Monthly Archives: January 2014

On Writing: What I Listen to When Writing

One of the best “extras” I found after purchasing my iPad is the free weekly songs featured on iTunes. I have found a lot of alternative musicians, including Ivan & Alyoshia. This song, “Running for Cover,” is in my “writing mp3″ list.

I hope the music inspires you to write. Enjoy!

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Jacinda Buchmann’s Rafflecopter Giveaway

Jacinda Buchmann is offering a rafflecopter giveaway in conjunction with her book–Indigo Incite, Book One of the Indigo Trilogy. I am happy to share the news. It begins on January 27th at 3 AM MST and continues until February 1st. Good luck to everyone entering!

Indigo Incite Final
Rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDhiZGQxYzVlMzIyODA3NmRmN2NlYjBiNzFlMmM0OjE3/

There are no secrets

Sixteen-year-old Tyler believed that his extra-sensory powers were a secret, but when his twin brother, Toby, is kidnapped by a covert government agency, he realizes that he has no secrets, and he has nowhere to hide.

He’s not alone

Now, to save himself and rescue his brother, Tyler must call upon the help of four strangers. Unknown to each other, Eddie, Liliana, Grace, and Sarah share a common bond. They are Indigo Children. With extra-sensory powers of their own, they must unite with Tyler to maintain their freedom.

Unexpected romance

They’re on the run. They’re on a mission. Romance is a distraction that Tyler can’t afford. But sometimes, the heart has a mind of its own.

Time is running out

Will they find Toby before the agency finds them first? Find out in Indigo Incite, Book One of the Indigo Trilogy.

(I am not affiliated with Jacinda Buchmann or rafflecopter.)

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Amber Skye Forbes Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Amber Skye Forbes is offering a rafflecopter giveaway in conjunction with her new book–When Stars Die. I am happy to share the news. It begins on January 26th and continues until February 2nd. Good luck to everyone entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When Stars Die
“Yet, even when stars die, they leave a lasting impact through their light, their diamond brilliance as they scatter their material to form new stars. When people die, they leave the same impact with the footprints they leave on people’s hearts. Even the ones who feel insignificant go out, leaving behind dust that can nourish the world anew.”

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward…again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.

(I am not affiliated with Amber Sky Forbes or raffelcopter.)

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On Writing: Researching Accurately and Efficiently

research-quotes

I have always enjoyed learning new things. I can spend hours looking through books on multitudes of subjects and finding out new facts and information. When I am cooking I will watch shows on P.B.S. or National Geographic. (This is one of the few times a day I watch television and shows with no real narrative are preferable if you watch in 10-20 minutes bursts of time.) Learning about weather patterns in Ancient Egypt, the type of wildlife living in the Antarctic, quilt makers patterns from 18th Century America, or the newest discoveries in astrophysics could all spark a story idea.

I try to mentally store all of the information, ideas, and images hoping that one day I will be able to use that tidbit of knowledge.
Most books require research to make them accurate, even if you are writing science fiction or fantasy; these story worlds still need to feel believable and logical to the readers. Most works include at least one or two aspects outside of the author’s personal experiences or knowledge. This information—these details—help to get the readers wrapped up in the story.

Accuracy and Efficiency are important parts of this process, especially when a writer moves from “brainstorming” to drafting out a story idea. Where to find information, particularly if you want to research online for the sake of efficiency, becomes an issue with the first aspect—accuracy. How can a writer determine (quickly!) that the information he/she finds online is accurate?

One of the first sites that will come up in any search is Wikipedia. Please do not get me wrong—I like this site; however, it does have issues with accuracy because of the editorial policies. I know that the creators of the site are working on this, and I hope that they can resolve it very soon because it really is a fabulous idea. For the sake of efficiency, once all of the accuracy problems are resolved with the site it will be wonderful.

To demonstrate an accuracy issue—I looked up Regency-style clothing on Wikipedia a while ago hoping to learn more information on how the items were constructed. According to the entry I read, lady’s dresses were fastened with zippers during this era, despite the fact that “hookless fasteners” (as zippers were once called) had not been invented until the late 19th Century and were not popularly used in clothing until the early 20th Century. A small detail to be sure, but one that would throw a reader completely out of a story world set in the early 1800s.

So—what are the options?

Like many writers, I start “collecting” web sites for topics that I may one day use. (For Regency and Victorian fashions, one site I like is http://www.victoriana.com/Regency-Era/ It has some lovely period photographs and modern equivalents. Another site http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/category/regency-period/ belongs to a fellow blogger here on WordPress and has one of the best bookmark pages on social customs in the Regency Era. I highly recommend it.) Obviously keeping an organized bookmark tab is vitally important; alas, I am not that organized on a day-to-day basis, so every month or so I go through and put the new discoveries under the correct heading in my bookmarks. It makes it easier when I need to find a fact about something. If you can organize as you go, accessing it when writing becomes easier for you—streamlining the writing process.

