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Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun Friday: Pumpkins

Well, since Halloween in only two days away, here's some carved pumpkins to get you in the mood.  Just a word of warning.  These videos probably contain music that would be inappropriate for work.  I do suggest turning your volume down.  Thanks.  Enjoy.  Be safe.  And Happy Halloween!

Also, don't forget to comment on this post, to win a copy of the book PERSONAL DEMONS.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The closet, the bathroom, and Jefferey

As you probably know, I've been telling my true life ghost stories all week. You can read here and here for the others. Also don't forget to comment on yesterday's post to win a copy of PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers.

And now for the pièce de résistance, this is this creepiest real life ghost story I’ve ever dealt with.

It started when I was living in Maryland. There was an apartment that was pretty close to everything I was looking for. 2 bedrooms (One for me and one for the kiddo), large rooms, and even larger windows. And best of all, it was available right then and they were even going to give me a discount on the rent. How could you pass that up?

I couldn’t. So I moved in immediately. Well, the first night I moved in, I still didn’t have all my stuff. I had to wait for that to come up from Florida, so I bought an air mattress and tried sleeping in my bedroom. Only I couldn’t. There was something unnerving about the room (the walk-in closet to be precise), so I pulled the mattress into the living room and slept there.

It was always a little eerie to be in the apartment by myself, and I always felt like I was being watched in the bathroom. It got so bad that I raced through my showers and never took baths, because I was sure there was someone on the other side of the curtain.

A few months later, I moved my son up with me, and I moved my bed into my bedroom. It was still eerie, but I just dealt with it, it would seem a little strange to my son that mommy was sleeping in the living room.

However, a few weeks later, I was reading a book and I hear my son talking to someone. I thought maybe he’d gotten the phone and called his daddy—who’d opted to stay in Florida with our house until I could come back from the military. So, I called to my son and asked him who he was talking to.

He yells back that he’s talking to Jefferey.

Not knowing who Jefferey was, I went to DS’s room and saw him sitting on his bed. I asked him, “Who?”

And he points next to him and says, “Jefferey. He says, “hi,” mommy.”

There was no one next to him. I freaked, but I didn’t want to alarm my son so I just nodded and told him to say hi back. And immediately called my husband. Who laughed at me and told me it was probably his imaginary friend.

Feeling stupid, I agreed and tried not to worry when DS would start talking to himself. It was probably nothing. Just like DH had said.

But I still always felt uncomfortable in my room and the bathroom. I could never shake it.

Then one night I had a friend over to babysit for me, so I could go out with some other friends for my birthday.

When I came home the next day, my friend met me at the door. She said she was sorry, but she could never baby sit for me at the apartment again. She’d be more than happy to watch DS at her house, but she wasn’t ever coming to my house again.

When I asked her why, she refused to answer. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. Just figured she was homesick.

A few months after that, my husband came to stay for the weekend. Almost immediately he started acting strange. He wouldn’t let me go into the bedroom alone and asked me to keep the bathroom door open if I went in.

Almost immediately he started making plans to move up. He would never tell me what was up, but I didn’t question it either. I missed him and was glad he wanted to try and move up with us.

For months he tried to find work up where I was, but couldn’t, so it was just DS and me.

Then I got a leak in the bathroom. I called maintenance and was told they’d be right there. No one showed. For almost a week, I couldn’t get any one to check out the leak. I finally had to get my CO involved.

The maintenance people agreed to come that day, but only if I was there. I agreed and when they finally showed up I asked them what had happened. They didn’t speak much English, and I don’t speak Spanish, but I remember what he said, because I had to ask my friend to interpret it later. “Fantasma.” Which means ghost apparently.

They fixed the leak and then left. They were there no longer than ten minutes.

The next day I asked my friend what it meant. The same one who stayed the night with my son. She told me, then asked me why. I told her and she finally told me the story of why she didn’t ever want to stay at my apartment.

She said that every time she’d try to sleep, she’d felt a tugging on her arm and a voice telling her to check on my son. She’d been so scared that she’d called in another friend to stay with her. She’d wanted to call me, but she felt stupid, so she called the other friend instead.

Of course, now I’m starting to put two and two together and called my husband to ask him why he’d behaved the way he had.

After almost fifteen minutes, I got my answer. He’d heard a male voice coming from my room and he’d felt hostility whenever he was in it. The same for the bathroom. He’d also heard children splashing in the tub, when he knew DS was either at school or asleep.

I finally did some research on the apartment. I needed to know what was going on. I found out from the elderly neighbor across the way that a man had lived there with his two children. A boy—named Jefferey, and a girl named Melanie. Apparently there was some kind of custody battle between the man and his wife or ex-wife. So, instead of letting the courts battle it out, he drown the kids in the bathtub and then killed himself in the closet. The same closet I was worried about in the beginning.

