, I felt the need to demonstrate their feelings and present them to you so you could figure them out for yourselves.

Having said that, my fourth novel might be done in FIRST person. I think her name is Elaina, and she's different from the others. I'm not sure if the people in her world have anything useful to say to the rest of us. It feels like it's all about her.

If I actually write the next novel in the first person, I need you, the reader to understand...I've taken your comments seriously, and I accept that my style may be odd to you. However, if I DO write Elaina's story the way it looks now, know that I'm doing so for Elaina and the story. Not to capitulate to the market. And I hope you'll still like it.
This is kind of who Elaina looks like, but she doesn't think she's this pretty.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who SAID, you had to grow up?

Honestly, I don't think I've ever really grown up. Sometimes I look around my surroundings with my view of the world and the people in it and think, "Oh yeah...I'm not a kid anymore." I don't feel all my 42 years. I've never realized that I'm not cool these days because I was never cool in the first place. I'm really okay with that.

Sure, there were changes. I cut my nearly waist-long hair years ago, because it wasn't flattering anymore and made me look older. I stopped wearing Motorhead and Megadeth T-shirts because quite frankly I felt stupid in them. Like I was trying too hard.

So I changed my style a bit, but it's still my own. I've traded my naturally blonde hair for a choppy red and black haircut. I hate pants and socks, so I've traded them in for ankle-length skirts and sandals or flats. I still wear gobs of jewelry, plum lipstick and I spike my hair OUT instead of UP. But this blog isn't about my fashion preferences.

It's about finding ways to be playful, to hang on to a piece of childhood and youth. And why not? It's fun to let go sometimes, and forget you're too old for stuff. Who said you have to be an adult EVERY day?

How many of these things do you do, just for fun?

1. Stay in your pajamas all day and watch cartoons?                
2. Eat ice cream for breakfast?
3. Swing on the swings at midnight?                                        
4. Jump through the sprinkler?
5. Paintball? Laser Tag?  Snowball fight?  Pillow fight?            
6. Roast marshmallows on the stove?
7. Build a fort from couch cushions or a box from a new appliance?
8. Take a nice cool dip in the same tub you're keeping all the beer in?
9. Kahlua milkshakes or Bartender's Rootbeer floats?
10. Girl's night in pajamas with manicures, pedicures and a marathon of horror movies? And don't forget the Henna tattoos! (Available at Michael's)

One of my favorite Valentine's days was when I pulled the artificial Christmas tree out of storage and put fresh flowers and plants around a comforter on the floor. Then I served a picnic in the living room with fried chicken, potato salad and soup in a thermos. Winter raged outside, but we had a nice dinner. I wish we'd had a fireplace. S'mores would have made a nice dessert.

What's gotten into me today you ask? I just finished a really great book every woman should read.

This is a hug and a pep talk from a good friend. This is a reminder that you are beautiful and talented, and above all, special. It's a funny romp, and a pajama party.Trust me, and read this book.

Is there stuff you like to do to stay a little child-like? I'd love to read about it in the comments!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Texas 2014 Part Three-The New Muse

Serenaded by a mariachi band at Landry's Photo by :Mel
My favorite class of the entire conference was "Excuse me! Your Muse is Waiting!"

I knew this class was going to have a few different ideas. I LOVE new ideas, (Who doesn't?)  especially ones that aren't within the norm. This class promised way to use your own mind and intuition to make your writing work. I was in at 'intuition'.  Being a former paranormal investigator, I was more than willing to use that part of myself to engage my writing career.

I didn't really expect to use meditation--I HATE meditation--I considered it a waste of time that could be used to do ANYTHING else. Long story short; I was wrong.

But I promised to tell you how I met my true muse, and why, even though he's unexpected, he still makes perfect sense.

Nearing the end of the class they played relaxing music and asked us to go into a relaxed position. We were asked to imagine a dark room with no light.

Since I don't like the dark, mine had ambient lighting in sconces. It was never completely dark. (I don't think there were any wrong ways to visualize. Just whatever makes you comfortable.

Her next request required us to visualize favorite things in this room. I could not. Things aren't my favorites. My room had a plain queen sized bed. (I think that represents my dreaming self) There were tiny floating lights, which I knew represented stars. I was content with this.

We were invited to leave the room through an imagined door.( Mine were French doors, because they are the most beautiful doors I can literally think of.) and outside would be a favorite body of water.

I was disappointed when I saw a lake. I love the ocean, which  I have only seen in person twice. Lakes are commonplace for me. I realize now, it was a BAY. As in Horseshoe Bay, Washington. I visited that spot when I was travelling with friends at seventeen years of age.

So they tell us our muse s coming to meet us. They will be there any minute. Just wait. Sure enough, mine comes into view, wearing his red shirt with a white cardigan sweater. It's...

My favorite quote from him said a little differently.

