Writing Through Stress – Part Three – The End?

I want to say that by the next time I’m scheduled to post, I’ll have a vastly different take on life than my last posts, but I’m not going to say that right now.

So… yeah, I’m still swimming in the overabundant stress pool. And let me tell you, it’s getting rank in here. This stress pool needs a serious cleaning and shock treatment.

But, I have been writing. Mostly crap, I think, but maybe not. I like the direction things are going, so that’s a plus. I’m making a concentrated effort to both put words on the page, not allow the outside world to interfere, and throw myself back into the writing world. It’s been okay. It’s a process, as I’m sure you know.

I have sincere hopes that by this time next week, some of the constant stress will be over. I won’t jump up and down until it actually happens though. Their moving date has been pushed back twice now. That kind of thing creates a stress different from the normal situation since you start to plan things in your head (and maybe on the calendar) and then they are snatched away by some unholy force.

As you are reading this, I am currently taking a much needed break with That Man. I am so looking forward to it.

When we return, our house should be emptier. Then, in two weeks, our youngest will start college. It will just be That Man and I again…

I’ll let you know how it’s going…

Behave!

Victoria

https://vickismith.blogspot.com

Advertisements
Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, The Heart of Victoria Smith | Leave a comment

A New Plot on your Doorstep

We travel perhaps to see different things, hear strange voices and test our courage on odd foods with tentacles. But what if we can’t travel far? Will just going somewhere different do? Live in the burbs? Catch a train to the city and grab lunch. A city dweller? Take a day trip to the suburbs or perhaps a small rural town. We all absorb and become complacent about our location, so even a day trip will show up some differences in your thinking about people so near, and yet so far. The plots are out there – are you hunting them down?

Once in your new environment, do you fit in? Or are you walking too fast or slow, or gawking at things others ignore? Is the style of dress like yours? City clothing for office work, often in somber colors is in great contrast to suburban mall fitness attire, or the workaday more relaxed vibe of a country town. How do you feel? Alien, curious or fascinated? Would a character moving to this new place make friends easily or feel isolated and perhaps take up with more dangerous company in her loneliness? Is there a greater or lesser mix of ethnicities, with bright saris or African dresses providing spots of foreign color?

Little things can be used to indicate the feel of a place. The number of choices of coffee might bewilder someone used to having an instant coffee at home. How do you even pronounce some of those names? Does the barista help her out, or do they sneer at her ignorance? Does she snap back, or leave in a hurry shedding a tear and cursing herself? Are people walking fast, or are they stopping in a group on the shady side of the street and gossiping? Does the pace and tone of language change, and are some words unfamiliar?

Even a small trip to a different place can act to refresh your thoughts and provide some food for stories. But don’t fall into stereotypes either. The big city may be relaxed and in the middle of a festival, full of lights, music and people in costume, hiding their identity for a few short hours. What could happen if you are pretending to be someone you are not? Equally, a small town may not be laid back and relaxed. The newspaper headlines are screaming the milk processing plant is shutting down, with people losing jobs, houses and being forced to move. What family dramas could result from such an upheaval? Tragedy or adventure?

But if you can’t take a short trip – pretend you are a tourist in your own town, snapping photos. Could you dress differently and pretend? Maybe you are a spy, or someone on the run from danger. Where would you hide in your own town, what are cheap one night hotels like, or what would happen if you ended up without a bed for the night?  What would it feel like to be a visitor to your own town?

SMP bike

A dark haired stranger pulls into town on his Harley, his leather jacket dusty and stained with sweat. The sound of the dying engine echoes down the street, disturbing a local dog, which howls in protest. He saunters into a café, throwing his bag on the floor. A new note has entered the town, and hearts will be broken, and illusions shattered. Or is he a returning black sheep, his years of serving overseas in a secret military base not to be mentioned? What happens when the local roughnecks challenge him over the prettiest girl in town? Or he settles down, trying his hand at farming, until the time comes when he must call on his training once more, his childhood sweetheart captured?

You never know where a trip will take you – or what stories even your dull home town can conjour.

About Cindy

Cindy Tomamichel is a first time SMP author, with her novel Druid’s Portal the first in a series of time travel romance set in Roman Britain.

Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. Her Instagram account is devoted to tranquil scenes of nature and flowers, and experimenting with graphics.

