Southern belle with a story to tell. Refreshing iced tea served after literary punches thrown.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Inspiration From Everywhere!

How I love the quiet of a Sunday morning.  No hustle and bustle of a Monday, and my hubs and son are still asleep.  The only souls stirring about are myself and Wyatt (the maniacally cute Havanese who likes to squeak toys loudly when I write).
So cute..and yet so devious.
One reason I adore Sundays so much is because of all of the time to write.  It's a lazy day, and for now, it's all for me, although that will change in probably an hour or so.

Going to put the coffee on now and while I'm waiting, I'm going to think about what has been inspiring me to write as of late.  Some are tangible objects, others not, but it's fun to think about what gets our creative juices flowing isn't it?

Right now I'm in midst of revisions on my manuscript, THE DEATH BROKERS, and wanting to wade out of the murky middle, but I'm happy to take my own sweet time because revisions must be lovingly done.  Good revisions are what makes a good book into a great book, and as my grandmother always told me, "Rome wasn't built in a day."  If you're a new writer, do not lull yourself into the dreamy haze that your actual writing is over during revisions, oh no my friend!  During revisions you are tweaking and changing the nasty bits and turning them into something better than they were before.  There IS much more writing Virginia, after first draft is completed.

I have a secret confession to you..during this tedious process, it became clear yet another character had to become a sacrificial lamb for THE DEATH BROKERS.  I had not planned on this during first draft, but it had to happen.  She simply knew too much and they couldn't let that happen, thus the manuscript required a slight change.   Yours will too, and you'll need inspiration during this most important time.

A few days ago, my 13 year old son left his airsoft pistol out on the desk near me.  It's not loaded nor is it dangerous, but having such a realistic item nearby when I'm writing my thriller definitely helps me write about the dark side.  Just looking at it lying there makes me think about how one of the hit men carries his gun.  Because of that silly airsoft pistol, two chapters came alive for me during more revision, and again, better and more sinister changes came as a result.  I'm going to let it sit there until revisions are completed.

My son's Crossman airsoft pistol.  Looks real doesn't it?  Makes for great inspiration.

Television sometimes brings inspiration my way and I can always count on watching "American Greed" in bringing me wonderfully devious ideas.  The cases are unique and although none are quite like what I've written about, there are certain common denominators in every one of them which are present in my manuscript and they would be:  deceit, arrogance, the Big Mistake, and a super-inflated ego.  

The Big Mistake is what I refer to as the tipping point in many of the cases, where the criminal slips and shows their hand.  Sometimes it is intentional and they either directly wish to get caught or subconsciously they want to be stopped.    

As a woman who also studied quite a bit of psychology as an undergrad, I can tell you it's amazing to watch that show because the most obvious common thread which stands out to me among the criminals highlighted  on every episode is the inflated ego.  Some of them I'd bet might actually cross over into cases of either narcissistic personality disorder or psychopathy (sociopaths). 

Some of my best ideas however, come from clearing my head and going for a run or brisk walk.  I alternate between listening to music and just listening to the sounds of nature.  The feeling of your body being in rhythm as you walk, frees your mind and opens it up to new ideas and it's also pretty darn good for you to do, health-wise.

Other times I get my ideas from a certain necklace I wear.  Some might call it a talisman of sorts, but it's actually something I wear in memory of  my grandmother, someone I loved very much (her maiden name was Hart).  It's a diamond heart necklace and on one side are clear white diamonds, and on the other inky black diamonds.  To me, the two sides of the heart represents our human duality, and both the light and dark places of the soul.  My grandmother was the most beautiful and loving individual I've ever met, yet during her last days on this earth, I saw one relative around her bring forth the darkest of human nature and it's why I bought this heart.  To remind me of the beauty of her soul, and also to remind me of the darkness which exists within others and to be wise and discerning.

This is not my pendant, but it is similar.  You get the idea.
Sometimes when I'm writing, I'll flip it to one side depending on the nature of the character I'm writing about.  If you see me writing and I'm wearing the necklace and it's flipped over to the side with the black diamonds?  You can be sure I'm writing something dark, or dangerous.

What unusual things inspire you to write?  It's a lazy Sunday and today would be a wonderful time to explore your own sources of creativity.

The coffee is ready and time for a warm, comforting cup.  Coffee sometimes gives me that jump start and the smell of Angel's Kiss could inspire even the coldest of hearts.  Yes dear readers, sometimes I do drink coffee rather than tea, but it's relegated to mornings and as of late, this is what my java fantasies are made of:
Jamaican Me Crazy & Angel's Kiss are heavenly!

See you later, It's time to revise!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog Tag! I'm It and You're Next!!!

I got tagged on the virtual playground today by fellow writer and AQC friend, Kela McClelland.     Go and check out her blog btw ( ) She in turn was tagged by another AQC friend, E.M. Labonte.

Oh you haven't visited Agent Query Connection?  Well then you surely must stop by for a bit!  For writers, it's a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet with others and it is a great place to perfect our craft.  Agent Query Connect  I've had a wonderful time since joining over there, and made some very good friends.

This is going to be fun and I hope you enjoy this game of literary virtual tag!  You just got tapped on the shoulder and as you quickly turned around, you saw me running away from you in the opposite direction.  

TAG!  You're it!

Copy and paste these fun questions onto your blog site and then tag some friends.  I'm going to personally tag some of my blog friends below but don't let that keep you from playing if you don't see your name.  Join in on the fun!  And if you do have a chance, pop over to AQC for even more literary adventures.

1. What is your dream vacation?  Hubs & I want to go to St. Lucia, but also charter a sailboat and go visit some smaller islands.  He can sail those things pretty darn well!  We'd like to sail to her neighboring islands of Martinique, St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan ahead? A little of both.  As a parent, most of the time there's a little bit of planning ahead for almost every endeavor, but when our son is spending the night with his friends (he's a young teen) we'll turn back into daredevils and attempt a night out..alone..and without any set plans!
3. Tell us one thing you want to do but don't dare do it. Get into a shark cage.  I love to dive, but am scared to do that.  It does seem exciting though.
4. What's your biggest phobia? Scared of heights.  I hate the first few minutes of a plane ride because it's not like God gave us wings to fly.  I'm fine after that.
5. If you were stranded on a desert island-what three things would you want with you? (Not including your laptop or family) Hubs cellphone which can call anywhere, a solar powered power mat for cell phone, and sweet tea.  That way I can get off of the island.  Until that happened, I would at least have a refreshing beverage.
6. Name three blessings in your life.  My son, my husband, and my sister.
7. What was your nickname in High School?  Oh dear..I didn't have a nickname.  I did have one in college though sort of.  I was a little sister for Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity (then-boyfriend was a member) and they nicknamed me "Wildflower" because one day I sat outside in the green space near the biology building and wove some clover into a necklace.  I do have one friend who calls me "Jo Jo" though.
8. If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him? Oh dear.  There's a lot I'd like to say to him.    We need jobs.  WE NEED JOBS here now!  I'd also like to inform him that just because people may still have a job, it doesn't mean they're 100 percent employed.  Today there is a new phenomenon..the UNDERemployed, and they are either forced to take a pay cut or endure loss of time/hours at work.  You don't consider them in your unemployment figures Mr. President.
9. If you could be any literary character, who would you be?  Oh that's easy.  I just finished reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern and I would love to be Celia Bowen for a minute.  She's gorgeous, artistic and magical.  
10. What is your favorite quote?  For writing it's this one by Hunter S. Thompson:
 "I want to make a promise to you, the reader. And I don't know if I can fulfill it tomorrow, or even the day after that. But I put the bastards of this world on notice that I do not have their best interests at heart. I will try and speak for my reader. That is my promise. And it will be a voice made of ink and rage."   

Oh yoo-hoo?  You just got tapped on the shoulder!

Well sort of.   Stop by and say hello to these fine folks at their blogs. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

For the Writer Stuck in Revision..

You need a vacation.

That's write.

I need a vacation.  One which requires a plane and more than a weekend.  Give me palm trees, a bathwater-clear ocean, and eighty degrees or better and I'll finish this project in no time.

But until I can take my four days off in April, I'll have to do the next best thing which would be to watch a movie set in Puerto Rico,  a paradise I know well.  Oh and by the way, I happened to be born there, courtesy of the United States Air Force and the Vietnam War.  My parents told me I loved the first year and a half of my life there.  In fact, I never caught a cold until I moved back to my family home of Memphis.  It could be safe to assume, islands are good for my constitution.

If you haven't read THE RUM DIARY by the late gonzo genius Hunter S. Thompson, you should.  Normally it's the type of novel far out of my comfort zone, but I read it last year and loved it.  Granted it was fueled with testosterone and about 150 proof, but I actually grew to like the book and it's characters.  Incidentally I also watched half of the movie last night and the other half this morning and loved it.  To sum it up in a few sentences, it's the story of a novelist turned reporter who runs away to Puerto Rico to drink rum and do a little writing.  He accidentally falls in love with a Big Wig's girlfriend there and after becoming indebted to Big Wig (he bailed him out of jail), this causes some serious issues.

Chock-full of stunning scenery, costumes, and visuals set in the early 1960's "Mad Men" era, the film was as fun to watch as the book was to read. Why the heck  more people didn't either read the book or see the movie just amazes me.  People have criticized this book sometimes because it was Thompson's debut novel, but you know something?  If you're a writer, you're always going to have to write book one.  Somehow I truly detest the stigma which comes with "book one".  I'm in revisions right now because of the damn naysayers out there who love to rip them apart.  I'll show you "book one".

Below are some sinfully salacious quotes from the book.  I hope you'll enjoy them.  As for me,  I'm ready to book a ticket now, go hiking in El Yunque rainforest again, then go sprawl out on Palomino Island, lying half-in and half-out of the water on the sugar-sand beach.  The first quote is for all the naysayers who I plan to eloquently put in their place.

Paul Kemp: "I want to make a promise to you, the reader. And I don't know if I can fulfill it tomorrow, or even the day after that. But I put the bastards of this world on notice that I do not have their best interests at heart. I will try and speak for my reader. That is my promise. And it will be a voice made of ink and rage." 

Lotterman: "How much do you drink?"
Paul Kemp: "The upper end of social."

Paul Kemp:  "By the time we got to the street, I could see the first rays of the sun, a cool pink glow in the eastern sky. The fact that I’d spent all night in a cell and a courtroom made that morning one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. There was a peace and brightness about it, a chilly Caribbean dawn after a night in a filthy jail. I looked out at the ships and the sea beyond them, and I felt crazy to be free with a whole day ahead of me.
Then I realized I would sleep most of the day, and my excitement disappeared.

And finally, a quote which gives any thriller writer a tingly thrill up their leg.  No, I'm not talking about a "Chris Matthews"  type of tingly thrill, 

but one which comes with a beautiful description of a possible hit.  Ah, the magic that was Hunter S. Thompson.  

Paul Kemp:  "If I had a Luger, I thought, I could drill the bastards. I leaned on one elbow and pointed a finger at the window, seeing what kind of shot I would get. Perfect. There was just enough light in the street for a good silhouette. I knew it would happen quickly, I’d have no choice: just pull the trigger and go deaf from the terrible noise, a frenzy of screaming and scratching followed by a ghastly thump of a body knocked back and down to the sidewalk."