Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor


badge-blog-challenge-updated

Welcome to week 7 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  This is a makeup post, so the linky link for other authors will not work. 

This week’s prompt:

 Music to Write By

My musical choice is very much dependent on the mood of the story. For Roxy Sings the Blues, you can bet there is a lot of BB King and Eric Clapton.

While writing Kiss of the Dragon, I primarily listened to instrumental music.

My musical taste runs a gamut from classical, to Instrumental such as Tubular Bells, to some jazz, to Blues, bluegrass, rock, classic rock, some pop. but rarely does it include Country or rap. If you’re into that – great. I’m not. With everything, however, there are exceptions. I like Johhny Cash – he’s considered country.

My most recent playlist includes the following:

The video is shaky but I usually have  it playing in the background anyway.

 

How are you liking these posts?  Some are interesting to me, others are  things I’d rather keep to myself about like my editing errors. Uffda!

You can find other posts in this series here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor


Welcome to Week 8 of the MFRWauthors  blog challenge. This week’s prompt is: How  I Choose a Book Title. #MFRWauthor #amwriting #booktitles

 Good Titles may roll off of the tongues of some authors, but not mine. This is often why I refer to my projects as WIP – work in progress, and tell you right up front that it is tentatively titled XXX.

It is strange,  but when I am in my writing group, I can come up with good titles for someone else’s work easier than my own.

redwine-ebook

 

 

For Red Wine & Roses, that title came rather easily. It was the key scene that I wrote for a flash piece, then later developed into the full novel. Red wine and roses were touchpoints to Derek and Julia’s dates from the beginning so it seemed like a logical title. Derek has an old fashioned view about romance that in his mind, one expression of his love for Julia is by showering her with red roses. Towards the end of the story, after the darkest moment,  the reader will see the depth of his love expressed in this manner.

 

 

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For my second book Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass, I had lengthy debates over whether to use that for the title or not. I thought about just going with 30 days of Sass.  This book is a compilation of 30 short essays tinged with a lot of sass. A humorous view on life from the writer’s desk, while offering a little motivation to the reader, this nonfiction book is straight from the heart.

Titles are something that typically, I  ponder over and then tend to stress over. Consider the current WIP which I am targeting for completion by the end of April  2017. (Please help me stay accountable to this date!) My original story idea was titled Oral Dilemma. An erotic short where the Main character was always getting into trouble with her mouth via smart-alec quips, vocal talents behind the microphone at the bar, or oral talents in the erotic sense. It fit and I thought it was clever. However, while dusting this off from my files and giving it a thorough once over, I  realized  how bad my pantsing was. This was a serial that I shared on a former group blog I was managing editor for called Storytime Trysts. First of all, I cringed at rereading it, scratching my head at what I thought I was doing. Secondly, the pantsing gave me a lot of background scenes, but no real story. I really liked this character Roxanne Winters though, she had a story that needed to be told.

I basically have dissected this story, taken it apart and tossed out the majority. I had 57,000 words in this story. The bulk of that is gone and it currently sits at 21,354 with a revised outline, a real plot, and very real character goals. Oral Dilemma was no longer appropriate, nor did it really fit the story. I came up with the title Roxy Sings The Blues after debating several other options: The Blues Singer, Foxy Roxy, Little Girl Blue, Whiskey River (I couldn’t go with that one because I decided to cut out the lengthy section of her falling into an alcoholic abyss.) and finally landed on Roxy Sings the Blues. It fits, it’s concise and there aren’t twenty other titles out there with the same name.

Roxy Sings the Blues is another stand alone romance, but this one is romance suspense. The tentative blurb for it is:

Scars tell the story of a past. Roxy’s scars aren’t visible but they have carved her deeply and the pain they have caused pours out through soulful song. If facing a motherless future wasn’t enough, a failed relationship from her past resurfaces to torment her. Just when she was trying to build a new life for herself, trouble making Devon Miller drags her into his chaotic life. The stakes are high as Roxy sits in the spotlight of a dangerous investigation. 

