About Writing

If Scientists were Poets

The Earth is a major character in my upcoming novel, Realms of the Earth.  Presented here are the recordings Hensley, as Scribe, records of the planet’s creation during the first three chapters between the actions of his life.  More of the earth’s evolutionary process continues through the book as Time passes more quickly than it does with the seven realms of Hensley’s enchanted and symbiotically attached realms.  If you know the science you will understand what is spoken of in these passages.  If you don’t have a scientific knowledge then learn from this before looking it up for accuracy.

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Excerpt from Realms of the Earth

The Multiverse was created by a sound, an utterance of Will from the Mind of the One within Many.

Within this universe, separate from the many, the elements of an aged supernova formed new stars with the circling debris clouds gathering into planets. Within one young system Seven Governors were made mysteriously well balanced. These Seven Governors sheltered the renewed life of an Eighth, newly added from without their circles following within the great Celestial Sphere.

Once joined with the larger galaxy, this Eighth Governor found itself retained within this newly birthed system. The calamity that struck caused only a teetering until the Gaia spirit within awakened.

World Attacked

The speeding object about to destroy the Watcher’s world glowed through the atmosphere over the dark northwestern sky above a shadowy peak as it rapidly enlarged. Its icy tail appeared aligned inappropriately to one side as it was blown by a solar wind. It dipped out of sight below the horizon.

The impact halted the planet’s imperceptible rotation as the attacker’s momentum slammed through the world’s southeastern-most surface opposite the dark peak. Fragments of soil and rock exploded into space, dragged with the object’s wake along with much of the little world’s great sea.

A small island continent was destroyed.

The planet shuttered violently.

The release of derelict debris was followed by blasts of orange-hot fire shooting soundlessly into the void from the impact site out of the broken surface. A pyroclastic flow of heated glassy spherules formed massive clouds with the dusty vapor to obliterate all in its path. Portions of the world’s tumultuous surface instantly liquefied from the friction of impact releasing inner fire spreading heat.

A resulting glow haloed the oblate edges around the globe as seen from the cliff’s stone façade.

The broken planet’s spin was now visibly more rapid, skipping on an uneven track as cracks began to cover most of its surface. Magna spewed forth in many places from the pressure within. Toxic gases replaced remnant pockets of tenuous atmosphere.

The larger fragment of the hammer-like death object swirled back from its destructive course due to its arrested momentum. It struck the planet again penetrating for all time the fractured crust to be buried within the molten and swirling brew gripping it within its bowels. The small world spun its death dance in shocked anguish.

Little time passed as the aging world was changed into a broken lifeless rock now heating large sections of its surface to liquid. Fragments of its damaged body and that of its attacker surrounded it. The planet did not remain misshapen as segments of its surface spread swelling with huge bubbles of magma. It appeared a rapid death.

Millions of orbits, comprising its years, passed with this new world slowly congealing into a mass of softened hot rock. The stone hearth remained, strangely, if not magically protected though exposed to toxic gases and the apparent vacuum of space. The surrounding surfaces gradually cooled, still revealing orange-hot liquid through the surface cracks. Superheated elements remained buried, churning with the question of new life.

The planetoid drifted. Unconscious. Unaware. Lost.

Wandering within a wide system on the edge of a spiral arm of a great galaxy the little world gradually lost its previous small family of orbs and globes. All were adopted out as their small galaxy merged with the larger, disbursing familiar members among this older rabble. Only a few were destroyed in their collision with angry neighbors.

The gestating world found a new home continuing its listless revolution, still temporarily unconscious after millennia.

Unaware of its many new friends as they became family, it appeared to mimic each Governor guiding its way. It followed its own path around their Master, a bright golden star.

Their star’s estranged twin occasionally visited the orbs, though its dead form was too distant to be more than a dark speck in the vast emptiness between so many. Its presence only guided the Ages by its aspect warning of darker activities coming.

Giant billowing circlets of flames shot from the Master’s constant blazing, its centrally located furnace heating this system of worlds emitting visible and invisible particles. It cast fleeting silhouettes over the once broken side of the reformed little planet’s illuminated surface. The vision revealed was a stripped and scorched landscape. A long shadow was cast over the mysterious edifice still holding the semblance of a great stone hearth.

As the dirigibles of solid masses of debris encircled the injured planet, the elongated tail from its unsuccessful destroyer had followed the broken death object as it was pulled back and around toward this little earth in its attempt at its destruction.

Even though crashed into a second time the globe had held, rather than blowing apart, though severely broken and reheated. Slowly it strengthened changing the composition within its landscape as the huge torpedo melded its iron veins into the molten form centering itself under the initial impact site. The radioactive material birthed slowly waned.

The planetoid grew as other alien misfits continued their massive plummeting into its injured surface, melding with the slowly forming upper crust. This war of merging galaxies determined the posture of their army’s soldiers until each succumb to battle fatigue settling into balanced bliss with its once angry neighbors.

The spinning world retained its spheroidal shape through the efforts of its continued rotation, blissfully asleep in its gestation toward new life as it glided throughout the battlefront.

