Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG: Characterizing Me

Hello Everyone

I am happy to be back posting again with Insecure Writers Support Group. I haven't been writing over the last couple months, so no awesome or worrisome news to report. Busy busy with the day job. But I'm taking some time off for 4th of July, and that is perfect timing to hop around the blogs. On Friday though, as I'll be working out of town today, and cooking and spending time with family on Thursday. Hope you all have wonderful Holiday plans.

July's optional question is:  What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

I think every author writes a bit of themselves into their favorite characters - be they protagonists, antagonists, or secondary/supporting characters. My hero's have traits of myself that I like (mostly) and at the least have the heroic qualities I wish I have. I have them reading my favorite books, listening to my music, consuming foods and drinks I like (or wish I could imbibe). They will have some of my quirks, expound some of my political and social views, and even occasionally raise their children as I did.

The villains, of course, harbor some of my less than acceptable habits, and act on my anti-social desires. They are the ones that benefit most from my social worker studies into psychology and addictive behaviors.

My secondary characters, and I think these are more often my favorites than the protagonists, have a whole list of my quirks and off center sense of humor. Their special talent is to be the voice of reason, or conscious, of the protag or antag. They keep the story theme in the reader memory, add light humor, distract from intense situations, or do the dirty work. Dirty work can be immensely fun and satisfying, lol.

I think writing a touch of myself into my characters is like Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, and Stan Lee making minor appearances in their movies. I need to see a bit of myself in the work, as a type of reward for all the hard work of creating the worlds and characters/creatures that make it onto the page and imprint into the viewer minds.

Thanks for stopping by today; I can't wait to read everyone's take on this question, and catch up on the latest blogger news.

The co-hosts joining our industrious leader Alex J Cavenaugh this month are: Erika Beebe, Natalie Aguirre, Jennifer Lane, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ Cynical Sailor. Please give them a heartfelt thanks by visiting their blogs and leaving awesome comments.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

RETREAT

Does this look like a fabulous, impromptu weekend writers retreat?

That's a picture of my motel suite in Elko NV for the weekend. No cats, no cooking, no cleaning, no hubby or family interruptions. Bathroom all to myself.

My plan is to get some type of writing done - and not just this blog post, lol. Tomorrow; today is mostly over, and I've been away from blogging for a couple months so I'll be visiting around for a little bit before finding somewhere to eat.

I'll be back to blogging regularly in July, starting with the IWSG. I know, my name has dropped off the list. Knowing how frequently I take two month blogging breaks I doubt I'll sign up again. I still get the IWSG newsletter, and have a half baked idea for the upcoming anthology, but MG has never been my thing, so maybe I'll just work on something else and perhaps be ready for whatever next year's anthology theme will be.

See y'all around. Have a great weekend.




Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Oh hey! Its Insecure Writers Support Day. Ya know; first Wednesday of every month. EVERY MONTH.



Like, (face palm) duh, how could I forget? Well, easy peasy, for me. Not like I did not remember - nah, its like, I know its coming, I know what I need to write, I know I need to write a post, answer the question, have something to say . . .

And then, POOF, the thought flits in and out of my brain. Instantly. There and gone!

So I'm unprepared; writing this after 10pm Tuesday. I posted though . . right?!?

April 3 question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

FIRST CHAPTER!!! I have a completed trilogy (counting the two books I lost in a computer transfer and need to re-write) and just have never been happy with the first chapter of the first book. This has been through more changes than a baby in their first year of life. I've submitted the novel too many times, to all manner of Agents and publishers, and have yet to garner any interest in the novel. Its the first chapter, I'm sure.

My MC is just not likeable in the first chapter - or two. She is not heroic, funny, goth/emo, bitchy.  She is just - Amy. Boring, recluse, scared. Not YA angsty or dramatic. This is a Women's Fiction novel. A bit of romance triangle, domestic violence, addiction, an abusive childhood, and lots of regret and future hopes.

I think the novel lacks hair flipping, furrowed brows, clenched jaws, and a first person POV. (LOL, yes, that was meant as a joke - mostly.)