Devon,  a homicide detective is hot for the case and stirring embers of a forbidden fire. Will Roxy hit the right note and help her old flame solve his big case or will she be left singing the blues?

An author’s book is like one of their children. We give them life. We watch them grow. We correct them when they go down the wrong path.  We scrub them clean to be presentable to company. We hope that when they go out into the big world, they are ready. We have to cut the chord and let them stand on their own. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series. Especially if that name is

Our book babies need titles that will grab a reader’s attention. This is an artform in and of itself. One that I feel that with some of my future projects – Valkyrie’s Curse (NO, I haven’t given up on that one.) Realm Wars (This is the series title for the books that will include Faere Warrior, Faere Guardian, Faere Mage, and two more that I haven’t decided on titles for.)I am pleased with my title names. But for others – The Hamilton Project, Vamps Couture, my dragon shifter series,  my nefleheim series, I’m either not happy with my working title or don’t have a title yet. It is as personal as naming our biological children. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series. Especially if that name is

Funny story about that – my oldest daughter’s name was selected when I was 6 months pregnant. She was going to be Rachel Lynne. Many of my shower gifts were addressed to baby Rachel. However, the moment that she made her debut into this world, I looked at her while the doctor was cleaning her up, suctioning the birth gunk, and she let out that first baby wail – she was not a Rachel. For the first twenty-four hours of her life, she was Baby girl. The nurses were counselling me that I could apply for her name with the state once we decided because I was to be released soon. You know how fast they kick you out after giving birth, right?

Well, after a gruelling delivery, I had a fever, extremely low iron, and was severely dehydrated. They kept me for another full day in which time my wonderful hubs brought the baby name books back to the hospital and we pored over them. I’m happy to say her name suits her, but it’s not Rachel. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series.

That’s how we want our books to be –  well suited with a title. It can be a tricky thing.

How do I come up with a title?  Usually, it’s an element of the story like the roses, or the obvious sass. Sometimes it is the character’s name. I have to admit, I see the titles of other authors and wish that I were as clever. Ah well, maybe someday.

Let’s go take a look at how others come up with their titles!

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You can find other posts in this series here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Life Isn’t Fair


Since I didn’t share my snippet piece yesterday, I thought I’d fudge a bit and share today.

Wow! This story has really gone through the mill. Roxy Sings the Blues originally started as the serial post erotica that I shared on Storytime Tryst. Don’t bother trying to find it, I no longer have the time to manage Storytime and nothing has been posted since forever ago.

All rights reserved to original artist. Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image.

All rights reserved to original artist. Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image.

The only recognizable part of that original story is the characters, although they are more fully developed now as well. When I compiled all of my serial posts, I added bits and pieces here and there to  help it congeal. Yeah, it wasn’t really working for me. First of all,  the original story was erotica. It wasn’t even my best effort in erotica either. Something about this story just wouldn’t let me go. Although I wasn’t happy with it,  I knew there was something in it that screamed to be told. Maybe I had wax in my ears, maybe my internal editor was cringing so much she wouldn’t listen to the voice crying to be heard.  When the fecal matter hit the rotary blades with the previous small publishing house I was associated with, I fell into a pit of discouragement and shelved Valkyrie’s Curse, which was 90% complete.

When the fecal matter hit the rotary blades with the previous small publishing house I was associated with, I fell into a pit of discouragement and shelved Valkyrie’s Curse, which was 90% complete.

Valkyrie’s was ready to be sent out to my beta readers, but after some critical comments, I tucked it away, as I wasn’t ready to push ahead with doing it on my own just yet. I haven’t given up on it, but it was set aside before Penned Con 2016 with a bitter taste left in my mouth. Time heals all wounds, however, and I feel I can go that last 10% soon. In the meantime, I heard Roxy’s wails of sorrow crying to be heard.  I dusted off those files, cringing at points, but also seeing that she had a story worth being told. Not the story I had first written, but a much deeper, more encompassing story. I was giving a superficial glossing to her story, focusing on certain gritty aspects of her life. She deserved more.

