Sunday, July 29, 2012

A New Poem...

I was able to gain inspiration from this week's picture prompt finally, and write my first new poem in two weeks on Wednesday night.

The Lake

A boat moored on the lake
Is kept there for my sake.
The tranquility of water
Calms my nerves when I am bothered.

Sometimes I sit on the dock entranced
By God’s creation and glance
Around in awe
Of my surrounding why I pour out the raw
Emotions flowing through my pen
As a new poem is wrote once again.

I especially like making my escape in the fall
To the lake whose colorful trees stand tall,
And welcoming local visitors that recall
Basking in the presence of it all.

This is the ideal spot to get away
From the fast pace of the world day after day.
When I want to take things slow,
I return to the hidden lake that I know
Which is located off the beaten path
With my notebook, my pen, and just relax.

I've just got done adding this poem to my manuscript after putting it off for a few days.  I'm thinking about getting some more writing done in "The Shepherdess Princess" in a little bit.  Inspiration hasn't struck since Wednesday, so I may put off adding more to the manuscript if my characters don't start yelling at me again.

I picked up a couple books from the library based on pretty good reviews I've been finding of them.  One is "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins which I basically was intrigued about reading because they just came out with a movie adaptation for it.  Upon making it to chapter four, I have decided to quit reading it because the story moves too slow to my liking and has put me to sleep several times since I cracked it open a couple days ago.  I went so far as to skip to the end to see if it would get any better.  It didn't in my opinion.  I mainly wanted to read it to see why Hollywood thought it would be good enough to buy the rights to make the movie, but maybe the decision makers at the studio had an aneurysm, or saw their children devouring the trilogy.  Who's to know?  Needless to say, I'll be returning it unread to the library soon.

The second book I got from the library is called "Vampire Academy" by Richelle Mead, and already it's better than "The Hunger Games" to me.  I've barely put it down since I started reading it today.  I was hooked from the first sentence, and can't wait to read more when I have more time.  This is the first book in  a series also, and there are five total books out so far.  What caught my eye with this book is the word Vampire.  I love anything to do with vampires ever since "Nosferatu" came out in the silent film days, and Bela Lugosi dawned the fangs as the very first "Dracula."  There are three different types of vampires in this book, and none of them sparkle:  Dhampir (one human/one vampire parent), Moroi (born vampires, and have royal blood), and Strigoi (the typical bloodsucking demons we know and love).  Dhampir's and Moroi are mortal, and can stand some sunlight whereas Strigoi are the immortal vampires that feed on human blood and can't stand the sunlight.  Moroi can become Strigoi if they feed off of one, or they attack a human.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Sense of Accomplishment...

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders today, and am rather content right now.  After three weeks of not being able to write a single word in my novel, Monday night I once again heard a familiar urging in my head from my characters telling me to "Get on with it if I want any sleep."  I was more than happy to oblige them this time because I was leaving teeth marks on my pencil, and about ready to chomp down on my computer if I hadn't started hearing them in my head soon.  I only got four hours sleep because of it, but I was about ready to start crawling up the wall if inspiration didn't hit soon.  It was getting to the point where I was starting to think I might need a visit from the nice men in the white lab coats.  They don't need to be called to haul me away now.  :)  Yay!

Two hours after the urging, I completed the fight scene that has left me in a state of apprehension for the month of July.  Once I was able to start writing it out in a spiral notebook, the words started to flow through me into my pen and bled out onto the pages once more.  As I took the time yesterday afternoon to add what I had handwritten into my manuscript on my computer, I found myself revising a few bits here and there as I went along and expanding the scene just a tad in other spots.  I now have 80 pages total typed up in my novel, and I feel like I can finally move on into the second half of "The Shepherdess Princess" fairly easily from here.  I'm excited to see what lies ahead for them as well.

Today I hope to take some more time to write some more in the novel, and possibly try to write a new poem for the weekly picture prompt at 21st Century Poets before this week's competition ends on Thursday.  I'll share any new developments here along with the new poem.  I may just be feeling a little ambitious right now.

