Category Archives: love

NaNoWriMo from 11/1 and my Dad

Okay, so yesterday wasn’t too good for writing. I only got 979 words in. However I was also an emotional mess.

Over and over again yesterday I kept thinking about my father. I kept remembering how I found him slumped over in his chair, tongue protruding and eyes closed. I remember the football game was on the TV and his portable fire was on as well. He was comfortable when he tried to kill himself.

As I was on the phone with 911 he started drooling and i knew I had found him right after he fell unconscious.

The EMTs came and it was then I realized it wasn’t a stroke, but a suicide attempt. I didn’t find the empty pill bottle until I left the hospital that night.

We live about 6 minutes from the closest hospital. Dad stopped breathing on the way there.

When the doctors checked his blood work they told me he had the highest Tylenol level they had ever seen. Yes, Tylenol. by the way, don’t do that. it will kill you slowly. Very slowly. The problem for my dad was that he took the PM variant in a large enough dose that the diphenhydramine stopped his breathing.

I was so angry.

Even more so when I found out that he had been asking people for a gun. My brother, two of my neighbors. And no one told me. I didn’t realize he was that ready to kill himself.

It took me a long time to get over being angry, and sometimes I still get angry.

He killed himself on my watch, even though I blocked his actual attempt. Guilt is bad. And comes back to haunt you at the most inopportune times.

Like when you are trying to write for NaNoWriMo.

Thanks for letting me spill my guts.

Always,

Dawn

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Interview with Kate Gifford

 well here is an interview with Kate Gifford, a very gifted romance writer, and sweet friend.

1)   What genre(s) do you write? And why?

  Romance, romantic suspense.  I write romance because it always has a happy ending.  I write romantic suspense because the suspense aspect gives more dimension to a story.

2)   Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

My completed novel is a romantic suspense.  I am in the process of shopping it around. I am unagented. I have any many feature articles published in local newspapers.  My current work in progress is a straight romance with no suspense element.  

 

3)   Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

  Other than writing, I read at east three novels a week.  I no longer work outside the home.  I am a wife, a mother and grandmother.  I am a homemaker, babysitter and errand runner.  I enjoy my family, friends, reading, dinner theater and comedies.

 

4)   Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

I don’t have a single tatoo anywhere and I don’t want any.

 

5)   What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

The last book I read was a romantic comedy and I did enjoy it.

 

6)   What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

Write the kind of stories you like to read.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t write.  Write something every day, even if it’s just that you wish you had more time for writing – because time has a way of getting away from us, and pretty soon that one day you skipped writing becomes the hundredth day you skipped writing.  The longer you go without writing, the harder it is get back into it.  Read, read, read!  Hang out with other people who enjoy writing, whether in person or on-line.  Learn all you can about your craft.  Realize you are never done learning.

 

7) Tell us one thing no one knows about you.

  I wish I were  the woman I know to be.  

Well dear friends, here you have it. Kate Gifford!

Just to let you know, the clean up from Irene  continues around here, but at least we have power!

Always

Dawn

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Filed under Agent Query Connect, author, characters, feeling, ideas, interview, love, novel, romance writer, voice, Writer, writing, writing novels, writing process

Further Education for Writers

Not all writers realize that continuing education is a must for a writer. Think about it. No matter if you are agented, published, or still looking for beta readers, is your MS the BEST it can be? No. Emphatically no. There is always room for improvement.

My grandfather used to ask my mom when she was in school, “Was that the best you can do?”

No matter how well you write you can ALWAYS improve.

Now, writers write, and good writers write more. Practice makes perfect after all. Or maybe, practice is just one more way to make you better.

There is another way that is very important when you want to improve your writing. Read.

Now reading, in itself, will help you learn to develop flow and characters better, but I am talking about reading about writing.

This weekend I got to go to Barnes and Noble bookstore. This is always a dangerous thing, and this time I brought a credit card, even more dangerous. But, I went on a mission. It was time to get a book on writing, or actually on grammar. (My comma skills are woefully out of date!) So I walked into the bookstore looking for a specific book.

EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES- The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

This book has been recommended to me several times because of my complete incompetence with commas, so it was definitely time to get it.

Unfortunately it was in a section dedicated to writers. (Here’s where the credit card came into play!)