That Which Departed

The life protecting and perpetuating elements of this roving planet were lost by the chance travels of the large speeding adamant as the new residents moved into the established neighborhood.

Allowed to flow along this part of the universe’s gradient of guidelines it struck the roving world displacing it from among its former family when it was old and a recent arrival. The damage caused it to forget it once harbored a unique life form.

The attacker, being observed in transit long before its arrival, allowed the Watchers their escape following the loss of their stabilizing moon. Within their magnetic field the fragile atmosphere was guarded by the slow crawl it had long kept to. The upheaval provided a reprieve from this once constant chore when its power went out.

Life was no longer viable among the world’s wrecked and barren sediments. Vestiges on a high ridge, mysteriously sheltered within a portion graben-like, were the last remaining proclaimers of another species once harbored here in times past. The singular pre-adamant stone grouping stood as the only evidence of a life form not too dissimilar from those broadly housed throughout the remote expanses of this prodigious universe.

These surviving fixtures stood vigilant and incorruptible in their small guarded valley where the Spirit of Gaia slept. Protected against the harmful particles from space with which all the spheres are constantly bombarded Gaia’s dreams only imagined her glorious plans of re-making.

Offspring Anew

Fragmented pieces of the planet, and its attacker, circled separately until they were slowly drawn together. The stolen and captured ancient rocks finally coalesced, forming a smaller sphere to slowly cool as it encircled its parental planetoid. After a lone orbital course around their bright star the tracks were set for both the evolving terrestrial globe and its strong but seemingly sterile offspring slowing and stabilizing the recovering world’s spin.

This infantile orb held the tilt of its parent world steady, eventually to bring seasons along their orbital path. She cast soft shadows among the crevices of the transforming surface where a gashed out wound once lain in those moments before liquefaction. Her glow lent soft illumination to the dark side of her parent when she caught the reflection of the great star’s fire. And thus began their symbiotic relationship to endure the coming Ages.

World Renewed

The world continued its long voyage around its new explosive and shining master in its displacement to this new location.

Upheavals within the re-created orb’s bowels emitted toxic gases as the water-laden magma cooled, also emitting vapors, recycling elements from comets and other invading space aliens puncturing its surface.

A blanketing atmosphere began. It was held to the surface by the force of an invisible protective shield regenerated by the planet’s rotation, its new inner iron core racing around a shorter interior course with no end to its power.

This thick coverlet reflected the damaging rays of its shining star as the earth’s gestation progressed swaddled in the warm moisture held snugly to its surface. Its slow dissolve eventually drew out the mantle’s deep heat.

The slow cooling interacted with the guardian blanket causing moisture to rain down upon its uneven form remolding a fresh surface. A steady spin gave a geoidal appearance as the multiples of millennia-long rainstorm increased the liquids filling the low places.

A giant drab green sea formed, rich in iron. The toxic atmosphere appeared red, its consistency so dense nothing viable could withstand its weight. The extreme heat multiplied the hostile environs. And randomly formed volcanic isles succumb to the punishing waves.

Under this new ocean volcanism broke continually through the mantle. A molten basalt and water mixture formed a new kind of rock, one so porous and light it was more buoyant yet tough enough to withstand the waves’ constant beating down over its surface.

Floating over the denser hot rock it formed a granite crust upon the ancient craton—core rock over which the first continents took shape, dotting the waters.

The smaller partner orb managed the ebb and flow of the newly dispersed tides. Shallows soon harbored newly birthed sunlight-ingesting life forms, which emitted a different gas rusting out the iron in the great ocean before clearing the air. Toxic members were slowly displaced as a new combination of gases emitted from the strange and slimy life on all the world’s shores. Millennia passed as a blue countenance slowly emerged to become paramount.

Continents soon covered a quarter of the planet, moving about as their foundations slowly drifted. Life crawled from the water protected from the master’s damaging rays by a thick upper layer of the new atmosphere. Hope for a bright future began.

Many small crustal islands became a single landmass, Vaalbara, which quickly dissipated. Ur became the first major craton based landmass. Others formed. They came together then split apart as the eons passed.

The crustal movements changed the waterways until the halted warm water flow cooled the surface too much. Ice of massive proportions spread from the poles to form an unimaginably thick frozen surface. Snowball earth halted further development of life during this period with only a few miniscule species left in cryonic hibernation.

With the inner heat contained under this frozen cover the temperature rose until a gargantuan effort broke through the glacial surface to reveal the orange hot liquid again rising through fractures, melting that which had become solid back into liquid.

The interaction of the healed and vital water cycle returned the reincarnated orb to its blue countenance. It marked a new epoch after multiples of millennium beyond thought.

Supercontinents continued a remaking and breaking up cycles… until Pangaia.

Dense gases and dust became great dots of water-laden clouds to shadow the teeming variety of vegetation erupting from the soil of its latest singular surface and within its vast ocean. Life burst forth in this idyllic setting.