I read (audio book) on impulse by a novel by Tami Hoag. I have read several of her mysteries, and I like her writing style. There was an audio book staring at me the last about four months at one of my Golden Gate stores, and finally I bought it. I should have known it would be a category romance by reading the title, TAKEN BY STORM. I guess I just could not believe it would be a romance. But yeah, it was. Now, I like Tami Hoag, one of my favorite mystery authors. TAKEN BY STORM was seriously your typical category romance. All the furrowed brows; clenched jaws/fists; furrowed brows; dual hot, head jumping perspectives; main conflict a job the love bad guy won't give up, distrust of promises . . . ya know, category romance.

And I'm wondering: if I really want to be Traditionally Published, do I need to adhere to all the YA/Romance lingo? Do I need to have more drama?

No, I'm not disrespecting the Romance genre. I happen to like several aspects of the genre (uhm, RomComs are a secret guilty pleasure), in its various subgenre's; but I'm not sure I want to write it.

And thus, the problem with rewriting the first chapter to make my main character more likeable to today's reader. Or write it as an action novel from the man's POV. Which negates the fantasy of "women writing for women, about women" category.

I'd like to use this quandary for my excuse for not writing at all right now. But sadly, even I know that's pure BS.

Oh yeah, the WEP/IWSG linky is open for the April Challenge - Jewel Box.

While I'm driving, I come up with several story starts, then forget them by the time I get to a hotel and have a few minutes to think about writing.

The wine and sleep usually win out.

I know - I should be re-writing that first chapter instead of wishing on the magic writing Genie for a quick fix.

I'm late this month for everything. It may be early in the month for most of you dedicated authors; but in my sales world, I'm a month behind. Spring is great weather wise, but it brings on a lot of extra time servicing my stores, resetting programs, counting credits for returns, restocking with tons of product. Seasonal changes are not fun, or easy. This week is worse than most others. I think. It could be normal and I'm too tired and addle brained to know any better.

I'll get around to commenting this weekend. Sorry for the delay. Good think IWSG is this week and not next week or I would not be able to  post/comment at all. And while I hope to write something for WEP, this and that are the only posts for this month. Its A-Z blogfest month, and this is not the time for me to make my first commitment. But congrats to all who are participating.

Thanks Ninja Captain Alex, who is the IWSG creator, and his co-hosts: J.H. Moncrieff; Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken.

  IWSG Anthology MASCQUERADE, Oddly Suited, available April 30, 2019. Click here for purchase links and details.


Monday, March 11, 2019

NARRATIVE MAGAZINE- Job Opportunity

Hi Peoples;

This is a legitimate job opportunity at Narrative Magazine for someone with experience in publishing and web management. Not something I can take advantage of; but someone out there might.

Narrative Seeks A Content Coordinator


Position Description
Location: San Francisco, CA
Requirements:
Narrative magazine seeks a motivated, outgoing, team-oriented applicant with a background in publishing and/or web management for the position of Content Coordinator. The Content Coordinator will work directly with the magazine’s editors and art director in planning and executing the magazine’s weekly presentation online and via email. The Content Coordinator will be responsible for creating and programming the magazine’s email communication and will be the point of contact for authors, agents, and publishing houses with work in the magazine. The role requires excellent organizational and written communication skills, a deep love of words and an active interest in literature, a strong internal drive toward excellence, self-motivation, an ability to inspire confidence and trust and for team play, as well as superior prioritization and time-management skills, diligence, creativity, and an appetite for challenges.

Experience in marketing is a plus.

Must be proficient in Adobe Dreamweaver (HTML), CSS, and Photoshop.

Responsibilities:
Manage all aspects of website, including home page, banners, ads, story pages, and special purpose pages, using Content Management System (CMS)
Create emails communication in HTML in relation to weekly website updates, advertising, special events, and fund-raising drives
Develop strategic plan for acquiring advertisements for online and email, and strengthen relationships with existing and potential advertisers
Communicate with authors, agents, and publishers throughout the publication process
Plan and design promotional images for the website and email
Write and negotiate agreements for new content for the magazine
Respond to queries from readers and provide technical support
For additional details or to submit your experience for review, please send a detailed cover letter, salary requirements (a range is fine), and resume in an email with the subject line “Content Coordinator” to us here.

- - Anyway, I hope someone can take advantage of the opportunity. Good luck.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG: Perspective

Hi Everyone!

Hope the last of Winter is treating ya'll well. Bad storms have been hitting Northern Cali, Nevada, Oregon. Seems like Winter is just revving up here. I guess I won't remember all the snow and rain when I'm enjoying all the water activities and green grass this summer. But boy, am I ready for sunshine, with or without warmth! Spring must not be too far away; that damned fruitless Mulberry in my front yard is already starting bud. I won't be complaining about the over-abundance of big green leaves this summer either.

Perspective can be a fickle friend, at least in my POV. Hate the snow in winter - unless you are a snow bird) but love the run-off in summer; hate the unforgiving rain and wind in winter - love the filled levies during summer; hate the crazy drivers and slow moving traffic during the spring/summer construction months - love love love smooth easy roads on my commute that let me listen attentively to my favorite radio stations during the drive. Or a totally engrossing audio-book.

I think for every one (maybe 2) drawbacks to something, you can usually find several good things. Even if those good things take a bit a patience for them to appear.

Lately I've had a lot of lessons in "perspective" both through my job and with my home life. Who is the "villian" or "hero/victim" in any conversation - oral story telling - a lot of time is a matter of perspective.
 - Side note: if you watched the last episode of Walking Dead, where the council and Judith are all at odds with each other, you'll get a perfect example of "perspective" through several conflicts between acknowledged good guys and bad guys.

But, back to the original topic, I've had to take several steps back over the last couple months and really look at things from another person's perspective. In my job, I seem to be playing moderator between our Regional Manager and a couple fellow employees (nothing like being the odd man out on both sides), and between my company and the stores I provide Rep services. Store says "yes you will take that winter stock back" and HiWay says "nope nope its a sell through, here's your new summer product to replace it." I say at my store "I'd love to return that, but HiWay won't let me." Who's the villain in all this? Nobody, policy is policy, everyone knows their role to play, everyone fights it. Fun, huh?

At home . . well, lets just say I don't always have to spend a night or more at a motel in another state, but its sure easier than sitting in a room full of people who all think they are RIGHT. I can play the role of Hero in one conversation, Villain when they all want different things and I throw my hands up as I run out of viable arguments, and unwelcome instigator when I have my own perspective (opinions) to add.

I'm sure YOU have been here before yourself. At work, home, and of course, juicing up your characters and plots in your writing. At least in writing, Authors know who is supposed to win an argument, and why.



This month's Insecure Writers Support Group question is: Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

Honestly, lol, I love to write the Villain perspective. Maybe I'm just a natural born antagonist - always playing devils advocate in my personal/work life. I think my profession as a social worker helps me see all sides of a conflict and ~usually~ set aside my own biases. Writing the antagonist as an intelligent, passionate, likeable being is a lot of fun. I've been known to giggle maniacally while writing nefarious scenes and conversations for them.

A Byronic Hero is almost as intriguing to write, but sometimes that whinning gets on my nerves. Perhaps it is a bit too close to my own personality at times. And maybe my problems with writing a Hero's perspective is - I just don't believe in true Hero's in real life. I'm a cynic. Even though I know that GOOD always, eventually, wins the overall battles. As it should.

I suppose that is why all my hero's have a bit of villainy to them. Or do my villains have heoric tendencies. Like with my last flash fiction for WEP/IWSG; the true antagonists were outrageous villains, no doubt about it; but by the time my protagonist came into her powers, she killed with every bit as much blood lust as the Mayan warriors perpetrated. Aw, sweet villainy on both sides.

And a bonus, I won the Encouragement Award for the WEP: 28 Days challenge. The rewards of writing from the Antagonist perspective. Bwaahahahaha!

This month's IWSG co-hosts are: Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erica Bedbe, and Lisa Buie-Collard. Thank them all, and host Alex J Cavanaugh, with a visit. And, visit the IWSG linky to connect with even more awesome bloggers and maybe get a lot of different perspectives on the Perspective question.

Ok, as Jerry (TWD) says - "gotta bounce!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

WEP: 28 DAYS

Hello Folks;

Well, I did it; I wrote something new, lol. I've been gone from blogging so long nobody remembers my name. Boohoo!

I've been working a day job, re-writing a couple novels that probably won't ever be published, and wasting time on computer games. Sorry I'm so late in publishing this; but I really didn't have a clue what to write for the WEP/IWSG prompt 28 DAYS.


Details from the Admins:
This prompt came up as a contest winner generated by the IWSG gang – we chose the winner from a whole bunch of creative ideas! Congratulations to long-time WEP participant, Toinette Thomas.
Incorporate 28 days in your entry. It can be the time limit for a task or a challenge. The quantum of growth, a journey, a change, and/or healing that happens in 28 days. Come in with a werewolf entry. Or don’t. Tell us about some other moon phase-based folklore instead. Fashion an epistolary flash as a series of 28 diary entries or postcards. Mainstream, fantasy, romance, travel – all wide open. A lot of things can happen in 28 days!

Write..Edit..Publish joined with the Insecure Writers Support Group last year, but this is the first time I've joined the 1000 word challenge, not just this year (this is the first publication) but since the two events combined. Its really late (or early, after 1am) and I'm too tired to add all the relevant links for this challenge. So click on the WEP link above for your hosts, judges, and the linky list of participants. I gotta be up in a couple hours to work. But don't worry my fellow participants; I will be visiting and commenting over the next few days.

Title: Moon Sacrifice
995 Words
Full Critique Acceptable:

Rough hands dragged Marta out of her satiated sleep and pulled her from the heavy cloak she’d wrapped herself in the night before.

“This one’s pregnant,” a harsh male voice growled as she was hauled to her naked feet.

Barely awake but instantly alert, Marta growled and attempted a fighting stance. Her dark eyes filled with red hatred, nostrils flared to inhale the scent of the enemy, and her feet . . did not stand firm on the ground. Her yelp turned into a grimace of confusion as she lost her equilibrium.

“Look at the fight in her,” a jovial voice called from behind her. “Turn her around, let me see her.”

Marta kicked and flailed as she was spun around, mentally and audibly growling threats of retribution for the attack on her as she snapped at the hands and ropes confining her.

“Beautiful and fertile,” the apparent Mayan leader proclaimed. “She will make an excellent sacrifice to Ix Chel, and our lands will be prosperous in the next months.”

One of the men holding Marta shook her and spoke angrily to the apparent leader. “Cadmael, when we return the sacrifice to Ix Chel will be over. You intend to keep her til next Waning?”

“Yes Gabor,” Cadmael replied. “She shall provide much incentive for our warriors to seek out and obtain more young female conquests over the next moon phases.”

Several men behind Marta howled their approval.

But Gabor shook his head. “She feels, corrupt. We should kill her now, or enslave her. The Gods will not be pleased by her sacrifice.”

“I shall be pleased by her captivity,” the young man holding her left arm said.

Several men behind her agreed with laughter and ribald comments.

“Be still, Hadwin,” Gabor said to the over eager youth. Then he turned his attention to the leader.  “Cadmael, I sense a foreboding within this woman. She is . . not what she seems. No God will approve her sacrifice. I sense she will bring much suffering to our people if we do not . .”

Cadmael raised a large, red painted hand and the men all fell silent. “Her fertility is apparent; she will please the Moon Goddess, and our lands will be blessed. Bind her with metal if you wish to appease your unease; but bring her alive to the Caverns of Sacrifice. I must hurry ahead and prepare for the rituals.” He raised his eyes to unseen company behind Marta and touched his fist to forehead in salute. “Keep faith,” he said, then turned and vanished at a run across the arid hills.

Blood sacrifice, Marta thought, as Hadwin and Gabor lowered her to the ground and held her in place until the shackles and chains were secured around her wrists, waist and ankles. Not silver, she encouraged herself, as her senses quickly engaged.