I’m keeping a small portion of what I had written, but most of it has ended up in the recycle bin. The revision has turned into a complete rewrite. Sordid details of her bad mistakes really didn’t need to be aired as yesterday’s dirty laundry. I have to admit, it needed a rewrite desperately.

The original plot of transformation was heart wrenching, motivational, kitschy, and focused too much on the back story. Ironic since another shelved project I’ve talked about before, my Fae series – anyone remember me sharing about Faere Warrior? – was shelved because I needed to share more of the back story. I haven’t given up on that one either. Basically, I got myself into a state of being overwhelmed with numerous projects that are unfinished for one reason or another.

Just a quick note here, most of my projects are so very close, yet every one of them needs just a little more. This is where I kick myself with disgust. If I focused on just those in my unfinished files I will be writing until I am 60! Scary thing is, that isn’t that far away!

So anyway, back to Roxy. . . the deeper story. I think you’re going to like it.  Last time I shared a snippet from the intro. Let’s dive right into the thick of it, shall we?

Here’s a brief snippet from Chapter 1 to let you know where Roxy is starting from:

Two hours and twenty-four minutes later, I pulled up into a visitor’s spot by the main entrance. I barreled through the doors, racing down the hall to the oncology floor, running past the nurse’s station towards the room number Tara had texted me.

I stopped short just outside the door. This was it. This was reality. I did not want to face losing my mom. I gave myself a quick talk as I took several deep breaths. One step. Two steps. Three steps and I was at the side of mom’s bed. Tara was on the other side, her head down on the edge of the bed, holding mom’s hand.

My eyes welled with tears. “NO” My body racked with sobs as I lifted my mother’s cold lifeless hand to my cheek. Tara lifted her head slowly, looking up at me in such a forlorn and lost expression it broke my heart even more.  I ran to her, lifting her from her chair as we sobbed together.

It wasn’t fair. Even knowing it was coming someday, we were not prepared for this reality. Some day was not supposed to be this day or any day in the near future. At twenty-three and twenty we were not supposed to lose our mother. Before either of us were married, before either of us had children, before either of us had even had a chance to truly live, cancer took her from us. It. Wasn’t. Fair.

As I held my younger sister in my arms, my eyes clenched tightly to shut out the vision of the corpse that lay in the bed that was supposed to be my mother. My breath caught in my throat, feeling panicky and lost, so very lost. I turned quickly to the side, hitting the vase of flowers on the stand next to the bed rails. The vase that held a beautiful flower arrangement shattered into pieces as it made contact with the linoleum floor.

Shattered. Just like our lives were now.

Just like Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers, Roxy’s shattered life can be rebuilt. Slowly, piece by piece, and she will come out stronger than she began. Isn’t that kind of the point of a transformation plot? I guess I kind of gave that away, didn’t I? All I can say is don’t write her off just yet. Fate isn’t done jerking her around. 

Did you get the feels? Do you feel compassion for Roxy and her sister?

How have you dealt with the death of a close loved one?

When my father passed away, my world was suddenly shattered. When my mother passed away, I was only slightly more prepared having been her caregiver for the last year and a half of her life. I didn’t have to face it in my twenties, though, which I am grateful to have had them in my life as long as I did.  It took me a long time to find the good in life after both losses, but eventually, I did and I hope you have as well.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

One Phone Call


I have spent the last two days on the phone trying to find out information on the exact requirements that I will need to fulfill for my job. I don’t know about you but waiting on hold is one of those time-wasters that I could do without. It’s that feeling of helplessness, this is out of your control, and you are at the mercy of the person on the other end.

If everything could be straight forward, the instant response then things would go much smoother. But, alas it isn’t to be. The forces that be have decided that it is a requirement to be put on hold for an untold specified amount of time. Please tell me that I”m not the only one who is impatient with these things!