Contact Cindy on

Website: http://www.cindytomamichel.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CindyTomamichelAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindyTomamichel

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16194822.Cindy_Tomamichel

Pinterest:  https://au.pinterest.com/cindytomamichel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cindytomamichel/

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel

Posted in Historical Romance, Romance, Soul Mate Publishing, Stories, Time Travel Romance, Word-Crafting With Cindy, Writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Vacation and the Writer’s Mind

Vacation and the Writer’s Mind:

 

My hubby and I are on vacation in California. We were in gorgeous San Francisco, taking in the sites and enjoying the nightlife.  My husband worked there many years ago, and it’s been great seeing the city with a semi-local.  Of course, we’ve made our own memories—kissing on the Golden Gate Bridge, hiking around Land’s End, walking around Fisherman’s Wharf, and having Irish Coffees at the Little Shamrock and Buena Vista.  We then moved on to Wine Country and indulged in a tasting tour.

 

My priority is always being with my husband. I love sharing these moments with him, and I wondered how many of my writer friends also let their imaginations fly during these moments and place possible characters in some of the romantic places we’ve visited. Maybe a character will occupy an apartment in the Haight or tend bar at the Shamrock.  Maybe he or she will be at the bar during the famous earthquake of 1906. Maybe he or she will be into the ‘60s scene in the Haight and hang out with the Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane. Maybe he or she will meet a future spouse at the Civic.

 

I only hope that I can re-create the romance that I’ve been experiencing in California with the love of my life.  However, there is no romance like that found in real life. And—when you find it—it cannot be replicated, at least not totally.  I found it.

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | Leave a comment

Revising Madness – Elle Hill

Not that I’m bragging or anything, but I just finished penning my latest novel. No biggie. I mean, birthing it only took four years of labor, 76 thousand words, and writing my way through some deeply un-fun times. You know, whatevs.

Now, I’m clawing and scratching my way through the first major revision, a labor of love that’s 80% labor and 20% love. How do I keep myself motivated? In part by imagining what strangers would think of lil ol’, mild-mannered Elle while she’s revising. All those future commands for future me — like [say something smart about cars] or [find complementary martial arts] or [are there porpoises off the Florida coast?]* — have morphed into current dictates for present-tense me. I am no longer Elle the writer but Elle the intrepid factfinder who hunts obscure information I would otherwise never, ever think to know.

me_blk_belt

How I imagine I will look with my new belt.

On a side note, and after just having completed two hours of research into martial arts types, I’m pretty sure I deserve a black belt of my own. (Of course, I mentioned “krav maga” to my Jewish spouse and discovered I’d been mispronouncing it, so maybe just a brown belt.)

Preying mantis kung fu? Totally a thing.

My latest novel focuses heavily on animals. (I’ll wait while you gasp and release the clutch on your pearls.) Given that, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time reading about orcas, gobbling YouTube videos on eagles, and digging into the special powers of the common house mouse. Did you know they use ultrasound? Did you?

You’re welcome.

Maybe my best time comes from knowing how freaky I look as I perform wild actions from the safety of my living room. Picture me rocking my head back and forth, searching for the perfect words to capture the movement, or laughing throatily over and over while I discern harmonic resonance or whatever I’m doing. The other day, my sister, who lives with me, walked into the living room to find me petting invisible air currents. I wish I could say she shrugged and ignored me (“That wild and wacky Elle!”), but truth told, she stared at me in horror until I dropped my hand self-consciously into my lap. She left the room without comment.

Didja know they’re not whales at all? They’re dolphins!

I’m about halfway through my first revision. After that, I have to revise a few more times, choose a title, write the back blurb and the hook, and fish for eager, or at least willing, publishers. Because, my friends, writing is only part of the sweaty, beautiful labor that goes into penning a novel.

In the meantime, I’ll be researching myths of ghostly Black dogs and the shape of crocodile teeth.** Because I’m an author, baby!

* There aren’t.
** Conical
Posted in Excerpts from Elle!, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What is Romance Suspense?

