Don’t Throwaway Smiles



This bag of coins was more than half full before I took this picture. They’re coins from all around the world, and Kevin wanted to throw them away.

Why?

He thought it was much better to throw them in the trash than to try to figure out what to do with them.

You see we’re not all about materialistic things. In fact, we’re in the process of becoming minimalist—to only keep the things that serve us or has a sentimental value.

So I understood where he was coming from. The coins had no value to us. However, I took the bag from him and stashed it in the drawer of my desk.

“You’re not throwing away smiles,” I told him.

What I meant by that was if a kid found some of those coins on the ground, he or she would smile, thinking it was cool. I remember as a child finding loose change in the grass, and it most certainly made me smile.

Last Friday night, Kevin and I took a walk around our town. At the beginning of our walk, he tossed something on the ground. I turned to see what it was, and he told me not to look, to keep walking. I then realized he just dropped one of those coins on the ground.

I had totally forgotten I was going to do that, but he didn’t and took it upon himself to hand out smiles. I then asked him to give me some, and he did. We strolled through the park where there were kids playing and covertly released coins throughout the playground.

“This is fun,” Kevin said to me. “I’m glad you kept these coins.”

It was fun, and then on Saturday night, we finished tossing the rest of the change around town where we knew kids would find them.


This afternoon, we took another walk around town (we love to walk) and saw an adult male with a metal detector in the park we dropped the coins at. We couldn’t help but laugh and smile, thinking we might have created some gossip around our small town (this town loves to gossip) that would be centered on the mysterious worldly coins. So the smiles those coins created weren’t only reserved for the children like I thought, they were for everyone, including ourselves.  

The Defining Moment.

I think we all experience a moment in our lives, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to another, where something extraordinary happens to us. Some may say it’s a message from a benevolent being tapping on your spirit to awaken the part of you that’s been in hypersleep. Or maybe it’s a livewire from your past life sparking one of the many parts of you tucked away within your superconscious mind. It’s an unforgettable moment meant for only you. It can be as simple as holding a newborn and knowing without a doubt that someday you want to be a mother. To most that may seem like a silly goal but to you raising a child–another human being–is one of the noblest things to do in this life.

The Defining Moment.



One of my defining moments (I've had more than one) happened in seventh grade. We had to write a story. When it came time to read it out loud the teacher asked for volunteers. I raised my hand (I was the only one), then went to the front of the class and read my horror story about a monster who lived in a sewer. As I was reading it, I became aware of the silence in the room.

I kept reading.

When I arrived at the scary part the whole class did a collective gasp.

I was hooked from there.

After I finished, a male classmate named Clay laughed. I looked up from my paper. My eyes swept the room and settled on him. He had a huge grin on his face. "Wow," he said. "Your story reminded me of the movie Chud. So cool!" Some of the students nodded in agreement and something inside me swelled with a joy I'd never felt before.

Back then I never knew what an impact my writing could have on people. I mean, as long as I could remember I’ve been writing stories. However, I'd never shared them with anybody until then.

That was my defining moment. And still, today, when I revisit that memory, I can’t help but smile. :)

So what was your defining moment?

A Quick Cool Tip For Authors

I have a cool tip for authors like myself but there’s a quick story that goes along with it.

I was interviewed by AP (Alternate Perceptions) Magazine hereà http://www.apmagazine.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1122&Itemid=194 and a gal in my town read it. She stopped by my office on Monday and told me she had been wanting to read my books. Here’s how the conversation went:



Gal: “I read your interview. Wow. Your parents were UFO and paranormal investigators . . . and your books. Where can I get them?”

Me: “You can get them on Amazon or Sweets ‘N Stories here in town. They might still have them. I do have some in the trunk of my car.”

Gal: *Her face lit up* “Really?”—She motioned to go outside—“Let’s go see.”

Me: “Okay.”

We went outside, and I popped open the trunk of my car open and dug in the box. “I have the first book.”—I handed it to her. She asked me how much, and I told her—“I also have the other two books in the trilogy. If you like the–”

Gal: “I’ll take those, too!”



Me: “Okay.” I told her the total price, she wrote the check, and handed it to me. When she got in her car, she told me she’d write a review for each of my books on Amazon.

Double score if she does.

So what is my author tip?

Did you figure it out?

Always keep some of your books in the trunk of your car.

Seriously.

