Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When did you know you were a writer?

Today I'm musing about when I knew I was meant to be a writer. My first inkling was in 5th or 6th grade- I recall a teacher having us write a small play for the class. I don't recall much, but it had cats and I had to use that old blue copy paper.

I was so excited, creating something out of nothing!

But then...nothing.

Until I was about 13. I'd just fallen in love with Star Wars and wanted to tell my own story! It wasn't even about space, the movie, or anything SFish. All I recall is that I took a number of the names...and that the main character had a best friend who had a brother who looked ALARMING like Mark Hamill. Story never got finished, but again I remember being excited about creating the images on paper (I think boys kept distracting me during this time).

Then late teens- started a new REAL story. My first book! I loved it and I loved writing it...but only got 175 pages in. I think my obsession with boys brought me down again. The story was finished (I had an ending) but it never got completed.

Forward a few years later- started ANOTHER real book. Finished this one, and wrote the next in the series (yeah yeah- first time author starts with a trilogy, but at the time I thought that was a good idea ;)).

Graduate school got in the way this time. Set aside the completed books (and the third which was 50 % done.

Then a few years ago I got back into writing. This time something was different, the thrill of creating new worlds, and meeting new people grew! Nothing and NO ONE in my life has dimmed that draw this time. Now I KNOW I am a writer.

Some folks start writing young and keep it up their entire lives. So of us take a longer route to get there- needing the write combination of life experiences and dreams to finally push us over the edge.

What about you- when did you know? What has you path been?

Monday, August 22, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: LISA KESSLER-Characters make the Story…

Hi everyone –

Thanks to Marie for inviting me over to her blog today!

My life has been a crazy whirlwind for weeks now and the book blog tour for Night Walker continues in its quest for World Domination… One blog at a time!

Muahahaha! *ahem*

Sorry, it’s starting to get to me, can you tell? LOL

Anyway, now that I’m finally able to share Night Walker, it’s been rewarding to hear people tell me that they “loved” Calisto, or were “worried” for Kate. In order for a story to work, you need to have characters that the reader can care about and root for. Without them, even the best laid plot won’t keep readers turning pages.

When I first started writing and publishing, it was short stories.

Horror short stories to be specific.

I had very few words to create characters that a reader would care about enough to be frightened for them, or conversely, to loathe and be terrified to meet them in a dark alley. It was a great training ground as a writer to learn to use as few words as possible to create a character that a reader connected with.

Short stories also taught me to develop character quirks. They don’t have to be huge, but a quirk can help make a character more memorable and lifelike. We all have quirks, some larger than others, but ask any friend you’ve known for a long time and they can probably give you a list of your quirks.

Anyway, Calisto has a habit of answering questions with another question. By the end of the book, I found his quirk endearing. I’m sure it was infuriating at times for other characters in the book, but it also made Calisto more than just an immortal. It gave him a little touch of human… :)

So do you have any quirks you’re willing to share? Have you given any of your fictional characters quirks? I hope you’ll share…

And if you’re interested in checking out Night Walker, you can find the links to grab a copy and excerpts from the book here…
I’m very chatty online, so feel free to connect! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I’ve Got A Secret…

We keep secrets. We tell secrets. We pursue secrets. It's all part of human nature.

Paparazzi, private detectives and nosy neighbors make it their mission in life to dig up every secret there is. Secrets can be worth a great deal to the right people and worth nothing at all to others.

I stumbled across a website called Post a Secret.Post a Secret It's a multimedia project in which people can write down their secrets on a postcard anonymously and send them in. The postcards on the website display secrets that are funny, embarrassing, heart wrenching and even weird. The project's concept is an innovative way to get people to express themselves and relieve some of the weight of carrying their secrets.

Face it, secrets can be a burden. They shape us, affecting how we behave and how we deal with other people. Big secrets can make it next to impossible to really get close to someone. There's always the fear that your secret will be exposed and all that you had will come crashing down around you.

Secrets are the fodder of mystery writers or any writer wanting to add tension to characters and plot. How many mysteries have you read where the killer was someone who killed to protect her secret? Not everyone who holds a secret is a homicidal maniac in waiting. Sometimes secrets are thrust upon a person through fate or the machinations of others. It takes strength of character to hold on to some secrets. In my novella Out of the Shadows my heroine Carolina carries a secret. It is a secret that has been passed down through her family for generations. It is now her responsibility to maintain this secret even at the cost of her life.

In celebration of the 1st book in the SHADOW WARRIOR series, I am holding a contest. Follow me & the tzitzimime (celestial demon and nemesis of Shadow Warriors) on the blog tour and leave a comment to be entered to win a $25 gift certificate from Samhain Publishing. It’s that easy!
All entries must be in by August 24th. The winner will be declared on the blog August 26th. Contest starts June 5th and ends midnight August 24th (EST).One winner will be chosen at random for the prize.

Samhain Publishing

When the last shadow warrior falls, so will all humanity.

With each demon he vanquishes in service to the Aztec sun god, Tomás fulfills his duty to defend humankind—and surrenders another piece of his humanity to his wolf spirit. All hope seems lost until a mission leads him to the door of the one thing he thought he’d never find…his spirit mate. The only woman who can save him from oblivion.
When Carolina hears the wolf’s howl, it pierces the very core of her lonely heart. Yet she dare not answer. As the last guardian of her land and the secret it contains, she is haunted by the mistake that cost the lives of her family. Never will she repeat that mistake, especially with a warrior who is more beast than man.
Chasing away the demon is easier than breaching the barriers around the heart of the young woman who possesses a strange power over water—and his very soul. But if they are to survive the night, he must convince her they are destined to stand together.


A wolf’s howl pierced the desert silence, causing the animals to stir restlessly in their stalls. Wolves had been reintroduced into Arizona, but she had yet to see or hear one so close to her ranch. Was it an omen?