When I decided to tackle the romance/suspense genre I had no idea where it would take me. I didn’t know anything about creating stories that not only had to satisfy a romantic ideal but needed to weave a tapestry of suspenseful action. When writing romantic suspense, you’re writing about the impending disaster that needs to be stopped, the love that is threatened, and the consequences of events outside of the hero/heroine’s control. It’s the classic Hollywood theme, “Houston we have a problem”, now solve it. Whether it’s the solving of a murder or crime, a military hero being drawn into an adventure, or a man or woman searching for someone who’s disappeared, this genre is anchored in plot twists and obstacles that not only threaten love but in many cases the hero/heroine’s life and existence. It’s demanding to write and needs to be carefully plotted. You can’t just write by the seat of your pants. It requires research and expertise, whether it be the FBI, CIA, police force, or military wing. Every scene and chapter needs to grow the suspense, or as they say “the plot thickens” which is “a metaphor within a metaphor,” and is as apt a definition of romantic/suspense as you’re likely to find. If the suspense does not build to a climax, then you have nothing. If everything, including love, isn’t at risk then you better rethink your story. Writing is all about taking risks, and for me, the joy of waking every day to the challenge of creating a suspenseful love story is something I’m willing to risk everything to do.

What I didn’t know about the romance/suspense genre is that it is the most highly purchased genre in the romance book industry. Yes, surprise! Per RWA statistics, romance/suspense comprises 53% of the print romance buying market and 48% of the E-book romance buying market. Those are heady numbers to be sure. And even headier when one considers that based on 2016 figures:

Highest grossing genre: Romance – $1.44 billion
Percentage of bestsellers that are romance books: 25% (2012)
Percentage of e-books that are romance books: 40%

Yes, the future is bright for romance and particularly bright for the romance/suspense genre.

My newest contribution to the romance/suspense genre is The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci, a sexy romantic thriller with a paranormal twist.

In the spirit of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown comes a romance suspense thriller that unravels an unforgettable mystery  . . .

            Will her visions lead her to the truth?

Art historian Angela Renatus is haunted by dreams of Leonardo da Vinci and a mysterious painting of Giuliano Medici and his mistress Fioretta Gorini. A painting that, as far as the world knows, doesn’t exist. Compelled by her visions, Angela is determined to find out the truth.

When Angela is contacted by art detective Alex Caine, she’s shocked to learn that he too is seeking the same painting. Alex’s client, a wealthy German financier, is determined to clear the name of his late uncle, Gerard Jaeger, an art historian, who went missing in Florence, during World War II. In letters written before his disappearance, the historian describes his love affair with a beautiful young Italian woman named Sophia Caro and the discovery of an extraordinary painting by the great master himself-a painting depicting Giuliano and Fioretta.

Angela and Alex journey to Florence in search of the priceless treasure. Is it a lost da Vinci, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, or a wild goose-chase that will only lead to a dead end? But someone else is searching for the elusive painting. Alberto Scordato is a powerful man in the art world and a sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even murder. Scordato knows something about Angela that even she doesn’t know, something that could threaten both Angela and Alex’s lives, forcing them into the crosshairs of fate.

Excerpt:

TheGirlWhoKnewDaVinciFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700My newest contribution to the romance/suspense genre is The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci, a sexy romantic thriller with a paranormal twist.

In the spirit of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown comes a romance suspense thriller that unravels an unforgettable mystery  . . .

            Will her visions lead her to the truth?

Art historian Angela Renatus is haunted by dreams of Leonardo da Vinci and a mysterious painting of Giuliano Medici and his mistress Fioretta Gorini. A painting that, as far as the world knows, doesn’t exist. Compelled by her visions, Angela is determined to find out the truth.

When Angela is contacted by art detective Alex Caine, she’s shocked to learn that he too is seeking the same painting. Alex’s client, a wealthy German financier, is determined to clear the name of his late uncle, Gerard Jaeger, an art historian, who went missing in Florence, during World War II. In letters written before his disappearance, the historian describes his love affair with a beautiful young Italian woman named Sophia Caro, and the discovery of an extraordinary painting by the great master himself-a painting depicting Giuliano and Fioretta.

Angela and Alex journey to Florence in search of the priceless treasure. Is it a lost da Vinci, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, or a wild goose-chase that will only lead to a dead end? But someone else is searching for the elusive painting. Alberto Scordato is a powerful man in the art world and a sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even murder. Scordato knows something about Angela that even she doesn’t know, something that could threaten both Angela and Alex’s lives, forcing them into the crosshairs of fate.