A few weeks after that, I moved my son back to Florida. And moved into the barracks at the Naval base (after a quick sea voyage to the Middle East). Now I know why the apartment was ready for move in and there was a discount.

I just hope that no one else had to go through what I did. Or that the apartment stayed empty.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Writer's Wednesday: Personal Demons Book Review and Contest

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Publisher: Tor Teen (September 14, 2010)
Paperback: 365 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Author’s Publicist

Frannie Cavanaugh has always been a bit of a loner. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance, even her closest friends. That is, until Luc Cain enrolls in her school. He's hot, sarcastic, and dangerous—and Frannie can't seem to stay away.

What she doesn't know is that Luc is on a mission. Because Frannie isn't exactly ordinary. She possesses a skill so unique that the king of Hell himself has taken notice, and he's sent Luc to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy: All he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and he's just started making progress when the angel Gabriel shows up. Gabe will do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for, and his angelic charm might just be enough to keep Frannie on the right path.

It isn't long before Luc and Gabe find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie's soul. But if Luc fails to win her over, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

REVIEW:  Okay, I’ve read a LOT of angel/demon stories lately.  For obvious reasons. So when the publicist contacted me, I was excited to read this, but worried, as well.  None of the other stories ever lived up to my expectations.  Which are—to say the least—someone’s soul hanging in the balance, a fight to the death (it is a book about Heaven and Hell after all), and a clearly defined romance, maybe a triangle.

This one, however, lived up to them ALL.  It has the soul hanging, the fight to the death, the romance, and even a triangle.  I couldn’t have asked for more, but Ms. Desrochers delivered all that and more.

It starts in Luc’s view, which, I think, was genius, especially when Gabriel comes in and you don’t know who you want to root for.  I’ve never been so conflicted with who I wanted Frannie to be with.  *NOTE:  I’m still confused. *   

Anyway, it starts in Luc’s view and he works for Hell’s Acquisitions department.  His job description is usually starting people on the path to Hell, but something is different with his latest mission.  He needs to “tag” someone for Hell.  Someone who’s been hard to find.  So hard, in fact, that the last two demons sent to find this person have failed.  Now he’s the new student at a school nicknamed Hades—i.e. Hell—High and he meets Frannie. Who just happens to be his essay partner.

This is where we go into Frannie’s POV—which let me just say, I’m usually not a fan of the alternating 1st person POV, but Ms. Desrochers makes it work.  I wasn’t at all pulled out any time the author switched views.
Anyway, when they meet, Frannie is immediately interested.  There’s just some about him.  He’s tall, dark, dangerous and… completely not her type, according to one of Frannie’s friends who wants to stake her own claim on Luc—which let me tell you was a twist I was NOT expecting, but was perfect for this book.

This book was simply amazing.  I seriously couldn’t put it down.  The characterization was excellent; I completely felt all the emotions from both Frannie and Luc.  And even when I wanted to strangle Frannie several times for being stupid, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her and root for good things to happen to her.  And let’s not forget Luc. I was constantly switching my thoughts on him.  I liked him.  I didn’t like him.  I was all over the emotional scale.

And the conflict arcs in this are unbelievable, just when you don’t think it can get more complicated, it did.  But in a good way.  The characters reactions were believable, as were their interactions.  Though, I think I would have liked to see more of Gabriel.  Just because of who he is.

Characters:  Frannie is a tough, kick-ass girl with plenty of emotional baggage to make her lovable.  Not to mention you immediately feel for her when she’s worried about going after the boy she has a crush on, because she knows her friend is going to want him for herself.  Luc is exactly what you’d expect from a demon.  Tall, dark, dramatic and hot as Hell.  Literally.  Gabriel is cool, calm, collected, light where Luc was dark and it was easy to tell why Frannie would have a hard time choosing between them.

Cover:  While the layout of the cover was great and expresses the gist of the story well, I was actually disappointed with it.  The models, in my opinion, don’t really look teenaged.   Maybe the model portraying Gabriel does, but definitely not Frannie.  And that’s exactly why I hadn’t picked the book up myself, though I’d seen it around on different pages.  I thought it was an adult book.  Not a teen read.

If you’re looking for a great paranormal read and an angel/demon book that is unique, you’ll love this book.

It’s going on my favorite shelf immediately and I already can’t wait to read it again, or the other two books in the series. 

Original Sin (Book #2) will be coming July 2011


And as promised, because I've reached 200 followers, I'm also giving away a copy of PERSONAL DEMONS.  However, this contest is going to be a bit different than my usual.  All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what your own personal demon is.  I'll pick a random winner next Wednesday. This contest is open internationally.

