Searching for the view

It was only when I started thinking about analogies that I realized that I was working my way through a fog so thick that I could only trust that there was something on the other side. I'm working on the plotting or "dirty work" and I really feel that it's coming together. And, it was during this time that I remembered something that had happened on a trip to Vermont a couple of summers a go. I had taken the kids on a spur of the moment trip to Vermont. On the last day of the trip I had gathered the kids up early and made our way down the historic Route 7a from Rutland to Bennington. We'd enjoyed a brisk morning view of the surrounding mountains as I led the kids on a historic adventure. But we still had a long way to go. And, since this was before I had bought my GPS, I found myself plotting a course on the Molly Stark byway. Now, to be completely honest, parts of the trip did seem very familiar to me. It wasn't uncommon for my parents to take us on trips to Vermont growing up. But as we began to climb and the road became steadily tilting in a northerly direction I had that niggling sensation that was creeping up my spine. There was that odd familiarity knocking at my door. And, it would seem that it knocking on my sons door as well. Despite the fact that Will had never been on the road before he was becoming increasingly anxious from his spot on the backseat. The fog began to close in around us and my speed reduced and we all began to edge forward in our seats. As we crested the top of the mountain the fog had created a shield around the car leaving only a few feet of viewing. But at that moment I knew exactly where I was. I knew perfectly what it looked like without the fog and I was able to reassure my son that beyond tha fog and beyond that fear was a beautiful view. Hogback Mountain. I remember it from my childhood. (if you'd like to see it clearly you can check out Steve Borichevsky's Shooting My Universe Blog with beautiful views of the mountain.) Anyway, we descended the mountain with little problem other than some harsh wear on the new brakes my husband had installed just before the trip. I remember very clearly the moment we came out of the fog. To our right was an orchard and it sparkled with the mist. Totally beautiful. Our reward for perservering. Writing this mystery is very personal, very hard to deal with emotionally and sometimes I can't quite see where I'm going. But I do know that when I come out the other side it will be worth the experience.

The Hunt for Clues

Last week I wrote about doing the "dirty work". Now, more than ever, I'm beginning to realize that by not doing this "dirty work" I'm cutting myself short. I'm not giving myself the opportunity to write a fully realized story. Every single time that I've sat down to write a story and had it fall flat I know that it's because I failed to write a fully evolved story. Either the motivation of the characters is unrealistic or even uncharacteristic. Or the there isn't enough conflict to fully sustain the storyline.

The same could be said in my hunt for clues. Many times I have no idea that something that I've written will become a clue for the story. But when I come to a point that I know the characters motivation is lagging I know that I also haven't given the characters enough to work with, either emotionally or physically. The story I'm currently working has two murders, one old and one new and they mirror each other. I won't go into details about it, but I've been wanting to play with the idea that an old murder can be solved because of the efforts put into a new murder. The other large part of this story is secrets, tons of them. Everyone's got them and frankly, keeping them straight is beginning to be a task. So, this is where the "dirty work" comes into play. I MUST log everything as I go along, all the clues, all the secrets, all the details that could prove fruitful for the storyline. So, when I get to end I can wrap up all the details and settle all those clues.

I'm off to do more "dirty work".

Doing the dirty work...

I was shamed into it really. I read a recent blog post from someone who had been asked by a teacher to show the work that she puts into her YA mysteries that she writes. It was an attempt to show a student that the prep work is beneficial to getting the best story possible. The author had laid out all of the work and graphs that she'd created in her attempt to create a plausible and fulfilling story and photographed them for the posting.

It was then that I realized that the reason my story was floundering was because I hadn't done the dirty work.
I've been doing research online and talking with many who have experience in the psychiatric field, but I hadn't gotten down to putting the reasonings of the characters to paper. I started with the old standby, a GMC, or Goal, Motivation and Conflict chart and I did one for each of the main characters. I then went back and started with the murders in the story. After all, they are the reasoning that pulls them all together and gives them a common goal. But it wasn't until I put the information side by side that I began to see the mirroring in the story. I'm still working on the dirty work. There's lots to be done before this story can even truly begin. But this is what is going to make it strong. The story is all about what happens when the secrets overwhelm us and become the controlling factor in our lives. But secrets have a way of coming to the surface, whether we want them to or not. I want to show what happens when they can no longer be denied.

On a personal note...

