My Go-To Writing Heroes

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Just in time, to save the day!

Until I became a serious writer, a lot of my goals in life were guided by those close to me, and here’s the reason why:  they had already done it, so from watching their examples, I knew it could be done.   My parents and older siblings haven’t ever done what I am setting out to do, and for me, that’s a daunting reality, as I have often looked to them for assurance that what I want to do will work.   And yet, onward I write—I am the unlikely hero and writing is my quest.  It’s the first thing I’ve truly done on my own, but even so, it hasn’t been completely on my own.  Here are some of my favorite go-to resources for all things writing:

  1. Writers Write.  Based out of South Africa, Writers Write offers practical, well-written, straight-forward and thought-challenging content written by intelligent authors who know their stuff.    On several occasions they’ve helped me solve my many character-related issues by suggesting tricks and perspectives I hadn’t before encountered on other writing sites.  I mean it when I say I would not be the writer I am today without this site.   They offer writing courses, too! Check ’em out!  Writers Write
  2.  Stephen King’s “On Writing”.  The most helpful tip I took away from Mr. King’s book for aspiring authors was this:  “Kill your darlings”.  I’ve written a good number of enthralling characters and exciting plot points that still, for whatever reason, just aren’t working for the story.  It’s tough, but sometimes (frequently!) you have to make that cut.  Once you free them from your brain, often your troubled story will fall into place, and if you believe in writer’s block, it could be those characters and plots you held so dearly were the causes behind it!
  3. Life, as is.  Do not, oh please do not get your ideas solely from books, TV shows and films!  Read other books to see what is deemed as publishable, but do not let your art imitate art.  Let your art imitate life. (And if you do it right, you may just have life imitating your art.) You have a unique perspective on what makes a character a (memorable) character.   Observe life as it is, around you. In my opinion, a good story is more about character than anything else.  Go people-watching.     Pay attention to mannerisms, facial expressions, quirky habits, reactions to stressful situations, the way they show love, the way they carry themselves….  Pay attention to who stands out to you, and write it down.

What are your go-to writing resources?  What tips have you picked up that have really helped shape and change your writing for the better?

Happy writing!

The Problem Is

FIRE

The Problem Is 

Blur the lines to have a good time, nurture your pride, protect your own hide.  So easily insulted at every sneeze and blink, can’t have an opinion without a lawsuit on the brink.  Songs used to say stop and pay attention, now they say be selfish, raise your fist and get offended.   Each and every day we let computers do our thinking, books grow mold and hyperlinks are dripping, with mass hysteria and lies to draw you in, as long as it feels good, don’t matter it’s a sin.  How do we split that golden pie of rights?  Each side screams this is not a fair fight!

      So easy to get angry and shout your stance, your tantrums deserve a binkie and an extra long nap.  You’re the center of your anger, there’s no virtue in your rage, you’re acting like a petty child, get off the pity stage.  I’m the biggest hypocrite; the guilt is also mine, I should be feeding the homeless instead of writing these curt lines.  But it needed to be said, my heart was in full churn, let’s dump water on this flame, let’s not just watch it burn.

    You nod at social media and give likes to those citations, but with no screen to hide your face, do you practice the convictions? The heart of this, of course, goes deeper than just labels.  We’re hurting to the core but the Medicine’s deemed a fable.   You troll, complain and ask for hugs, longing for attention, but what you seek comes from the One they warn me not to mention.

“Compulse” is now available! WOO HOO!

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I cannot wait for my loyal fans to check out this gruesome collection, “Compulse”!  This three-part horror anthology is now available on Amazon.  You can buy it now, or wait for a special treat the week of Halloween!  The three stories in “Compulse” are “A Sunflower for Daddy” (creepy kids have always scared the you-know-what out of me!), “Alienation”, (the aliens have arrived, and they’re hungry), and “The Watcher” (chances are, you know this serial killer’s next victim quite well).

Buy “Compulse” here.    Don’t forget to leave a review!  Thank you, thank you! Happy Halloween!

“Belinda” Update and Other News

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 “Belinda” is in really good shape!  I still have more work to do, but right now it’s looking so FANTASTIC, I am just oh so tempted to hand it off to my beta readers right NOW!    But…I won’t, because it’s still not my best work, though it’s pretty dang close.  Still one minor character role I need to tweak, and then need to check for use of 5 senses, description, word choice/style, etc.  But the plot?  Solid.  The characters?  Most of them POP, buuuuut some of them still need a bit of work, I think.  January 5th is my deadline!

In other news, I’m eagerly (excuse the adverb, I’m all “strong-verbed” out, atm) awaiting the arrival of the proof for my horror short story anthology, “Compulse”.   It should be here tomorrow or the next day, after which point if all checks out, I will click the publish button, and voila!  Y’all can read it and leave your reviews!

In other other news, I’m getting ready for another reading binge.  I’m thinking Stephen King as well as a few indie author works.    And maybe the back of the shampoo bottle while I’m on the can.  If I get to it.

Alright, time to go pet a beagle.  I suggest you do the same.  ❤

Authors, DON’T Make This Mistake!

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I told myself to do it.  It was in the back of my mind, trying to claw its way forward and screaming for my attention.

I ignored it.

