Monthly Archives: July 2012
I am thrilled to have Elyse Douglas here, taking over my blog for the day. She has a powerful and thought-provoking post on people, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
So, without further ado, please welcome Elyse.
What do you like about people?
by Elyse Douglas
The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone.
Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960.
I love people’s eccentricities, weaknesses and shortcomings. I love the endless variety of personally and the diversity of race and cultural background. I find it utterly fascinating how crazy we all are and yet how successfully we manage to hide this behind facades of cultivated responses, religious beliefs and cultural brainwashing. I love to observe myself and others and then marvel at the variety of creative ways we struggle to be right and good and wise. Of course, we can never be any of these most of the time, because we are human, even if we can’t accept the fact or are afraid to do so.
As Benjamin Franklin said: “Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.”
All people want the same things: happiness, fulfillment, health, freedom and a good life for their children and for themselves. As a writer, I like to observe how people go about trying to achieve these noble pursuits. Will they steal for it? Kill for it? Die for it? Work three jobs for it? Will love cause a man to go insane? Will a woman sacrifice family, career and respect to chase after a no good lout. “But he’s really good, and true and loving on the inside.” It is the exposing of the “awful thing” that someone did, or thought about or wants to do that often sets up a good potential story. And, as a writer, I must confess that I am daily attracted to studying these things in people.
If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.
~Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld.
So, I love people because deep down, I believe we all want to be good and true and loving. I believe there is something in all of us that is heroic. Otherwise, how could we shoulder on, battling “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
What gets in the way and stops us from our finding happiness and “I want to be a good person” goals? I once had a writing teacher who said you can build all your characters upon one simple emotion: Fear. What are your characters afraid of? Fear drives everyone: fear of failure; fear of loss; fear of love and of not being loved; fear of dying; fear of inadequacy, fear of not fitting in; fear of fitting in; fear of doing a bad thing and fear of getting caught… and on and on. This intrigues me. It is what I explore as a writer. What motivates people to act and react, based on fear.
None of us is as bad as we think we are or as good as we want to be. We are simply struggling to evolve, to understand, to be a little more conscious and hopefully a little more compassionate with ourselves and others. We are all living on a little round rock that is spinning out in the middle of nowhere and we don’t know how we got here or where we’re going. Most of us live with this incredible fact, calmly.
In most people, there is a splendid beauty. Call it the human spirit or soul or whatever. The majority of people live their lives the best way they can. I find that heroic. I find that admirable. I have great respect for that. Do we all fail? Yes, most of the time. But that does not negate the heroism (to quote Dorothy Fields) of picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and starting all over again.
I do not believe that enlightenment will come in a dramatic illumination, but in suffering stumbles and lengthening strides of patience, compassion and self-forgiveness. I suppose that is the way of the hero. And what keeps the hero going? Well, a good story can help. A good and true and loving story can always help a little. At least, Elyse Douglas likes to think so.
Want to know more about Elyse? You can check out her website.
And buy The Astrologer’s Daughter at Amazon.
Thank you for that post, Elyse. Well written, and loads of food for thought. What did you all get from it? I’d love to hear your comments.
Until next time – read on.
Posted in Author interviews and guest blogs
Good morning! I am thrilled to have Shannon Mayer here today, the author of Sundered, which I am reading on my Kindle as we speak.
I normally don’t do zombie stories, but hers sounded so intriguing I had to give it a try, and I’m glad I did!
Shannon dropped by to answer some questions for you all – so without further ado, here she is.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
For sure the past! I love history, the feel of place with age and stories behind it. I’ve always been drawn to the mythology and legends from long ago, which probably explains why I wove Irish mythology through my book “Dark Waters”.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Hmm. Five people? In all honesty, I’m not one for those who have “famous” status. A great dinner party would be my three cousins and my two brothers. We would have a riot as they all have a wicked sense of humor, something I absolutely can’t get enough of. Boring maybe to the rest of the world, but to me they family comes first, always.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
My husband (he’s Mr. Handy), toilet paper (I’m a believer in the small comforts in life) and some sort of musical instrument (I assume I’ll finally have time to learn to play ;p)
What is one book everyone should read?
Oooh, that’s a hard one, there are so many that I think are THE BEST EVER, until I find the next BEST EVER BOOK. At the moment, I would say that it would have to be The Gunslinger series by Stephen King. Really, this is a book/series that I have read and re-read. Not your typical gore, it’s a blend of fantasy, urban fantasy, western and horror. I think that’s one of the books that has influenced my writing the most, at least when it comes to genre bending.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
The sequel to “Dark Waters”, “Dark Isle” will be out in June if all continues to go well, then I have the third book in that trilogy set to be released in July. After that I have two standalone full length novels, (both urban fantasy) set to be released. In September is “Priceless” the story of a Tracker who hunts down children kidnapped by supernaturals, and in December “The Chronicles of Sin” follows Toni, a woman who carries Gluttony within her and how she sets out to free herself from her vice.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I think it runs in my blood, my mother fed that by encouraging me to read books way beyond my age which only pushed me further into the world of the imagination. So, I guess it’s my mom’s fault.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Anytime I get a 4 or 5 star review, I just feel the flush of knowing that what I’m doing/writing, is making people happy. That is an incredible feeling.
If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?