Find Lisa Desrochers 

Purchase Personal Demons

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Toothless

 As promised here's a sneak peak of my newest short story, tentatively titled, TOOTHLESS.  We haven't come to part yet, where the title will make sense, but I hope you enjoy, even though it's technically a vampire story.  (And as always, this is EXTREMELY rough.)

The sound of her heart racing is like a tympani to me and urges me forward.  She is mine.  From the minute our eyes meet across the dance, I knew it.  Even when she realized what I was and tried to sneak away, I knew.  And now, with her feet slapping the wet concrete of the alley, her heart hammering in her chest, and her breaths gasping, her blood beckons to me. Like a Siren's Call it is impossible to ignore.
The red haired beauty has wound her way around the city, dodging here and there, but I'm never far behind.  And while I'm not hurrying, to her mortal's eyes, I am a blur.  I could have grabbed her before this started, but the chase is fun.  In a life filled with endless night, a little entertainment with my meals is indispensable and the key to preventing boredom--a fate worse than a stake through the heart.  At least there's a fight before the stake.
But the chase has come to an abrupt end, the poor dear.  And she's run right into a dead end alley.  And apt name...considering.
"Please," she begs.  "Please don't hurt me."
"Oh, this won't hurt in the least," I say.  However, the fangs gleaming from my smile probably don't give her the relief she's looking for.
She pushes herself against the wet, dirty wall as if trying to go through the wall and I have to laugh.  Why do mortals always think that cringing away from the monsters is going to make us go away?  Seriously.  It seems kind of dumb.
"Relax," I say.  "This really won't hurt.  You'll never feel a thing."
I step closer and the fear radiating from her causes me to quiver in anticipation.  Her blood will be delicious.  Like the first taste of a fresh, tart not-quite-ripe apple.
Mmm, apples.  I must have one when I get home.
Toe to toe with her now, I place my hands on either side of her face.  Her eyes are wide and I can barely see the blue because her pupils have taken over and their black depths are all that's visible.
Her lips, painted a bloody red, tremble, but it's not all fear now.  It's just as much arousal.  Anticipation.  My touch and smell overpowering her instincts.
It's such a shame really.  She really is a beautiful girl.  I trail my finger down her delicate throat and rest in the hollow of her collar bone.  Maybe I'll keep her after all.  She would make a wonderful companion.
She's making little whimpering sounds that make me want to moan in pleasure.  Is there anything more electrifying than a moan?
I smile, then dip my head, brushing her lips with mine, letting her breathe in my scent, which is more potent than any illicit drug.  Almost immediately it has an effect and she's putty in my arms. Literally.
If I hadn't been pressing my body firmly against hers, she would have fallen to the ground.
     I shake my head.  Humans really are strange creatures.  I flip her over my shoulder and bound out of the alley

Monday, October 25, 2010

Music Monday: Monster Mash (UP)

It's Halloween Week on the blog.  You can probably tell from the recent remodel of my template.  This week will be FILLED with great Halloween things:

Today: My 13 favorite Halloween songs (in no particular order).  

Tuesday:   a sneak peek of my short story.  

Wednesday:  A book review and giveaway.  

Thursday:   A true to life ghost story in honor of THE DAY.  

Friday:  A surprise.  

So, buckle those seat belts, because it's going to be bump in the night ride!

1.  Monster Mash

2. Thriller

3. This is Halloween 

4. Addams Family (Original Opening)

5. Ghost Busters

6. Purple People Eater

7. Witch Doctor

8. I Put A Spell On You 

9.  Living Dead Girl

1o. Grim, Grinning Ghosts

11. Tales From the Crypt

12. Goosebumps (Theme Song)  

13. Tubular Bells (Exorcist Theme Song) 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fun Friday: Cats

Since I did dogs last week, I couldn't show any favoritism, so here's some funny cats.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tip Thursday: 3 reasons to Ditch your Novel's Prologue.

Here's a great article I found here about prologues.  We've always been told we shouldn't include them, but time and time again we see them in published books.  So, I asked myself, "What gives?  Why shouldn't we write prologues, if every one is always doing them?"  Here's what I found:

The prologue is a legitimate story-telling device, but many readers admit that when they see the word “Prologue,” they skip at once to the page that begins with the words “Chapter One.”
Sometimes a prologue is the ideal way to present information essential to the reader’s understanding of the story.

Mystery writers, for example, often begin with a prologue written from the killer’s point of view, or perhaps that of the killer’s first victim. On the other hand, such a scene can be written as “Chapter One” as Martha Grimes does it in The Dirty Duck.

