Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm Going Through Changes...

Now, re-read that title. I'm NOT going through THE "change." I'm not quite there yet:)

I live with an Ozzy Osbourne fanatic. The Black Sabbath song "Changes" has been running through my mind on a constant circuit.

Last week was one helluva a week, let me tell you. I began making some pretty big decisions about my professional life and where I want to be. I had let things slide for too long and it seems as if I made some HUGE decisions in a very short period of time.

Have you ever had someone tell you that you couldn't do something? Or wouldn't be able to accomplish something? What was your reaction? Mine was to explode and cry, then I picked up my sword and said, "Yeah, well, let me show you!" NEVER tell me what I can or cannot do because I will prove you wrong. I don't like to be pigeonholed and to quote one of my favorite movies, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." 

I don't appreciate it when someone belittles me or my talent. I may sound a bit arrogant, but it has taken me a long time to believe in myself and won't let anyone take that away from me. I can hear my dad's voice in my ear saying, "That's my girl" so I know I'm making the right choice as I move in the direction I am heading. 

My husband would love to slay this particular dragon for me, but he's respecting me enough to let me fight the battle I am waging. He's got my back and I wouldn't have it any other way.

There are only a few friends I have confided in and I feel blessed to know they have my back as well. With my little army at my back, I'm battling forward with this journey. I may have to hack through the thorns and brambles as I try to find my own path, but like I said, I have people who are willing to help me. I am truly blessed.

Be patient with me and give me some time to adjust. I read somewhere that if something isn't working for you, then make a change. So for now, I'm going through changes and I can only hope that they propel me forward.

On a side note: Be sure to check out my website for the contest I have going on.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happily Ever After

The other day I was asked about the relationships in my stories. "Why are they complicated?" the reader asked. It made me pause for a moment and think about the relationships I write.

See, my characters live in my head. With a series like Cedar River, you can imagine the noise going on there. Some days I must look like the psychic medium, John Edwards. (The other day, I was explaining a new series to my husband and had one of those, "Hold on" moments while the character told me exactly what I needed to say.) My characters tell me their story and I simply write it down as they tell it to me. I make it as simple or as complicated as they want it to be. (I'm not crazy, I'm a writer :D)

When I wrote Ana's character, I hated her. She was the biggest bitch I had ever met (myself not included). She was so hard on Bowie and I felt she was being unfair to him, but you know what? It all worked out. *shrugs*

Then, along came Adam and Luna. I wanted their story to be simple since they had overcome so much to be where they were, but it wasn't going to happen that way. Instead, they had to work at it and make decisions. They even hurt one another, but, again, it all worked out.

Now, I'm working with two very difficult characters, Brady and Silver. I've stopped and started with them more than any other characters. They are complicated and at different ends of the spectrum. He's quiet, confident, and steadfast. She is brassy, bold, and very insecure. I had to laugh when Brady told me who he had chosen to be his lady. I had an ongoing conversation with him for three days. "Seriously? She's a hot mess, you know that, right?" He'd smile that sexy smile of his and say, "Yep." Now, I am at 71,000 words and I'm still not done. (For a quiet guy, he certainly had a lot to say. LOL)

But it hit me the other day, why do I love this set of characters so much? Because they remind me of my husband and myself. The reflection I see when I look at them simply brings me joy.

So, dear reader, let me answer your question for you:
My characters have complicated relationships because love is messy and complicated. Love is never cut and dried. It's an organic, evolving thing which needs to be nurtured, pruned, and fertilized. My characters want the REAL love. Happily ever after happens in fairy tales. I've been married for almost 20 years and as much as I love my Knight in Tarnished Armor, he's not perfect and neither am I. Our love isn't perfect either. We hurt one another whether we realize it or not, but we don't walk away. We fight and fuss, but we make-up because we're crazy that way.

As Valentine's Day rapidly approaches, this is my Valentine's Day wish for you:

May you find your hot mess and see them for what they really are...someone worth believing in and fighting for. May you find the one who will walk through fire for and with you. May your love be a messy, complicated puddle of passion. XOXO 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

An Author's "Second Self"

Me at 4 years of age
I was in my Creative Writing class the other day and my professor was discussing how authors take on a persona when they write, someone they want the world to see. Being the dreamer that I am, my mind wandered and I began to wonder, "Which persona is my author second self?"