As I started looking at all the wonderful books, I realized there is more that I can learn. Much more. And it was all staring at me from the shelves. How could I resist?

I couldn’t.

So I came home with not only EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES, but also:

WRITING THE PARANORMAL NOVEL by Steven Harper

HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD THRILLER by James N Frey

and FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED NOVEL by Karen S. Wiesner

I also picked up a special bookmark (I have a soft spot for bookmarks) that has a quote by Winston Churchill– “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER QUIT”

Perfect!

So now not only do I have a novel to write, I have a lot of great books to read as well. Next, I will get books on the business of publishing….but that is another blog post.

If anyone else has read these books and has any advice on them or on other books to read, just let me know!

Always,

Dawn

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Shelving a Manuscript

If you’ve been writing a while, you know what this is all about. It is taking a piece of work you have finished (or almost finished) and putting it aside.

This is different from trunking a novel. When you trunk it, it may never see the light of day again. But, by shelving it,you are merely letting it sit, like a pot of soup simmering on the back of the stove.

Well, right now I am in this position.

My Manuscript INFECTED is not getting the reviews I want for it. And I think I know the reason. It isn’t ready, but I have been staring at it too long. So, on the shelf it goes.

Does this mean that I am not going to write? Or maybe only write short stories or flash fiction (under 1000 words)?

No.

I am already working on a second novel that was originally slated to be the sequel of INFECTED. I am changing it into a stand alone novel. I think this may actually be the better way to go, to be honest.

One of the things I have the most trouble with is making the romantic relationship between my two main characters seem real.

I don’t have that problem in the ‘sequel’. It is about the former MC’s son. A two-year-old boy with the mind of a 25-year-old. He has the blood and soul of a green one. hence the title GREEN ONES. He is an object of their prophecies. But no more spoilers for you!

I think one of the reasons this will be a better fit for me right now, is that there are no romantic elements in the main story. It is told from the child’s point of view. (Have I mentioned he has the mind of a 25-year-old).

This thriller/horror is going to be my main project for the next three months. (That’s usually how long it takes me to rough out a novel). Then time for edits, and beta reads, and edits, and more edits, and crits, and edits, and even more edits. Occasionally I will also be playing with INFECTED to turn it into a prequel. Should be an interesting time for a bit!

Wish me luck!

Always,

Dawn

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Interview with Stephanie Diaz

Well, it is Friday and time for another in my series of interviews. This is such a great experience and a chance for you to get to know some of the other writers out there!

Today, I am interviewing the beautiful and amazing Stephanie Diaz. If you aren’t you NEED to follow her on Twitter and on her blog!

Bio: At eighteen, Stephanie Diaz is an aspiring young adult author who studies film production at San Diego State University. In her spare time, she also writes and performs original songs. Follow her on twitter (@StephanieEDiaz), or find her on her blog: http://stephanieevelanddiaz.blogspot.com/

 

1)   What genre(s) do you write? And why?

I write young adult novels, primarily in the fantasy genre. I’m a young adult myself, so it seems natural to write to the people I know best, though of course I’d love it if my novels also appeal to adults. Fantasy is the genre I’ve always had a passion for. When I’m reading a book myself, I love to enter a completely different world that’s so wonderful I never want to return from it. So I love imagining worlds of my own, and seek to draw readers into them so that they can experience the same beauty I see in my head.

 

2)   Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

I recently completed a high fantasy novel, ERHISTAUT, and I’m seeking publication for it. It’s currently 76,000 words total. Here’s the tagline for it: Heiren Delaire doesn’t know the stars chose her for this. All she knows is that her country is falling, her father is dead, and she has to destroy the bastard demon who murdered him.

 

3)   Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

I enjoy watching and making great films. I also love writing music, and singing.

 

4)   Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

I don’t have any tattoos. I would definitely consider getting one, but I’m not quite at that point where I really want one.

 

5)   What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

The last book I read was FORGING THE SWORD by Hilari Bell. It’s the third book in her Farsala trilogy. I highly recommend it; it’s very well-written. I adore the world she’s created.

 

6)   What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

Just be persistent. I think it takes some bravery, since you’re essentially sharing a part of yourself with others, whether it be critique partners, agents, editors, or readers. Just don’t ever give up on something you love. If you love it that much, you can always find a way to make it happen.