For new research, try using an academic search engine like “Google Scholar.”

http://scholar.google.com/

The articles and e-books pulled up by this search engine will help writers go as in-depth as they need into the field. With my example of the Regency period—there will not be many web sites with drawings or pictures of clothing, but if you want to research the social and political implications of the high-waisted gowns versus the prior eras fashions, you will find dozens of academic-style articles, complete with discussions of the visual motifs represented by the fashion in the novels of the era.

Accuracy is then covered, but efficiency needs to be addressed. It is very important to figure out what information you need, and then move on to writing. A writer does not want all of his/her time committed to finding details that will never make it to the manuscript page. Prioritize the research time so the information needed is captured first; but do not feel bad if the temptation of a fascinating fact causes you to just sit and read. In my experience, all writers love to read.

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On Writing: What I Listen to When Writing

As I have mentioned in prior posts, I have been doing a lot more writing recently. I have been listening not only to new artists, but also ones that I have enjoyed over the years. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss collaborated a few years ago. This is one of my favorite songs from that CD and is in my “writing mp3 list” rotation.

(I like how the title of that song starts–”Please Read.” :-)

I hope the music inspires you to write. Enjoy!

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“Going Home” Nominated for the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror Anthology for 2013.

I am very pleased that “Going Home,” has been nominated for the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror Anthology for 2013.

Going Home

Available for purchase at the following:

http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=16&products_id=589

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“Going Home” Named to Tangent Online’s Recommended Reads

I am very pleased to announce that “Going Home,” published in the June, 2013 issue of Penumbra, has been named to Tangent Online’s Recommended Reads list for 2013!

http://www.tangentonline.com/news-mainmenu-158/2318-tangent-online-2013-recommended-reading-list

Going Home

Available for purchase at the following:

http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=16&products_id=589

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If Writing Is Not Your Day Job, Are You Still a Writer?

chrispavesic:

This is a very interesting post. It deals with issues of semi-professional writers who earn their livings in other fields. It does raise the question about people finding the time to write when other work-related responsibilities take most of the hours in a day.

Originally posted on Waiting Outside of Parnassus:

At what point is one allowed to call oneself a writer is a question that I’ve spent far too much time contemplating. When I was younger, I would shy away from calling myself a writer because my writing wasn’t serious, wasn’t good, wasn’t published, wasn’t published in a paying magazine, and myriad of other reasons. I now say that the only thing that makes a person a writer is that they write (something I’ve heard a lot of other people say for a long time before I accepted its obvious truth). As long as I spend a good portion of my time getting words on the page, I am a writer. Maybe not a good one, a successful one or any other qualifier, but I am inarguably a writer, though there is always a little (or huge) part of me that doesn’t think I can call myself one. Part of the…

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On Writing: What I Listen to When Writing

“Waiting for My Real Life to Begin,” by Colin Hay, is a very inspirational song for all types of artists. Hay sings about focusing on his creative life and reaching for success against all odds. I love the imagery in the lyrics–especially about sighting the ship in the distance, the cobbled lanes, and slaying the dragon.

I hope the music inspires you to write!

Enjoy!

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On Writing: What I Listen to When Writing

I have been including more of these music-themed posts recently because I have been doing a lot of writing. It’s me, my computer, my imagination, and my MP3 list. :-)

I enjoy a lot of different types of music, but the music that I listen to when writing has to meet one very important criteria: I have to enjoy it enough to listen to it over and over and over again. It helps me to “tune out” the hustle-and-bustle of daily life in my household. It keeps me focused on the job at hand (getting the words down on the screen) and inspires me.

One of the artists I have been listening to for years is Chris Isaak. He and his band have the (dubious) honor of being the only musicians I have ever gone to see in concert at least once a year when they tour in the Midwest. (He and the band have won a lot more prestigious honors than this!) The main reason for this is the high quality of the performance. The songs are generally about sadness and heartbreak, which would not make for an up-beat evening, but Chris Isaak and his band spend the evening telling humorous stories and anecdotes between (and sometimes during) the songs. They always seem to have the audience in the grip of hilarity.

Chris Isaak does a “meet-and-greet” at the end of every concert and he will spend a few minutes talking to each fan. Not only is this a wonderful experience on its own, it also has made my games of “Six Degrees of Separation” with my friends very cool.

If you have never played—Six Degrees of Separation is a game based on the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. You make a chain of “friend of a friend” statements to connect people in a maximum of six steps. John Guare’s play, Six Degrees of Separation, popularized this theory. From the 1993 film:

“I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. The President of the United States, a gondolier in Venice, just fill in the names.”

So my “Six Degrees of Separation” list generally goes something like this:

I met Chris Isaak after a concert. (He drew a picture of himself with a halo just for me.)
He was in Silence of the Lambs with Anthony Hopkins.
Anthony Hopkins was in Thor with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. (This is cool enough right there, but we will go on!)
Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston were in The Avengers with [fill in your favorite here].

Knowing my friends, it is the fact that I can do this for Six Degrees of Separation to Stan Lee that actually lets me win the game.

Enjoy listening! I hope the music inspires you to write.

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