Tag Archives: personal themes

What do you do at 3 am when you can’t sleep…

ImageWrite a new blog post!  So, here’s what I’m thinking about at 3 am while the house is quiet and I’m contemplating life because I can’t sleep.

I’m finding different stages of writing novels, now that I have a few under my belt, that I like. I can sort of break it up by word count to describe what I mean.

When I first start a novel and I only have a couple thousand words in, the story is fresh and full of potential. I like that there’s still that blank page there. I need to get more down, more clay on the potter’s wheel. It is very much a new beginning.

I like it when I have 25,000 to 30,000 words in and the story is really starting to develop. I have a certain number of characters and the plot is pretty thick. The definition is starting to show. There’s movement. I know where the story is going because it’s come so far. Generally speaking it is about at the half way point. It’s like riding along the cliff. If I need to change something, this is the time to do it. I like that there’s still so much  adrenaline in the project.

Then, when I’m approaching the 50,000 mark, it’s a different type of excitement, much like finishing a race. Not just any race either, this is a marathon. So, when I see the finish line, my heart is pumping! I know I have to wrap this bad boy up. I generally finish books between 45,000 and 60,000, ideally. They can be longer, but not much. I don’t like them too much shorter either. I think if a book is less than 45,000 words, it isn’t a full novel. So, when I’m approaching that big 5-0 I know it has to come to an end, or at least an end for now.

When I do actually finish the first draft, I feel relief, a huge sense of accomplishment, and fear. Yep, fear. Because what if I didn’t get everything I wanted in there? What if it isn’t good enough? What if I messed it up? I go through a lot of that type of thing. I have to just ignore the damn thing for a while. I need to work on something else, get my mind off of it. Then, when I do get back to it for my first edit, I have fresh eyes. I can see it better, from a distance. When I’m too close, I panic and wonder. The distance between first draft and first edit is a huge help.

Going through these stages is why I think writing novels is the biggest thrill I’ve ever had. To create worlds and people and manipulate them into interesting situations is fabulous. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing this.

 

 

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New Inspiration!

ImageIt’s been a long time since I’ve talked about inspiration! Since I’m moving into a more production-centric period in my writing journey, perhaps it is a good time to dwell on the topic once again. I’ve recently released the second book of my vampire series, Fire Blood. I admit I really wrote this novel fast, and I feel it is very good – 10 times better than the first book – I think the reason for the quality and speed of writing was the inspiration.

I really felt compelled to write this book. The characters, especially Matthew, really came alive in my head. It still sounds weird, even to me, but they really talked to me and told me their story and I just wrote it down… The first book, Summer Blood, went a long way to introduce these guys and gals and give me a basis to work with. The second book really took it to the next level. There was a lot going on, from kidnappings, to fighting, to sex… yeah, they were a busy bunch! Tobia and Gwin focused on taking down what was left of the vampire network, and Matthew got his band Carolina Sky together for a tour. Myranta put herself forward as Matthew’s personal body guard, and Cytosha… well, she kind of went crazy! It was fun and exciting… but what was the inspiration?

Music was a huge factor. I had to hear Carolina Sky playing in my head. I listened to a lot of music… I made a huge play list (Kato’s playlist on Spotify if you’re interested – follow me!). Kato even wrote some new music and I included lyrics in the back of the book! That is a big inspiration for the next book as well. Kato and Wayne felt a bit left out and will be making a bigger splash in the next book of the series. They both have rock-star personalities and are very “in-your-face” so their minimal presence in the first two books has come to an end. They want front row billing in #3.

Another inspiration was other vampire books/tv/movies… especially True Blood. Not that my vampires are the same in any way (other than being vampires), but just getting to that vicious single mindedness they sometimes have was easier after being a little exposed to other vampire media. And photos! I’ve found and shared plenty of vamp-pics on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/summerbloodvampires)!

