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Showing posts from August, 2008

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Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" and then went on to finally arrive at "Pubbing from the Darkside".  This little tidbit of information should be able to give you a little hint over what has been happening at the Oliver Homestead since I last posted.

Big News! I am part of a great collaboration with a collection of Writers who decided that if a romance book should be done, it should be done by us! Hence, the beginning of what is now know as Welcome to Serenity Harbor, Maine.

This is huge! This is ginormous! All of the books are set around the fictional coastal Maine town of Serenity Harbor. We didn't limit genre, only that their characters fall in love in Maine.

For me, this was a return to something that I love... well, yes... it was a return to writing. I've blogged a little bit about some of my struggles with illness that left with being unable to write for a whi…

Lessons Learned...

So, I took the challenge of posting every day for the month of August. I actually started early by posting in the few days leading up to the challenge and today, marks the end of the challenge.

Some things I learned...

1. I do have something to say every day. It's not always the most brilliant and sometimes it's simply just a thought for the day. Whatever it was that I posted I hope someone got some enjoyment out of it. I enjoyed writing them.

2. Preparation makes all the difference. I learned to post ahead if I knew that the next day was going to be a zoo. Thank goodness for preposting. It saved me. I also knew that weekends were going to be my worst time to blog so I wrote Saturdays blog on Friday and Sundays were great quotes that I found along the way.

3. While my hits on my blog did pick up they were never "over the top" I didn't quite have the success that some of the participants had. But I had more than I've ever had. It has also increased the amount of t…

Now, back to the Journey...

Last time I talked about the trials and tribulations part of the hero's or mythic journey. But since I was tired I'm not sure how clear I was about how important it is that these trials and tribulations increase so as to increase the tension of the scenes and ultimately leave the hero/heroine in a place where their ideas are changed and they are put in a place where they need to sink or swim. At the end of this they should be on their knees begging for it to come out okay, or swords drawn slashing their way toward the tower to save the princess from the dragon.

Achieving the Quest and Receiving special powers.
This is the pinacle of the black moment and the downside of it. The aftermath directly after the fight. This is the point where the hero/heroine would give up all the things that are dear to them in order to get through the challenge. And realize that by doing so they are getting so much more in return. This is that perfect moment of clarity when they realize just what is…

Question for the day...

Okay, so I am now completely off track with the journey thing. But I was working on my newest project, the dark paranormal suspense set in New Orleans and I began to wonder something...

Should authors who write two very different genres use two different names to publish under?

Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle comes to mind. 3 different genres, three different pseudonyms. I've also got a friend who writes erotica and a few other things and she has at least three names she pubs under. I'm never quite sure what I'm supposed to call her.
I have a hard time remembering if I'm supposed to call myself by my real name or my pseudonym whenever I send out an email. I can't imagine adding another pseudonym to the mix.
And that follows that if I've built up the little following that I have already with Obsidian and Three Truths (one sweet paranormal, the other romantic mystery)... should I have a different persona for the dark paranormals that I'm writing now?
My…

Help Restore Maine's Pemaquid Lighthouse

I'm taking a break from my promised posts about the Hero's Journey to talk about something very important. My daughter has gotten behind the cause and wants to get as many people as possible to vote for Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. Be sure to look for the "vote" button on the page to take you to the list to vote. The following, is from my daughter....
Recently while watching the news a story came up. It was about a contest in which 12 lighthouses had been chosen from an original 49 nominees from all over the United States. The winning lighthouse will receive new windows and doors.

In the running for this prize is Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Maine. In the past few years, people have raised enough money to give the outside of the lighthouse a renovation. They are hoping to win this contest in order to finish the outside with all new windows and doors. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is behind in votes and would need a surge of new votes to catch up. By clicking on the link …

"Ah, the force is strong within you"

We all know that Yoda's role to Luke was as the wise one. The keeper of the knowledge. Even when Luke didn't want his advice, Yoda knew how to get Luke's attention. He took him from an unpolished, untested fighter to a Jedi Knight. That's what the Wise one does.