The planet had grown in size during its restoration period. Specters of hidden forms vivified, some planted by the original destructive weapon and other attacking hostiles. Still others appeared mutated visions of the orb’s far past. Upon Pangaia new life was beginning its active participation upon the world. It had taken eons.

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Ode to Doctor Who

Included in my anthology, Twisted Vine: An Anthology of Short Stories and Poems, is this tribute I wrote to this episode of Doctor Who – The Village of the Damned.  I just thought it was very sad they couldn’t be together, but hoped they would someday. Hope you enjoy it.

Doctor_and_Astrid

The Message

 

On a world unimagined

In a universe untold

Lived a woman of unrenowned

Whose life did once unfold.

 

Mysterious and magical

Assuredly she did live

Within her galaxy’s environs

Which great visions to her did give.

 

She walked among the grass and stones,

And sang unto the trees

Where housed many winged and climbing things,

Her words they oft did heed.

 

Each day seemed no different

The next always came and went,

Till a vision of destruction foretold

Her world would burn as her universe was rent.

 

As she watched the leaves aflutter

Tumbling across the peaceful ground,

Gathering as gleeful mice in somersaults,

Spinning all around,

 

A great thunder cracked the fabric defined

As time and space, breaking the multi-ways;

Its universes of galaxies and dimensions

Where light and darkness divided all the days.

 

Her power alone could not repair

The damage that was done,

But vision begged her so she spake

Upon the stars seeking for only one.

 

Beyond her universe his lonely heart

Was found, so instantly hers he knew,

Both understanding great powers that

Make all living worlds — too few.

 

Her message was harnessed by the stars

Sending out her one true plea, “Come!”

Knowing with the multi-verses in such peril

Soon all the lovely visions would succumb.

 

“Help I need,” she prayed the powers,

“So bring him unto me,

To the very heart where light and love

Abound for those within this sea.”

 

He looked upon the message

Without much understanding,

But heeded Astrid’s urgency knowing

Only he had such power commanding.

 

Across the timelines, through the dimensions

He followed the star-trail of his quest,

He and his companion fighting all the forces

Impeding his desire to fulfill his very best.

 

Upon arrival, prepared for intervention,

Expecting an ending of all his latter days,

His arsenal was readied, but he feared

Too late for the mending of the ways.

 

All seemed lost as he gazed upon

The darkness which did abound

Where once bright light swirled o’r heavens

To shine on many worlds all ’round.

 

He questioned his awareness asking,

“I think…have I seen this before?”

Till a spark of hope winked upon a

Blackened cinder-world once more.

 

“There!” he cried and hurried

To the sight of lone absolution

To gaze upon a vine encrusted citadel of death,

The light within crying for resolution.

 

“What is it?” His companion, a lesser being,

Inquired of his sighting.

His explanations confusing until he said,

“Only that for which we would be fighting.”

 

“This is the last refuge of the sacred holy

And there she lies inside

For nary a universe of heavens and earths

Would exist for me if ever she had died.”

 

He used his mighty powers

To part the door’s lone way

To find an unkempt garden with spirits

Who could only be the ancient fey.

 

He cleared the once worn path

To follow her beckoning voice

All the while marveling at the beauty

That was, apparently, her choice.

 

“Look, there,” was softly spoken.

“It’s her. This time I’m not too late.

She held the rent until I came.”

He ran as his companion begged, “No, wait.”

 

But he longed to see the vision

He’d witnessed through her star-sent plea

Finding only her barren framework housed

In tattered threads, her figure so incomplete.

 

It touched his lonely heart

With such a pain he could never say.

He halted his advance, his heart revealing

His sorrowful moan along the way.

 

There, set upon a wicker swing,

Peaceful as if in slumber,

Hung from majestic boughs intertwined

With succulent vines beyond number,

 

The remnant of a lonely being

Awaiting his prowess

Had slept too long, but its meaning

He could never truly guess.

 

The magic of her power felt

Mighty as they approached,

Though only bones and whitened hair

Seemed their sad reproach.

 

Though its life appeared forever spent

Sparkling colors of untold powers

Began to re-animate her ethereal essence

A reprieve for their lost hours.

 

There she formed as he dreamt she would,

Her glowing face’s beauty recognized.

Tentatively shy, they stepped closer.

“I called,” she said. “I heard,” he replied.

 

“I kept these worlds for you,” she told,

“And would have waited through all of time,

Because your coming crossed too many lines,

None of which, till now, were mine.

 

“I’ve strolled this lovely secret grove

For just this moment, to tell you of my life,

And how your final coming will rekindle our love

For now I can live without aging as your wife.

 

“I may only live now as memory,

But felt myself fulfilled to stay

For in this spirit I’ll wait again for you

Until you’ve found your journey’s way.

 

“Return when sanctuary you seek

To find such was denied us before,

A lasting love you will always know,

And shall have forevermore.”

 

He added his own power, sealed with his kiss,

To hid all where she would stay,

To travel ’bout the universes,

Only he knowing their secret way.

 

Seeking her with his last return

Her living form would again be replaced,

So their united powers with the stars

Can encompass all the visions of intercosmic space.

 

 

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Don’t forget

Don’t forget… wise words seldom heeded.