Today I had the pleasure of hearing an author speak at one of the local libraries.  I’d never been to one of these shindigs before, but I pretty much knew what to expect.  “Self,” I said, “chances are, you might have the opportunity to talk about your work with other authors or potential readers.  Print up some business cards, Self!  Go on!  Do it!”  I didn’t do it.  I figured since this was a first-time experience that I was going just to listen, not to network.  BAD FIGURING.

Every opportunity is an opportunity to network.  As an author, you have a business, self-published or traditional.  If you want people to read your work, you need to promote your work, online and in person.  Don’t be like me. Don’t miss an opportunity, because yes, I had two people ask me if I had a card.  That was two potential sales!  I felt like such a classic fool, stumbling over my words, cursing myself as I explained…no, I don’t have a card…b-b-but, I should!  Pfft.  Shoulda, coulda, woulda.  

Next time, I will.

Have you ever missed a great opportunity like this and kicked yourself later for it?  Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Welp. Yup. It’s Time, Folks.

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The unknown is frightening, so much so I decided to write a short story about it.  That was my task today, and I have a spectacular, shiny rough draft.  Sit it shall, for a few days, and tonight, well…I think it’s high time…

That I…

Got back to Belinda!!!  😀  That sassy little chick has been not-so-patiently waiting for me to get my act together and finish her first book.  So, after I finish this blog post, I’m going to fish out my Bel notebook (one of MANY Bel notebooks), a few good pens, a highlighter, and gosh darn it, I’m gonna figure out just why bits of the current plot/character arcs aren’t working.  That’s phase one. Phase two…manuscript!  I’ll write my little heart out, and I hope to dear goodness that what I produce will be IT.  I mean…IT, as in ready for more beta readers.  And after a few MINOR typographical edits…ready for agents.  Been working on this dang book for over two years.  It. Is.  TIME.   FLughhh!  ERfgh!    As for my stand-alone romance novel, that’s still cooling off.  It needs a little while before I will be able to hand it off to betas.  I tend to go back and forth between projects, BUT, I do finish them and have gotten great reviews, so…I know I must be doing something right!

…Wish me luck, loyal fans!   I can’t wait for you all to read “Belinda”!

Excerpt from “The Voiceless”

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From “The Voiceless”, available now on Amazon.

I flinch when I see movement.  I look up and see the spider one with the crazy hair curling his pointer and middle fingers together.  I watch his hand as he moves it in a succinct circle.  “Rii-rahm!” is his grunt-like noise.

“Ridram,” says the broad-chested one, as he makes the same movement and points at the grunter.  My eyes move in cautious sweeps down the length of the line as they all curl their fingers, make the same small circle, and repeat in sloppy unison, “Ridram”.   I get lost in the cacophony for a while, but return as the noise tapers.  They still their motions and let their hands drop to their sides.  I suffer under the weight of their eyes upon me and squirm as they thicken the air with anticipation.  Distant sporadic squawks and chirps intertwine with the tide’s crescendo.  The island, abundant with life, is begging me to join it.

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Thank you for reading this excerpt from “The Voiceless”, available now on Amazon.  Read another free excerpt here.

Excerpt from “The Watcher”

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From “The Watcher”

She is number eleven, bound and gagged like the last ten, and her peaches and cream cheeks are turning a deep shade of indigo.  I release the string and switch it out for a knife.  I press the blade and plunge it into her neck, and bask in relief as I let the blood seep onto my freezing hands.

I shove the shoestring back into the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt, and crawl in quick, jerky movements on my knees to her feet.  Her shoes are dirty, but her laces–a dazzling white.   With a panicked haste, I run to my truck and rummage in the backseat for a rag and a jug of water.  I couldn’t bear it if those beautiful laces got one drop of her blood on them.   My hand is on the jug’s handle when I feel someone’s eyes on me.  A quiet gasp shoots up into my nostrils, but I stay focused on my task.  Still, I can’t pretend to not be delighted that someone has taken an interest in my work.  Someone knows my secret and someone wants to be body number twelve.

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Thank you for reading this excerpt from “The Watcher”, from the “Compulse” short story anthology, available here. 

Excerpt from “Alienation”

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From “Alienation”

It was at first a single whisper, hot and quick, tickling my ear.   It grew into many whispers from sources unseen, their fervent voices hissing through the shadows.  I inclined my head to listen.  I knew the whispers were for my ears alone, because it was only I who had need for them.  The whisperers were joined by others innumerable, swelling into a cacophony of murmurs and shouts.  The shouts softened while the whispers engorged into a crescendo, harmonizing into a single tone, which buzzed like the pluck of a stringed instrument, sweet, crisp, and metallic.  The tone repeated, gaining volume with each passing interval, until I became aware of its purpose—to take formation inside my mind as two distinct thoughts.  They awakened every perception of self within me.  Survive.  Swim.

Without a tether, I would have no safeguard against drowning.  But the walls gave me little consternation, because though they were layered and substantial, they were also pliable, and would succumb with ease to the sickle-shaped claws curling out from my fingertips.  Yet my survival would not be guaranteed. And I must live, for without me, there would be nothing.  Mine is the only existence that has worth.

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Thank you for reading this excerpt from “Alienation”, from the “Compulse” short story anthology, available here.  Read another free excerpt from “Alienation”.