In the meantime, while I continue my quest for answers, I thought I might share a teaser from Roxy Sings the Blues. Since phone calls seem to be first on my mind,  I thought I’d share this brief opener.

~~~~~~~~

One phone call can change your life forever.

I’ve heard it said many times and I get it. If you are a ball player waiting for that call to the majors, if you are waiting for the call that you got that job that you were hoping for. I always thought however, that most people are just being overly dramatic and using that as a cliché’ statement.

What if you didn’t get this job, but instead got a call from a different company that ended up being a better job? What if, as a ball player you didn’t ever get called to the majors but stayed in the minor leagues and ended up being a top-notch coach? What if that call was the worst thing that could happen?

It’s always been my view that there are multiple paths that our lives could take. There are multiple opportunities presented to us and that one phone call bit was a bunch of hogwash.

Until today.

Until I received the phone call that without a doubt, changed my life forever.

DO you want to read more? 

I”ll share a bit more soon . Until then I have to get back to my search.

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie

 

New Day


It’s a brand new day! It’s a new month – yay! This is the point when we get a do-over for good intentions. For instance with the blogging. Even the best-laid plans sometimes fail.

Nothing can be done for the days lost in January, it’s now a fresh month. In the past, I have taken all of my unfinished plans from the previous month and started there before tackling the items I had designated for the current month. That is a fast track to being overwhelmed and giving up before you even begin. Trust me, I’ve done it numerous times.

For instance, with my bullet journal, I had an entry on January 22, then nothing. The next day I felt nearly human again after several days of illness is January 30. Last year, I would have felt guilty. I would have made entries for each day in between, trying to squeeze something from the brain to fill in for those days, but this time I didn’t. NOPE. I simply wrote ‘And then . . . ‘ in large bold letters, with a brief journal entry about what was going on, namely, I felt miserable until my daughter took me to urgent care.

Then I made an entry for Monday with the header Moving Forward. That, my friends, in a nutshell, is my entire philosophy for the year.

Moving Forward

I have five large projects on my plate for this month:

  1. An editing job that has a firm deadline. ( I love editing for others. It gives me a chance to read their work, help with something that I am good at and also stimulates my creative brain at the same time. I am always energized to write on my own work after I do some editing for someone else and I have been anxious to  work on this one!)
  2. Rewrites on Roxy Sings the Blues, now that I have a  workable plot. (This is where my 30 index cards will be put to use!)
  3. Passing the 20-hour course for regaining my MLO license. This one has to be completed by February 28th. This is not an arbitrary deadline that I picked,  my job is contingent upon passing this course and getting licensed. I’ve done it before, I can do it again! (This is a tough class. Dry material, legal schtuff, technical mortgage  blah blah blah,  a whole lot of laws and acts and this will require inordinate amounts of caffeine in order to get through the volumes of materials I must relearn. Yes, I am regretting letting my license lapse this past year. Infuriatingly regretting it, to the point of mentally beating myself up over this decision.)
  4. Make progress in my fitness and weight loss plan. (My goal for January was to lose 8 pounds, I only lost 3. I did, however, get my behind out to the track and started back walking at least.  We’ve had mostly mild winter days. I have used a workout video that a friend referred me to during days that are cold, wet,  or the roads are bad. I’m ready to add another lap this week, and  by the end of the month I plan to double the length of that walk.)
  5. Decluttering and updating our house so we can move closer to my husband’s  work. (He has a very long commute now. )

So, of course, this is the perfect time to add something else to the mix, right? Of course, it is!

An author friend has been encouraging me to join this blog hop thing, 52-week thing. I’m already behind the curve, but I can make those up, no problemo! You’ll see the first installment for this on Friday. What’s one more thing, right?

Following the categories that I have already used for blogging,  I will on occasion – I’m not even going to say I will post every Monday because you know as well as I do that I may or may not manage every Monday. Seriously, take a look at my list above! BUT, I guarantee you that at some point throughout this month, I will give updates.

I had already agreed to share tidbits of the WIP, which will cover item number two. I will share a couple of things throughout the month on editing. This is something that I’ve thought about many times,  making editorial posts to address common mistakes that we all make and are things that you can fix yourself.