Okay, so let's recap again, shall we?
This time we'll use Harry as an example:

Inciting Incident/Call to Adventure: Harry Potter, ordinary boy, living with people who say they are relatives, but have no resemblance to him and treat him horribly. One day, Harry decides that pain-in-neck cousin has done just about enough and magically conjures him behind the glass in the zoo. Thus begins the grand adventure that nets several movies, tons of readers and lots of admiration for Ms. Rowling. Harry doesn't do too bad himself. He is suddenly whisked off to a castle where he learns that he is the legendary child prophecy to fight evil.

Trials and Tribulations: Hmm, way too many to count. Certainly more than a b…

Oh the Trials and Tribulations...

Yesterday, we talked about theCall to Adventure. Today, we're on to the Trials and Tribulations that plague us on our Journey to Campbell's mythic story structure.

We've already set the stage with our hero/heroine by creating an inciting incident that introduces them as well as illustrating to the reader just how far they willing to go for what they want. The Call to Adventure is that event that brings them to the point where they know they can no longer avoid what needs to be done. Their need is so great that they will do whatever it takes to get it.

But, oh, those Trials and Tribulations!
You know... those pesky little things that get in the way of what your characters want most. I went to see the new Clone Wars movie with my son on Friday. Before my eyes glazed over from having to watch what is basically a good movie (but, still a cartoon), I was able to identify that mythic story structure the Star Wars stories are so famous for following. Anaken and Obi Wan (please forgi…

Campbell's Journey

Awhile ago I wrote a blog on the Journey where I talked about Joseph Campbell and his mythic story structure that he based on Jung's work. Since I'm going to be giving my workshop in October on Creating Believeable Anti-Heroes at New Jersey RWA's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference, I thought I would take this opportunity to go over my interpretation of Campbell's Hero's Journey.

The Inciting Incident followed closely by the Call to Adventure...

Every good book starts with one. It's that initial incidient that sets the ball rolling and gives the reader an idea of what it is that the hero... or heroine want most at the beginning of the story. Usually, this comes around the same time that we meet the main hero/heroine and we find out if they are up to the challenge at hand. A lot of writers tend to think of the Inciting incident as the same thing as the call to adventure, but in my mind they are two very different things. The inciting incident is the place where we…

Signs...

Under the Tuscan Sun is on again. I admitted to the kids that I've already seen this movie three times before. Twice in one night when I actually rented it. I like this movie a lot. Not because it has a dashing romance, in fact very little of the story is romance. Nor do I watch it for the beautiful scenery. And yes, the scenery is breathtaking. But it's more for the characters and the simple lines of the movie that translate into scenes that steal your heart.

There's a moment at the beginning of the movie when she sees the flyer for the Villa for sale. She's just come out a bad divorce, lost most of her personal identity and she is floundering. A stranger observes her looking at the flyer and asks her if she is going to buy it and she tells her that she is just a visitor. Basically, that it would be a crazy idea for her to buy a Villa. On the bus leaving town they are stopped in front of a high wall and she looks out the window to see the name of the Villa on a sign se…

Thought for the day...

(Since I'm finishing up my manuscript to send out I am going to post this is an article that I wrote earlier this year for Maine RWA's newsletter. I hope you enjoy it. It applies to all writers, not just romance writers.)

Dear New Romance Writer:
You are now on a path limited only by your imagination. You have undertaken a task that many endeavor to, but few ever undertake. You have thrown your hopes and dreams onto the table for everyone to inspect, encourage and even, at times criticize. And by doing so, you will learn and grow and find yourself treading paths few even know exist.

In this open letter to you I hope that you will take this advice in the manner in which it is offered, from someone who has been writing for a very long time and traversed the pothole-filled road to publication.

Know that what you undertake is not a crazy lark. There will be those who would tear you down. Call what you want to do crazy. Even suggest that you will most likely fail. They are wrong. The …

In the name of research... New Orleans

I love New Orleans. I had a chance to go there just pre-Katrina. Maybe two years before. I've talked about it before because for me, it was one of those places that you go and feel and instant connection. I'd wanted to go since I was about 14, so when I finally got the chance to go to the RWA National Conference I grabbed it.


New Orleans is exactly everything you've ever heard about the city. The good and the bad. There has never been a city that had more of an apocalyptic, party-til-the-end-of-our-days, kind of feel quite like New Orleans. And I wasn't even there during MardiGras.


They call it the Crescent City because of the way it curves, caressing the edges of the Mississippi river. Flying into the airport is an experience. The plane descends endlessly over trailing bayous, crisscrossed by intersections of sparking river roadways. Here and there you can spot houses dotted among the dense foliage, stacked on poles and seeming far from civilization.


Once the plane lan…

Question for the day...

How much is too much socializing when it comes to promoting yourself?

So far, I'm on Shelfari, booktour, eharlequin forums, and Twitter. I'm sure there are some that I've forgotten. I do know I'm not on myspace, but that has more to do with the fact that I don't allow my daughter on there, so it would be a bad example if I set up a myspace myself.

Now, I realize that this is a small amount compared to the sheer number of these online communities that exist out there. But how much of the time spent is a value and how much of it is time that should be spent writing? I'm already spending time writing two blogs, GhostGirl. and this one. I'm updating two websites, mine and Maine RWA as well as keeping up with email and working a full time job. There are also the writer and reader yahoo listserves and, if I'm really honest there is another time sucker Puzzle Pirate (note: I added links to the other ones, but I won't contribute to anyone elses addiction by a…

Two of my favorite things...

Good, Kick-butt books and... Free, Kick-butt books
I got a package in the mail today! At first, I looked at the mailer and thought "figures, second rejection in as many days", but I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that Chris Marie Greenhad sent me a copy of her latest book Midnight Reign!
I won the book by commenting on her post on the Ninc blog. Truly, it wasn't my intention to vye for a book. However, (and all you blogbooktour challengers take note) I just couldn't help myself when I read the post. It's titled Crossing Overand it was all about her foray at Comic-Con in San Diego recently. She also has one of the hottest book trailers I've seen yet.
Want to learn how to hook a blog reader? Check it out and tell me what you think. Maybe you know the answer to the question that was asked of her. Personally, I spent quite a bit of time pondering it with my daughter and we didn't have an answer. In the meantime, check out Chris Marie Green's Vamp…

Today's topic? Rejection

Yup, I got one yesterday. I didn't have to wait long for this one, but then, that's okay with me. Usually, I write my blog a day ahead. That gives me time during the day to reflect on the next topic at hand. But frankly, after I got the R I just wasn't up to it.

Now, 24 hours later, I have a bit of a distance on it. I actually didn't stop for long. Soon after getting the rejection I was emailing my Maine RWA cohorts about possible places to send my much loved story. They came through with flying colors and sympathy and encouragement. All the things that I needed at that time. I've said it before, "writing" can be a solitary profession. But it takes many people to be a "published" writer.

I've never been one to reach out and ask of others. It's not truly in my nature. I tend to be the one who wants to give to others. And I do mean "want". Sometimes, the difficulty is in asking help. But there's nothing wrong with it and it doe…

Where did the time go?

WARNING! BLATANT SELF-PROMOTION AHEAD!

I was working the day job today when I looked at the calendar... I mean REALLY looked at the calendar... and froze.OBSIDIAN's large print edition is coming out from Five Star in less than 2 months!




Five Star markets primarily to the library market. So, when they emailed and said they wanted to re-release OBSIDIAN as part of their Clean Reads, Large Print program I was excited. This could give the story that I love so much another chance to get out to those who really like romantic mysteries set on the coast of Maine.



This one has special place in my heart because the setting is based on the place that I grew up. For those of you who are worrying about all the dead bodies? Nope, those are made up...



So far, Borders is the only online bookseller that I know of that has the large print edition listed. You can check it out here (Borders) Anyway, I'll be posting a few shorts on the book over the next couple of weeks as I gear up for the release…

What's next...

I finished Stealing the Thunder on Sunday. It's now Tuesday and I'm starting to get restless. You see, I haven't really decided where to go from here. Most writers will tell you that it isn't a lack of ideas. It's a lack of interest that keeps most books from being written. Have you ever written to the third chapter and then felt like the story died? Are your middles sagging (bookwise, of course) and are you restless because you can't decide which direction to take your writing? For me, it isn't that I don't have projects to work on. I've got several and all of them are really good ideas. The problem is that right now I'm at a crossroads about which direction to go. I've always written Romantic Suspense and light Paranormal Romance, but my last two shorts have been darker, edgier Paranormal Romances. I pushed myself to write outside my comfort zone and found... I loved it! I live by the adage that when you stop learning you die. My father is…

On Writing... Wanting

I have a couple of writing books on my shelf that I've read so often that the pages are dog eared. I've highlighted memorable text and even, at times, find myself going back to reread the same lessons over and over. The Seven Steps on the Writer's Path by Nancy Pickard and Lynn Lott is one of those books.

But I didn't exactly bring this up to pitch the book. If you're interested you'll pick it up. No. The reason why I bring this up is because I wanted to talk about Step 2... Wanting.
Did you know that it takes 21 days of a continuous activity in order for it to become a habit? This would be probably the only piece of information that I remember (and practice) from a Weight Loss through Hypnosis seminar that I took years ago. The guy giving the workshop was every bit as charismatic as Anthony Robbins, but it still didn't keep me from falling asleep when they did the hypnosis part of the session. (The speaker was impressed by how deep under I could go. Little …

Inspiration...

Let me tell you about a friend of mine. I count her as a friend, though we don't always get a chance to chat much. I met her about five years ago when I roomed with her at RWA National in Dallas, Texas. Not only is Lina Gardiner one of the most supportive people I know, always lending a hand or offering help no matter the distance. But she writes a good book, as well. At this year's Kiss of Death celebration at RWA Nationals in San Francisco Lina received the coveted Daphne Award for
Paranormal/Time Travel/Futuristic Romantic Mystery/Suspense Category. This is not an award that's given lightly. Named after Daphne Du Maurier, this award sets the standard for excellence in Romantic Suspense. The names of her competitors are legendary and she is to be applauded.

You see, Grave Illusions, the first in the Jess Vandemire Vampire Hunter series, is her first published book.
Vanessa Costa of Romance Reviews Today said: The characters are multi-faceted and full-bodied. Their emotions…

I am happy dancing...

I just finished the draft of Stealing the Thunder. This is the second short (60 pages) that I challenged myself to write that is geared toward the Nocturne Bites line for Harlequin. This one did not go as fast as the first one I wrote and I struggled with it. But it's a very powerful story and one that I learned so much from writing. For those of you who have been following my blog this is the one with the Cherokee hero. Here's to hoping the editors love him and the story as much as I do.

The Journey

I was just perusing some of my favorite blogs and came across an interesting post on Jeri Westerson's blog Getting Medieval. It was about the Hero's Journey. You know the one. If you've been around writing for any length of time you've run across Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. Basically, he worked with Jung's theory that all heroes undergo the same steps in order to complete their journey to becoming... well, a hero.

As Jeri put it, Whether we actively seek these steps or not, the best literature seems to follow them.
What are these steps? Broken down to their simplest components:
1) A call to adventure or quest
2) trials and tribulations along the way
3) gaining knowledge and tools from wise ones
4) achieving the quest and receiving special powers
5) returning to the mundane life and applying those powers for the betterment of the community


You don't have to be an expert writer to know that these same steps can be picked out of your favorite book or…

08/08/08

Seems like a stellar date to me...

I was over on Karen's blog Life of a Publisher and her post was "Have You Seen my Destiny?". She was talking about taking control of your own destiny and the responsibility for where you are headed. She had a great line..

I am a firm believer that life is all about the journey, but it never hurts to have a map in the glove box, just in case. Don't let others take control of your life, you're important and no one can get you where you want to go better than you. All you have to do is figure out where you want to be.

I loved this and it was very fitting. I am a firm believer in Destiny and fate. Heck, I wrote a whole book about it.
The Three Truths of Katie Talmadge
It was completely about taking control of your own destiny and not just letting the chips fall where they may. It was about being open to possibilities and to taking chances. Frankly, the publishing arena is nothing but taking chances. I take chances on what I write, who I …

Paranormals: Writing and being...

If you read my paranormal blog, GhostGirl. over at www.paranormalmaine.blogspot.com then you know that just recently I went to Windham, NH to participate in a lecture called Dining with the Dead, featuring psychic David Wells. I didn't tell a lot of my friends about the trip. Frankly, it was because I wasn't interested in hearing that they thought I was crazy for traveling so far (over two hours) to hear a psychic. But both my daughter and I are avid watchers of Most Haunted and his was the psychic on that show for quite some time (he's since left the show) and I thought, at most, I'd have some great research for upcoming books.