So, Gwin is another character that really came alive for me. She started out very snotty and spoiled, but eventually, she grew as a character and by the end of Fire Blood, she really has a lot of depth. I think that Matthew and Tobia both influenced her a lot. She’s still fun loving and mischievous, though. In September I’m releasing the prequel book, Blood Pact. Her story in this one is compelling and really gives the reader an even better sense of who she is. Sometimes, it felt like she was sitting beside me at the keyboard and pointing out where to make changes and what to add! She’s so pushy! I think she is that aggressive side of me that never gets to really come out, in part at least.

The beach was obviously an inspiration point. I have always loved the beach and every time I’m there I seem to have characters talking to me about what they’re doing at the beach or what they want to be doing. Particularly, for Summer Blood this was a serious kick off. My husband and I went to Flagler Beach on the East Coast of Florida for my birthday. We went to a cool bar and walked on the beach at night and at sunrise. I took tons of notes while we were there. The bar and the beach both stuck with me so much that when I got home, those parts begged to be written and that’s when I truly started focusing on Summer Blood… and came up with the name! The name of the bar in Summer Blood is Shark Fins, it shows up at the end of Chapter 2 when Tobia and Gwin are getting to know each other… if you want to see the real place. I did tell you exactly where it is… corner of A1A and 100 in Flagler.

Cytosha is another vivid character. This is a psychic motorcycle riding vampire hellion! She’s front and center in both books. I originally meant for her to be a minor character used just for Tetrick to find Gwin and Tobia. She had other plans. She not only stuck around in Summer Blood, she became the main Vamp in Fire Blood, and you will be able to find out more about her – where she came from – and where she’s going in Blood Pact. Of course, she’ll have a role in the #3 as well. I wanted her to be a tough-guy. She owned her vampire status. Unlike Tobia and Gwin, she loved being a vampire (more than she ever loved being human). She’s a modern girl and she likes to just kick ass and boss everyone around. I have no idea where she came from. When I started writing her, she just took over. I’m glad she did because I’ve had a ton of fun writing her!

I’m working on a lot of other projects outside of the vampire world. The inspirations have come from many different places. Perhaps one of my biggest influences is what I read. Whatever I’m reading at the time tends to make its way on to my page…. don’t misunderstand. I do not EVER copy… but tone and genre and the feel of a novel can be influential. Or smaller things. Sometimes I do put tiny tidbits in my writing as a homage to another author that I admire, though. Like, I might name a street something out of another book. Some of my biggest influences, particularly for vampires and demons, are Kim Harrison and the Hollows series, Laurel Hamilton and the Anita Blake series, and Kristie Haigwood’s Eternal Island (Reviewed this in an earlier blog – check my archives) series. Kristie is an independent author and worth checking out! I like her Save My Soul series as well.

I’m writing a new series called Adventures of Pepper Chance. She is a psychic detective charged with keeping demon activity under control. She started developing as I was reading the Hollows, but also the Dresden series and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. I wanted a hardnosed detective who had a troubled past. She’s been a very bad girl, but wants to make a decent life for herself. She’s not afraid to fall in love or kick demon ass or step up to whatever challenges I throw at her. You’ll see two short stories about her in my upcoming anthology, Brink. That’s due to go to the editors soon.

Some of the stories from Brink came from what I was writing during my Master’s degree. Inspiration for those stories came from specific assignments. They are very different than what I’ve put out there so far, yet still twisted and fun. One of the stories was featured in a vampire anthology:

http://www.amazon.com/Vampires-Romance-Rippers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00FYZVEQK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1402946438&sr=8-2-fkmr1&keywords=vampires+romance+toe+to+rippers

I had to stories featured. Only one of them will be in Brink, so get the one above for the other…

Ultimately, I guess I have to say that inspiration comes from so many places… from media and real life to my own wild imaginations and even things inside me that I don’t want people to see. It all gets blended up in this strange thing called my brain… and tossed out like a salad onto the paper. Then, I just hope everyone likes my veggies!

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Next Step in the Journey: The Thesis

Athena
If you’ve been following this blog (thank you!), then you know that I’ve been going to school at SNHU for my Masters degree in Creative Writing. That is the biggest reason why my blog entries have been few and far between. I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve started my thesis class last week. The thesis is a novel, and it is split into two classes. I should finish in March. For now, I’m going to be hard at work hammering out as many pages as I can!

