Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday" July 29, 2012

 Another fine week. Welcome readers and sixers. :-)

Six Sentence Sunday is a blog hop. Participants post six sentences from a current piece of writing.  To learn more--or to find links to the other participating sixers, click HERE.

Join the fun.  There are so many wonderful and talented writers participating...and all generously share their knowledge and love of the writing craft.

This week, back to my WIP, ATNS.  Marissa, a homeless woman, cannot account for two years of her life. Institutionalized at one point, she has been diagnosed as delusional--unable to separate her dreams from reality.  After  a bonus find--twelve overcooked hot dogs in the trash-can behind a restaurant, she's taken them to an abandoned factory where she spends her nights.  Picking up right where last week's post left off:

"The first hot dog evaporated in her mouth, but she’d slowed down by the time she was on her third.  As she chewed the fourth, she felt sort of queasy, like she wasn’t sure if it would stay down when she swallowed.  But, it made no sense to not eat them quickly. Not like she had a fridge to put them in.

She twisted the shopping bag around the rest of them and then placed it in an old metal file drawer.  It wasn’t mouse-proof, but it would keep the rats out."

That's it for this week.  Please visit the site linked above to find other participants. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Writing: Kill Off Someone Who Counts.

My mom,my biggest fan ( and extremely enthusiastic Alpha and Beta reader) used to just grill me about my books when I'd visit her. We had one conversation in particular where she dug in her heels about the plot of my third book. 

I'd had a long stretch where I'd been unable to write. I knew why; I was about to kill off a character. It had taken me months to work up to it.  And after I'd finally written all of it except his final, tear-jerking breaths, I visited her. 

After I told her, she said, "Not him. No. Frabrand has been in the series since book one." (this was the third book).  

I'd also introduced a new villain in this book, Admore.  The guy's insane.  But as often happens with insane people, he doesn't know it. The reader is given enough information to figure it out, though. He's obviously a sociopath, and possesses a split personality.  One of his personalities is meek--and borders pathetic.  The other is arrogant and evil. He bullies the meek personality-and all those around him. There's generous foreshadowing. This guy is going to cause pain, even tragedies, to the core characters.

Mom was adamant; she wanted him killed off. Leave "Frabrand alone. He doesn't have to die."

I said, "Mom, I know it would make you feel better, but for how long?"

"I know. But I don't care. Leave Frabrand alone and kill off Admore. He's going to hurt good people."

I sigh now, just recalling the conversation.  I understood mom's position. She was 80 years old and wanted the world to be right. Can't we live happily ever after?

"Mom, when a writer kills off a bad character, especially a fairly new one, the reader feels the triumph...for fifteen minutes. And then it's done. Over."

She sat nodding her head at me.

"But, when a writer takes out a character that the reader knows and loves, it's a deeply emotional experience--AND a long-lasting one."

Her head was still nodding as she listened.

"So, for maximum impact, it has to be a character who we love.  And the mere fact that you don't want me to kill off Frabrand, and that you DO want me to kill off Admore, is confirmation that I'm on the right track."

She didn't smile when she said, "I understand what you are saying. BUT, I want you to leave Frabrand alone, and kill off Admore."

*smiling*  Oh, I miss her (biased) critiques.  And I miss her longing that everyone lives happily ever after.  This thought is close to my heart now that I've returned to this series, editing and improving:  Beyond this life, I hope she knows that in the end--and it will take four long novels to get there, they will--not quite like Cinderella and Prince Charming, but they will live happily ever after. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: July 22, 2012

Another fine week. Welcome readers and sixers. :-)

Six Sentence Sunday is a blog hop. Participants post six sentences from a current piece of writing.  To learn more--or to find links to the other participating sixers, click HERE.

Join the fun.  There are so many wonderful and talented writers participating...and all generously share their knowledge and love of the writing craft.

This week, back to my WIP, ATNS.  Marissa, a homeless woman, cannot account for two years of her life. Institutionalized at one point, she has been diagnosed as delusional--unable to separate her dreams from reality.  She has just had a bonus find--twelve overcooked hot dogs in the trash can behind a restaurant.  Picking up right where last week's post left off:

"She tucked the hotdogs—all twelve of them, into a scavenged shopping bag and put them in her backpack. Her stomach growled, but there would be a better place than this to eat them.  In this world—the world of the homeless and the desperately hungry, a food squabble might not get anyone killed. But too often, someone ended up bleeding and bruised.