This isn’t the first time this happened to me.

Another time was when I was buying a cell phone. The gal who owned the business had read the first book (Beyond the Eyes) in the trilogy and had asked me about the second book. I’d never seen this gal in my life and didn’t have a clue she was a fan of mine. Anyway, I told her I had the second book in the trunk of my car. She was absolutely thrilled and bought it right there.

So, yeah. Keep a copy of your paperback books in the trunk of your car.

Cheers!


Why You Should Walk Away From Your Manuscript After It’s Completed.

Guess who finished her manuscript yesterday?

I did!



Finally!

The second book to my Legends of Deceit 2-book series is done . . . well, the first draft.

So why am I walking away from it?

I’ll tell you why.

This is well-known advice in the literary world that a lot of us follow:

After you’re done writing the first draft, you need to set it aside for a couple of weeks or more to distance yourself from it. The reason why is because you need a break from your story, clear your mind, and go back to it with fresh eyes. By doing so you’ll catch more mistakes that way. Also, it’s fun, at least for me, because I’m reading stuff I wrote that I forgot about that’s entertaining. I’m looking forward to reading it at the end of this month.

So there you go. Now some of you learned something new today.

Oh, btw, I don’t have a title to this second book yet, but I will after I read it. Also, I have a cover in mind and will be talking to my designer about it soon, after I have the title. I’ll do a cover reveal here once it’s completed.

If you want to read Legends of Deceit before book two comes out, you can get it on 
Amazon for only .99 cents. Here are the links:









Cheers!


You Should Avoid This While Writing Your Story



Can you guess what the answer to this title is?

Predictability.

Don’t you hate it when you’re reading a book or watching a movie and you know what’s going to happen before it does? 

I do.

Like the movie World War Z

Toward the end of the movie, I knew what was going to happen. In fact, I told Kevin before it did, and I was right. Actually, the entire script was predictable. 

As a writer, you want to avoid having your story be too transparent where the reader will be able to predict the outcome before it even happens. However, you want to capture their interest and keep them guessing. Therefore, you need to leave clues and red herrings to mislead or distract them. Then in the end when everything in your tale comes to light, your reader will be thrilled to discover she was wrong all along or was close to figuring it out.

Another movie I want to mention:

Wild Things with Neve Campbell and Denise Richards.

Have you seen it?

This is a great example of what I'm talking about. 

The writer did a fine job on this one. 

I remember when Kevin and I first watched it we were like, "No way! That’s fucked up." As we kept watching the movie we gaped at each other a couple of times because we weren’t expecting the things that had happened. 

It was great, especially the ending. 

The story and the plot totally surprised us.

This is what you want to accomplish.

I do, however, think in some genres you have to be somewhat predictable, like in romance. Most readers of that genre want a happy ending. So, yeah, in the end, the couple overcomes their adversity and falls into each other’s arms, proclaiming their undying love for one another or something along those lines. You
can, though, still make the rest of the story less predictable. 

Example: You can have two different paths the main character is forced to choose from. Write both of them to be equally compelling and plausible with a dusting of suspense on the life-changing events. You can create it to where it's a nail-biting decision where either way the character has a lot to lose. 

Besides leaving clues and red herrings, you can also do foreshadowing, which is when you as the author hint at certain plot developments that may come to fruition later in the story. It’s another way to capture the reader’s interest and prepare them for what might unfold. 

I do those things in my Beyond the Eyes trilogy, and I’ve actually had fans come up to me and ask about a character or situation they want to know the outcome of. I’m keeping them guessing and they’re so involved in the trilogy that they’re fishing for answers from me. I just tell them they have to read the next book to find out. 

Evil?

Nah. It makes me happy I’m doing my job and have people actually emotionally invested in my characters and story. 

That’s what you want. 

And yeah truth be told, you can’t please everyone. 

People are going to hate your story. 

I have a few who hate mine and have said nasty things about it. But that's part of the business. 

In short, there are some genres you can’t avoid the expected predictability. 

But regardless, if you write a tale where the audience is looking for a happy ending that you must deliver, you can still keep them guessing throughout the story by spinning it with suspense and uncertainty. 

It’ll keep them turning the page long after bedtime. 

So throw in some hints, scatter a few red herrings and do a little foreshadowing. 

Hints + red herring + foreshadowing= suspense and unpredictability.

Those three things carefully executed into your story will delight your readers in the end.