Writers of historical fiction may wish to provide background information to orient the reader in an unfamiliar period.

Writers of fantasy or sci-fi may write a prologue to equip the reader with unfamiliar assumptions held by the inhabitants of the strange world they’re about to enter.

Too often, however, what some writers call a “prologue” is undigested back story, mere scene-setting, or what should be Chapter One.

Ditch your prologue if…
1. …it seems boring even to you and you can hardly wait to get to Chapter One.

2. …it’s a lengthy narrative of back story that could more effectively be doled out in small bits as the 
story progresses.

3. …all it does is create atmosphere without having much to do with the story.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Writer's Wednesday: Why I was jealous of my vacuum cleaner.

So I had no clue what I was going to write today.  In fact, I received a tiny bit of bad news yesterday and was doing my whole overly melodramatic “I suck!  I suck so badly the vacuum cleaner is laughing at me.” thing that I tend to do every once in a while.  (I don’t do it too often because…well who wants to listen to a whiney, insecure person who’s jealous of a vacuum?! )  Well, anyway, I was doing my rant and felt I should probably just give up on writing anything that made sense and went to read.

BIG MISTAKE!! NEVER and I repeat NEVER let your friends read when they’re feeling sorry for themselves!  (It’s like the writer’s equivalent of drinking and driving.  Well, okay, it’s not THAT bad, but…you’ll see what I mean.  It’s a TRAIN WRECK waiting to happen.)  Then you get this:

“Oh, GOD!  Look at this.  This writer is the most awesome of awesome writers everywhere.  Look how she says this in like ONE SENTENCE!  I could NEVER write that in ONE SENTENCE. It would take me like a hundred fajillion sentences for me to pull that off.  And look!  No ADVERBS.  She’s like the GODDESS of writers, because I can see this perfectly without adverbs.  I suck I would need at least 10 adverbs lined up one after the other to make that work.   There’s not a single typo.  Look at my ROUGH DRAFT it freakin’ SUCKS.  I have SOO many typos. And my beta said this doesn’t make sense.  But this totally cool writer has everything that makes sense. “

I’m sure you’ve seen the flaw in my logic.  If you haven’t then you must be where I was yesterday.  I was comparing a ROUGH DRAFT to a FINISHED book that has had more people going over it to make sure it’s perfect, than a movie star at her plastic surgeon’s office.

So, I tossed down the totally, freakin’ cool book that made me feel like the bubble gum I had stuck to my shoe the other day, and decided to get some archery practice in. 

ANOTHER big mistake.  I lost a tip.  Hit the already swollen and bruised arm at least a hundred times (I only shot 6 arrows—see I can count), I missed the bulls-eye EVERY TIME, the list just goes on and on and on. 

Of course, this was just another reminder of my suckitude.  I was certain that instead of Midas’ touch, I had what my husband has dubbed “Jessie’s touch.”  Where everything I touch will break or not go as planned.

I spent the rest of the day sulking.  I refused to do ANYTHING.  I just KNEW that if I did something the whole house would spontaneously implode, killing absolutely everything around me, EXCEPT me who would be standing in the middle of the rubble, completely unscathed, holding a part of the thing that exploded.

Yep.  Wasn’t I a piece of work?! 

I ended the day with going to bed early.

This morning I woke and the birds were singing, the sun was shining.  My WIP was calling to me, and so was this blog post.  And I knew that, today, my vacuum cleaner was going to be jealous of ME.

Happy Wednesday, peeps!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: REAPING

This is from Chapter 2, when Emily first enters high school for the first time.  She's determined she's just going to observe only (ie not make friends.)  She just wants to get in, find the Soul Stealer, and get back out.

For the blurb and to see what the character's look like, please visit the story's page on my website.  I don't have the character bios up yet for these.  (Please remember that all teasers are rough drafts. Thank you very much.)

Also, don't forget to check out the Oasis, where I'm talking about Music through the ages.  YOu never know when you'll need some number one hits from the past.  :D