 

7)   Tell us one thing no one knows about you

Well, a couple people know this, but when I was seven I was bitten by a spider and went through a very traumatic experience as a result. I’ve been quite frightened of them ever since, though now not so much as I once was. They still creep me out.

Didn’t I tell you she is amazing? Thanks Stephanie!

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Interview with Tracy Jorgensen

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today’s interview is with Tracy Jorgensen, my AgentQuery Connect BFF. She is an amazing person and writer. Please check out her crazy blog and see her latest antics!

1)   What genre(s) do you write? And why?

 Fantasy; for a few age groups (adult, YA, MG, etc.)  Why?  I

suppose it is the world building aspect that is fun, combined with the

more openness for my “what if” scenarios.  What if you could live your

life over again?  That idea led to THE GIRL WITH BROWN EYES.  You can

still do it somewhat with other genres, but in fantasy its more

anything goes.  So long as you stick to your own rules of course.  I

love rules.

 

2) Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

 I’m querying for THE GIRL WITH BROWN EYES at the moment.  But if

we’re supposed to be bragging then can I promote my blog?  BELIEF

SUSPENDERS.  It’s like Mythbusters for Writers. I do videos of scenes

from books, and test them out to see what would REALLY happen.  Again

it goes back to my love of what ifs.  What if I really did smash a

bottle on the bar? What if i jumped out of the car while it was

moving? I’m a curious kind of girl.

 

3)   Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

 There is other time?  Just kidding.  I like to bake fattening and

delicious things. Also go dirt bike riding and jet skiing as much as

possible. I’ll play me some video games (and lose my grammar skills)

if the weather isn’t up for me to go out to play.

 

4)   Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

 Nope and nope.  I’m good.

 

5)   What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

 The Left Hand of Darkness, and I did like it.  It was totally one

of those books you have to rip yourself out of and re-establish

yourself in the real world.  Love that.

 

6)   What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

 Watch the silly video on youtube “So you want to write a novel.”

Then learn why what he is saying is sooo bad. Learn how not to look

like a dork and then you’ll be set for when your luck meets your work.

 

7)   Tell us one thing no one knows about you

 Does that include myself?  How can I tell you if even I don’t know

it?  Aaah.  Okay, I don’t know if this (or if its even true) but I’m

allergic to dolphin meat, and I’ve been chosen by the Aussian

Electorate to represent our planet next spring at the Aussian Imperial

Annual Ball.  I probably won’t RSVP since I don’t know about it yet.

 

Tracy N. Jorgensen

http://tracynjorgensen.blogspot.com/

@TansyRagwort

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Interview with Imran Siddiq

Here is an interview with my favorite David Tennant look-alike…at least I think he is a look-alike…

I’ve been in denial from a young age that there was more to me than just working hard and following the rules. The applause I would receive as a young child, in Leicester,UK was never truly grasped by myself. Sure, i could blame the route of eduction that was forced upon me, but I never tried to rekindle it until 5 years ago. Now, every flutter of spare time is thrust into creating, drawing and writing. Not yet published, but I have a museum of tales I hope to extract and tell. My first novel, The Last Strider, though inspired by my two cats is a daring tale of reincarnation and destiny that demands. Currently in its final round of editing, and my second, Disconnect is almost complete. Details of my progression can be found on http://www.imranwrites.com, and you can follow me on Twitter: @flickimp.

1)   What genre(s) do you write? And why?

Young Adult works well for me, as I will never pretend to be an expert in hitting the mark that adults of epic novels would expect. However, in narrowing the YA area into a specific genre, I would have to break the mould and state that I am a SFFR. No, that isn’t a text version of writing ‘Suffer’, but a space-time mashing of Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Romance.

 Fantasy and Sci-Fi are the pillars of my childhood. In 1983, I say Star Wars, aged 5, and by the age of 8, I’d read The Hobbit. Suddenly, the world was not a network of roads and buildings, but an endless arena of possibility. Some would class Fantasy and Sci-Fi writers as being the chosen paths of those that aren’t very good at writing novels set in the real world. I would hesitate to agree. I prefer to step out into the unknown, because that is what dreams are made of. It is where we want and can escape to.

 The romance part of my genres is a new step of writing evolution… see question 2.

 2)   Tell us about your latest project. This is your chance to crow about being published, agented, or winning a contest.