DooRFrame Books

Please don’t forget, writers write to be read. We don’t — for the most part, that is — write for therapy ( I hate that thought wherever it is expressed for I no longer write for therapeutic reasons; I may have done so when I was 14 years old and in a perpetual state of angst but now I write for the sake of writing, for the love of writing, for the joy of reading. )

At any rate, please don’t forget, a book is meant to be read — once it is written.

The novelist’s greatest joy is to write the novel, but the novel’s joy lies in the mind of its reader.

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The Vulnerable Author

When I decided to self-publish I felt the excitement of holding that very first book in my hand.  It was real, and really happening.  It was much like giving birth when you’re amazed something you’ve known to happen to others could actually happen to you.  It wasn’t just a dream anymore.

The awe-struck feeling didn’t last long enough before another feeling slowly crept in.  It was the awareness that others would now know who you are and what you had done.  That set in a little fear of others judging you based on the work you did.  What if no one liked it?  What if it was really bad and only you thought it was good?  The nagging inner voice of doubt has struck.

I begged for others whom I trusted to read my work and assure me I hadn’t failed in my attempt.  It’s taken two years and more unresponsive or noncommittal friends and family than genuinely responsive, then a few very good reviews before the slow process of believing in myself began.  Even though I now accept I can write well and many will like it, the occasional nagging inner voice of doubt lingers.  I wonder if its good enough?  I think it will be a continuous up and down battle to close off that voice with each new publication.

As more and more strangers report good things it gets easier, but it’s not like the eleven books, with a total of seventeen publications (some just ebooks), in two years brought in a flood of fans.  At least not ones who actually buy the books.  Few Indie authors experience that.  It’s the gifts and free giveaways that you hope will feed your doubts with good reviews, but never materialize that really disappoint.  We are such a vulnerable lot, and very egocentric when it comes to these feelings.

We support each other with likes and votes and sharing posts, with occasional purchases, and sometimes reviews, but it’s still a difficult road to travel down.  We’re mostly alone.  It’s the nature of our craft.  Continuing to immerse ourselves in imaginary places with imaginary people doing imaginary things keeps us busy.  If we stay busy maybe the fear won’t come, maybe the doubt will stay away and maybe even a few books will sell.  Of those maybe a few reviews will materialize to help erase any remaining doubt.

All of us go through this to some degree.  HERE is another blog with steps to follow to overcome some of these feelings of vulnerability and help you keep on keeping on so no one is shattered by disappointing comments or downright meanness.  Become strong because the naysayers are out there and when things begin to look good they could strike you down.  Be prepared.  Become strong.  Then it won’t matter if others don’t approve.  Enough will.

shattered

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How Characters Die

After reading How to Kill off a Character on this site – http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2014/01/kill-a-character.html – I had this to say:
These comments contain spoilers so proceed at your own risk if you haven’t read any of these books.

In my latest novel, On Unicorn Wish, the main character is recovering from a horrific accident that could have killed her, and she had setbacks, while at the same time reliving in memory (or is it real?) a magical time when she was ten. She was invited to Evernow, a placBest Unicorn Front BookCoverPreview.do copybetween time and no time where only those with a pure heart go when they die. On her return to her grannie after her adventure , as the child, she is having trouble remembering it. She is to meet someone from there she already knows who will help her forget, and it has been set up he visits her in that world as an adult to help her with her memory. At that point she, as the adult dies, because she was doomed from the beginning, but she returns to Evernow where she is a very special person, so her life goes on a little differently. Reviewers, so far, think the story okay for their children. I have recommended it only for older readers through adult, so the physical death of the main character doesn’t seem to be a big issue since she continues to live in the alternate reality.

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In the first novella of Painted Tree: Two Novellas, one of the character’s dies. He has to in order to show his remorse – lack of will to live – BLOOD Front BookCoverPreview.doBookCoverPreview.do PT frontfrom what he has done because of the vengeance he felt. His death affects all other characters since he was a charismatic character, and had his own story line. In the second story about the victim recovering she dies in the end, but as a old lady who found a way to fulfill her life in spite of her handicap from what happened to her.

In Ariel’s Cottage/A Price for Love the main character was a victim of a horrible crime, and is dealing with the psychological demons resulting. But physical problems are hinted at, and another important character returns after many years to see her, only to find she has died from an injury created during her horrific experience. The character who cared for her during those years found he could A'sC caps & smug FrontBookCoverPreview.donot live without her and commits suicide. A reviewer remarked of the emotional roller coaster ride, but that it felt in the end like she’d read the story of a real person’s life.

In my trilogy, Where the Horses Run, I have a character in Book I, connected to the main character and who plays a very small role, get murdered. The crime investigation, though mostly done by others out of scene in Book II, helps the main character and her companions make some discoveries. Also her grandparents’ deaths are spoken of and information left behind also helps. A major character dies in a car accident in Book III. It was a shock to me when I realized I’d have to kill him. I thought about it for a long time. But it’s his death that helps them learn some things they need to know, and spurs them on along their path of discovery even though a lot of time is spent learning to deal with his loss. His memory and what he had to offer is ever-present, so he’s not really out of the story.

In one of the stories in TREE & SKY: The Secrets of Meshyah’s World the grandfather is remembered at one point, having died, though the death is never spoken of, only what the main character, being a child, feels for her grandfather and his BookCover4T&Smemory. They had been very close and interactive in the prior stories. This is a children’s book and there have been no comments about how awful it might have been to read it. He was very old, and it happens.

I have an anthology of short stories and poems where characters die, mostly when they are old. One is a story with a child as the main character, so I also published it separately as Miracle Belle, A Horse with a Secret. The main character grows up when, later on she and her Miracle Belle Front BookCoverPreview.dohorse go to a special place without dying. It’s a spin-off of my trilogy.

My two children’s picture books are the only ones where no one dies. In fact, in both, someone/something is saved.

I have a middle grade story, only as an ebook for the first part of a series that will become a book, where only one is expected to be killed, but eventually someone else will die. Even in Harry Potter, a children’s book, many good characters die.

Of all the stories I have in the works I can think of only one where there is no death of an important character (so far), but rather a major life change, as is also the case in another middle grade children’s story. In another there are serial murders and a suicide; another with sword battles, and another adult spin-off of my trilogy where I don’t know yet if anyone dies, but a main character disappears never to be heard of again. In that series it the “other place” they are seeking to go to for safety from an expected earthy catastrophe. It’s not a heaven, they don’t die, though those who you think of as having died are there. I just can’t tell more without spoiling it all entirely.

I had someone say they couldn’t read any more of my books because they were tired of dealing with death. I find that it’s a rare book where a death isn’t at least mentioned.  Maybe there could be one where the story only takes place within a few hours of a day and the character is focused on an issue that doesn’t involve death. But death is part of life and it does happen so it makes sense to kill off characters, even if they are favored. It’s a natural progression of the story and I didn’t worry about doing it so much as how to do it properly for the story.

Unless I write the story spoken of in Ariel’s Cottage/A Price for Love (Murderous Intent) that involves her horrific experiences, I haven’t had a lot of mayhem involving the main character physically suffering. It’s mostly psychological, and dealing with memories of the pain and New PfL FrontBookCoverPreview.dosuffering that’s already happened.

If you want to review synopsis of any of these or my other books you can see them on my Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Judith-Victoria-Douglas/e/B007KCUA2Y

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Yes, Roy, Writing is Hard

Though I could also say writing is hard, I have B.J. to thank for making it easier.  Her sudden loss put me on my own after working through that first book with her, Where the Horses Run.  She’d only started the second of that trilogy.   She’s mentioned in the acknowledgments.   I’m still writing, as you know.

I didn’t reach out to a publisher because my point of self-doubt, which Roy mentions, continues to some degree.  That and age put me on a faster track to publication by doing it BookCover4H1myself.  It has given me more jobs to do than I intended and made the work that much harder.  But it’s also been a road of discovery, both of my likes and talents.  And a decreasing budget forced me to take on parts of the requirements for publication I never intended to be faced with.  I have felt all alone though all of it.

We writers crave self assurances to keep going.  I haven’t had the contacts Roy has to keep me going, but keeping on going is what I’ve done.  Why?  Because once something’s discovered inside that has to come out you just can’t quit.

With a deadline of age I am focusing on finishing as much as I can before I can not longer do the work, then maybe I can focus more on the marketing end.  While I do some of that now it is frustrating to have work I’d rather be finishing.

Enjoy Roy’s road to success.  I did and it’s always good to know it can still happen…and to some of the nicest people.

Thank you, Roy, for your easy friendship.  All the best, always.

The kindness of others…

.. Posted September 19. 2013 by Roy Dimond

I’m going to state the obvious  – writing is hard.  But hang in there with me, I might surprise you, as well as myself, and share something insightful.

But first, back to my original premise, writing is hard. When I originally sat down to write my first novel, I had sweet naïveté sitting upon my shoulder.  That carried me for 6 months.  Then enthusiasm carried me for another 6 months.

Into the second year of my first novel, I began having an odd feeling.  I heard it first, then felt it in the pit of my stomach.  It came from over in the dark corner of my writing cave.  I even remember the date, July 6th at precisely 9:40AM when I stopped pounding the old keyboard and said out loud, “Who’s there?”

Silence was the response, so I started again, ready to tap out 2,000 words of great prose.  With 500 done, several of the brilliant variety, well, I had at least a comma that I was fifty percent sure was in the right place, when I heard it again.  It sounded like a snicker, but I knew it for what it was — self-doubt.

That was the day I became a writer — my naiveté had been replaced by doubt.  I took my year’s worth of work and rewrote the entire manuscript.  Another three years singing-bowl3passed and finally, I had my first novel, The Singing Bowl.

Next, I learned about query letters, publishing houses, and agents.  Believing myself to be prepared, I made the leap and sent out my manuscript.  I leaped naked into the great River of No…rejections came and writing was not only hard — it hurt — a lot.  Most rejections were polite, many were form letters, some were encouraging, and one or two had an attitude.  And not the spunky, you can do it ‘tude,’ that would have been so very much appreciated, but a sniffling, looking down one’s nose attitude.

But I love writing, so I started a second book and then one day — THE CALL came — a publisher wanted to see the entire manuscript of my first novel!  Then the follow up… they want it!  Eventually, more book contracts were signed, I found an agent, and the writing world became a little easier — not writing itself, just the world around it…

So here is the insight I promised.  People who are in this profession are REALLY… REALLY nice.

I have talked with dozens of publishers, scores of agents, and writers uncountable, and I can honestly say, the more successful, the more respected, and even revered, the nicer and more approachable they are.

So if you are just starting out, take a risk.  The icons of the industry will try to share the little time they have, they will laugh with you, and they will respect you.  They will freely share their experience, and they will be, most importantly — helpful.

Yes, even in this cold, hard, and harsh world of writing, there is kindness.

Thank you, to all those who have been so generous.  It is sincerely appreciated.  Especially now, as I turn back to the keyboard, and my self-doubt sits patiently smirking in the dark corner of my writing cave.

http://roydimond.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/the-kindness-of-others

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An Excerpt from Where the Horses Run, Book I, Mass Extinction

Since Book II, Sacred Hills, will be released later this month I wanted to share the prologue and first chapter of Book I.  I hope you find it interesting and want to read more.  Ask your local library to purchase a copy, or donate your copy so many can enjoy the story.

Go HERE to read.

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You write like who? Part I

Neil Gaiman bibliography

Neil Gaiman bibliography (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When my writer friend, Ann Everett, posted her blog about a site where a sample of your writing can be analyzed and matched with famous authors, I was intrigued.  Visit it yourself for your example –  http://iwl.me/.  It’s fun to find out which great author your writing resembles.

My first thought was it couldn’t be valid, just something for fun.  I mentioned this in a comment before another reader posted a check by entering a classic children’s story and got H.G. Lovecraft as a match.

To find my resemblance to real talent I checked the prologues (where available) and the text of the first chapter.  I matched many writers, depending on the style of the story.

When I immediately clicked on the site I first entered a portion of the novel I am working on at the moment, One Unicorn Wish.  When it was matched with the writings of Neil Gaiman I was really shocked, and excited.  I am a big fan, but no one writes like Neil Gaiman, do they?  Isn’t he a genre unto himself?  Well, I admit I thought this particular story might be similar, and was reading it internally with his voice, but I never would have suspected a match.  I’m definitely going to finish the novel this year.  I’m excited about it anyway, but now…

Cover of "The Graveyard Book"

As for a style of writing Neil is an enigma.  All his publications are different, but so are mine or anyone’s, perhaps.  Gaiman apparently writes best when he writes short stories, putting them together as a novel.   In The Graveyard Book he wrote what is being called a Shnovel.  He admitted at his Newbery acceptance that’s how it was put together.

Okay, I did the short story thing with the three separate stories in TREE & SKY: An Introduction to the Secrets of Meshyah’s World, and will follow with two more stories.  I’m presently doing it with The Citadel series, beginning with Little Duke and the Rat Princess, but I can’t figure out how the first few pages of One Unicorn Wish could type me with this part of Neil’s style.  Besides, with a trilogy where each book borders the 500 page range, all telling the continuing story, short stories are not how all my works are accomplished.

I do agree we both are Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors whose writings are difficult to put into any sub-category of that genre.  And while some say Neil aims to become part of the circle of great literature, I know I would like that for myself.

My best example is the trilogy again.  An apocalyptic vision of our future, its just different from most.  It’s basically a search for the place where the horses have gone in order to be there and safe before the end comes.  It predicts a catastrophe through the character’s evaluation of evidence and clues.  It focuses on science, ancient pre-history and/or mythology while the fact the horses all vanished in an instant all over the world is more fantasy (unless you consider the decrease in their numbers by 2 million since 2005 and the current attempt to ban horse slaughter).

The characters feel it means something serious and they must get over their lose in order to figure out what it is and what to do.  But I’ve had to cut a lot of information due to length.  So, while Neil  leaves out some information to allow the readers to decide I haven’t done it here.  I am doing more of that in more recent works, which may be what the analysis picked up on.

What I find most intriguing about Neil’s work is his rhythm, often almost poetic, but it flows like a melody.  It comes out when he reads his own work.  I didn’t read The Graveyard Story, I listened to Neil read it.  In this sense he is definitely an artful storyteller, as others have said.  In a by-gone age he would have been the storyteller for the children, telling a tale even adults would be captivated by.

When I re-read my work I often use another voice, in my head, to hear it.  It’s really to test the rhythm.  I consider a poetic rhythm, like music, an important essence of the story.  And I’m learning from him.  I don’t like horror (Stephen King) or much of thrill seeking stuff young people are drawn to, but he writes macabre without it being scary for kids, or me.  I’m also learning that disconnected things can be connected in stories.  It’s a reminder of a children’s literature course I started but didn’t quite finish.  I had to pick three words from a dictionary at random and use them in a story.  I vaguely recall something about a light bulb and an elephant, but can’t remember the third word.  It’d be interesting to re-read that today.

