Monday, May 28, 2012

You Might Be a Writer If...

You might be a writer if...

1. You read obituaries and phone books to look for interesting character names.

2. While sitting in church, you daydream about interesting/creative ways to murder people.

3. You think of various ways to rewrite your favorite novels. ("No, Dean, you shouldn't have worded it like that, you should have worded it like THAT for greater impact!!! Gah!!!")

4. You are afflicted with book-review-related nightmares.

5. Random, out of context ideas and phrases come to you and you have to immediately jot them down in the unlikely event that you will use them in the future. ("The noses that pick together, stick together!" etc.)

6. You unconsciously give your serial killers your own personality. You wonder what it might mean.

7. You forget that your characters are not real people. This makes you sad, because you really want to hang out with them.

8. When no one else is around, you take your favorite book off the shelf, pull it close to you, and whisper, "My precioussssssss..." while stroking its cover with one hand.

9. You write because if you don't, you will turn blue in the face and fall convulsing to the floor. This is why writer's block is so painful.

10. Everyone you meet is a potential character.

11. You reread a gruesome murder scene you wrote a week ago and wonder if there is something seriously wrong with you.

12. You can't bring yourself to read any of your previous novels because you think they are all crap and you wonder how it is possible that your fans love them.

13. You develop calluses in weird places.

14. You're only 23 years old but you're already developing arthritis/carpal tunnel syndrome from spending so much time at the keyboard.

15. Your basic food groups are Wine, Coffee, Chips, and Mexican.

16. You drive by a furniture outlet advertising a sale for "SOFA'S" and you want to take an Uzi to the place.

17. You bawl your eyes out when you finish the rough draft of a manuscript.

18. You learn a new word and can't wait to use it in your novel.

19. You remember the number of books you've sold at individual book signings a year ago but you can't remember what you ate for lunch the day before.

20. You thought the Apocalypse had begun when you learned that Snooki is a bestselling author, and you're not.

Add your own!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Genesis of a Scene

This past Sunday morning I went for a bike ride on a local bike trail with my father and sister. Though the day was hot, the feeling of the wind whipping around me was soothing. We rode through miles of forest, occasionally passing through small towns full of quaint houses that looked too nice to be real. In all, the scenery was beautiful.

Halfway through our journey, we passed a high-end apartment complex tucked into the woods on our right. It even had a tennis court. "Nice place," I thought. Then, BAM. Out of nowhere, a vivid scene filled my mind:

There is a woman lying in a lounge chair on a wooden deck by a swimming pool. She is in her late fifties, slender, wears her wavy hair short and dyes it a shade of auburn to match the way it was in her youth. She is wearing sunglasses and a black, one-piece bathing suit and reads a paperback romance. Her skin is dark and like leather from so many long days lying in the sun. She is alone.

Around her rise the four-story buildings of the condominium complex she calls home this time of year. The sun beats down from a cloudless sky. The smell of chlorine fills the air. The woman can hear children laughing and playing in the distance, but she cannot see them. She never had any children. She doesn't understand why they are laughing.

Somehow, the sound of their voices fills her with regret. She has never worked in her life, not even for one day, because she has never needed to. Her husband is an executive at a large firm, and in fact he is away at a conference right now. He has provided her with everything she has ever desired--country club memberships, long stays at exotic resorts, dinners at upscale restaurants, jewelry.

She hears the laughter of the unseen children and wonders what it is all for. She thinks about leaving her husband. Something is missing from her life, and as much as she tries she cannot pinpoint what it is. Maybe leaving him will make things better; help her find her purpose. But how can leaving give her the sense of fulfillment she longs for? Her husband is the only person in her life, even if infrequently. If she leaves him--oh, and the idea is so tempting!--she will be left with nothing but the memory of a lifetime filled with empty pleasures. Nothing more.

The lonely woman sighs and turns the page of the novel she is reading. The sun beats down from a cloudless sky, and the sound of children laughing carries on the wind.

So yeah, this all came to me because I drove my aching, sweating self past an apartment complex on a bike I borrowed from my mother. Sometimes being a writer is just weird.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The 500 Fan Challenge

By a show of hands, who likes winning free stuff? You do? And you? Wow, that makes...everybody! Now I'll let you in on a little secret--I like winning things, too. Which is why I'm giving away free stuff to lovely people like you who have taken the time to "like" my Facebook page and support me in this harebrained endeavor called Being An Author.

"What kind of free stuff are you giving away?" you may ask.

THIS stuff.

That's right. One lucky winner will received a printed, hand-bound copy of my Christian speculative fiction story Vapors, a paperback copy of my suspense novel The Land Beyond the Portal, and three bookmarks, though not necessarily the ones shown in the picture.

Now let me tell you about that copy of Vapors. See this?

I hand-stitched that bad boy. I am not a sewing person, so my stitches tend to be a tad crooked. It took me a few nerve-racking hours to attach the blasted thing to the printout of the story and the cover got a little dinged-up in the act, but overall I think it looks okay. It was made with love, and I pray that it will be loved in turn by one of you.

Which brings us to...

The 500 Fan Challenge Contest Rules 

In order to win, you must complete these simple steps:

1. "Like" the page

2. Share the page with your tribe of fellow bookworms. (You know who I mean.) Encourage them to join, and when they do, make sure they post who sent them in a comment on the page timeline. Otherwise, I will have no clue who got them to add the page.

3. Tell these new fans to share the page with THEIR bookworm tribes so they have the chance to win, too. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as often as you'd like.

When 500 people have "liked" the page, I will determine who sent the most new fans and give that diligent soul the aforementioned Free Stuff.

Any questions?

Contest starts...NOW.