So, as I begin this venture, I thought I would share with you a quick summary of the novel I’m working on for my thesis. It is a YA paranormal adventure. Yes, it has romance in it, but that isn’t the primary focus. Here’s a summary:

Erin wants to be a normal girl with a normal life, but she’s anything but normal. Bad things happen to anyone that gets too close to her. After a string of foster homes, she finds herself in a small town with a family she cares about and is scared to lose. She even manages to get a boyfriend, Kel, who convinces her that he is immune to her curse.
Erin’s life is turned into chaos when her foster mother becomes ill and Erin is sent to a children’s home. She is afraid she will lose the first family she has ever cared about, and lose her first boyfriend as well. Before she can figure it all out, Erin is kidnapped by a vengeful goddess that calls herself Mina. Erin must figure out who Mina really is, and regain her own lost memories in order to defeat her.

Let me know what you think. Would you check this book out?

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It’s about the Journey

This blog has always been about my journey as a writer. So, that’s specifically what this entry is going to be about. I’ve grown as a writer tremendously over the last few years and I’m starting to see the products of that growth. I’m about to start my thesis course for my Creative Writing degree and my first novel, Summer Blood, is out and is selling, albeit slowly. Now, I’m journeying into the next realm of being an independent author – promotions.

I’m learning a few things, and the first is that books will not sell without promotions. OK – honestly, I knew that going into it, but now I’m neck-deep and trying to figure it all out. I have some of it figured out, but not all of it. I’m particularly struggling with, how to get reviews. Without reviews, people may not want to buy the book even as a .99 kindle. There are millions of bloggers, and they are ALL inundated with books to read and blog about. I’m sure this is true because my own reading list is a mile long. However, I still need those reviews. Many readers will read the book, but it is a lot of trouble to go back and write a review, especially when they’re really only interested in the next book they’re going to read. So, I’m still smashing this one around, but seriously, if you read a book you really like, leave a review on Amazon, Smashwords or Goodreads or B&N or wherever, because it is really important. If you are a writer it is especially important for you to do this… that way maybe someone else will leave you a review… You know the old Karma thing?!?

So, the book is out there and I’m getting my promotions on track, and I’m working on the sequel and next week starts my thesis (which I think is another novel). It’s a struggle, but the progress is going in the right direction, and the journey has been fun! In fact, the journey is the best part: writing, learning, growing, enjoying the story and the characters… all of it!

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4839007.Sherri_Jordan_Asble

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Blood-Desolate-Incubus-ebook/dp/B00EH1WLHS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379357414&sr=1-1&keywords=summer+blood

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What I’m Learning… Part 1

If you’ve followed my blog, you probably know that I’ve been working on my MA in Creative Writing. So, I’m taking an awesome writing course right now… I’m learning a lot, and one of the things we are doing is writing about how we can apply what we are learning to our own writing. That made me think that I should be blogging this stuff…. so…. here is the first installment of what I’m learning:

In his essay, “Talking Forks,” Charles Baxter writes, “How a person sees the things that surround him usually tells us more than an explicit description of his mood. The things carry the feeling. They do not when our emotions are placid, but when our emotions are violent, they must.”

This sentence is the epitome of the essay and could be the driving force of “The Things They Carried,” the short story by Tim O’Brien. People attach emotions to objects and they can relate to objects carrying emotions in fiction.

The soldiers in “The Things They Carried,” carried a lot more than just objects: “Grief, terror, love, longing – these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight (O’Brien). Their emotions were heavy and they were attached to things. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross had a stone sent to him from a girl back home. It weighed next to nothing, but carried the heaviest emotional weight that got heavier as the story progressed. When a soldier dies because he wasn’t paying enough attention to the surroundings because he was thinking of the girl back home, the stone suddenly had more weight than anything else in the story.

O’Brien tells about all the things that the men carried and why throughout the story in order highlight the events of the story. For example, he gives a list of things including, “Kool-aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits…” and then tells about the reasons for some things like Kiowa that carried his grandfather’s hatchet to show his heritage and distrust of the white man. Then, O’Brien switches to something that is more significant to the main plot of the story, such as the poncho that the soldiers used to carry the one that was killed.