Carolina paused in her chores to stare out the open barn door into the gathering darkness.

For a moment, she let herself get caught up in the long, solitary note. It felt like a kindred spirit. She knew loneliness intimately. Only her loneliness did not come from the vast miles of the sun-parched Sonoran desert that surrounded her, but out of the necessity to protect her goddess, her land’s secret. As one of the few amongst her people to become a guardian, her choices were limited.

The one occasion she’d invested herself in another, he’d betrayed her. She’d foolishly placed her hope and trust in Billy and she’d paid a horrendous price. Her desire to find someone to share the workload, her joy and sadness, and the burden of her secret—just as her parents had done—had blinded her to the trap she’d walked into. By the time she understood what was happening, it was too late. Her parents were dead.

Her heart weighed heavy in her chest as if it had happened recently and not five years ago. The memory of her parents lingered too close to the surface today. This had been their land, their dream, and now it was hers to fight for. She’d vowed never to fail them again. Above her own needs came the higher purpose of protecting her goddess at all costs.

Her mare, Mariposa, snorted and reared up, pulling Carolina from her thoughts. The animals had been growing edgier with each passing minute. They sensed the evil that blew in with the warm desert breeze. She berated herself for not paying more attention to them.

Goose bumps prickled her skin. Her tattoo, a gift from the goddess, began a slow burn on her shoulder, a sure sign that evil was approaching. She felt the heat radiating through the fabric of her denim shirt. The last time she’d experienced the odd sensation, her world had fallen apart.

Cautiously, she turned her head, seeking the source.

Her breath came out in a gasp.

Less than ten feet away sat a magnificent gray wolf, watching her. Waiting.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Motivation!

This week's photo writing prompt is an odd one. Where is it? WHAT is it? Go to town and see how many different snippets you can create out of it ;).

Have a great week and keep writing!

(This photo was obtained from a domain free website :))

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stuff Ya Didn't Know Friday- Ryujin

Today's critter is a sea-dragon god, Ryujin, who resides at the bottom of the sea. He controlls the tides with his gaping maw that sucks in all of the oceans. He lets them go as he breathes in and out.

Able to transform into a human shape, Ryujin lived in his palace under the sea built out of red and white coral, from where he controlled the tides with magical Tide Jewels. He used sea turtles, fish and jellyfish as his messangers and servants.

There is a story of Empress Jingo of Japan who prayed to Ryujin for help in her struggles against Korea. She received the Tide Jewels and used them to beach the Korean fleet, then drown the crews.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Are you a focus or a scatter?

I've had theory for years that people are either a "focus" or a "scatter". Now, I don't mean scatter brained, although that can happen ;). I’m talking about the way people work and function in their lives.

Focus's usually have a very narrow and intense way of doing things. In school they often excel at whatever topic they study. My former thesis adviser is an excellent example of a focus. When I met her she was only 27 and was already a tenured professor at a University. She also had spent time with the World Health Organization in Geneva. At 27. Scared the crap out of me for reasons you'll see very quickly.

I, on the other hand, am an example of a scatter (stop laughing folks ;)). Someone as intensely aimed at their area of study like my thesis advisor was a bit unnerving for me. Scatters find so many things interesting that we rarely get to the level of intensity that a focus does. The extreme case is a scatter brain, or someone who can't get through school, or go after goals because of too many distractions.

Both types in the extreme can be problematic. Scatters may fail to reach their potential if they can't put some blinders on and focus. The focus folks can miss out on many things in life if they become too obsessed with a single subject. I'm thinking my former advisor did NOT have a rip roaring fun time in college-LOL!

But both types have strengths as well. If the object of the focus’s intense dedication falls through, they may find themselves at a loss. But the scatter can pick up and find another topic with ease. The focus can get to a level of depth within a subject, which would be difficult for a scatter.

Now how does all this relate to writing you ask? It affects both your characters as well as you the author. Understanding where on the sliding scale of focus your characters lay can help you keep their behavior consistent and believable.

Understanding your own position on the scale can help you keep your writing form in top shape. You need to understand how your mind and personality work best so that you can keep moving forward in your writing career. Now it doesn’t mean that a scatter can’t become more focused and visa versa- but before anything can change, you have to understand what’s there to begin with. True for our characters and ourselves.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Motivation!

Today's photo writing prompt:

A nice summer image to generate some writing...or is it a creepy one? You never know with carousels!

Have great week and keep writing!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just. Keep. Writing.

Keep Writing.

Two little words that mean so much. Today I saw possibly the best writing post ever:

Former agent, and current author, Nathan Bransford posted The Solution to Every Writing Problem that has Ever Existed. His solution? “Keep writing.”

I enjoy Nathan’s posts, but this one rocked in its simplicity. Any writing problem you have will resolve itself if you JUST keep writing. Don’t fret, don’t panic, don’t storm around yelling at your barrista about how misunderstood you are…JUST KEEP WRITING.

It reminded me of a quote a screenwriter once told me, “You can’t fail, you can only quit.” If you don’t quit, then you’re never a failure because you’re still in progress. And as long as you keep writing, creating, learning, WRITING, you’ll eventually find the solution to all of your writing problems.

These concepts are simple to hear, difficult to internalize. We, aka “humans”, make life far more difficult than it needs to be. We as writers (hopefully, also humans) make our writing lives far more painful, scary, confusing, and depressing than they need to be.

We just need to write. We need to not quit.

Now go out there and do something nice for your favorite writer (look in a mirror folks ;)) and get back to work!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Motivation!

OY! ya know it's monday when you're late on your blog! Hope it's a good one folks! Today's photo is from a domain free site (not mine, although it is from san Diego ;))