The event was held at the Windham Restaurant in Windham, NH. It's a beautiful restaurant with a great deck to sit on and enjoy the weather or eat inside and some time at the bar or in the classic dining room. We were in the upstairs dining room and all in all there were probably less then 2o of us, including David Wells and fellow psychic Ga…

Great Book Read...

I just finished Enchanting Pleasures by Eloisa James. I picked this book up during the late night excursion to Borders for the Breaking Dawn release party and when I picked it up I didn't realize that it was one of her older books. I was just happy to find a book of hers that I hadn't read. I love Eloisa's books. There are very few author's that can successfully and what appears to be effortlessly mix history, engaging characters and a the love of a love story. I kinow when I pick one of her books up that I won't be disappointed. And with Enchanting Pleasures the read was true to form. The characters were delightful and I loved the mix with the Indian culture and the history of the East India Trading company. Her heroines are always intelligent, insightful and never afraid (at least at the end of the story) to go after what they want. Her heroes are often working under misinformation (for which the heroine will gladly dispell) or they are trying so hard to do what …

Work in Progress...

I'm still working on my Nocturne Bite. This as I said before is Lilly's Nocturne Bite and she is getting a little ansy about my finishing her story. Actually, she's not usually the pushy type, but frankly she's a little upset that her sister's story took 5 days total and this is taking... well, much longer.

The process of writing for me is... just that... a process. I start with inspiration. Either a dream, a character, a germ of an idea and build from there. This one started with the idea that she was an artist and the man who shows up on her doorstep is an indian. A Cherokee Indian. Now, I've always tended toward Irishmen, so when this gentleman showed up I was very surprised. His name is Graham. Surprisingly, I found after doing more research that Graham is the name of a county near the reservation. He is taking shape, just like Lilly. In fact, he becomes stronger every day. It's a bit disconcerting, but it is their story after all... I'm just the wri…

In the name of research... the islands of Casco Bay

Yesterday, in celebration of my birthday, DH took myself and the kids on a cruise around Casco Bay. All my life I've lived in the northern part of Casco Bay, the area where the islands pennisula make up the most northern tip. This trip took us to the islands immediately in the bay, the ones serviced by Casco Bay lines on their mailboat route. DH had been to many of these islands over the years as he worked a lobster boat in the area. He was my tour guide for the afternoon sojourn.

Now, I grew up on an island. I can say that much as truth. But, in fact, this island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Is it a true island? Yes. But even as distant an upbringing that I had, the islands that I saw yesterday were a much truer story of life on an island. My Mom-in-Law is the minister on Long Island and she's taken my daughter out to experience it a time or two. I am a bit envious. My only experience of Long Island is from the ferry. But it looks like a delightful place. It was …

The Twilight Zone...

because, frankly... the Breaking Dawn Zone just doesn't have the same appeal. Does it?

Anyway, I am writing this bleary eyed post at 12:56 in the morning after having taken my daughter to the Breaking Dawn release party at our local Borders. Even on a normal Saturday there are not nearly as many cars in that parking lot as there were tonight. I did the dutiful mom thing and hung back, letting my daughter have her time with the other girls that she goes to school. But hanging back gave me a truly interesting perspective when that probably most of the parents there weren't looking at. Because most of those other parents probably aren't writers.

Just a couple of observations before I give in and go to bed for the evening.

There is a certain exhilaration that hung like a cloud of euphoria among those young women there tonight. I can't say that I've ever seen any group of girls screams as much or as loud for anything other than a favorite rock band (or maybe an equally cut…

Just in case...

you don't have a teenager who's into vampire books you may be out of the loope when it comes to the big event happening this weekend. This is the last in Stephenie Meyers books trilogy about a teenage vamps and the young women who love them. My daughter was practically in orbit the other day when we watched the trailer for the upcoming movie. And for those of you who haven't seen it. Check it out...


And just in case you haven't gotten enough of tempting bite of Edward and Bella you can check out TwilightLexicon.com for the latest information.

As for me? I'll most likely be at Borders on Saturday night with a group of teenage girls waiting for the release of the book. Maybe I should invest in earplugs? Just kidding.... really.... sheeesh!