Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

It's time for my first book to stop being my last book!

It’s time for my first book to stop being my last book!

I may be completely insane, but I did it!  And by ‘it’, I mean I finally signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) next month.  I have been eyeing the challenge now since 2008, but I was always far too chicken to even seriously think about it.  Try to write a novel (at least 50,000 words) in a single month?  Um, seriously?  Me, the person who has only finished writing a book once in her life and that was back in 3rd grade?  I seriously have my doubts here!

But the fact is I’m tired of wallowing in aspiring-novelist mode!  I’ve been dreaming of writing a novel for most of my life, and I’ve started more novels than I can count–and more than I can actually remember.  It is time to make the next big step and set a goal that could allow me to finally seize that dream.  It is time to be bold and fearless and to stop wasting time.

There is a HUGE chance I won’t even come close to finishing.  I honestly don’t care though.  Of course, I would love nothing more than to actually finish a novel by the end of the challenge.  However, no matter how far along I get towards that 50,000-word goal, I’m going to bask in glory and pride the entire month.  I am really doing this–FINALLY–and that alone is a wonderful victory in life.  Simply by deciding to sign up for this challenge, I have changed my life forever.  No longer will I be content to sit timidly by and merely dream of what could be–some day–in some distant future.  I want–I NEED–a taste of that dream now more than ever!

Ultimately, if we keep stretching ourselves and reaching a little farther out of our comfort zone, things which once seemed impossible and beyond our reach may someday be within our grasp.  Huge leaps of faith have their place.  However, every journey is made up of many seemingly insignificant, mundane baby steps.  A leap of faith will only get us so far.  It is the consistent determination and dedication to keep going a little farther each day which finally gets us to our destination.  What are you doing today to move a little closer to your dreams?

If you would like to learn more about NaNoWriMo or would love to join the challenge, too, click here.

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Public Domain (Harriet Roosevelt Richards 1867-1932)

Public Domain (Harriet Roosevelt Richards 1867-1932)

I am guilty–through and through–of neglecting my blogs again.  The weeks leading up to my wedding grew more and more hectic.  And the chaos hasn’t relented even though I’ve been officially married for 11 days.  I know, excuses…excuses.  But we are all human and time is limited.  Sometimes we neglect for a time the things and people we love for other things and people we love.  The challenge is trying to juggle everything and everyone without dropping a single thing or making anyone feel left out.  I obviously am NOT a master at this, especially since I have a chronic illness complicating an already crazy schedule. So, forgive me and let’s move on to some wonderful news: I’m working on my first book!

Some of you may know that I consider myself a creative writer first and foremost.  Although I adore blogging and enjoy informative writing, my love of writing blossomed from my desire to make my own stories, poetry, and songs.  Since poetry is the only creative writing that I’ve published so far, I tend to neglect my first love–except for an occasional poem here and there.  Right now, creative writing doesn’t help too much to pay the bills, so it gets put on the back burner far too often.

Well, my muse decided this week enough is enough!  I have been mulling over an idea for a collection of short stories for months.  In fact, the first story has tried to practically write itself on several occasions.  However, with wedding plans and other obligations, I did my best to set it aside until I had some more free time.  The free time never DID come…so my creative mind decided Sunday night that I had wait long enough.  I found myself desperately trying to get some sleep when BAM! inspiration slammed me in the face and refused to let me go until I wrote several pages.  I was up until nearly 2:00 am writing this short story even though I knew that I had be up at 6:30.  When the perfect moment strikes (at least in the opinion of your muse) you don’t argue or fight it.  You ride it wherever it will take you.  Anything less would be insane.

I am about halfway finished with this first tale of the collection I hope to publish as my first book.  I already have the rest of the story outlined, and my mind is already mulling over the details of the rest of the short stories.  Who knows if this first book of mine will be anything to brag about.  It might even end up stinking.  However, it MUST be written.  Some invisible force has been insisting for months that I’m meant to finish these short stories.  And no matter what, I WILL finish them!  There is no other way to get back the reins of my life.

Has inspiration ever hijacked your life and refused to let go until you wrote a literary piece?  If so, I’d love to hear about it.

My poor poetry journal!

My poor poetry journal!

In my mind, a writer’s biggest fear is probably losing his or her life’s work. It would be a nightmare to write one’s heart out for years and years only to have it all lost forever. I know that occasionally, I have nightmares about my writing getting ruined or lost somehow. Sometimes, I dream I’m looking through my notebooks or poetry journals and every word vanishes before my eyes. Other times, I dream that a great disaster destroys my work or a hateful person decides to steal all my writing. Ultimately, regardless of how my writing is lost in my dreams, I’m always left with the same hollow and sickening feeling when I wake up from my nightmare!

Unfortunately, I have had some real life experience with the gut-wrenching loss of my writing, as well. I started writing poetry and short stories when I was a little girl. However, except for 3 poems and 1 short story, all my writing prior to 1998 is gone. I used to keep all my poems, stories, and ideas in shoe boxes for safe keeping. But somehow they vanished! Perhaps my mom accidentally threw it all away when she was cleaning my room. Or maybe my writing was in one of the boxes that someone stole off of our front porch during a move. Or something else entirely could have happened. I will never know.

What I do know, though, is I still mourn the loss of my early writing to this day. All that I have ever written is a part of me–a part which can never be replaced. I often wonder what great things I created and have long forgotten about. And I miss not having the chance to read more of my childhood work now that I am an adult. All my past poems and stories are a portal into my past. They are a chance to see myself again as a little girl and to understand myself a little better.