Excerpt:

Florence, Italy

Uffizi Gallery

August 3, 1944

Sophia Caro was scared, but not half as scared as she should be. The world was at war and she was in love with a German officer. She covered her ears as another explosion rocked the building, pressing closer into the arms of her lover, Gerhard Jaeger. Had it only been a few hours? It felt like the Germans had been bombing for days.

“Florence will never be the same,” she whispered brokenly. After each detonation, the Uffizi Gallery strained and shuddered as if struck by an earthquake.

Gerhard held her tighter, shielding her with his body. “It will my darling, you’ll see.”

They planned to escape from Florence. Gerhard, who was no Nazi, would desert. If captured he’d be lined up before a firing squad. Adding to her worries were her brothers who were partisans fighting the Nazis. She and Gerhard were set to flee back home to her family vineyard in the Tuscan hills. She’d be lucky if her brothers didn’t shoot Gerhard first and ask questions later. Time had run out and the man she loved with her heart and soul was prepared to risk everything for her and their unborn child.

Another round of blasts shook the building. Huddling in the long central gallery of the Uffizi, dust and pieces of the frescoed ceiling rained down around them.

“The ceiling! What if the building collapses?” Sophia couldn’t control the panic that seized her. Blistering heat and falling debris made it impossible to breathe.

“We’ll be fine Sophia. The Uffizi has stood for nearly five hundred years. It will stand for another five hundred, I’m sure.” Gerhard kissed her forehead. “Longer than that bastard Hitler. It makes me ashamed and sick to be a German.”

Sophia lay her hand against his cheek. “You’re an academic, an art historian, not a soldier. You’d do anything to protect Florence’s art treasures. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with you.”

“Have I done enough?” Deep lines etched his face.

A massive blast brought another shower of plaster, covering them in a fine veil of white dust.

“Heaven help us. When will it stop?” Sophia buried her face in his chest.

“It won’t stop until the bridges are demolished. Even for the industrious Germans that could take most of the night.”

Sophia covered her ears to muffle another round of successive blasts. “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” She crossed herself, wondering if God would listen to the pleas of a now-and-again Catholic. She felt a trickle of sweat roll down her cheek. Gerhard pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped it away.

“Amore mio, I promise you it will end by dawn. My contact, Deiter, assured me that the Ponte Vecchio will not be destroyed. When they’ve finished bringing down the rest of the bridges the explosions will cease. Then you and I will leave this nightmare of a war behind.”

A series of booms echoed again through the city and the reality of their situation returned. She held her stomach, protecting the small bump that protruded.

He covered her hand with his. “I hope you packed something substantial for our journey, my love. You need to keep up your strength for our child’s sake. Besides which,” he said, “I’d hate to be arrested for a grumbling stomach.”

“This is Italy,” she said with a quirk of her lips. “We aren’t going to die of starvation.” She looked around. “What have you done with the painting?”

“I had to cut it from its frame,” he said with a grimace. “I wrapped it in tissue paper and rolled it paint side out. Then I rolled it in lamb’s wool and fit it in a thick cardboard tube. I think it should be safe from the elements. My backpack is waterproof.”

She knew he’d do anything to keep her and their unborn child safe, but the painting worried her. It seemed to her an unnecessary risk to take a painting from the Uffizi, even if he meant only to keep it safe. It was a bone of contention between them.

“It’s twenty-seven kilometers south of Florence to my family’s vineyard in Montefioralle. I’m afraid much of it is uphill.”

“We’re young and strong, Sophia. If I have to carry you up a mountain, I will. It should take us about six hours to walk twenty-seven kilometers; we can manage that. Didn’t you say the area is famous for its Chianti?”

“The best Chianti and the most beautiful village in Italy. You will never want to leave.”

“Sounds like a good place to wait out the war, a glass of wine in hand, a bambino on my lap, and a goddess in my bed. The perfect place for us to begin our new life.” He drew her close and caressed her abdomen.

It seemed impossible that amid the chaos of war their child had been conceived. She hadn’t meant it to happen and feared he’d think she’d entrapped him. But when she told him, he was overjoyed, professing his excitement to be a father. She knew, then, that his love for her was true.

Sometime after dawn, the explosions ceased and the Uffizi Gallery grew quiet. Gerhard had kept his military uniform on until the last second. But now the die had been cast and it was time to escape. He discarded his uniform and donned the clothes of a civilian. Sophia straightened his collar while he stuffed the fake identity papers into his pocket.