I am mega-passionate about my first novel, The Last Strider and hope to see it happen, but equally, I have been working hard on for the last 8 weeks on a novel that sprung into my head on a long drive back from York, UK at the end of March 2011.

 Disconnect is a YA Romantic-Sci-Fi novel that will not aim to be a cliche-drive tale of happiness. Romance scares me, but I have taken this self-imposed challenge, and who knows, I may mess it up, but until then, I want to break out of my comfort-zone and have a go.

 Writing in a one chapter = male POV, next chapter = female POV, following chapter = male POV, etc, has been exciting and liberating. From the moment I started this novel, my take on a gritty romance in an off-world setting has maintained its full-throttle momentum and is full of the same plot-twists and turns that I would inject into a Fantasy or Sci-Fi novel.

 I am 2 weeks from completion and am excitedly looking forward to redrafting it.

 Disconnect’s tagline: Even in endless space, love has boundaries.

3)   Other than writing, how do you like to spend your time?

I am a work-a-holic in the National Health Service and bringing work home is part and parcel of me. When that moment comes to write, I seize it. So when I’m not, I’ll usually be drawing digital art with my Wacom Cintiq 12wx which is an amazing drawing tablet for Photoshop. And if I’m not doing that, then I might watch a little TV. Though, without question, I love spending time with my cats whether I’m busy or not. They keep me sane.

4)   Do you have any tattoo’s, if so where? If not, do you want any?

I don’t have any tattoos because I’m not a fan of needles and would need a strong dose of something-magical to calm, and knock me out. If I had to, I wouldn’t mind one of those elvish tattoos that the cast of the Fellowship of the Ring had. I adore the Lord of the Rings, and an ambiguous symbol rather than a dolphin would be uber-cool.

5)   What is the last book you read? Did you like it?

The last book I read was Florence and Giles by John Harding. A tale set in 1981 about the sinister governess who comes to look after two orphaned children. A gothic novel that chilled me and has opened my eyes to the grand possibility that I may write in first person soon (my preferred style is 3rd person).

6)   What is your advice to those who want to be authors? (I know, it’s a crummy one, but needs to be asked)

Believe in yourself and stop listening to the pretenders of knowledge. I always have to bear the criticism that I have too much time on my hands to write, or why am I not published yet because it can’t be that difficult, and that all grates me. Joining writing forums and mingling around real-live or virtual writers strengthened my belief and has made me a better writer. Don’t just think that your qualifications as a teenager are enough. Remind yourself of grammatical rules, preposition usage, thrilling dialogue, physical and emotional conflict and improving your voice with words.

Never give up on an idea until you have rinsed it of all possibility.

 I strongly recommend that you do set up a website, lavish or free, it doesn’t matter. Just as long as you use it to stage your blog, writing and random craziness, it will be your aid to becoming an online presence.

7)   Tell us one thing no one knows about you

Ooh, now this would be telling.

 Aged 7, I was on top of the world; excelling in maths and english and being mr-all-nice with the teachers. Though that was how everyone viewed me. Inside I was dogged by a desire to tell one girl, in my class, that I fancied the socks off her. Hang on, I was 7, what did I know about fancying? Movies of that time were all about action and love stories on the television were filled with doom and gloom – take Angie and Den of Eastenders.

 Christmas time, school party, in the hall, music, children dancing. There she was… sitting alone. I used the force to pluck my courage and approached her.

 “Would you like to dance?”

 My request lit up her eyes and her nod, though slow, didn’t matter because she’d already stood up. Holding her hand, I escorted her, and we danced to some cheesy 1980’s tune that must have been all the craze then. I remember my heart pounding like a flux-capacitor in overdrive. The night ended with us going our separate ways. We were 7, and it’s difficult to sneak a kiss when your parents arrive to hand you your coats.

 The next day, the playground parted like Moses and The Red Sea she approached me. Her smile lingered and in an ecstatic manner she said,

 “That was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done. I’ve always wanted a brother like you.”

 For the next eight years, I nursed that broken-heart and struggled to not think of ‘what-if’. It was made worse that we shared classes with one another all the way up until I was 16.

 Even in a classroom, love is a subject experienced, not taught.

As you can see, my darling friend is a deep soul and an amazing individual! Thanks @flickimp! Love ya! Can I please take a ride on the Tardis? 1776 America would be nice…

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