High school.  A fate worse than death?  Considering that I'd never attended formal schooling and it meant being surrounded by a bunch of whining sniveling brats five days a week, than yes.  But it was probably better than waiting around for hours, possibly days for someone to die. 
Though as I stood just outside my first period class, tugging the hem of my skirt down, as my heart beat a tattoo in my chest, I thought maybe, just maybe, that had to be better than walking into a class that had already been going for at least fifteen minutes with kids that had known each other for years.
Something furry brushed up against my legs and I glanced down. A large black cat with silver eyes, rubbed her large face against my calf.  She meowed and I sighed.  "I know, I know.  I've faced worse than a bunch of sniveling teenagers.  I can do this."  I can do this, I repeated to myself, straightening my shoulders and with one more glance down when the cat bumped against my leg, pushed the door open.
The teacher, a portly man with thinning hair named Mr. Evans, stopped talking.  He stared at me as if I'd appeared out of thin air instead of walking through the door.  The class whispered as I went to him. 
"Do you see her shoes?" a blond girl in the front row whispered to a redhead next to her.  I ignored her and kept going.
The redhead nodded.  "Yeah, what's up with the gloves?  It's a hundred outside."  She rolled her green eyes and they both snickered.  But when I turned to face them directly, they both stopped and pretended they hadn't said anything.
"Can I help you?" the teacher asked, drawing my attention back to him.
Instead of responding, I handed him the slip of paper the secretary had given me that morning when I'd registered. 
"You're the new student?" he asked after reading the paper, but went on before I could answer.  "You're just in time.  Today we're doing a half-life simulation!"  He beamed when he said it and it made me wonder why adults always thought if they said something that was really boring like it was really exciting, it would make it that way.
A boy in the back of the class called out, "The video game?"
"That's quite enough, Mr. Rogers," Mr. Evan said, and then turned back to me.
I only stared at him until the smile slipped away and he pointed to the back of the classroom, where an empty lab table sat. 
"Take a seat over there.  I'll be passing out your lab papers soon." 
When I sat down and shoved my book bag under the table, the two girls in the front started whispering again.  "What is up with her eyes?  They're so weird," the blonde said.
"I know.  I can't tell if they're just a really light blue or a silver."
With a roll of those questionably colored orbs, I pulled out a notebook and waited for the teacher to pass around the handouts. 
Without warning, the chair next to me scraped across the floor and a backpack thunked onto the table top.  I looked over to see a bronzed skinned boy with sun-streaked brown hair and muddy brown eyes smiling at me.  The bright white polo shirt was tight against his muscular chest.  "Hi.  I'm Kieran."
Great, I thought.  Figures I'd get a playboy for a lab partner.  I nodded and turned my attention back to the teacher, who was now passing out little plastic baggies filled with M&Ms. 
"What's your name?" Kieran asked.
I stared at him, but unlike the others who usually back off at the look, he only smiled back and waited for my answer.  I decided to ignore him, and read the lab instructions.  I had no intention of making friends while I was here, because I didn't plan on being here long enough to make friends.  And I was definitely not interested in having a boyfriend.  Boys were nothing but a pain in the butt.
The lab seemed easy enough, if not plain stupid.  Basically, I would need to dump the bag of M&Ms in a pizza box so all had the markings face up.  Then shake the box and remove all the ones that had flipped, so only the ones with the markings showing remained.  I was supposed to do that four times and record my findings on graph paper.  What that had to do with half-life, I had no idea.
"You know," Kieran said, tossing the bag of candy back and forth between his hands, "this assignment would go easier if you talked to me."
I shrugged and went back to marking up the graph paper I'd been given.  WIth a shake of his head, he ripped open the bag and poured the candy into the box.  We spent several quiet minutes, making sure all the pieces had their M's facing upward.
When we finished, he picked up the box.  "You want to shake it, or should I?"
I gestured for him to do it and bit back a laugh when he shook it like a maraca.  A few times on either side of his head.  I tucked my tongue into my cheek and shook my head.  I would not give in and laugh no matter how silly he looked   
When he opened the lid, he wrinkled his nose.  "Okay, you take that half," he pointed to the side closest to me, "and I'll take this half.  Then we'll add it up and you can record it."
When I had, he took the box again and we repeated the steps until we'd filled in the graph.  Unfortunately, because we hadn't chit-chatted like the rest of the class, we finished ahead of everyone else and had almost a half an hour to do nothing.  I decided to use my time to study the class.
I had just finished my quick glance when Kieran tapped me on the shoulder. With a sigh, I glanced over and couldn't quite control the laugh the bubbled out of me when I saw him with the M&Ms over his eyes.
"That's really childish, you know," I said in the most patronizing tone I could think of.
"She speaks!" he said and feigned shock by covering his mouth with his hand.  The candy dropped off his face and onto the table with three sharp clicks.
"Funny," I said. 
"She speaks again!  Wow, I'm honored." 
I shook my head, but smiled at him.  He grinned back, but before he could say anything else, Mr. Evans spoke up from across the room.  "Mr. Locke, this is Chemistry, not sociology.  Practice your flirting skills somewhere besides my classroom.  She doesn't appear to be interested anyway."
I snickered along with the rest of the class.  To my amazement, Kieran only grinned, shrugged and then leaned back in his chair with his arms crossed behind his head.
Mr. Evans took that as his cue to start his lecture on our results and I zoned out, trying to clear my head of thoughts of the boy sitting next to me.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Music Monday

Today I've got a song that I think is pretty indicative of my characters for EXILED.  Maybe not the video , but the lyrics.  It happens to also be one of my new favorites.  And I was pleasantly surprised to find this song after I wrote the book.  So happy in fact, I wrote a scene in a rewrite to specifically add this song.  :D  I hope it will be bought soon, so that everyone can read why I think this song is perfect.  But until then, here's the lyrics that make me think of Patrick and Brianna.