“Well, Giorgio Bandini, accountant from Pisa, are you ready to begin the next phase of your life?”

He grabbed her around the waist and kissed her. “So long as I’m allowed to make love every night to the most desirable woman in the world. Shall we go, angelo mio.”

Sophia knew the Vasari Corridor like the back of her hand. If need be, she could walk it blindfolded. The concealed passageway above the bridge would be their escape route. She gave silent thanks to the clever Duke Cosimo I de’Medici who, in 1565, had ordered Giorgio Vasari to build the secret corridor. It allowed the Medici family to travel from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti in safety and privacy. During the five years Sophia had worked at the Uffizi, instead of walking the crowded Ponte Vecchio below, she’d chosen to walk the three-quarter mile from the Uffizi to the Pitti in privacy, just as the Medici family had.

Holding a candle for her, Gerhard followed her through the unmarked secret door near the Botticelli room and down a flight of stairs. She unlocked another door and, after he passed through it, she locked it behind her. The minute the door shut, it was as if the air changed. The eerie silence was disconcerting after the hours of continuous bombings.

“Don’t worry, it always feels like you’ve entered another world,” she said.

“Cooler. I’ll take it.” He shifted the heavy backpack to his other shoulder.

Taking his hand, she led him through the twists and turns of the corridor. “Before the war these walls were hung with Medici portraits. Now they’re hidden in storage vaults. The war has altered the world forever.”

“Not forever, amore mio.”

Florence, Italy

Uffizi Gallery

August 3, 1944

Sophia Caro was scared, but not half as scared as she should be. The world was at war and she was in love with a German officer. She covered her ears as another explosion rocked the building, pressing closer into the arms of her lover, Gerhard Jaeger. Had it only been a few hours? It felt like the Germans had been bombing for days.

“Florence will never be the same,” she whispered brokenly. After each detonation, the Uffizi Gallery strained and shuddered as if struck by an earthquake.

Gerhard held her tighter, shielding her with his body. “It will my darling, you’ll see.”

They planned to escape from Florence. Gerhard, who was no Nazi, would desert. If captured he’d be lined up before a firing squad. Adding to her worries were her brothers who were partisans fighting the Nazis. She and Gerhard were set to flee back home to her family vineyard in the Tuscan hills. She’d be lucky if her brothers didn’t shoot Gerhard first and ask questions later. Time had run out and the man she loved with her heart and soul was prepared to risk everything for her and their unborn child.

Another round of blasts shook the building. Huddling in the long central gallery of the Uffizi, dust, and pieces of the frescoed ceiling rained down around them.

“The ceiling! What if the building collapses?” Sophia couldn’t control the panic that seized her. Blistering heat and falling debris made it impossible to breathe.

“We’ll be fine Sophia. The Uffizi has stood for nearly five hundred years. It will stand for another five hundred, I’m sure.” Gerhard kissed her forehead. “Longer than that bastard Hitler. It makes me ashamed and sick to be a German.”

Sophia lay her hand against his cheek. “You’re an academic, an art historian, not a soldier. You’d do anything to protect Florence’s art treasures. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with you.”

“Have I done enough?” Deep lines etched his face.

A massive blast brought another shower of plaster, covering them in a fine veil of white dust.

“Heaven help us. When will it stop?” Sophia buried her face in his chest.

“It won’t stop until the bridges are demolished. Even for the industrious Germans that could take most of the night.”

Sophia covered her ears to muffle another round of successive blasts. “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” She crossed herself, wondering if God would listen to the pleas of a now-and-again Catholic. She felt a trickle of sweat roll down her cheek. Gerhard pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped it away.

Amore mio, I promise you it will end by dawn. My contact, Deiter, assured me that the Ponte Vecchio will not be destroyed. When they’ve finished bringing down the rest of the bridges the explosions will cease. Then you and I will leave this nightmare of a war behind.”

A series of booms echoed again through the city and the reality of their situation returned. She held her stomach, protecting the small bump that protruded.

He covered her hand with his. “I hope you packed something substantial for our journey, my love. You need to keep up your strength for our child’s sake. Besides which,” he said, “I’d hate to be arrested for a grumbling stomach.”

“This is Italy,” she said with a quirk of her lips. “We aren’t going to die of starvation.” She looked around. “What have you done with the painting?”