So, except for a few superficial similarities I can only be flattered by the comparison without really understanding it.

As far as other works and other matches, only the third of my trilogy, Where the Horses Run, is matched with Dan Brown.  I mention that because of the above description of using pre-history and/or mythology to blend with the plot, which is something he does.  But it also matched me with him for the first chapter entry of Ariel’s Cottage and the prologue for The Furies of Orestes, another yet unfinished.

According to: http://nickmomrik.com/2004/06/11/dan-brown-writing-style/  Dan’s style also includes short chapters and his story takes place in a short amount of time.  I’m not sure what constitutes a short chapter for me ~ three pages?  In one of Brown’s books I read a chapter of one sentence.  Now that’s short.  That my trilogy and most works take place over two weeks may be long by Dan’s standard.   Dan has good character development which is something reviewers have said about my stories.  And he has a lot of suspense.  I know Ariel’s Cottage does, so I’ll agree with this match.

I will leave the other matches for Part 2.  Let me know who you match with on one of your stories or great works of literature.

Categories: About My Books, About Social Media, About Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Inspiration of a Picture

You’ve probably seen pictures — either a painting, sketch or photograph — that reminds you of something you’ve read, like this one reminded me of Robert Frost.  Here is the beginning of the poem, the one I live by, the picture brought to mind.

wood path

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

Being one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

I’m not sure if there are two paths, and it isn’t a yellow wood, yet it reminded me of the poem.

You have probably know of contests with a word(s) or picture as a prompt.  Writer’s Digest uses them monthly and they are good to keep the old creative juices flowing. There is one that posts on Facebook.  I’ve shared it on my new book promotion site at Novels, Novellas, Ebooks & Children’s Literature.

Occasionally there are the rare instances when I come across a beautiful photograph on my tumblr site, Menagerie, that inspires.  Don’t get me wrong, I come across such beautiful pictures all the time on that site.  It’s apparently best suited for them.  Great colorful renditions of birds, up close or in flight, breathtaking landscapes and great vistas that make me stop to catch my breath.  The ones I’m talking about have something unique, something that sparks the creator inside and brings out words, a few or many, in a way I don’t often express.  It may not be first-class, but it’s mine.  My heart was touched.  And it’s from the soul…the spirit of empathy and love that shares the moment transforming the vision I see.  From the picture or photograph’s two-dimensional state it again becomes alive in my mind’s eye.  I can envision the very moment the artist or photographer’s action froze it in time.

If it hasn’t happened to you yet it may be something to try, or at least, be aware of so when the moment comes with the right picture you will recognize it and allow it to flow.

Here are a few photos with my inspired words I’d like to share.  When looking back for them I realized last October was a rather prolific month for me (and I’d thought I wasn’t writing during that time).  Where available I’ve given the photographer, or at least the contact from which the picture came.   I’m sorry they can’t be larger for the full affect of their inspiration, especially the one with the night sky filled with stars:

Kitten listening to music

coolcatmatt:   via Inhabitude.

And the kitten sat there long moments, poised in the stillness of its straight posture, looking up, frozen by the rapture of the boy’s musical tones, tapping heel, moving fingers and slightly swaying head.  His eyes were closed, but hers were not.  She could see it all and it was magic, she was sure of it, because she could not move nor utter a sound to disturb it.

White Wolf

wild-earth:  Lakota Wolves

It was soft, coming from afar.  He listened intently, knowing the call of his mate, how he missed her.  There, her tiny silhouette, posed singing her lonesome song to the first morning rays streaking the grey sky.  He knew only one thing to do until they could be together again.  He gathered his voice.  He would sing his longing to break the distance between them.  She would hear, her loneliness abated.  He would travel on, the lack of sustenance for their pups kept to himself until they met.  Maybe he would yet be successful.

stars in the night sky

theflow-theme

Empty chairs and empty cares

My concern o’er trifles gone.

No longer will I worry for

The heart without a song.

Ended then or ended now

It matters not to me

For heaven is a hallow place

A gaze my eyes can see.

branches as a church window

http://treeporn.senezio.com

(this photographer was very happy the photo inspired a short poem)

Church Window

Peering through the darkness, a wonder I did see

But nature’s own cathedral peering back at me.

Park bench

When hearts are distant and unforgiving

Anguish lurks the soul

For none can hurt so deeply as a heart

Grown hard and cold.

There are occasionally those photographs that are just a beauty to behold and no words can describe.

Vista

blacksheepboy-:   (by AcuraZine Dan)

For some vistas there can be no words, just sighs…and sometimes, tears

Leaves

via Inhabitude

Some pictures are art and worthy of a long look because of the connection to life they give us.