What you've got boy is hard to find
Think about it all about it all the time
I'm all strung up my heart is fried
I just cant get you off my mind

Because your love, your love, your love, is my drug
Your love your love your love
I said your love, your love, your love, is my drug
Your love your love your love

But, before I get to the video, I'd like for you to take some time and go to the FWA's silent auction site and check out the critiques that are up for bids.  We've got agents, interns, and writers, among a TON of other things.  Won't you please take a look and see if you can't make a bid on something.  The auction goes to promote literacy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fun Friday: Peanut Butter and Jelly and a dog.

Well, I thought since I've had this song in my head since Monday I'd share the wealth. And for fun's sake, some dogs.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writer's Wednesday: 11 Senses Excercise

This past weekend I went to a writer's group and had a wonderful workshop on the eleven senses.  Marilyn Kelly--a historical romance writer gave this workshop and I thought it was something we should all keep in mind.

Generally we only think of our five senses:  sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell, but according to Marilyn we actually have eleven! On top of the ones already listed we have: Time, Temperature, Pain, balance, motion, and Direction.

And in order to have a sensual (meaning senses, not sexual) scenes we should try to incorporate most if not all of these senses if we can.

In order to put an example to what I mean: I have an excercise I'd like you to do with me.  We're going to take an object.  Say a feather.  Now write down a few things about that object:  Write down a sensory description, what emotions they evoke and what body language you think when you see it.  Then when you're done with that, I want you to write a sentence or two about it using those things you just wrote down.

For example (this is what I did at the workshop.):

Embarrassment burned her cheeks and she froze, afraid to move even an inch, as he glided the soft, wispy feather down the delicate skin of her forearm as she teetered on her tiptoes still frozen in the spot she'd had as she reached for her favorite book on the high shelf in front of her. Her breath hitched and her stomach fluttered as she caught the minty scent of his breath when he murmured in her ear.

Obviously, this isn't the best, since it was thought of on the fly, but it should give you a jumping off point.  So, go ahead, try it out.  I'd love to see your sentences in the comments.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Music Monday: Alanis Morrissette.

Here's another song that's on my "soundtrack" for RENEGADE.  It's Evie's song. Because everything she knows about herself is a lie, and while she pretends she doesn't know, she's really just holding on to a precious illusion.

The biggest reason I picked this song is the chorus.  The lines are:

But this won't work now the way it once did
And I won't keep it up even though I would love to
Once I know who I'm not then I'll know who I am
But I know I won't keep on playing the victim

These precious illusions in my head did not let me down
When I was defenseless
And parting with them is like parting with invisible best friends

And don't forget to check out the Oasis where I'm blogging about writerly connections. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fun Friday: Kids say the darndest things.

Here's a list I found on the Internet and it was so funny I had to post it.  WARNING:  some of these contain bad language, but I can't edit them out because it would destroy the joke.