“I had to cut it from its frame,” he said with a grimace. “I wrapped it in tissue paper and rolled it paint side out. Then I rolled it in lamb’s wool and fit it in a thick cardboard tube. I think it should be safe from the elements. My backpack is waterproof.”

She knew he’d do anything to keep her and their unborn child safe, but the painting worried her. It seemed to her an unnecessary risk to take a painting from the Uffizi, even if he meant only to keep it safe. It was a bone of contention between them.

“It’s twenty-seven kilometers south of Florence to my family’s vineyard in Montefioralle. I’m afraid much of it is uphill.”

“We’re young and strong, Sophia. If I have to carry you up a mountain, I will. It should take us about six hours to walk twenty-seven kilometers; we can manage that. Didn’t you say the area is famous for its Chianti?”

“The best Chianti and the most beautiful village in Italy. You will never want to leave.”

“Sounds like a good place to wait out the war, a glass of wine in hand, a bambino on my lap, and a goddess in my bed. The perfect place for us to begin our new life.” He drew her close and caressed her abdomen.

It seemed impossible that amid the chaos of war their child had been conceived. She hadn’t meant it to happen and feared he’d think she’d entrapped him. But when she told him, he was overjoyed, professing his excitement to be a father. She knew, then, that his love for her was true.

Sometime after dawn, the explosions ceased and the Uffizi Gallery grew quiet. Gerhard had kept his military uniform on until the last second. But now the die had been cast and it was time to escape. He discarded his uniform and donned the clothes of a civilian. Sophia straightened his collar while he stuffed the fake identity papers into his pocket.

“Well, Giorgio Bandini, accountant from Pisa, are you ready to begin the next phase of your life?”

He grabbed her around the waist and kissed her. “So long as I’m allowed to make love every night to the most desirable woman in the world. Shall we go, angelo mio.”

Sophia knew the Vasari Corridor like the back of her hand. If need be, she could walk it blindfolded. The concealed passageway above the bridge would be their escape route. She gave silent thanks to the clever Duke Cosimo I de’Medici who, in 1565, had ordered Giorgio Vasari to build the secret corridor. It allowed the Medici family to travel from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti in safety and privacy. During the five years Sophia had worked at the Uffizi, instead of walking the crowded Ponte Vecchio below, she’d chosen to walk the three-quarter mile from the Uffizi to the Pitti in privacy, just as the Medici family had.

Holding a candle for her, Gerhard followed her through the unmarked secret door near the Botticelli room and down a flight of stairs. She unlocked another door and after he passed through it, she locked it behind her. The minute the door shut, it was as if the air changed. The eerie silence was disconcerting after the hours of continuous bombings.

“Don’t worry, it always feels like you’ve entered another world,” she said.

“Cooler. I’ll take it.” He shifted the heavy backpack to his other shoulder.

Taking his hand, she led him through the twists and turns of the corridor. “Before the war, these walls were hung with Medici portraits. Now they’re hidden in storage vaults. The war has altered the world forever.”

“Not forever, amore mio.

Posted in Belle's Best Bytes, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Writing is Like Sea Glass

glass-3333018_640

My husband and I win the gold medal for Failing Vacations.

One night into our “staycation” we descended for a hard-earned Green Arrow binge night only to find our basement completely flooded.

Another time, a four-wheeler fell on my head—no, really. It was black and red—and I spent the last several days and upcoming month in bed.

Another, mere hours after takeoff, husband found out three jobs fell out from underneath him.

Yeah. I could keep going.

But last month, we had our first Successful Vacation. We gleefully packed out bags, swimsuits, sunscreen bottles, my notebook in case inspiration hit, and a kindle loaded with twenty new books and headed to the Bahamas.

seashell-3220502_640

For an entire six days, I did nothing but sit on the soft sands with a hat, canopy and towel over my head. (Hey now, don’t judge. Guess who didn’t burn?)

I didn’t touch the notebook once. And only finished two books.

It was great.

Because we are in such a touristy area, most of the beaches were picked over from everyone scrambling to claim a souvenir. But my husband is rather resourceful and has crazy amazing eyesight. Every day he wandered along the surf and returned with handfuls of spiraling little seashells.

