Left Brain…Right Brain….

“So what? All writers are lunatics!”
― Cornelia FunkeInkspell

Rayven’s Keep officially launches today.

Did you notice how calmly I said that?  I was so impressed I stopped for a moment to read it again.  Yep, a nice rational sentence. Even better, If you could see me right now you would notice I am going about my day appearing as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  I am sure you are amazed and a little impressed by my self-restraint, right?  Me, too!

So, why do you keep glancing at the quote at the top of the page?  Admit it, I know you are curious.  Okay, fine…I’ll tell you.  Have you ever seen the test with the dancing woman? (http://tinyurl.com/n4p9z8) The one where if you see her turning clock-wise you are using your right brain – the creative side, and if you see her turning counter-clockwise you are more analytical?  Don’t tell anyone, but I can make her dance either way.  How cool is that!

Still don’t understand?  All right, I’ll tell you more.  If you could look inside my head right now – ignore the clutter, please – you would notice right away that the left side of my brain is going about its day like it is any other day.  But, the right side has been taken over by a 5 year old jumping up and down, doing cartwheels and a crazy child version of an end-zone dance.  She is squealing with delight and, well, running amok.  Lefty is trying to rise above the noise and be professional, but 5-year old is having none of it.  It’s war in there people!

Crap!  My right eye just started to twitch.  Never mind, I will manage.  Is that a goofy smile on my face?  Say it ain’t so!  I can do this, really – I can do this….

Who am I kidding?   Rayven’s Keep officially launches today!!!!!!  Squeee!

Don’t Give Up!

Don't Give UP

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

There is no easy path to getting published.  It’s a simple truth. Every single one is littered with stones to trip the unwary, blind corners and snags.  There are too many forks in the road to count and each one promises to be the answer.

It is easy to become so overwhelmed we are unable to move forward or we simply give up because it seems too difficult. What is the point?  Why should I continue to spend hours in front of my computer trying to put words around what I see in my minds eye?  It can be very tempting to walk away.  Who wants to be published anyway?

Yet, that quiet voice in our mind continues to entice with another story and we find ourselves starting to pay attention. There is simple joy in writing the perfect description, snappy dialogue and in having characters jump off the page and demand attention.  We wrestle with writer’s block, sagging middles and protagonists refusing to do what we want them to do.  It is glorious and frustrating and mixed in with all of it is our wish to know our work is being read and enjoyed by others.

If we are lucky we have a great critique group or partner to help us flesh out our story and make it shine.  Heck, maybe enter it in a contest or two to see how well you did and then use the comments to polish it more.  Definitely submit to agents and editors in the hopes someone will love what you have written as much as you do.  And learn.  Learn from every critique, every painful rejection and fellow writer sharing their path to getting published.

Difficult though it may be, we need to keep moving forward.  We need to know when to let go of a beloved story and move on to the next.  We need to always find ways to grow as a writer, to hone our craft, to keep submitting our work in the hopes of publication.

For me, being published is the realization of a dream, but the truth I discovered during this incredible journey is I will always be a writer whether I am published or not.

It is non-negotiable.

Tea for Two or Three…

Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life

 more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony

 known as afternoon tea.

~Henry James

I bet you are wondering what a post about teatime has to do with writing.  The short answer is absolutely nothing.  The more in-depth answer: my sister, Lisa, gave a speech for one of her college classes.  Since it was close to Mother’s Day and it made her think of our mother, she decided to speak about one of our family traditions that is near and dear to all our hearts.  Tea.  I liked it.  So I am sharing it with all of you.  Enjoy 🙂 …

In our family drinking tea is a thread that binds us.  No matter what stage in life we are in, what our mood, or how different we have become, tea brings us together. We dress up for it, we calm down over it, we feel better when we drink it, and we love it.

I am the youngest of three daughters, born to a British mother who believes that there is nothing in the world that can’t be cured with a good cup of tea. If two or more of us gather we have tea.  No one ever has to say put the kettle on. We just know and do it. It is always the same.

The moment the tea goes in the pot and the hot water is poured in we begin to talk.  While the tea “mashes”, we discuss our lives or whatever crisis we are coping with at the moment.  We deal with the bad and laugh over the good.  Catch up on the angst of everyday or just enjoy the pleasure of being together.

Occasionally, we have mini family reunions that involve getting dressed up and wearing our fancy hats and going “out to tea”.  It is our chance to indulge in the ceremony that is deeply rooted in our family.  It reminds us of where we came from and the traditions passed down through the generations. When we put on our dresses and our tea hats it feels like a different time and a different place.  The everyday is gone and we are left with the moment.

I’ve had many friends over the years who when faced with heartbreak will eat chocolate or have a drink.  For me it is tea.  Throughout our lives we have faced many ups and downs.  Like any family we have had marriages, children and grandchildren, deaths and divorces.  In every instance, we as a family have had a cup of tea to fall back on, whether it was to share our joys, our sorrows, or to bring up our moods.

No matter how many family members there are we all know exactly how the others take their tea.  My mother, for instance, has always enjoyed her tea strong and black. No one would dare add milk or sugar to hers. When faced with her frown the strongest of us have been known to cringe.  At the very least you could expect to be on the receiving end of a rather strong lecture on the art of taking tea from an 81 year old woman with a colorful vocabulary and the sound of a fading English accent. Knowing how someone likes their tea is almost as important as knowing how someone likes their family. I hope this is a family trait that goes on for as long as our bloodline continues.

Sunny Sunday and an Award – Woot!

sunshineaward

When I opened my email last week and saw that the wonderful Melia Alexander had nominated my brand new blog for the Sunshine Award I was gobsmacked! I sat at my computer and grinned like a loon.  Really, I did. I can’t thank her enough for her generosity in bestowing this award on my newbie blog.

What is the Sunshine Award you ask? Well, lean a little closer and I will tell you… It is a bright and sunny flower that bloggers give to other “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”  Cool, huh?

As with most things, there are some rules.  Easy-peasy ones….

  • In your blog post, thank the person who gave you the award.
  • Do the Q & A
  • Pass the award to 10-12 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them, and link to their blogs.

So, without further ado, I will attempt to answer the questions.  I know you are waiting with bated breath, right? 

Favorite Color: This is a total no-brainer…green.  If you walked into my house right now you would immediately notice that color everywhere.  My daughter will tell anyone who will listen she lives in a leaf.  Works for me 🙂

Favorite Animal:  I have to go for the “aww” and say it’s my big orange tabby, Yogi.  He likes to help me type, although he can’t spell worth a damn.  He thinks my computer is just the place to take a nap or to stare at me until I give him some attention.  If he rev’s up his purr, I am a total gonner.

Favorite Number: I never really thought about it.  Do people usually have a favorite number?  Why?  Does it give you magical abilities?  If so, sign me up!  We all could use a little magic in our lives.

Favorite Non-alcoholic Drink:  Iced tea.  Okay, my British mother will be shuddering right about now and I can hear her threatening to disown me.  I appreciate a lovely cup of English tea in a proper china cup, but on a hot, sunny afternoon there is nothing better than an icy cold glass of iced tea.  Sorry, Mum.

Facebook or Twitter:  Twitter.  Not that I am any good at pithy or insightful tweets in 140 characters or less.  I have to confess, Facebook baffles me.  It could be that I never took the time to figure it out, but there you have it.

Your Passion: Is it possible to have just one?  I will spare all of your blushes (okay, my blushes) and merrily skip to the next question.  Oh, wait…you didn’t mean that passion.  My bad.

Giving or getting presents:  Both.  Giving a present satisfies a visceral need to please another person and makes me happy.  Receiving a present is a bit like drinking sparkling wine, all bubbly and exciting.  It’s a win-win. 

 Favorite Day: Hmmm.  This is a tough one.  Today ranks right up there as a favorite day, but then I have tomorrow to look forward to and it could be even better.  Let’s not even consider the possibilities for the day after that.  See my dilemma?

Favorite Flowers:  Daffodils.  I love that bright yellow and jaunty flower.  It makes me smile.  What more could you ask of a flower?

 So, there you have it.  I hope you enjoyed my answers as much as I enjoyed sharing that bit of myself. 

But, wait…the fun is not over yet.  Here is where I get to pass the award on to other wonderful writers.  I have visited their blogs and enjoyed each and every one of them.  Check them out.  I know you will be glad you did.

http://www.cdbrennan.com

http://boomerbabeblog.com/

http://www.mqbarber.com

http://www.lizaoconnor.com

http://knightleymusings.blogspot.com

http://megganconnors.wordpress.com

http://sarawalterellwood.wordpress.com

I realize I bent the rules a little and only mentioned seven blogs, but I am new to this and I am still discovering all the wonderful bloggers out there.  I am sure you can identify other worthy blogs that should be on this list..so show a little love and pay them a visit today.  Don’t forget to leave a comment, because we all want to hear what you have to say!

Have a fabulous sunshiny day! 🙂

 

One Sentence

“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.”
― Sylvia PlathThe Bell Jar

Have you ever had a  sentence just pop into your head out of nowhere?  Something so outside of what you were doing at the time it stopped you in your tracks?  That random, unexpected, inexplicable sentence ended up being the first words of my novel, Rayven’s Keep. A novel, I might add, I wasn’t even contemplating writing.

I would love to say a fully formed story idea followed quickly behind that short sentence, but it didn’t.  All I had was a new word document, one sentence and a blinking cursor quietly minding its own business while I tried to figure out what  just happened.  Who was this character, Nick Rayven, and what the heck was Lodestone, and why did he hate it?

Always up for an adventure, I found words starting to flow and before I knew it I had a rough draft of my first chapter– and I do mean rough!  Over the next days bits and pieces of the story arc started to jell in my mind.  My critique partner would read some of what I had written and then ask me questions I struggled to answer.  I swear I would almost break out in a sweat while I tried to work my way through the plot.  But, she forced me to take a germ of an idea and fully flesh it out – if only in my mind.  Have you figured out I am a bit of a pantser yet?

I worried I would never be able to finish the book, but I kept plugging away refining sentences, working through plot problems and growing to love my characters and the journey they were on.

I learned to take feedback without personalizing it and realized the comments most often strengthened the story.  I also came to realize this was just the first story in the world I was building and while refining the plot for this one I was also laying the groundwork for the ones to follow.

When that sentence popped into my head I never dreamed it would finish with a book that was a finalist in the Golden Rose Contest or a first place winner in a contest sponsored by Lyrical Press – How Lyrical is your Romance. I never imagined I would be offered a contract.

Rayven’s Keep has been a wild ride from start to finish and I can’t wait for the story to be released by Lyrical Press on June 3.  I am astounded by the power of one random sentence that started it all.

What was the trigger for your story?