  1. A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he'd found a cat, but it was dead. How do you know that the cat was dead?" she asked her pupil. "Because I pissed in its ear and it didn't move," answered the child innocently. "You did WHAT?!?" the teacher exclaimed in surprise. "You know," explained the boy, "I leaned over and went 'Pssst!' and it didn't move."
  2. A small boy is sent to bed by his father Five minutes later...."Da-ad..." "What?" "I'm thirsty. Can you bring drink of water?" "No, you had your chance. Lights out." Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad...." "WHAT?" "I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??" "I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!" Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....." "WHAT!" "When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water? "
  3. An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him "How do you expect to get into Heaven?" The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, 'For Heaven's sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!'"
  4. One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?" The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. "I can't dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's room." A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy."
  5. It was that time, during the Sunday morning service, for the children's sermon. All the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down the pastor leaned over and said, "That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter Dress?" The little girl replied, directly into the pastor's clip-on microphone, "Yes and my Mom says it's a bitch to iron."
  6. When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower. She said, "Mommy, you are getting fat!" I replied, "Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy." "I know," she replied, "but what's growing in your butt?"
  7. A little boy was doing his math homework He said to himself, "Two plus five, that son of a bitch is seven. Three plus six, that son of a bitch is nine...." His mother heard what he was saying and gasped, "What are you doing?" The little boy answered, "I'm doing my math homework, Mom." "And this is how your teacher taught you to do it?" the mother asked. "Yes," he answered. Infuriated, the mother asked the teacher the next day, "What are you teaching my son in math?" The teacher replied, "Right now, we are learning addition." The mother asked, "And are you teaching them to say two plus two, that son of a bitch is four?" After the teacher stopped laughing, she answered, "What I taught them was, two plus two, THE SUM OF WHICH, is four."
  8. One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part of the story where Chicken Little tried to warn the farmer. She read, "... and so Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, ' The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" The teacher paused then asked the class, "And what do you think that farmer said?" One little girl raised her hand and said, "I think he said: 'Holy Shit! A talking chicken!'" The teacher was unable to teach for the next 10 minutes.
  9. A certain little girl, when asked her name, would reply, "I'm Mr. Sugarbrown's daughter." Her mother told her this was wrong, she must say, "I'm Jane Sugarbrown." The Vicar spoke to her in Sunday School, and said, "Aren't you Mr Sugarbrown's daughter?" She replied, "I thought I was, but mother says I'm not."
  10. A little girl asked her mother, "Can I go outside and play with the boys?" Her mother replied, "No, you can't play with the boys, they're too rough." The little girl thought about it for a few moments and asked, "If I can find a smooth one, can I play with him?"
  11. A little girl goes to the barber shop with her father she stands next to the barber chair, while her dad gets his hair cut, eating a snack cake. The barber says to her, "Sweetheart, you're going to get hair on your Twinkie." She says, "Yes, I know, and I'm going to get boobs too."
Don't forget to check out the Oasis, where I've done a book review on Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tip Thursday: Fiction Writing

I want to apologize to everyone for my sporadic blogging the past two weeks.  I've been taking care of some personal things and those took precedence.  But to make up for it, I've decided to give you an article I found on the major components of writing a story.  The original article can be found here.