An hour later, in her home—the third floor office of the dilapidated factory, she sat on the sill of the open window watching the river laze by.  Somewhere upstream, a train whistled, shattering her darkening world with a sound so lonesome she thought of the dead bell in the Catholic Church at Somerset.  Moments later, the powerful diesel engines roared past, shaking her where she perched."

I know...seven sentences :-)  But, it maintained continuity.

Leave a comment. Say hello. Make sure I have  a track to follow you back to your blog. :-)

And thanks for reading.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Recognized by Fellow Bloggers Part 1

Wow, nothing is neater than that!  Recognized by the people who struggle with all the same things I do while trying to write, break into this publishing world, be found on this humongous internet...and above all, trying to find an audience.

Writing is a lonely pastime.  And it's other writers who keep me going, inspire me with their own amazing writing, and offer a voice that helps me to get my bearings when I lose my way.

They (you) are much of the joy I find in the journey.

Without further ado...  Lorraine Paton awarded me the Lucky Seven meme.  She reads romance and writes romance. "Yes, it's that simple."  Lorraine is a wonderful writer!  Her characters all have this wonderful tension, and they are so fully fleshed out, the reader easily relates to them.  Her writing is fun.  Her characters can get into some zany situations, but it all turns out in the end. 

Thanks, Lorraine, for awarding me this. :-)

The Rules:  Post seven lines from an unpublished work of fiction by following these rules:
  • Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Post the next 7 lines or sentences on your blog as they are (no cheating, please!)
  • Tag 7 other authors to do the same.
My current WIP: working title, "Across The Night Sky" 

" May 20th in the park
I know the dream that I just had.  There was an old, green-eyed woman who appeared to me and said, “Remember”.  That was the exact word she used , Rayanne.  I know you don’t believe they are memories, but I can’t believe they’re not.  I was abducted.  And then there was a man.  He looked so familiar.  Christ, I know this part will sound crazy, but he doesn’t look familiar in a human way.  He’s not human, I’m sure.  But, I don’t know what he is. I’m frightened, and in some odd way that I can’t explain, I’m excited. I’m steeled to see these dreams through."

Now. to choose 7 writers :-)

Here goes:

Marcia aka Owllady  blogs at "Letter Go".  She's working on a novel that delves into the music industry. When I read her snippets, I feel as though I have a backstage pass. ;-)  She's a wonderful writer.  Visit her, comment, follow. We writers all like being shown that "writerlove" :-)

M.L. Falconer is a great writer.  What struck me rather quickly about him, though, is what a wonderful human being he is.  So kind, encouraging, and supportive of others in the writing community. And who couldn't love a guy who writes stories like "Squishing Whistle Pigs"? ;-) Stop and tell him hello. :-)

Daniela Renelt  writes Idiots and Earthquakes--a writer's blog.  She lives in Germany, and constantly amazes me with her non-native speaker skills in her writing.  She writes fantasy and scifi, and is currently working on a novel, "The Days Adrift".  Check out her writing and say "hello". Lovely person. :-)

Mackenzie Crowne blogs at Mac's Mad Mania.  But let me tell you, there's nothing mad about it, or her.Her posts are varied, and informative, even heart-touching.  She is such a strong woman. I've not "known" her long, either, but have been deeply inspired by her personal story.  Go make friends with her. She has a quick virtual smile and kind words for everyone. And don't forget to visit her Amazon page and check out her books. Mackenzie Crowne author page

L.J. Kentkowski  blogs at L.J. Writes.  Another shining example of what's great in the online writing community. If you see Mackenzie and M.L., L.J. probably isn't far. The three of them are very supportive of their fellow writers!  L.J. has a book available on Amazon: Guardian of Fate  Check her out and say "hello". 

The Sandras  at the I.O.U. Sex blog. Nope, I didn't just insert a naughty site here. This is the blog of authors Sandra Nachlinger and Sandra Allen. The two of them penned a wonderful, wonderful story titled (drum roll) "I.O.U. Sex" It is a sweet, funny, and touching story about three women in their sixties who've been friends since high school.   The Amazon book page--I did leave a review for this one, is here  Sandra Nachlinger is currently working on "Elly and the Geriatrics".  She posts Six Sunday snippets that are always funny. 

Paula Martin writes romance.  I recently read her newest release, ""Changing the Future" and loved it. I'm not a romance reader, but had read Six Sunday snippets and gave it a shot. Review worthy. :-)  Paula is a wonderful writer and I'd like to get a glimpse of seven from her next project. :-)

This was tough, narrowing down the seven.  I feel blessed to be networking with so many talented writers, but even better, so many good people.