Happy writing to one and all!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to Write a Synopsis for Your Novel, and Other Stuff...

Not too long ago I 'liked' a page on Facebook from a Writer's Magazine.  Not long after I did that, they shared an article that was written last year on "How to Write A Synopsis of Your Book or Novel."  For those of you who may not know what a synopsis is here's the definition.

A synopsis is a condensed statement or outline of a book.

It's usually is found on the back cover of a novel your reading, and may share room with the information about the author/author's picture.  I jumped at the chance to read this article because writing a summary of my books has never been one of my strengths, and I'm worried my next attempt at it won't give my readers enough information to want to pick up the book.  I'm also afraid I'll go overboard and give too much of the story away.

Fiction Synopsis Checklist

• What is the story about?
• Who is/are the main character(s) and brief summary of the issue(s) they are facing
• What are they feeling?
• What’s driving them?
• Why are they acting in a certain way?
• What’s standing in their way?
• What is the setting, if appropriate, and include a taste of it

The article also states, "Your synopsis should be written in the third person."

Reading this line in the article made me feel a little better because I know I'm not alone, "If you find it difficult to compile your synopsis, remember that even seasoned authors find it hard."

I felt compelled to add the non-fiction list as well for my poet friends out there who might want to see what a publishing company asks for in a proposal:

Non-Fiction Book Proposal Checklist

For those who are submitting non-fiction manuscripts, the synopsis is replaced with a book proposal, as it includes many different sections of information.

Your non-fiction book proposal should include:
• title page (just title, subtitle and contact details)
• summary of content
• chapter outlines
• author details
• sales, marketing and promotional information
• length, specifications and delivery date (ie how long the finished manuscript will be, if there are any illustrations and when it will be delivered)

What A Weekend!

I was all set to have a relaxing weekend at home when I got informed of some friends getting together for a bonfire on Friday night.  I jumped at the chance to go because some of the friends I haven't seen since last Summer.  A bunch of us carpooled together, and got to the bonfire site a little after 6:30 PM, and we hung out, laughed, ate hot dogs, and made smores.  Before I knew it, I was being dropped off at home around 1 AM.  I came online for a bit after I got home because I was still a little amped up to go to bed right away.  I finally crash landed on my pillow around 2:30 AM.


9 AM Saturday morning, I got woke up by someone pounding on my door.  It was my sister-in-law, and she was all set to go to the County Fair with me.  She waited for me to get around and we made it to the Fairgrounds around 11 AM and we didn't get home until 10 PM Saturday night.

We spent the day looking at the exhibits, visiting the animal barns, watching ATV races (Someone even raced a snow mobile!), and listening to different musicians throughout the day.  We listened to a Mariachi band, a group called Cascade Rye, a group called The Hanson Family Singers (They yodeled a lot), and the main attraction for the night was country singer Mark Chesnutt:

Some of his hits include: Bubba Shot the Jukebox, Going Through the Big D, It's a Little too Late, and Too Cold at Home.  

For the first time ever that I've seen in the 30 years I've been attending this fair, they had a wild safari animal exhibit.  They were all babies, but they was a tiger, lion, leopard, porcupine, wallaby, bobcat, skunk, and a couple other animals I can't remember the name of right now.

My sister-in-law also took a couple pictures for me.  One was of me standing next to a monster truck:

And the other was a picture of a wedding cake that I told her looked like a design I would want for my cake if I ever got married someday:

I also like the double heart topper on it.

I've spent the last few days recuperating from these two days.  I woke up Sunday morning feeling like death warmed over, so I've been sleeping a lot the past few days and barely eating anything.  Yesterday, I ate more food than I have all week, so I think I'm starting to feel better.  I'm at least starting to get my appetite back anyway.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A New Deal From Lulu...

Go ahead. Take the bait. Save 18% on any order. Code: CAUGHT. Hurry, offer ends July 13, 2012.

Take advantage of this great offer at my Lulu Bookstore until July 13th, 2012 on these great titles:

Fateful Firsts: A Collection of Poetry

Fateful Firsts is a collection of poetry with subjects ranging from life, love, relationships, pets, animals, and places. Some of the poems included were written in the later 1990s, but I didn't begin writing poems on a regular basis until 2006. It is my honor and privilege to present to you... Fateful Firsts!

Second Thoughts: A Collection of Poetry

You hold in your hands my second collection of poetry. I found after writing Fateful Firsts: A Collection of Poetry, I was having Second Thoughts about relationships, emotions, and other life-altering events happening. What you see within these pages is the authentic me. Enjoy!

 Before you place your order, use the code at my friend's bookstore to get a chance to buy my co-authored fiction novel:

A Candlelit World

In 1899, a group of outsiders uncover a plot to raise an evil entity from the local cemetery. By bearing witness to the ritual that accomplishes this, it effectively signs their death warrant and in order to save themselves they must find out the key to return this Stranger to its grave. Though the evil is eventually banished and everyone is killed as a result, the story does not end there. One hundred years later, an unusual and powerful candle is found in an antique store by a pair of college students doing research for an assignment. Upon lighting it, the same evil is brought back along with the spirits of those who'd died to stop it before, who have much unfinished business among themselves as well.

Event Reminder

If any fellow Oregonians take advantage of this offer and want it autographed, my friend and I will be at Bob's Beach Books in Lincoln City from 11 AM-2 PM on Saturday, August 25th, 2012.  Click here for directions to the location.  I hope to see you there!

An Incomplete Goal, and Other Stuff...

I haven't completed my goal I set last week of getting the fight scene written down in "The Shepherdess Princess," but both sides are preparing for battle!  I also was able to add everything I had in a "splice file" (scenes written for the story to incorporate later) into the last few pages I've been working on.  Some of the additions need to be edited still, but two-thirds of what I added already flows with the rest of the novel.  I am now starting on the tenth chapter, and have 78 pages.  I ended up with a total of 67 pages from a starting point of 76 pages at one point during the editing process, so I hope that gives my readers some grasp of how much I added to the manuscript and I'm far from being done.  The fight scene kicks off the second half of the novel from my point of view.  I hope to have 20 chapters before it's final edit, and sent in for publication.

I've been antsy a little today too because I find out sometime before August 1st if I'm a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship.  I was talking to a friend the other day about what we would both do if we both got chosen for $15,000.

  • We both said we'd take a trip to NOLA (New Orleans) for inspiration.  We decided she could have the cemetery, and I'd take the French Quarter.
  • I'd buy several copies of my published books to distribute to the local bookstores.
  • Buy a new laptop, stock up on printer ink, and upgrade my Microsoft Word program.
  • Have a book signing/poetry reading somewhere in the community, and
  • Rent a cabin in the woods for a week for a writer's retreat with any author friends that might want to tag along.  :)
I just got a letter in the mail today from World Poetry Movement telling me they want to publish one of my poems in a new volume of "Stars in Our Hearts."  I made it to the semi-finalist round again, and should be automatically added as a finalist.  The last time they told me that the semi-finals was as far as I got, so I'm not getting my hopes up this time.

I can't believe within a week my blog has gone up 100 more views.  On July 2nd, I was marking the blog having 1500 views on my Facebook page and I come online this morning to see that I am now at 1600 and still going!  Do people really enjoy reading my ramblings, or do I have a captive audience out there?  :)  Either way, keep on reading and enjoy your day!

Who Do You Write Like?

A friend I'm following on Wordpress came across this page at a friend of her's blog where someone can find out Who I Write Like by analyzing any text they've written in a novel of their choice.  I chose to go poem by poem through "The Trifecta: A Collection of Poetry" to see how I stack up.