It started when I got books from the library and they printed out the little slip to let me know when to return the books. It said 01/20/10. I looked at it, noted that it was some important date that I should remember and then went on with my life. The date came up again last week and again. I wondered what it was that I was supposed to be remembering about 01/20/10. I briefly thought of my sister, but her birthday is not until the 24th (Happy early Birthday, Sis). But it was only about half way through the day yesterday that it finally hit me what the significance of the date was. It would have been my parent's 50 wedding anniversary. Granted, were Mum still with us it still would not have been a celebration since they had divorced some years ago. But she did always note the date with a passing bit of wistfulness since they went their separate ways. I'm sure she'd be a bit sad today. Me? I'm thankful and consider it a time of reflection, if not celebration. Were it not for that event 50 years ago I probably wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have a wonderful father and sister and I would not have continued on with the legacy that is my family. So, for me... I think I'll probably shed a tear or two, but I'll also raise a glass in celebration.

Typically British Reading Challenge 2010

Really, who could NOT be drawn in by a face like this?  And when it comes attached to a challenge then I'm all for it. The challenge, posted over on Book Chick City, challenges readers to partake in some classics. Here's the info:
Timeline: 1st Jan 2010~ 31st Dec 2010.
Only books started on
 January 1st count towards this challenge.
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
2. There are four levels:
• "Put The Kettle On" – Read 2 Typically British novels.
• "Gordon Bennett" – Read 4 Typically British novels.
• "Bob's Your Uncle" – Read 6 Typically British novels.
• "Cream Crackered" – Read 8 Typically British novels.

3. Any book format counts. Must be fiction not non-fiction.
4. You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront then you can change them, nothing is set in stone!
5. The books you choose can crossover into other challenges.
6. If you decide to participate in this challenge please use the link I have set up below with the button to post on your sidebar, this way others can find their way back to this post and join in the fun.
7. If you decide to join this challenge be sure to create a post telling others, please make sure you add a link back to this post so others can join in.
8. There will be a place for you to link your reviews, but this is optional.
9. Obviously only British authors count!
Want more info on the challenge and to sign up Click on the bulldog button on the right and it will take you to the Book Chick City Post. (or here). Good luck to all who participate!

Taphophile. Not a dirty word...

Hello, my name is Teagan and I'm a Taphophile. No. Don't panic. It's not as bad as it sounds. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necrophilia. It is, however, an addiction of my own choosing. A taphophile is a person who loves cemeteries. (Also, they usually have a fondness for funerals, but frankly, I don't fit into that characteristic.) Usually, the addiction manifests itself into someone who spends inordinate amounts of time on cemetery crawls, looking for fascinating stones and revelling in the history. For myself, this addiction led to paranormal investigating. After all, it's fairly hard to explain why you like to walk through old cemeteries as a way of tension relief or just sheer curiosity.
There are entire websites devoted to Taphophiles. Sites like and Yahoo list groups such as Gravestones. For myself, the addiction started when I was searching for my ancestors in the local cemeteries. I began to realize that there were so many out there that no longer had anyone to take care of the plots. There are entire cemeteries that are fading into the landscape as they become forgotten. I'm determined that those people not be forgotten. The stones themselves are a link to the past with history and characteristics that reflect the person. The sheer siz and material used usually reflected the wealth and status of the occupant. A particular cemetery near where I grew up has quite a few stones that have a hand pointing upward. After researching it I found that it was often used to signify the path or righteousness. The way home or ascension to Heaven. Want to know what certain stone carvings represent? Check out Grave Addiction. Want to know more? All you have to do is Google to find all you could ever need to know. And in the meantime... My name is Teagan, and I'm a Taphophile.

From Publishers Weekly Daily Digest

-- Publishers Weekly, 1/8/2010 11:41:00 AM

Kensington Publishing has appointed Alicia Condon to succeed the late Kate Duffy as editorial director of Brava Books. The announcement was made Friday by Laurie Parkin, v-p and publisher of Kensington who called Condon’s appointment the next step in the evolution of Brava. Condon “will be in a terrific position to move the existing program forward and define its future as she leads it in new directions and nurtures its new talents,” said Parkin.

During her career Condon helped to launch Silhouette Desire, and for the past 24 years she has headed up the editorial team at Dorchester Publishing, where, among other accomplishments, she created the Love Spell line of paranormal romances. She will report to John Scognamiglio, editor-in-chief of Kensington.

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