And...M.L. chose me as one of his five for "The Next Best Thing" challenge.  He did a great job on his own.  No pressure here...no pressure. :-)  But it is a fun blog challenge, like this one.

If you'd like to be chosen as one of my five, let me know in a comment. I'll be doing that post in the next week.

Thank you for visiting!

Note*  Oy! lol...it really was just seven lines before I enlarged the font to make it easier to read...  Sheesh... lol...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Writing fun: Synopsis and Telling Children's stories.

Have you ever told a tale to a child--without reading it from a book? My son and daughter in law started a very neat thing with my granddaughter. It began as a way to help her cope with things that overwhelmed or frightened her. They told her stories that began with "Once upon a time..." and then pulled a story from the real world.  From the family, from history, from life. It didn't matter. She loves to hear stories.

Recently, I told her a tale about something that happened in my childhood, yea...I know. It was an ancient history tale ;-)  And what occurred to me is how telling a child a story is a lot like writing a brief synopsis, or even a blurb.  We simplify and condense.

To test my theory, I worked through a condensed story about an ancestor. I added fictional elements for interest. Admittedly, this is not one I'd tell my four year old granddaughter--at least not for a few years:

"Once upon a time Antis was born in the middle of a tribe of children.  Unlike the rest of his siblings, his feet never sprouted roots into the farming muck of Pennsylvania clay. No woman captured his heart; no church captured his soul. So he lit out when the Oklahoma oil boom  called to him.

Roughnecking paid good, but no money ever found its way back home, or into a place of his own, or into a church basket.  He deposited it into the hands of bartenders and fast women.

Letters from home begged for something that would never happen. He'd not go home to help them farm. He didn't need them.

The years went by. His mom and dad died. The rest of his tribe all married, had children and went to church on Sundays.

The years went by in Oklahoma, too.  Then the oil dried up. So did his life. He was old, bent over from injuries, and diseased by alcohol.  He was dying, just like the oil wells.

He found his way home.  But no one would have him.  With no place else to go, the county poorhouse took him in. No holy man visited there.  No god even knew the place existed. And he lay there in the smell of people dying until his own breath left him.

They took him out in a field, in the shade of tall hemlocks where the ground was useless for anything else. They chucked him in hole, threw dirt over him, and left him there without so much as a cross made of wood to mark his resting place.

The wind sighed through the soft branches and needles above him, "Now...now, finally, Antis. You'll sink roots into the Pennsylvania clay."

What a mental leap, huh?  But, when we are writing blurbs, or even pitches, maybe we need to think about them as a story for a child? :-)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway " The Evelyn Project

In celebration of the release of "The Evelyn Project" by Kfir Luzzatto, I am giving away a print copy to one lucky commenter.

"A loving father's cry for help gets into the wrong hands, and a hundred years later things get out of control.

Evelyn's father did everything in his power to save his dying daughter, black magic included. But when a century later his plea for help gets into the wrong hands, all hell breaks loose.

Caught in the slippery battlefield between the Vatican and a cult that wants to change the past, a young Italian professor and a beautiful French actress are too busy running away from murder and conspiracy to let physical attraction develop into love.

And it further complicates things when Her Majesty's Secret Service decides to take an interest in what everyone else is doing to pull some strings of its own.

Love that lasts through the veils of time, a mystery, and a race to end a conspiracy, "The Evelyn Project" is a story that will stir both your heart and your intellect."

My Review:

There it is, nicely summed up.  Don't you love that about books?  The back cover, the inside flap...and you get a mini story about the story.  This blurb was such a teeny-tiny teaser about the whole story.  

Kfir Luzzato has deftly crafted a very complex tale, weaving the mystery ever tighter and tighter, just until I thought I knew what was happening next and who could be trusted. Then he cast doubt in my mind, and wove the mystery another direction. Back and forth through the story--with a wide cast of varied characters to anchor his weaving...it kept me turning pages.

The story starts out simple enough.  But before the book is over, it seems like nearly everyone is involved, from Scotland Yard, the Vatican, the Italian Police, EU academia, and various other EU groups.

Franco and Eva, an unlikely pair, are thrown together by Easby, the mastermind of a secret agenda. If Easby succeeds, via any means necessary-- including committing an unholy act, it could change the world as we know it. The ramifications are not only incalculable and enormous, but dangerous as well.

As the number of people involved in the highstakes agenda grows larger, Franco is soundly caught up in the middle of it all, not knowing who he can trust. He even has his doubts about Eva--who has managed to capture his heart.

I read this book as soon as I got my copy. And I reread it a few days ago, just before reviewing it. I enjoyed the second read even more than the first. As I mentioned above, it is a complex tale. During my second read, the familiarity with the names and locations allowed me to focus a bit more on the plot, and I picked up a few things I missed on my first read.

And hang on for that neat little twist at the end...

Very enjoyable story.

About the author:

Kfir Luzzatto was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney.

He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis. He has won numerous awards for his writing.

Contact him:
Twitter: @KfirLuzzatto

Author’s Websitehttp://kfirluzzatto.com

Book May Be Purchased:

Please, leave a comment to be entered to win the print copy of "The Evelyn Project"

Winner to be announced on July 31st, 2012.  Please be sure that your comment contains a contact link--via blog, facebook, or Twitter so that you can be contacted if you are the lucky winner.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: July 15, 2012

Hello Talented Sixers and lovely readers. I hope you all had a good week.  Six Sentence Sunday is a blog hop with the linky-list at: sixsunday.com/  Each week the participants each post a six sentence snippet of their choosing on their blog.  Readers then offer advice, opinions, encouragement etc. Join us. It's a fun way to connect with other writers.

This week, I am picking up right where I left off  last week's six. The main character, Marissa, is homeless and struggling with the concept of reality. She is making her way along the north side of the  city, hoping to rifle through garbage to find a meal.

"It was a good day; she had a lucky find.  Must have been slow sales and they’d tossed out a dozen over-cooked hot dogs.   No buns, but food was food.

She wished she had the nerve to go inside and grab a couple packets of mustard; just the thought made her mouth water.  But it also made her cringe—thinking about the dark looks she’d get, meant to shame her back out the door."

That's it for now.  Thank you for visiting.  Please, leave me comment--even if it's just a "hello" to let me know you were here. :-) And have a wonderful week, all!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: July 8th, 2012

Hello, talented fellow sixers and lovely readers.  This week, back to "Across the Night Sky".

In the SSS posts for the last two weeks, Marissa completed her first journal entry.  The journal is being kept at the request of a volunteer counselor in an effort to help Marissa distinguish dreams from reality. Now, she's facing the day.

This week's six:

"Marissa closed the journal Rayanne had given her, clipping the pen over the cover, then slid it into her backpack.    

She made her way from the relative quiet of the Allegheny River shore ,toward traffic, businesses,  and maybe even a meal.

Upriver was the familiarity of the old, crumbling, red brick factory that was home. She didn’t know how long she’d have it—her pauper’s refuge. There were fewer and fewer abandoned buildings left standing, a result of the city’s focus on revitalization.

Continuing upriver from Allegheny Center toward the stadiums, she watched a steady stream of people avoid her.  Just as well.  It made it easier to slip behind the hot dog shop and rifle through their garbage." 

That's it for this week.

Comments, criticisms...and just plain "Hellos" are accepted with a smile.

To read the Six Sentence Snippets from other talented writers, click HERE

Thanks for visiting and have a great week, all! :-)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Where to start?  Easy...five stars.

This movie had it all.  The humor that cracked me up, and the sentimental moments when it pulled at my heartstrings.

"...everything will be alright in the end, and if it's not alright, it's not the end." Sonny in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel".

A group of Biritish retirees get duped into buying into a grand retirement in India.  Once there, they disocer that Sonny, a young, idealistic Indian has coaxed them to a hotel that will be grand in the future. Dust covers most of its old, crumbling magnificence.

Sonny has problems of his own.  He's in love, but afraid to say the words to a beautiful young Indian woman--who his mother does not approve of.  She knows who he will marry and she already has it arranged.

Judi Dench stole the movie, her character recently widowed and running out of money, facing a complex situation in her senior years. She gets a job--the first one she's ever had, and she writes a blog so her son can follow her new life in another country.  He voice narrates part of the story, and it is beautiful.  Passages about life, about growing old, about people...and about the truths that we come by over the passing of years.

The cast of characters were wonderful.  It was a mixed bag of personalities, all playing out in the colorful and impossibly crowded world in India.

The audience at the cinema was mostly older--50 and above.  It makes me hope that the younger crowd doesn't pass this one by.  They might learn a little, gain a little insight into what lies ahead, and they just might laugh out loud-- like we did..

Excellent, excellent movie. :-)