Here are my results:

Dan Brown-5
H. P. Lovecraft-4
James Joyce & Stephen King-3
Charles Dickens-2
Raymond Chandler, Vladimir Nabokov, Cory Doctorow, Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace, Neil Gaiman, Mary Shelley, L. Frank Baum, & Anne Rice-1

According to the number of poems for each author, Dan Brown is who I write like the most.  I got a kick out of that result, and chuckled when the last poem I pasted into the analyzer came out Anne Rice.  The Anne Rice result poem is titled "An Angel's Promise."  It had nothing to do with vampires at all.  (Yes, I know she wrote more than just The Vampire Chronicles.)  I was also a little surprised I would be paired up with Stephen King and Neil Gaiman at all because I think they write better than I do.

Anyway, click here if you want to take the same "test."  Feel free to post your results in the comments if you'd like.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tips for Writers on Naming Characters...

I started JulNoWriMo yesterday to see if I could finish "The Shepherdess Princess" this month by finally reaching the 50,000 word goal by July 31st.  Anyway, I came across a link in the webpage's Writers Resources section that directed me to a baby name site with a page dedicated to tips for writers on naming characters.

I haven't had many problems naming my characters, but bookmarked the link for future reference.  I also thought I would share the tips from the baby name webpage here in case any of my fellow writers that visit this blog might need help naming their characters.

Tips for Writers on Naming Characters

Tip 1: Make the name age-appropriate

The biggest mistake we see writers make is choosing a character name that is not age-appropriate. Many authors make the mistake of choosing a name that is popular now for an adult character--a name that would have rarely been used around the time of that character's birth. Decide the age of your character and then calculate the year your character was born. If your character was born in the U.S., browse the Social Security Name Popularity List for that year. You will also want to take into account the character's ethnic background and the ethnic background of his/her parents.

Tip 2: Choose a name by meaning

Many writers give their characters names that have significance in the story. It could reflect major personality traits, or the character's role in the story. You may want to use ouradvanced search to search by literal meaning, or think of ways to incorporate other meanings into your character's name. For example, if your character is a botanist, you may not want to name her Flower (too literal), but you may want to consider the names Linneaor Sage. Even if you choose not to name a character by meaning, you should look up the meaning of all your characters' names—there may be something that inspires you or, on the other hand, conflicts with your message.

Tip 3: Exotic romance names are out

Thirty, forty years ago, you would pick up a romance novel and the characters would have ridiculously exotic names like "Crystal Remington" or "Rod Delaware." Same with daytime soap operas. However we're seeing a shift in the past decade or so: romance and soap writers have modernized their character names so readers can relate to them. Naming a romance character should be no different than naming any other fictional character. If you use all the other good character naming tips, you'll create a genuine player to whom your readers can relate.

Tip 4: Science fiction names don't have to sound alien

It's difficult to predict what names will be popular in the year 3000, however you don't have to make your science fiction characters sound like they are from Mars (unless they are). When a person reads (or watches) your story, you don't want them to stumble over a name. The name Zyxnrid, for example, would be difficult to read or listen to every time the character is referenced—and may detract from your overall story. If you do choose to create your sci-fi name, you may want to:
  • Combine two common names to make a less common, but pronounceable name. Example: Donica (Donna and Veronica).
  • Use ancient mythological names, or combine two of them. Example: Ceres or Evadne.
  • Make it easy to pronounce and spell. Example: Bilbo Baggins from Lord of the Rings.

Tip 5: Terms of Endearment

When writing your story, be aware that people who are close rarely use each other's full names. Couples will use nicknames, terms of endearment (honey, dear, boo). What nickname have your characters come up with for each other? Also, parents rarely call their children by their full names--unless they are admonishing them for bad behavior or testifying in court. If you have loving parent characters that are addressing their kids, use a nick name or term of endearment (sweetie, baby, D.J.). An exception to this would be if you want to show the parent character being cold and distant to their child.

Tip 6: Overused Names

For some reason, every writer loves to name his hero JACK. I know it's a tough-sounding, honest-working name, but naming your hero Jack is like naming your son AIDAN. It's overdone. Be a little more creative, so your reader will remember your particular protagonist as opposed to the umpteen-million other books they've read about Jack. Also, do not give your protagonist the initials J.C. as an allusion to Jesus Christ. That tactic was overused in 60's/70's fiction and is almost laughable by today's standards.

Tip 7: Loaded Names

Watch out for what we call "loaded" names--names that have a popular association. These could be names associated with celebrities, historical or infamous people like Adolf, Oprah, or Kobe. They could also be names of famous literary, tv, or movie characters: Hannibal, Scarlett, Romeo, Bart. If you do choose to use "loaded" names, then you really should make it part of the story, part of the character. Your character's mother was obsessed with Gone With the Wind, so she was named Scarlett--how has it affected her throughout her life? How does it affect her in the story?

Tip 8: Have Fun With Names

Have fun with naming your characters and take time to see what "fits." What was your character's childhood nickname? Is that an embarrassment when his parents address him in front of his friends? Did your character change his name at any point in his/her life? If so, why? Does your female character want to change her surname when she gets married? Why or why not? Names are such an important part of one's identity, don't take it lightly with your story!

Here's the link to the baby names part of the site itself if there's a specific name you want to look up.

For my book "Magic In Their Blood", I found a Native American name website I used to find my characters names because the characters themselves are of Native American descent.  I didn't have much trouble finding my way around this website because I already had an idea of what specific words I wanted their names to mean, and an idea of which Tribe they were apart of.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Surprise for my Readers, and a New Poem...

I want the suspense to build a little bit, so I'll add my new poem first.  I wrote the poem to go with the picture prompt for the monthly competition I was added to at 21st Century Poets.  Here's the picture:

Here's the poem:

Don’t worry, little Bambi,
Being alone in the woods can be
Really scary of an experience,
But I’ll protect you while you smell the flowers scents.

When you are done here,
I’ll stay with you so you’ll have nothing to fear
As you make your way back home.
Only then will I leave you alone.

If on the way we meet a hunter,
I’ll distract him as you run for
Cover into the nearby trees.
When it’s safe again, we’ll continue on as you please.

When you’re reunited with your family,
I will leave you happily.
I will watch over you in your time of need,
And be your silent companion when you feed.

I already added "An Angel's Promise" to my poetry book making the page count 37 now.  It's growing slowly, but surely.


Usually when I'm writing a novel, I'm pretty private about it's contents until it's ready for publication with the exception of my poetry, and the short stories I write to submit to "Chicken Soup for the Soul."  Anyway, this past weekend I wrote a scene that I read aloud to my brother tonight that left him wanting to read the rest of the story.  After giving it some thought, I decided to add a little teaser from "The Shepherdess Princess" for my readers to see.  The setting of this scene is in a palace in France in 1340:

            The entire nation was mourning the loss of the Royal family when learning about the deaths of Queen Patrice and Prince Philippe upon Prince Edward’s return from England.  The flag of France remained at half-staff for an entire year upon the request of King Edward, who was crowned a couple months after his return with the bodies.
            The coronation was a melancholy event for all in attendance, but behind the palace walls was another story.  Prince Edward was seen by the staff as being rather happy despite the fact he’s supposed to be in mourning.  Everyone tried to ignore his odd behavior for fear of reprimand, but it became difficult to do so for the maids that he would grab as he was walking down the hallway and waltz around with for a few feet before releasing them.  Every now and then throughout the day, he’d be caught whistling a happy tune as he adored himself in the mirror, or just stood there straightening his already impeccable uniform.  The ceremony went off without a hitch, and the people of France embraced their new King.  Little did they know what King Edward was really like, the lengths he had gone to obtain his throne, or that the rightful heir was still alive and well. 

Everyone has my permission to salivate now!  :)  This was one of the scenes I mentioned in my previous blog post about wanting to add something near the beginning of the story to give it more "meat."  I want to make it a goal to get one of the fight scenes written sometime this week.  Once this small battle happens, the second half of the novel should go fairly quickly.  I have 71 total pages so far, but that doesn't include the 20 more pages I have written up to add back into the story at some point.