And then he started finding the sea glass. Although I lived near the coast for the majority of my life, I’ve never once found a piece of sea glass. I’ve always envied the collector’s jars filled with the frosted white and blue and green glass. But my palms have always came up empty.

Husband found enough to almost fill an entire Christmas ornament. Because that’s what I did with his collection when we came home—filed up an ornament to remember our time together.

shell-3333017_640

Sea glass is rather amazing. In this area of the Bahamas, the glass came from broken liquor bottles from tourists too drunk to manage the short trip from the ocean to the recycling bin. Apparently, you could tell the liquor brand based on the color of the class. The blue-grey shade I loved? A local told me to thank Grey Goose.

After spending a long period of time of being beaten against the sand and tossed around in the salty waves, these broken liquor bottles take on a frosted texture. The glass transforms from trash you’d avoid with your car to treasure you collect in handfuls.

So, later this year, we’re going to decorate our Christmas tree with somebody else’s ill-disposed trash.

The sea glass process reminds me a lot of writing.

 

sea-2604840_640

Whenever I finish a first draft, I feel like I’m coming off of a creative high. I feel brilliant, untouchable, and probably act more than a little stupid. When I actually read the draft I have and compare it to the draft I wanted—somewhere between the ocean and the recycling bin I got a little lost.

But as I start revising, the draft gets beaten against my brain and tossed around in the salty waves of a different type of creativity. The story eventually breaks down, gets reformed, and takes on an entirely new shape. In the very end, what I first designated as trash will decorate somebody else’s bookshelf.

This is a good reminder as I begin drafting the third book in my series. I’m still trying to flesh out the outline, because this far into a series I can’t risk leaving out a major plot line. The creative high will wear off and I’ll be left again with pages of trash. But I can trust that this one too, through the process of editing and revising, will end up as another piece of sea glass.

Is there an analogy that helps you get through the hard writing times?

abby-j-reed-headshot-smilingABOUT ABBY:
Abby J. Reed writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels that ask what if. She has a degree in English Writing and is drawn to characters with physical limitations due to her own neurological disorder called Chronic Migraine. Her debut novel, WHEN PLANETS FALL published in April 2017 by Soul Mate Publishing.

WHEN PLANETS FALLAbby lives in Colorado with her husband and two fluffy pups. If her hands aren’t on the keyboard, they are stained purple and blue with paint. Find her online at http://www.abbyjreed.com.

Posted in Absolutely Abby!, Soul Mate Publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Signings: Inspiration Transfusion

The era of eBooks has caused the tradition of book signings to slip a bit in significance. But once your book comes out in print, there’s nothing like packing up a bunch in a rolling suitcase and taking them out into the world.

I know many authors fear the dreaded “empty store, crickets chirping” scenario when thinking about setting up a book signing. I’ve experienced that, and believe me, it’s no fun. But I’ve done dozens of in-person events now and I can tell you, no matter how many books I sell or how much traffic the venue sees during my visit, I come back to my writing desk re-inspired. And with at least one new reader and soon-to-be fan.

It’s not that hard to secure a venue for your signing event. You just have to think outside the box.

Of course, start with your local, privately owned bookstores. These small business owners are always looking for new ways to bring in new customers, and you can be their ticket. Saturday afternoons work best, and most owners are willing to send announcements to the local newspapers, and feature the event in their mailings and on their websites. Some charge a fee: my local store charged me $25 for my first event, but I’ve brought in so much business that they no longer charge the fee. Some take a percentage of the proceeds, but they handle the sales, take the credit cards, etc., so it’s well worth the price.

Bookstores, though, are only the beginning. I’ve held signings at libraries, a museum, a gift shop, a pub, a winery, even on a dinner cruise ship on a lake! The key is to find common ground. Market in your niche.

Very recently I put up a post on Facebook that simply said, “In the mood to do another book signing. Any venues out there?” Within minutes, a representative from a Chamber of Commerce a few towns away contacted me. She said a very busy, boutique coffee shop would love to host a signing. I’m scheduled to appear there in just a few weeks.

And I know whether I sell two books or twenty, I will get my name–and my face–out there. I will meet some very interesting people, maybe even come up with an idea for my next book. I’ll get to be a star for a few hours. And I’ll come home fired up and ready to get back to work on my next novel.

IMG_1395

Don’t fear the book signing. Get out there and act the part, and the world won’t be able to ignore you.

 

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment