And the Games Begin….

2013-08-31 10.15.02So it’s Monday morning and I’m looking at the various things I have going on in my life.  There is quite a bit- but what it mainly boils down to is trying to make 2014 an even more successful year than 2013 was.

And truthfully, I’m off to a pretty good start.

I’m currently working on/putting the finishing touches on a three book mystery/sci-fi series that is definitely not for the faint of heart.  And if all goes according to plan, the artwork alone will knock your socks off.   I’m working to get things ready for beta readers by the end of April, so if your interested in giving it a critique before it hits my publisher’s desk, leave a comment here or contact me directly.

Listening

conversationOver the last few days I ended up taking a bit of a break from writing- at least the part of it that involves sitting down in front of a keyboard and typing. My husband’s birthday was close to the weekend, so we decided that we would spend time together, both with friends and by ourselves and celebrate the fact that he was alive and in relatively good health.

It was during this time that I was reminded of the importance of listening for the writer-or for anyone for that matter. Listening of course, involve hearing, but it is more than that. Listening involves taking in the world around you, and considering it carefully. It means critically thinking about the truth of someone’s words, the potential fault of your own, and of course how your reaction mirrors your instinctive feelings for the situation.

As a writer, I strive to make my words sound as natural. While writing dialogue I always stop and ask myself- “Would the character really say that? Would he or she use those particular words?” I also read my work out loud. It’s a great way to see where the stumbling blocks are. If I can hear myself struggling to read the passage, it’s far from a natural progression of the words.

Creating a World

taking care

One of the things that I absolutely love about writing is that I can create or re-create any world that I see in my mind and put it on paper for other people to experience. I have always had a very vibrant imagination- so much so that for many years I thought that I was literally crazy. I would look at people, places and things, and my mind would begin to draw them in a different light. I would look at a highway interchange and see in my mind the ancient grasslands that came before. I would glance at a young boy and see him age into a wizardly old man, complete with gold-rimmed spectacles and laugh lines around his mouth.

Whether I am seeing what was, or what will be is hard to say. Perhaps that is what imagination and make-believe truly is- a window to the flow of time, the ability to see the shifting nature of things that were, and are yet to come. There is so much that we don’t know- about everything. We study, we learn, we grow and change, and reality does the same with us. I believe, in my heart that there is an ebb and flow to everything- that the world is not full of unchanging static things, but rather full of things searching for balance. Things can remain calm for a while, objects can be still for a time, but sooner or later, everything- from stone to fire will shift, change, grow or diminish. It is the way of things.

Attack of the 50-foot Story….

Every month, I try to write at least one short story. Not only is it a way to get more of my stories out there for those of you who are brave enough to read them, but it also allows me to hone my skill in the art of short story writing.

And let me tell you, writing a short story, say under 5,000 words is vastly different than writing longer fiction. In my opinion, it is also much, much harder.

In a novel, you have time. You develop your characters, your plot line, and your atmosphere to slowly draw the readers into the world that you create. They can be enticed with the sights and experiences that you want to show them. A longer piece of fiction allows you to build the reality that you want the readers to see.

While novels and longer fiction allow you to create a new reality over time, a short story, at least a good short story forces you to take all that information that you have in a novel and condense it, prioritize it, and filter it to give the reader a snap shot of the world of your characters. In an instant, a writer of short stories needs to show the reader exactly what he should see to understand what is going on, and to infer, at his leisure any back story that might exist. There isn’t the luxury of drawn out narratives or waxing poetic. No, a short story only offers you the chance to record the vibrant and visceral present, with a few momentary glances into the past if you’re lucky.

Review of The Inadvertent Thief by Leti Del Mar

book coverThe Inadvertent Thief

Author: Leti Del Mar

Availability: Amazon Kindle

Publisher: Self-Published

Author’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/The-Inadvertent-Thief-ebook/dp/B0089CLOZQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357654844&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Inadvertent+Thief

Author’s Website: www.wordswithletidelmar.blogspot.com

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary

This book gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Vivien Flowers, an up and coming security specialist who makes her living making sure the fine art that she is entrusted with stays safe and secure. Everything is routine until one of her clients is robbed, and two valuable paintings- Summer and Fall by David de La Flor are taken from beneath her electronic and security camera nose. She then is forced to deal with the ineptness of the local authorities, and the help of a very handsome insurance investigator to do what she does best to get the paintings back to where they below. It’s a story of deceit, intrigue, and a hint of romance that will keep you guessing until the end.

Overall Impressions

Perhaps the one word that I can use to describe this book is refreshing. For those of you expecting a normal “two opposites thrown together who eventually fall in love despite themselves” kind of story, you’re in for a very pleasant and realistic surprise. While there is an element of romance to this story, what really drives it is the realistic-and I do mean realistic- depiction of relationships and how they progress, and the level of detail put into the story. Leti Del Mar’s obvious research into the realm of security, robbery and fine art certainly would make a person wonder about her previous professions. Thankfully for the fine art world, she has chosen to grace the written page.

A Review of Rosi’s Time by Edward Eaton

rosistime800x1200Rosi’s Time

Author: Edward Eaton

Availability: Paperback and Kindle formats are available at Amazon. E-books are also available for Nook via Smashwords

Publisher: DFP Books

Author’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Eaton/e/B006AH2VJ0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Author’s Website: www.edwardeaton.com

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary

This is the second installment in the Rosi’s Doors saga, and not surprisingly is the winner of the 2012 Readers Favorite Award in the YA Science Fiction/Fantasy category.

The story finds Rosi Carol trying to balance her life as an apprentice Time Guardian and that of a normal teenage girl with friends, romantic interests, and life in general. However, things get a little more interesting when Kirk, the brother of her beloved Danny, her best friend Angie, and herself gets pulled into the past through an errant time tear. Almost instantly, they realize that they’ve landed just in time to see the start of the American Revolutionary War, and exactly how the sleepy town of New Richmond plays an integral part in the bloodshed to come. Rosi knows that they shouldn’t be there, that the presence of the people from her time will have an undeniable effect on history. And it’s up to her to try and make it right.

Writing, Communication and other Frustrating Activities

What a week. For those who dream of a writer’s life, let me bring you in on a little secret. Yes, it is worth it, but there are times when tearing your hair out do seem like a more enjoyable pastime.

Earlier this week I had the distinct pleasure of talking with a small publisher and distributor in the Chicago region concerning The Spring and Autumn Murders . I met him through a friend, and he was considering helping me out with the distribution of the book by featuring it, possibly in his 2013 catalog.

I was happy and excited to meet with the gentlemen, and of course a bit wary. True, I had done my research and hadn’t discovered anything bad about him or the company he worked for, but still, this book is precious to me. I wanted to both allow it to spread its wings and keep it protected from the predators that might exist. Still, with a mixture of hesitation, trepidation, and a fair amount of excitement I went to the meeting.

Five Question Interview: Jaye Shields

Jaye Author Pic

  1. You have a degree in Anthropology specializing in archeology from San Francisco State University. Was there a particular time period or area of archeological study that held a fascination for you during your study?
    1. Great question. My emphasis was Maya Civ, including Olmec, Zapotec and Aztec peoples. I also took a lot of great classes on Classical Greece, which is where I got a lot of the inspiration for my Immortals in Alameda series.

Telling the Story

Writing has always been a secret love of mine, although are relationship has always been a bit rocky. Academically speaking things such as literature, writing, or studying English has never been my strong point- by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, if you were to look at my high school transcripts, you would see that I spectacularly failed English class- that’s right I failed a class in my native tongue. I got a 29% one year. For those of you playing at home, that would be an E minus on just about any scale in the United States Public School system.

I am also not one of those writers in which the words just flow out of her like some. I envy those who can sit down and write for twelve to sixteen hours a day, the words tumbling over themselves to get onto the paper. Personally, if I write for more than four hours in a day on one project I give myself a pat on the back for a job well done. This is especially true if the day did not include the urge to pour a bottle of water over my laptop or feeding my notebook to a shredder.

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