What I Do When I Reach An Emotional Part Of The Story I'm Writing.

I’m in the process of finishing book two in my Legends of Deceit series.




Today I wrote over 2,000 words.

Wowzers!

That is a lot of words for me to write in one day. However, I was determined to finish the first draft.

But . . .

I had to stop.

Why?

Because I’ve reached an emotional part of the story that I need to write, and I know I’m going to cry when I write it.






So I saved my work and set it aside.

That’s what I do when I know I need to write a tear-jerking scene.

After that, I take the time to mentally prepare myself to write it. My process usually takes me a day, so I’ll be writing it tomorrow.

How do I mentally prepare myself?

I ponder the scene over while trying not to get emotional as it plays out inside my head. Sometimes it’s challenging not to tear up while thinking about it in public.

It's kinda funny.







I know, I’m a dork, but I don’t think I’m the only author out there who experiences that.

We’re invested in our characters.

We love them.

Of course, we’re going to get emotional when something happens to them.

Also, it’s a good thing because if what we write emotionally affects us, then more than likely it’ll do the same to our readers.

Anyway, my process is simplistic: Save my work, set it aside, ponder over it for a day to mentally prepare myself to write the scene, all the while playing it out inside my head.

I’m all about minimalizing my life, and if I can incorporate it into my work and enriching it by doing so, I will.

If you’re an author reading this, feel free to enter what your process is when you reach an emotional part of your story that you have to write.

Until next time.


Cheers!

Did Changing My Perspective On Things And Being Indifferent Make My Life Easier?

Happy Friday!






So Tuesday I posted a blog post and said I’d adopt the attitude of being indifferent and changing my perspective regarding this endless snowy weather.

How did I do?


I rocked it!


Okay, so this week my car got stuck in the snow, but thankfully Kevin was nearby and able to free my car from the clutches of snowmageddon.

I fell backward in a snowbank.

It was kind of fun.

I laughed and so did Kevin.

My butt got wet, but no biggie.

The next morning the driver’s door on my car wouldn’t close.

WTF?

Kevin sprayed WD40 in the latch, and he fooled around with it for a bit.

The damn door still wouldn’t close.

So I had to drive to the office while holding the door close so it wouldn’t swing open.

Long story short, I parked my car in a heated shop and a couple of hours later the door closed.

YAY!




Kevin and I figured the latch was frozen and needed to warm up but there was still the tiny concern that I lost a spring or something along those lines. Thankfully we were right.

Oh, and I had to deal with annoying ass monkeys this week.

How did I cope with everything?

I was indifferent.

The car got stuck.

Well, that sucked, but I realized it would do me no good to get pissed off or annoyed about it.

Why ruin my day over it?

So I shrugged it off.

It wasn’t like I’d be stuck there forever, right?

Falling in the snowbank.

No brainer.

That was funny.

Car door not closing.

It was annoying, however, I became indifferent about it.

Absurdities will happen.

I told myself one way or the other my car door would close again, and I crossed my fingers the problem was as simple as a frozen latch.

It was!

Regarding the unpleasant people I had to deal with this week . . .

I didn’t give them the power to kick me into a bad mood because of their shitty behavior.

So all and all, despite the daily challenges I was faced with this week, I applied what I’d learned and thought I did well.

We’re supposed to get up to 8 inches of snow on Sunday and more snow next week.

We’ll see how I do then. 

Cheers!

Winter Won’t Release Its Claws

How was my Monday?

Well . . .

I believe I’m being tested.

Endurance and patience.

Yeah.

I wrote a positive blog about Monday.

I still stick with what I said and believe it.

But!

I’m being tested.

Did I say that already?

It’s fine.

Really.

The universe is testing me to see if what I’ve been learning I’ll actually apply to my life.

I’m being tested with this.



Can you believe this shit?

It’s April!

And check this out . . .

It’s supposed to snow again today, Sunday, and for three days next week.

Really?

It feels like we’ll never be able to renovate our RV.

I know we will, it’s just . . .

I’m tired of this weather.

I know I choose to be tired of it.

It’s ALL a matter of perspective which is true.

So I will adopt the attitude of being indifferent on the matter because hey, I don’t have magical powers to change the weather, so what’s the point of getting all balled up in a knot about it?

I do have the power to change my perspective.








Anyway, have an awesome week.

Cheers!