I was raised in a family where I was the only girl. I had girl cousins on my dad's side of the family, but I didn't see them too often. I had a cousin on my mom's side who was 6 years older than me, but I mean, she was 6 years older than me. I idolized her, but again, I didn't see her often. I was left to be what everyone thought I should be. What was that you ask? Well, it was many things:
1. I was to act like a girl (ladylike, polite, soft-spoken)
2. I was to dress like a girl (dresses, skirts, fancy shoes, curled hair, make-up)
3. I was raised to be a mom and wife (I wasn't encouraged to dream outside the box)
4. Men only wanted to date girls with long fingernails, long hair, and skinny bodies

There are many more, but you get the idea, right?

For most of my life, I tried to live up to what people expected me to be. Last year, when I published my first book, I dreaded opening up to people. What if they didn't like me? What if I wasn't what they expected?

Then, Tuesday as I sat in class, occurred to me. All of you get to see the REAL me. You get to know the brassy, bitchy, bold side of me. You don't care that I spend the majority of my days behind a computer screen with my hair pulled up and pencils stuck in my hair. You don't care that I wear yoga  pants and holey sweatshirts around my house while I work. You don't care that I'm not a size 2 or that I don't wear make-up unless I go to school. You all get to know me as I truly am. It's the world outside these four walls and people who have known me for all these years who get the "persona".

How sad is it that I've spent 40 years of my life pretending to be someone I'm not? Lucky for me, my husband gets it. He's like all of you...he knows the real me.

Lucky for me, I found all of you :D 
How about you? Do you have a persona that you keep locked away and pull out only when a certain person is around?

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Mish-Mash of Topics

I've been dealing with so many things lately that I have forgotten to do a lot of things, including visiting with you!

With school back in session, I now have homework to add back onto my list of things to do. I'm taking a creative writing class this semester and I'm really excited about it...except for this whole poetry thing. 

Don't get me wrong...I love poetry. I spent many years of my life pouring my feelings onto paper in the form of poetry. Unfortunately, I didn't really study it. The forms, feelings, etc. of other poets have not been my focus. Now, I have to keep a poetry journal where I write 100+ words about the poem, another 100+ words about the author's thoughts, then a poem of my own that follows the form of the author. Let me just say, I'm behind.

I also had the impression I would finish Book 3 in the Cedar River series before I went back to school. Hahahahahahaha! I'm at 62,000+ words and I still am not done. I have a lot of story to tell in this book. I'm introducing so many new characters plus I have two big events to get written in. I am beginning to wonder why I set goals. Maybe I should simply forget it. It may work better.

I went to find a pair of socks and couldn't find any that were clean. That tells me the laundry was WAY behind! I rarely wear socks in the house. I'm a barefootin' it kind of gal, but lately, it has been cold enough that I've needed socks. Even my thick socks were dirty. *Sigh* So, I put in a load of laundry since underwear is the next thing to run out and I CANNOT let that happen :D

Oooh, before I forget to mention it: I put a contest up on my website on Friday. With an iPad 2 to giveaway plus a couple of gift cards, I expect to see people entering. I'm doing this because I promised my readers a giveaway when the 2nd book was released. It took me a little time to get all the legal junk together. But it will run through April 1st, so stop by and enter.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, you may need to buy a gift for that someone special. Be sure to check out my books (listed on the left hand side) for that urban fantasy/paranormal romance lover on your list.

I need a little pop of color today. My world is coated in white so I feel as if I'm living in a black and white film at the moment :D This lovely flower pops up every spring just outside my door. 

I took this in the fall. I actually had dipped my toes in that water. It was that warm. And since I'm craving warm weather, this seems appropriate. My painted toes dug into that cool wet sand and the water splashes against my ankles...*sigh*

With homework to do, I will get this posted and start my work. I hope you all have a blessed week! Stay warm/cool! (Depending on where you are in the world)