You would think that I would be much more careful now with these nightmares and my past loss. However, I almost lost an entire poetry journal because a glass of water was accidentally knocked onto it. I was using a hairdryer at 2:00 am a couple months ago, frantically trying to save my precious poems. I promised myself that night that I would never make that mistake again! I promised myself that I would backup my work in multiple places to ensure that my writing is preserved and protected. But did I follow through on that promise? No! My writing still goes unprotected.

Instead of risking more loss, though, I have set time aside this week for finally backing up my writing. No more procrastinating. No more endangering my precious creations. And no more blindly going from day to day thinking nothing is going to happen again. My creations are one of my most valuable possessions, and it’s time to start treating them that way!

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When I was a little girl my dad enjoyed scaring me with ghost stories. On Halloween, as bedtime stories, or around a bonfire, my father seemed to find any opportunity to try to frighten me with a ghostly tale. And most of the time, he did! I remember spending many a night awake, shivering with terror and letting my imagination get too wild. Yes, some of his stories scared me to death, but I loved it. It was so much fun and it gave me an adrenaline rush, which I had never known before. All the lost sleep and minor paranoia (brought on by my overactive imagination) was definitely worth all the entertainment I got out of these ghost stories.

Before my dad passed away in 2011, I never got a chance to ask him if these stories were something he had heard somewhere else or if they were his own creations. But in a way, it doesn’t matter at all. Regardless of their origins, it’s these stories that planted the seed for my dreams of being a writer. The suspense, terror, and myriad of other emotions that I felt while listening to my father’s ghost stories thrilled me to no end. Before long, I wanted more than anything to be able to create stories of my own that could produce such strong emotions and reactions in others. Even as a little girl, I was drawn to the power that a good, well-written story can possess over the reader.

To this day, I look back fondly on my dad’s ghost stories and remember what it was like to be thoroughly and completely engrossed in a tale, as only a child can be. I recall my reactions, reflect on the emotions that the tales drew out of me, and I never forget how long these stories have stayed with me. Although the words of these ghost stories have long since faded from my mind and I can remember only fragments of some of my father’s later tales, I strive to create stories like them. If I can produce a book that affects a person for a fraction as long as these stories have affected me, I’ll consider my writing a success.

 

Photo Credit: Tom Murphy VII

Photo Credit: Tom Murphy VII

This month I volunteered to participate in a blog hop with a number of my friends.  It is called the Next Big Thing Blog Hop.  Basically, authors answer a number of questions about their current work in progress and link to the person that referred them.  They also try to find 3 more bloggers to carry on the hop.  It is a fun and creative way to share what everyone is working on, while meeting some new authors and readers along the way.

My friend and inspiration for my fibromyalgia blog, Kimberley Linstruth-Beckom a.k.a Amanda Kimberley, was the one who finally convinced me to join in on the blog hop fun.  You can click the following link to learn more about her work. Website:  http://www.fibroandfabulous.com

I am actually working on a number of novels, but I am going to focus on my newest creation since I am actively working on it this month.  For a little sneak peak, click here.  Now with introductions aside, let’s get started on the blog hop questions:

1: What is the working title of your book?
The working title of my book is The Ear of Silence.  It is a very, very rough title.  It is one of those titles that just came to me while I was half asleep.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?  
My story is actually based off of a recurring dream I kept having a few months ago.  I kept dreaming that I was the man who is the main character of my novel.  It was such a vivid and surreal dream that it still is fresh in my mind.

3. What genre does your book come under?  
Although my book is still in the early stages, I would have to say it is a sci-fi/thriller story.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  
To be honest, I would love to see a fresh face for my main character.  He is at a very vulnerable time in his life because he has lost his hearing due to an accident.  It would have to be someone able to identify with this fragile state of mind.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  
This is a hard question for me since my story is only in its infancy.  But I’ll give it my best shot: A recovering soldier starts hearing strange noises and voices from his hospital bed even though his doctors insist he may have permanently lost his hearing.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Most likely I will be self-publishing this book.  I have been a writer for years, but I have yet to publish a book.  This will be a new and exciting experience for me!

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I am still hard at work.  It’s been a few months since I first started writing this book.  But I have so many other projects that I tend to bounce around from one to another and then back again.  It can get a little crazy, but I’ve found that it keeps my creative juices flowing.  When I switch to a different project my mind is still churning new ideas for the previous one, so my brain is never too far away from any of my projects.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I am not sure.  My dreams and creative ideas tend to be a crazy mess of all my favorite authors, books, and movies with my own creative ideas thrown in for good measure.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I guess I would have to say my favorite books and my OCD-like need for completion have inspired me to write this book.  From a small child, I have been addicted to great stories, and I can’t help but want to bring this dream to life.  I also can’t handle the thought of leaving a story hanging, and my dream never had an ending.  I have to write this one or it’s going to mock me for the rest of my life!

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My story is going to be a struggle between reality and delusion and wrestle with one of our darkest fears: Is what I am experiencing really there or am I just a helpless prisoner to my minds delusions?

I hope when I finish this book you will get the chance to read it and tell me what you think.  I was unable to find some other authors to continue the blog hop on my end.  But I encourage you to explore those authors behind me.  And if you want to join in the fun, just let me know.