BUT, I was wondering does anyone even care about my weight loss and fitness journey? Does anyone really care about my home improvements? Renovations? Updates?

IDK –  I had thought about sharing that month’s projects with pictures of before and after, but does anyone really care?  Honestly, I am not doing major renovations like tearing out walls or adding on to the existing floorplan. We are on a tight budget here and most of these changes are simply going to update and make our house saleable.

I’m still undecided on those two points, but if you have an opinion feel free to comment or message me.

I’m heading to my editor’s desk to dive back into this book.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Inquisitve Minds


apple-tree-image

 Writer’s are innately curious, you do understand that, right?  It’s an insatiable drive that urges us onward constantly asking why. If your child is asking you questions like “What did little red riding hood have in her basket? Did she forget her glasses that she couldn’t see that it was a wolf instead of Grandma?  How did Peter fit his wife in the pumpkin shell? Was she a fairy?”

My mother quit reading me fairy tales quite early, relegating that task to my sisters. I was a wiz at reciting my nursery rhymes just like I was taught.

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn;
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack,
with little bo peep! 

Wait, that isn’t how you learned it?  Yeah, my sister’s had a wicked sense of humor. When I started asking questions of why, my mother deferred me to my siblings who are much older than me. They were quite creative in their answers and the more inquisitive I was in a line of questioning, the more abstract the answer would become until it satisfied my mind. At times I was slow to catch on because as a child I was naive and trusting.

I learned rather quickly that the things I had been taught, the answers I was given were rarely the correct ones. I also learned cynicism and sarcasm at an early age as well.

Why is the sky blue? Because God ran out of green after painting all the trees.

Why don’t apples grow in the garden like cucumbers? Because if they did, the rabbits would get fat. 

Why do fish eat worms? Because they like their insides tickled. 

Seriously, who does this to a child??  The thing is, most of the population accepts things on blind faith. Creatives, on the other hand, question everything. My mother had little tolerance for questions of any sort. The most common answer was ‘because I said so that’s why’.

In this vein, I made a point to answer my kid’s question to the best of my ability.

So what does this have to do with anything? It has everything to do with writing. If the person can’t ask questions,  they will never come up with original story ideas. You have to know facts before you can deviate from them. For instance,  gravity makes everything fall down towards the earth. So, if some alternate force were to be in effect, then objects would either float in the air or accelerate towards the sky.

From asking why is how abstract thinkers get strange, unique ideas for science fiction and fantasy. Romance writers have a different angle in their creativity. We have to come up with relational issues, not alternate laws of physics. Any writer takes the opportunity to ask what if, creating chaos for their characters.

Which leads me to my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Originally posted on Storytime Trysts as Oral Dilemma, I’ve been revising that hot mess to be something a little more substantial than serial posts to fill a time slot. I’m fairly pleased with some of the scenes as I hope you will be also.

Last year, I participated in a snippet share on Sundays with some blogger friends. I decided that on Tuesday I would share teasers from the WIP as those Sunday posts seemed to be a big hit but I am often not online on weekends. Here’s a little teaser for your pleasure:

“You’re up next Ms. Winters. Can I get you anything while you wait? A water with lemon? Hot tea?” David motioned a stagehand over towards us then instructed him to bring a chair for me while I waited. “Have a seat while Cameron finishes his set.”

I gladly took the offered seat, my legs were like jello in the platform heels. I was about to achieve a long time dream and to top it off, Devon was by my side. If I died today, I would die a happy woman.

What does all of that have to do with what I’m about to do now?

Everything! It’s not the string of bus stops along the route, it’s the entire journey. Allow me to share from the point where it really started.

I know, it’s just a teaser. Let me know what you think. Are you curious to read more? Would you like longer teasers? stick with short? Talk to me!

I’ve got a  schedule for release in my planner, a date that I am shooting for. I am really trying to focus on one project to completion this year. Hopefully, it won’t be too painful of a transition for me to actually be productive.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie