Influences

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Influences, me? Okay, yeah. I’ve probably already mentioned X-Files along the way here but it was a huge influence on my writing (and dreams and muse). A smart science fiction story that didn’t need humor to offset it. A wish come true!

Okay, I’m still bitter over the Batman TV series. I was so excited to have that air, then the powers that be decided they couldn’t play it straight and turned it into high camp. Enough said. We did finally get Star Trek and of course now we have tons of smart sci fi and  paranormal shows. Full kudos to X-Files for sparking that trend (and getting me writing full time).

I was the kid that looked forward to Saturday afternoons, not just because school was out (though that was wonderful), but because that’s when the cheesy sci fi and horror pictures came on TV. I was enthralled! An aside here, I lost my vision and became legally blind  watching the original King Kong. I had the measles but hadn’t broken out, so they hadn’t put me in a dark room yet. What can I say, it was worth it. Those of you too young to remember before vaccines be grateful!  King kong

I mentioned X-Files – I remember reading in the TV Guide that year about the upcoming shows and saw that one. I was immediately intrigued (and had a flashback to Batman) but this one delivered. My family and friends knew that this was my hour of the week. I didn’t answer the phone, I didn’t respond to “Mom!”, if the kids were on fire, their father would have to out them out. One hour, really! I can’t thank the creative teams behind it enough for giving me such incredible ideas and courage to share them.

x_files

Other influences . . . later

 

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Another First

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twins and Emma

The twins with friend Emma

Attended another first this weekend – a first birthday for the first set of twins in the family. You know, you forget the chaos of a bunch of little kids. Boy, did it all come rushing back. Since I’m the age to put them down and forget where I put them, it’s good parents are young and energetic. I thought I handled a lot, but twins! Not twice the work, something like 16 times the work. Not sure of the math but my nephew and his wife were champions! I don’t think they even broke a sweat.

Discovered that their birthday is the same as their grandmother (my sister-in-law), their uncle and my brother-in-law on the other side, not to mention Jane Lynch and Dale Robertson.  Decided to check and Samhain in nine month before that . . . Mmmm

My hardiest congratulations and praise to this lovely young couple. Those boys were enjoying themselves and knew they were the crown princes for the day.  Bet they slept all night too.  table 3

Grandparents

The work crew – grandparents at their best

 

Cousins’ Reunion

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Yes, I’m from the south and we have those things around here. The 31st annual cousins’ reunion is coming up soon and I’m so looking forward to it. These are the people I grew up with. Since I only have the one sister, cousins picked up the slack of not having a large family. So I have an extremely large family. Twenty-six first cousins on Daddy’s side.

About thirty-one years ago we realized that the focal point of the family wasn’t going to be with us much longer and we might all scatter and not see each other again soon. Unacceptable since they’d been such a big part of my life. I had a baby by then and the thoughts of him not knowing all these people was also unacceptable.

So, Sis, closest Cuz and I decided we’d have our own get together. The older generation was welcome but it was for us to get together and make sure our kids had the cousin experience. Sis volunteered her house because of the pool and large carport and we did it.  This is ’86 I believe with our kids, but just a sampling that grew.1986 reunion

And now, thirty-one years later – 31! we’re still doing it. We all already know the menu, it hasn’t changed in decades (no reason, we all like it) and fewer of the kids come because they have gone off to college or have families of their own, but they know when and where and that they’ll be more than welcome. And there are unfortunately fewer of the older generation to attend but we love it when they do.

There’s no agenda, we sit around on the carport or dip in the pool and visit with whoever is sitting next to us. We’re all family. We can ask questions about old stories we’re familiar with and compare them to reality and share pictures of the kids that aren’t there. If one of the “kids” does come and brings a friend they get the same family treatment and marvel that we all know each others’ names.

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A New Harry Potter

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Or, why read series (or write one)? I have to admit I love them. I’m embroiled in several right now between reading and listening to them on my commute. I really enjoy them during the drive. It’s like having an old friend travel with me.  hp boxed set

What’s the draw? For me, it’s the depth you can go to. In a stand-alone you have a cast of characters and a story to tell. I read for pleasure – pure and simple. If I don’t enjoy it, I usually don’t finish it, life’s too short. Fortunately most of the time for me, I find a good one and I enjoy it and then move on. But I do wonder what became of them later. Now that’s a good book–when I want the next story even if it hasn’t been written.

In series the characters become part of my family. I learn their backgrounds, likes and dislikes as though they lived next door. I get to meet their family and friends and become involved in their lives. Yes, the muscular, tall, dark and handsome hero and the buxom yet athletic and incredibly blonde heroine are the main stays of the story, but if I’ve been around long enough I might discover that her best friend is wickedly funny and his cousin is a genius. Series territory and who knows what the second or third or nineteenth book might focus on.

That kind of depth can only be achieved through multiple dips into the story pool. This new story with Harry is really more of a snippet and not from my favorite POV, (absolutely no spoilers) but the point is after being with Harry all these years, I knew the POV and it was spot on. It was like going back to a friend I haven’t seen in months – not years, and visiting.

Suzanne Brockman, Diana Gabaldon, Mary Margaret Daughtridge, Robert Jordan, Darynda Jones to mention a few have this mastered and I know I’m going to see old friends and have a wonderful time catching up and learning more of what makes some of my favorite characters tick.

So I have dipped my toe in the pool. The Melting, Book One – The Infection is only the first, but I’ve worked with these characters and know them so well now that I’m deep within the third book. It makes me want to do it again.  The Melting Book 1

Tell me, do you enjoy series or stand alones more? Why? Do you have any favorites? Stop by and visit – I might even have a bookmark to give away. See ya!

 

 

 

 

Writing Blog Hop – Her Turn

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PictureTold you it snuck up on me – I meant to  post this one first!!

Michele Summer

 

Welcome Romance Readers!I’m excited to be participating in a fun blog hop with some of my author peeps where I answer questions about the writing process.Laura Simcox passed the blog my way. (that’s her signing books at RT14!) Laura is a member of RWA, Heart of Carolina Chapter with me, AND we’re critique partners. She’s the Pollyanna to my Renegade. All that means is she always has something nice to say, and uh…I don’t. Anyway, Laura writes funny, laugh out loud romance. Check her out at: www.laurasimcox.com OR click on her cute picture on the left. Her latest book is Various States of Undress; Carolina with Avon. And it’s a good one!


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Now, for those questions…hmmm, let me think.
What am I currently working on?
I’m currently writing the third book in the Harmony Homecomings series (Sourcebooks Casablanca.)
The first one, Find My Way Home releases July 1st! *giddy with happiness* After reading about Bertie and Keith’s funny adventure and attraction, Not So New in Town will follow and release in February 2015. Lucy and Brogan are both coming home with no intentions of staying. And finally, there’s Vance and Katie’s story and things get complicated and heated as Vance tries to finish his third bestseller and Katie messes with his creative muse. Oh yeah. It’s hard to write when you’re so distracted…right?How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write for entertainment purposes only, so, my writing has to contain lots of humor. If I’m not laughing while I’m writing, then you won’t when you read it. My heroine and hero are witty and sharp (and yet they can’t see past their noses sometime…they always need my help). They’re relate-able and coupled with their quick wit, deep down, they have really big hearts.Why do I write what I do?
Again, it’s all about entertainment for me. When I read romance, I want to be entertained and have a good laugh. The real world is always waiting when I finish, so it’s nice to escape (if only for  a little while) and live out a fantasy or two. I try and write for the same reasons. I mean, come on, show of hands…how many of us wish we were that girl with that guy? Don’t leave me hanging… I know you feel the same way. ;-))

How does my writing process work?
Um, not well. I’m a complete disaster. I try something different every time I sit down to write a new book. I’m always looking for the perfect process, the best organizational techniques. And I never stick to whatever it is I think I’ve discovered. I’m the anti-smart writer. My files are not in logical order on my computer where I can easily pull them up. 

For me, writing is a messy, messy job. I’m very visual and tactile with lots of papers and files scattered all over, under and around my desk, spilling out into the hall from my office. I’m obsessed with notepads and notebooks and I’m an OCD list-maker. So, I jot lots of thoughts down only to immediately forget where I wrote them. I”m telling you, it’s not pretty.

In a nutshell, I write what I call: Plot to Finish, a very short, not very detailed synopsis (about 2 pages long) on what my story is about. I fill out notebooks or notecards on my characters physical attributes as well as their internal conflicts, likes, dislikes, fears, etc. This also includes important secondary characters. 

Once I’ve established who everyone is and what roles they play (for now), I’ll look up pictures online to get a visual of their town, city, home, school, workplace, kitchen, bedroom…you get the idea. Remember, I’m very visual. Then, guess what? I dive right in. Told you…not the best process. After I’ve written a few chapters, things start to change and my characters start arguing with me and sometimes they misbehave. At this point, I throw up my hands and walk away…could be for days. 

Eventually, I come back and start over with my Plot to Finish process, except this time around, I’ll use dry erase boards. I have 3 near my desk at all times. I like them because it’s easy to erase and move my lists around. (and I like the way the markers squeak). And I also keep a calendar on my desk where I plot each scene/action, so I can keep my timeline straight. Others use calendars on their computers. Not me. Mine is really cute and pink and has these neat columns for my lists. It’s awesome. I take great pleasure in buying a new one each year. 

That’s my scary process and I’m sure if other writers read this they will shake their heads and probably pity me. It’s okay.

Now, I’m gonna let you hop on over to the next author…


Picture DONNA STEELE
The Infection: Book one of the Melting series
Donna writes science fiction, paranormal romances and small town romances often with an eco-twist. She writes about women coming into their strength and having the courage to find and accept love.

As an empty nester with her beloved best friend and husband (who actually encourages her mad passion) She writes all the time – whether or not she has a pen or keyboard handy.
You can visit Donna at: www.steelestories.com OR click on her cute picture!

Writing Blog Hop…My Turn!

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Hi Romance Readers!

Gotta admit this snuck up on me, not that I have anything going on in real life (like my boss retiring and training a new one.)

Michele Summer tossed the ball my way and I’m on it now! Michele is a member of RWA and Heart of the Carolinas Chapter with me. She writes about my home town – not really, but she writes quirky small towns with sassy characters and since I lived there, I can lay claim! Michele Summers
Her work has won first place in the Dixie First Chapter Contest, second in the Golden Palm Contest and third in the Fool For Love Contest, Rebecca Contest and the Fabulous Five Contest.

Her latest Find My Way Home will be released July 1 – be sure to check it out.  Find my way home

 

 

Now about me…

The Melting Book 1

 

 

 

 

What am I currently working on?

Okay, that’s an easy one – I’m finishing up the third book of The Melting series. The glaciers are dying and in their wake, they leave a deadly, centuries old virus that nearly wipes out mankind. A few of the survivors have found each other and are trying to rebuild humanity in a way that will no longer harm Mother Earth – but are there enough of them to survive?

 

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I have the love of the X-Files in my makeup, so a lot of what I write has that slightly spooky but completely plausible situation. There’s also the never give up factor. And I tend to write very strong women who, more often than not, have to pull my hero’s bacon out of the fire instead of the other way around. Hey, it’s more realistic that way ;-)

 

Why do I write what I do?

Well again I come back to the X-Files, but since I also write small town romances that can’t be the only thing. I write stories and books I want to read and haven’t been able to find. And since I’m out of school, I only read for fun. If I learn something, great, but it’s pure enjoyment now. I’ve been writing since I was quite young (and those will never see the light of day again) but I’ve always thought . . . why didn’t the story go that way? I would have . . . and I’m off.

 

How does my writing process work?

That’s harder. I work full time and though the kids are gone, the cleaning fairy has not found my house. For years I’ve written in snatches, scenes, even paragraphs and then have to tie them together. It’s a little easier now – the house needs a lot less work with just us here and laundry can be done once a week.

One of my favorite ways to get into a scene is to take it to bed with me. It like slipping a tape into the VCR (okay the DVD into the player) and let my characters go. Sometimes I have to rein them in, but it’s amazing where they take me when I let them run free.

During the day I’m all spreadsheets and organization. Sticky notes won’t stay where you put them and I only write with pen and paper when I’m stuck. Then the feel of the paper rather than the keyboard can bring me back. I try to take that home with me and it does help, because structure is key for me. I crave it. When I want to know what a minor character’s eye color is, I need to find it quick. I want a straight up list, in alpha order and don’t distract me while I’m looking.

I don’t usually have all of that worked out when I start a story. Pantsers often don’t. The characters are already there, waiting for their time on stage, but their details evolve for me.

My strictest rule is that when I’m “finished” I put the manuscript away and don’t look at it for at least two weeks. Then I read it from start to finish. It’s amazing the plot holes, missing words and grammar that jumps out at me then. And even after several edits like that, before it goes out I go off by myself and read the thing ALOUD to myself. And still catch things. I have to read every word, because I know what I meant to say, which isn’t always what I said.

And the best part is, I’m having a ball. I’m going to write, that’s up there with breathing for me and when someone reads it and enjoys it and tell me so . . . It doesn’t get any better than that.

 

Okay – now I’m passing the ball on to PK Corey.  Here’s what she says about herself -

I’ve been writing in my head for decades. I finally took a deep breath and began actually writing the adventures of Cassie and Tom, a fantasy couple, who have lived in my head all that time. Cassie and Tom live and love in a domestic discipline relationship that’s lasted close to forty years. I’ll have a few other stories sprinkled in, but Cassie doesn’t leave me time to write much else. I hope you’ll enjoy their stories.  Cassies space