Kushiels’ Dart by Jacqueline Carey, without a doubt. Very cool world and if that was a no-no, I would jump into Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Both books have such a depth to the world building it feels as though you could easily stumble across them.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
The Chronicles of Narnia, but of course! What proper writer of fantasy would say anything else?
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Not really, though I was listening to the Transformers Score while I wrote. Love the orchestra, the power of the music really inspired me.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Just keep at it, the only way you will fail is if you give up. Don’t worry about hard critiques and one star ratings, all authors get them, in fact, I would warrant that until you get a one star rating, you are still a baby in this business
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
A few, but I ain’t saying more than that, too incriminating!
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
ROFL! Well, I did have this vague idea to blend vampires and pirates, but it faded once the laughter from my writing group subsided.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Dreams are meant to be chased. So chase them and know that you are following the path that God laid out for you.
Thank you, Shannon! Some great questions, and fun responses. I always love discovering what other people have to say when random questions are thrown at them.
If you want to grab a copy of Sundered for yourself – and I highly recommend it! – just head over here.
And you can learn more about Shannon at her website.
Thank you again, Shannon, for stopping by. Now I’m off to read more!
Until next time – read on.
Good morning! I am thrilled to have Suzanne Anderson as my guest blogger today. She is the author of God Loves You. – Chester Blue, a book that is now at the top of my TBR list.
She has a wonderful post on the evolution of publishing. So come join us, and share your own thoughts.
Take it away, Suzanne!
What are Your Thoughts on Tradition? The Evolution of Publishing
By Suzanne Anderson
When I think of tradition, I think of the comfort of the tried and true. Traditional is comfortable because the way has already been taken by those who came before, so you know what to expect.
Non-traditional is riskier. And there are likely to be fewer gatekeepers, which means that anyone can enter onto the gates of the country club.
Which is exactly why I think this is the best time in history to be an author. Yes, indie-publishing has created a crowded field where anyone can publish a book and there are no gatekeepers to pronounce who is worthy of presenting themselves to readers. But for authors it means that you now have more options. You can pursue the traditional route of agent and publisher, or you can do it all yourself. Which is a wonderfully entrepreneurial freedom in an industry which was for so many years dominated by a few huge mega-corporations.
For readers, the blasting open of the publishing world means that they not only get introduced new authors, they’ve enjoyed enormous price reductions in the cost of paper books, and in the case of e-books, a daily download opportunity of free books. When you, as a reader, look back at the books you’ve read in the past year, how many of them were by new authors you would never have considered if not for a free book offering? How many indie-authors have you tried in the past year? How have these changes in publishing changed your reading habits or the books you’ll consider reading?
As with any evolution in business that makes quantum leaps in a few years, due to technological advancements (e-readers), there will be bumps and bruises for both sides. But in the end, I believe the revolution that we are now living through will ultimately be viewed as blood transfusion that saved a dying industry.
Thank you, Suzanne – a great post, with some thought-prooking questions for both writers and readers.
And here is a bit more about Suzanne and her book.
What if when you most needed help, a blue bear appeared with a note from God?
One night, Miss Millie of Blossom, Ohio turns her face to the stars and asks God for help. The next day, a package arrives on her doorstep containing a blue teddy bear and a very special note.
Over the course of a year, this remarkable blue bear travels across the country, showing up just when he’s needed most. During his journey, Chester Blue helps a young girl trying to impress her big sisters; saves a sailor caught in a terrible storm; reunites two constantly fighting brothers; helps a cowboy become a rodeo clown; and aids a father and daughter in bonding after divorce.
If you ever needed a message from God, it’s here…
Find out more about Suzanne here.
Buy her book at Amazon.
And connect with her here:
Thank you for stopping by, Suzanne – it was a pleasure having you here today, and you are more than welcome to come hang out anytime.
Until next time – read on.
Yep - I bet that got your attention.
But it is true – I was a guinea pig for graphic artist Dawn from Book Graphics. She did the cover for When Walls Can Talk, and I signed up for her email newsletter not long after I bought it.
So when she put out a call for a guinea pig, I stepped right up.
And as promised, here is the result of the experiment:
Beautiful notecards, that will fit into a standard 6 1/2″ X 3 5/8″ envelope.
So – which one do you all like?
Want one or two of your own? Come on over here for more information.
I can’t wait to start using mine – they will be perfect for adding the personal touch to giveaways and signed paperbacks. And they’re just so pretty. *sigh*
Thanks for checking out my experiment, and until next time – write on.
Good morning, and welcome to Indiependence Day. What is that? I’m glad you asked.
It’s a celebration of independent authors, spotlighting a favorite book already read, or a book at the top of a TBR pile.
I am thrilled to introduce you to fellow author Stacey Joy Netzel.
We met when I offered to review her book, Lost in Italy.
I loved it, and while I was writing a glowing review, she was busy reading one of my books. So began a mutual fan club.
Not only is this book in my top 5, it is also the 2012 *WINNER* ~ romantic suspense ~ WisRWA Write Touch Readers’ Award.
And to my delight, she is writing a sequel – one that I am anxiously waiting for her to finish. *hint hint*
Thanks for stopping by – come check out the other great indie books spotlighted today, right here. Just scroll down the page and click on a blogger link to find out their favorite.
Happy Indiependence Day!
Until next time – read on.