In the rare moment a picture might not let you go.  It will keep you until some part of the story it illicits is complete.  The portion below for the cottage with the blue slate roof is a slightly edited version of what I wrote initially, but I have been given a wonderful gift and this is the inspiration to compliment it.  I found a photograph I wanted to use for a book cover picture, but after contacting the photographer I decided on another.  Once the photographer and I communicated I was given the use of the photograph for a book cover for the small price of 3-4 copies of the book. I won’t post that photograph until it’s a book cover, so suffice it to say, and for you to keep in mind, its a beautiful little girl kissing the muzzle of her white horse.

Now for a story…

I remembered this posted on my tumblr site with the idea of a story, and just the kind I wanted to tell.  It might take a while to complete, but the seed from last October will bear fruit sometime this year.  It’s an opportunity I can’t allow to pass for too long.  Immediately upon reading the paragraphs I’d posted it began to grow.

Cottage with blue slate roof

woodendreams:    (by Owen O’Grady)

There was the stone house at the turn in the road.  Its slate roof so blue it stood out against the greenery of the forest trying to hide it.  Ivy caressed its outer walls and the ends of dusty curtains fluttered outside over the window ledge.

A path lead to the big pond, an open expand of clear crystal-blue hidden in a surround of thick trees and undergrowth.  It felt the same secret magical place I visited as a child.  A whiff of granny’s biscuits, pies and cookies filled the air.  She loved to bake for us.  And we loved devouring all her goodies.  She’d laugh, thrilled to watch us as much as we enjoyed eating. We were allowed to break all the etiquette rules there, using our fingers, stuffing the great chunks of wild apple, grapes and berries from the pies into our overstuffed mouths, giggling.  It was so much fun.  Yeah, those were the days.  I have always cherished time spent in that magical forest, especially after I saw…well, what I saw I now doubt could be true, but it has to be.  It just has to be.

It was like a tiny white fawn, no bigger than a minute.  It looked like a fawn, barely creeping through the forest floor on its stilt-like legs.  When it saw me its eyes got…just…so big.  I wanted desperately to touch it.  It didn’t look real…almost iridescent against the shadows.  Turning it scampered the best it could.  I followed, Indian-like, and hid when I saw it duck into the undergrowth between some trees.  It was still panting, its tiny sides puffing in and out from fear and its struggle, when its mama stepped up to check.  She wasn’t big enough to be a doe, and all white.  But her horn told me something was there that wasn’t supposed to be there.  It was a unicorn, sure as I’m standing here telling you.  A real live unicorn.  Beautiful.  Last thing I remember was it turning to look at me.  When I woke up it was gone, but all the signs showed it’d been there.  I won’t ever forget. ***

Now, this is to become a story of magic and unicorns who can make little girls’ wishes come true.  The great gift of the cover photograph will be honored with a story of wonder to delight the photographer’s niece who modeled for it.  Sometimes photographs can inspire more than a few words, but a new world where other life is born.  We are gods, we creators of visions through words and pictures.  And we should feel the awesomeness of the task as the gift it was meant to be.

Well, there you have it.  Pictures of inspiration.  If you visit my Menagerie site, once it’s pulled up look at the address bar and change the page number to 755.  It should get you in the vicinity of these postings.  You may have to “go forth” or “wander back” to find them, but it’d only be within a few pages.  As I add to page one the number of the page they’re on will change.  I hope you enjoy them in that setting and full size most flattering to their beauty and inspirational value.

The multitudes of wannabes and fly by nights we have in the publishing fields at this time will find a niche or vanish.  We creators will remain finally unmolested by those who find our field fascinating and lucrative.  We can survive this onslaught, this invasion of our territory, our well known lands, if we keep at the craft.  Then creators we must be and something else — writers, the real writers who can be called Author.  It should humble us, but the pride we feel deep inside for being good at what we do will give us the glow to keep that soul in us alive that finds wonder in a photograph, inspiring us with a picture.

Categories: About Writing, Random Thoughts to Share | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Two Novellas Just Released in Kindle

With all the changes in publishing it really behooves the writer to have all their works available in at least one ebook form.  While Painted Tree: Two Novellas is available in a Kindle edition for only $3.99, I have decided to release the two novellas as separate Kindle editions.  A historical crime and recovery duo set in the early 1940s each sells for only $1.99.
BLOOD Full BookCoverPreview.do

In Blood There is No Honor the crime occurs in broad daylight. The reactions of the family and community are shown, with one seeking revenge — even into battle. The purchase site is available on the amazon HERE.

If I Could Only Sparkle has the victim’s first person telling of her recovery after four years shrouded in the darkness of her own withdrawn world.    The amazon purchase site is HERE.

SPARKLE Full purple BookCoverPreview.do

I want all my followers, readers and fans to know to periodically check this site’s sister page, HERE, for updates on my publications.  I don’t presently plan to add a new page on that site at any time, just keep the current page updated.  It is all about the books, after all.

And be aware that Nook will be non-existent after Christmas 2013, and a Kindle iCloud reader can be downloaded to your iMac for free.  Someone will have to let me know if there is a similar service for PCs.

Don’t forget to leave a review. It really is the life-blood of all artists.

A review

Categories: About My Books, About Writing, New Release, Recommendations, Self-Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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