Creative Writing: Fiction
Writing Tips
Fiction Writers
Fiction writers learn to write by writing. Although writing is an art, there are skills, tools, and techniques that can be learned in order to develop talent. And constructive criticism and feedback can help this process.
To be a good writer you need to read a lot, listen and observe everything about you carefully, and write a lot. Writing a lot takes discipline, because writing can actually be hard work- but very satisfying. Setting up a routine for writing is important; it is very easy to find something else to do besides writing. A compulsion to write is very useful.
Fiction writers should have a good grasp of the language, but most of all they must be storytellers. A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing, but brilliant writing will not save a bad story.
Readers of fiction want very much to find the writer's work to be believable. It is the task of the writer to produce a story that does not jolt the reader into recognizing that the narrative is just the writer talking, just fiction. The writer should write about what he or she already knows through experience or can learn about through research. The narrative should read as if the writer really knows what he or she is writing about.
Major Components of Stories
  1. Plot is the organization of events that will take place in the story.
  2. Characters are the people or animals who will be in the story.
  3. Setting is the physical time and place in which the story takes place.
  4. Dialogue is the spoken words of the characters in the story.
  5. Point of view is the relative identification of the narrator with the characters.
  6. Theme is the main idea or meaning behind a story.
  7. Style is the writer's use of the language.
Plot (and characters) carries the other elements of the story. The plot must be believable, plausible, and interesting. It is a sequence of events connected in a cause-and-effect manner. Generally the plot consists of a series of increasingly more intense conflicts, a climax (the most intense part of the story), and a final resolution. The plot must be advanced as the story unfolds. Usually the closer to the end of the story the climax is placed the better.
Long works like novels can have many subplots and secondary climaxes and resolutions. Avoid using subplots in order to have cliché characters. Avoid too many coincidences.
Flashbacks have been overused. A story is stronger when it runs chronologically.
The reader should be able to identify with and care about the characters in the sense that the characters seem real to the reader. The characters must do something, and what they do must seem reasonable for them to have done it.
Characters should be introduced early in the story. The more often a character is mentioned or appears, the more significance the reader will attach to the character. Also, the main character should be introduced before setting, so that the setting can be introduced from the point of view of the character.
The nature of characters can be brought out through minimal description and the actions, thoughts, and dialogue of the characters. The writer should allow the reader to make judgments about the characters; the writer should avoid making the judgments for the reader. The feelings of the character should be demonstrated rather than told by the narrator.
Yet, there are some very good stories in which much of the narration is about a character's feelings and thoughts or in which the narration goes into great detail and analysis of a character's feelings and thoughts at some point. So one rule about writing is that there are no rules, or maybe: If it works, it works.
Setting includes the place and time in which the story takes place. The setting should be described in specifics to make the story seem real, to set the atmosphere and mood of the story, to place limitations on the characters, or to help establish the basic conflict of the story. Weather can be an important part of setting.
The setting can be used for contrast, having something taking place in an unexpected place. Also, the more unfamiliar the reader is with the setting, the more interesting the setting.
Dialogue makes fiction seem real. However, dialogue that copies reality may actually slow down a story. Avoid unnecessary or repetitive dialogue.
Dialect in dialogue can be difficult to read. A small amount of it can be used to establish the nature of a character, but overuse will intrude on the story. The level of use of language by the characters- pronunciation, diction, grammar, etc.- is often used to characterize people in a story. Most often the main characters use the best English.
Profanity and vulgarisms can be used where they seem appropriate. Overuse amounts to author intrusion and can interrupt the reader's belief in the story.
Too much exposition through dialogue can slow down a story. Characters should not repeat in dialogue events which have already happened in the story.
Also, one character should not tell another character what the second character should already know just so the writer can convey information to the reader. The conversation will sound implausible: author intrusion. The information can be conveyed in simple narration or by having a knowledgeable character explain something to another character who reasonably should not know the information already.
The form of dialogue should be varied to keep the reader interested. However, don't try to find too many different ways to say "said."
Interior dialogue is what a character is thinking. Dramatic dialogue is a character thinking out loud, without response from other characters. Indirect dialogue is the narrator telling what a character said.
Dialogue should be used to develop character or to advance the story. It should not be used just to hear characters talk.
Point of View
First person point of view has the main character telling the story or a secondary character telling the main character's story. Everything that happens in the story must be seen or experienced by the character doing the narration. The reader's judgment of other characters in the story will be heavily influenced by the narrator. This can be very limiting. Also, a story written in first person usually means that the main character won't die in the story. However, first person point of view gives a sense of intimacy to the story.
Third person point of view can be objective or omniscient. An objective narrator describes actions but not the inner thoughts or feelings of the characters. An omniscient narrator can describe all the actions of all of the characters but also all of their inner thoughts and feelings as well.
The theme of a story is often abstract and not addressed directly in the narrative. It is imparted to the story by the concrete events occurring in the story.
Style is the way the writer uses language. The longer the work the less important language becomes. Above all, the writer's work must tell a story. The writer should not be more concerned with the words used than with the story the writer is trying to tell. Don't be a fanatic about words. The language is less important than character and plot. However, a combination of a good story and good English will be a delight to read.
Mistakes in English amount to author intrusion and detract greatly from the story being told.
The most effective writing uses the active voice. Shorter, concrete words tend to be stronger. Long words tend to be abstract. Avoid wordiness. Write in a concise, precise, concrete, and specific manner. However, recognize that English has an enormous number of words in it, and the words can have very precise meanings. Sometimes no other word will do. And be specific. Don't mention just a tree; say what kind of tree it was.
The choice of words can help set the tone of the story.
Beginning writers may get defensive and touchy about their style. When offered constructive (or maybe destructive) criticism about their style, beginning writers may tend to say something like,"Well, that's just my style." The implication being that the reader must like whatever style the writer chooses to use. But that is backwards. It is up to the writer to please the reader, not the other way around.
Other Tips
In no particular order.
Be specific in your writing. The more specific the detail, the more real the story will seem to the reader.
The best fiction can come from the preposterous imaginations of writers who are good storytellers.
Becoming a skilled typist (on a word processor) is extremely useful to a writer.
Very few people make a living at writing fiction.
Revision is important. A writer can always do one more revision. At some point the writer has to stop revising and get the work published.
Show, don't tell.
Avoid starting a story with dialogue.
Don't use clichés.
The more detail in the story, the more interesting the story.
Revise, revise, revise, revise, . . .
Avoid author intrusion.
Write what you like to read.
Don't use exclamation points.
Use surprise and irony.
The shorter the story, the more important each word becomes.
Descriptions and technical details must be authentic; when the reader suddenly realizes that the writer made a mistake, the reader is jarred out his or her temporary acceptance of the story as reality, i.e., author intrusion.
Avoid overused words.
Success breeds success. The more published you are, the easier it is to get published again.
Every word can be used appropriately somewhere in some story.
Don't tell what happened; recreate what happened.
The beginning of a story must be interesting. Readers can be lost on page one.
Scorning the work of a writer does not make that writer a better writer.
A Final Observation
Whatever rules or tips you read about writing you will be able to find some published work that violates them. Sometimes the violation is glaring and amounts to author intrusion. Other times the violation may actually help the story. Usually the latter occurs when the writer actually is an excellent wordsmith and deliberately, with great specific purpose, violates some rule or tip.