He also uses things and emotions to help continue the mood of the story. He writes, “They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity” (O’Brien).

In my own writing, I should be conscious of the things around and my characters’ emotional connections to them. Things can be symbolic of other things like the stone the Lieutenant carried symbolized hope and longing and then after the solider died – guilt (O’Brien). Keeping this in mind can help create depth to my stories. Objects do carry emotional weight and these things can make the characters feel more complicated and real. When the emotions are too hard, putting them into the things around us can help, and that can be used to add meaning and context within a work of fiction as well.

____sources:
Baxter, Charles. “Talking Forks: Fiction and the Inner Life of Objects.” Burning Down the House. St. Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2008. Print. http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Down-House-Essays-Fiction/dp/1555975089/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360887487&sr=8-2&keywords=burning+down+the+house

O’Brien, Tim. “The Things They Carried.” The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction. New York: Simon & Schuster. ebook. http://www.amazon.com/Scribner-Anthology-Contemporary-Short-Fiction/dp/1416532277/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360887535&sr=1-1&keywords=Scribner+Anthology

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50 Shades of what?

I just read a blog on how well the “50 Shades of Gray” books are faring… very well I might add.  http://thatfantasyblog.com/2012/06/18/erotic-book-beats-potter-to-be-fastest-selling-paperback/

After reading this blog and spending the last two weeks hearing about the Gray book from all of my friends and co-workers who just HAD to read it, I’m wondering what it says for all of us struggling writers. Is it hope? Is it frustration? Jealousy? Inspiration?  Do we have to write smut books (or mummy porn as the other blog says) in order to get our books to sell? [not that there is anything wrong with that – a lot of my all time favorite books are smutty and favorite authors write them]  Aside of the sex and the curiosity factor, why has this book done so well?

Ok – I have not read the book. I don’t know if it is well written, if it is intriguing, if it is complete crap, or what. I have to think if it sold 100,000 last week alone that it can’t be all crap. There has to be something more than sex here.  Is it timing/luck/well written and a bit of elbow grease all rolled into one mega-success-pack?

Don’t you just love blogs that ask all the questions, but don’t provide any answers?

I don’t have any.  If I did, I would have written and published a 50 Shades of Book Sells already myself!

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Facebook Lives!

I had all but given up on Facebook. I don’t like the changes they made and I was beginning to think it was useless. Perhaps I felt like it just wasn’t moving fast enough. Twitter is like Facebook on steroids – right!!~?!@?  So, I was hardly ever on Facebook and when I was on, I just checked on family and close friends, which is great, but I like to use my on-line time to network with other writers and to try to promote my own writing. So, Facebook was feeling pretty dead for me. But, the salvation was right before my eyes! Woot!

Do I sound excited? Well, I got very excited when I realized that one of my Twitter friends, Patti Roberts, was hosting a Facebook page for writers. So, I checked it out.  So glad I did! Patti and another writer, Lenore Wolfe, do a fabulous job on this awesome site:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/ParaYourAbnormalAuthors/

This is an Authors Critique Group where authors can help each other. The object is stated as: “We’re trying to catch typos, plot holes, all the things that readers pick up on.” 

What a great way to share your work and get help from others doing the same thing. I really needed this and hope I can get some great advice. 

The other great thing about this is that spending time reviewing the work of others helps writers review their own work. I know from past experience that my work improves when I’m regularly critiquing others. I used to belong to another online group www.critters.org.  This is still an active site, and I’m sure it is fabulous. I just never had enough time to do enough reviews to keep my ratings up high enough long enough to get my work reviewed (yeah – that is a mouthful).  They have too many writers now so it takes forever to get your work up in the queue and meanwhile, you have to keep your review rate up. It became too much work for too little pay back for me. But, the advice I received was fabulous, and the reviews I did helped me as well. So, if you have the time, this is a great group.

Patti and Lenore’s group is a lot more loosely based and relies on reciprocity of the writers. So, I’m in… I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/lenore.wolfe1

http://www.facebook.com/#!/PattiParadox

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