Bill Cosby? What the...? No, wait. That makes sense. My muses tend to be older men in the entertainment industry who consistently reinvent themselves and their careers over a few decades. He's been a stand-up comedian, a kid's show host, he's endorsed Coca-Cola and Pudding Pops, and he acted on one of the most successful sitcoms ever. He's still relevant today, and after I googled him I've discovered he's also an author, producer, musician and activist. Never a dull moment with this guy. No wonder my sub-conscious chose him!

I heard a quote from him a few years back. It went "Decide you want it more than you are afraid of it." --BILL COSBY. It's my favorite quote in the whole world, because I've lived my life like that for the last decade. I refuse to let fear hold me back from the things I want or from things that will help me evolve and grow.

It can be something as small as driving the Whitemud Freeway for the first time in a rainstorm, or it can be as big as dropping a management career as a meatcutter in favor of writing full-time and planning my wedding and honeymoon in three months while I'm at it. I stopped  wondering 'What if', and started asking 'Why not?'

Since that epiphany, I've written and published two novels, with another on the way, I took Kendo, became a paranormal investigator, and took up belly dancing. That wasn't all, and you haven't seen anything yet.

So here's to Bill Cosby, my new muse. Don't worry Bill, nothing's going to stop me now.

NOTE: I'll be at Bawaka Book Fair for an Author Takeover from 1 to 4 mountain Time. Come say 'Hi'!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Texas 2014 Part Two--The Workshops

Unless you're a writer, you might not have the attention span for me to give you Every. Single. Detail of the workshops I took. They were one to two hours long and I took 14 of them, so I'll condense my story a bit. They were all pretty good...I'll pick the top 5.

First on the list is "Fit to Be Tied...To Your Desk" This class, led by Angela Breidenbach,  focused on the physical health of the Writer. Writer's like myself have a tendency to ignore their health. It's not just because of the writing, but other factors as well that cause us to eat badly and avoid physical activity in favor of chasing our stories. When I quit my full time job as a meat cutter four years ago, I gained three sizes in four years. Now I am a borderline diabetic, which I'm fighting to change.

The first thing Angela told us is how blood pools when we sit too long. That causes our brains to 'stop'. I've been there. You're writing for two hours and suddenly, you just can't write anymore. That happens to me a lot. The solution is to either get up and do something else physical, as we know....or we can do simple YOGA.
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And then she had us do it. It works.

The next class I'd like to mention is from Elizabeth Hoyt, and she just saved my sarcastic pun intended, you people who don't like cops :P It was called 'Holding out for a Hero'. This workshop is about figuring out what makes your hero a great character. Since my best friend and my husband have been telling me they don't 'feel' my new hero, Sam, I knew I needed this too. She asked us what makes a hero so fascinating...It's days like this I know I don't read enough romance novels. Our heroes need to be HUMAN.  They have FLAWS. They have FEARS. And Sam needs a new backstory. He's boring because he's perfect. That's gonna change. Even as I took notes for this seminar, I scratched constant notes to myself about exactly how Sam is going to evolve.

Then we have "Indie Success with No Experience." There was a panel of three women who self-published with no experience and with the stigma being what it was...they told NO ONE. Now they are successful. They taught me how it's not enough to have one or two offerings on the I know what I have to do. And I have a lot of gleeful work cut out for me. I can't tell you yet. I refuse to make promises I might not be able to keep. But rest assured, I have a new deadline for myself, and a lot more work to do before the year is out.
Next one was my favorite...It's called 'Excuse Me, Your Muse is Waiting!" It was two hours long, but it didn't feel like it. This class appealed to me, because I was l

ooking for subliminal ways to entice my writing abilities. Well, I found them. I also discovered that I don't hate meditating after all. I just needed a reason to engage in it. It had to be useful to me.

Not only can I FINALLY meditate, but they put us through an exercise in the last twenty minutes that helped find out true muse so we could talk to them. Sort of a hypnosis. To find out who that was for me, you'll have to check this blog next Thursday, because it's unexpected but NOT really unexpected. Stay tuned, for lack of better words...It requires it's own blog.

The fifth I will mention is "How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon."  While some classes offered a beginning to end class of good marketing sites, this one offered SECRETS. Stuff people might not know about...Places we never knew to click on, and what they'll tell us. I arrived too late to get a seat, and had to sit on the floor, but it was worth it!  One of those secrets was so profound, we all reacted with exclaims of wonder and applause. What was it? Not telling! But it was the kind of secret worth spending an hour cross-legged on concrete in a dress  to possess.

So these were my favorite classes. Do you see where I'm going? 'Cause I do. I'm so excited I could burst. I have so much work lined up, and that makes me pretty damned happy. Ecstatic, actually. I met my true muse. Hint: It isn't isn't Bruce Dickinson or Henry Rollins.

Next Thursday is Part Three, the last installment of my convention experience, where I tell you how I found him.