Ten warriors, all honed and accomplished, dedicated to their Mayan Gods, but more loyal to their leader Cadmael. Marva whimpered in fear while letting her limbs totally relax, forcing her captors to carry her nude and trembling body while her witch’s mind scanned the auras and environment. Ten men and metal bonds were no challenge to her wolf or witch abilities, but she sensed a restraining presence beyond the waning moon. The atmosphere was charged with urgency, an admonition to restrain her desire to escape as she drew in the living energies surrounding her.

Last nights feast sat heavily within her second stomach, unnaturally distending her belly. Alert but resigned to whatever circumstances the guiding forces were leading her into, Marta relaxed between her captors, and entered a deep meditative state that would allow communication with transcendent beings.

Nothing came to her during the three days of travel to the Mayan pyramid. The urgency of travel had kept her captors from defiling her during the nearly constant trek; but the lack of food, water and the waning moon quickly depleted Marta’s natural and extra sensory abilities. Despair also wormed into her senses; despair at the lack of contact with the entities that placed her in this predicament, despair at the usual loss of powers during the waning moon, despair at the lascivious thoughts bombarding her day and night without reprieve. And she wondered; how had the men, Gabon especially with his keen eyes and uncanny insights, not noticed the loss of her pregnant belly?

As she was kicked and dragged into the depths of the sacrificial pyramid, Marta realized that most of her despair emanated from without herself. Locked within the dungeon, the wails of pain and distress nearly drove her insane. She felt the new moon darken and wax to the crescent, and breathed a sigh of relief as her healing powers tingled through her veins. The wails of the surrounding women turned to accolades of love as she healed broken bones, major abrasions, and shattered minds when the guards raped and tortured the sacrifices each evening. She missed her wolf skin cloak; the symbol of her rise to power within her pack and the many kills she’d made securing her position prior to her coven training; but reveled in the energies and gratitude of her captive community.

Something wickedly vengeful seeped into Marta’s soul.

As the weeks passed, Marta grew more and more disembodied from herself. An entity grew powerful within her, disturbing and exhilarating. The being possessing her body shared knowledge that would take centuries for Marta to learn. Yet within 28 day, Marta knew more than all her combined tutors could ever impart.

The full moon brightened and energized Marta’s mind and body. She relinquished control, letting the spirit she now knew as Ix Chel assume control at the height of her season.

By dawn, the heads and hearts of more than a thousand men rode the salty waves of Ix Chel’s cenote; the wails of captive women turned to laments of devotion; and Marta abandoned her wolfish origins for the hierarchy of a coven.

All hail Ix Chel.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

IWSG: QUESTIONS

Happy New Year peoples. I hope you accomplished all your NaNo and end of year goals, and had fabulous holiday parties.

My goal was to do nothing, lol. And what a surprise, I accomplished it. This year I decided not to make any resolutions around writing. I seem to break all my goals, resolutions, promises. I suppose I'll continue to write occasionally as I have been. I have a couple books to rewrite - I lost two books in the original trilogy, so have been slowly recreating them as time and memory allow. Talk about a work in progress.

I've also been working on a few old short stories, some of which may turn into long short stories. Gotta write sometimes to still call myself a writer!!



I've been away from the blogs and the Insecure Writers Support Group for a couple months, so I might be slow in getting back into the routine. Rumor has it the 2018 Anthology winners will be announced today, so be sure to visit the IWSG site, and our host Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, and the co hosts Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, Fundy Blue for the winners list. Congrats to all!

This months optional IWSG question: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

One of my favorites is: how do you come up with your stories? I love this question. It gets me to talking about and thinking about my writing. So often writing is a solitary, almost secret endeavor. I love talking about my passion.

Least favorite: why do you waste your time if you're not making money at it? My answer to that can be discourteous sometimes. Why do you play golf? Why do you knit? Why do you sing Karaoke? Why are you on a pool or bowling team? Why do you do anything you're not making your fortune off? I write because it makes me happy, I enjoy it. I would sure like to be the next best selling novelist and have instant fame and fortune, you betcha! But hey, if all that comes from my writing is some published short stories in free ezines and a sense of satisfaction at someone else acknowledging I'm almost as good at my hobby as I think I am, then that's good enough for me.

Yep, I still work a day job and buy a Lotto ticket. Life is pretty sweet that way too.

See y'all around the blogs