Monday, March 23, 2015

Birds and Breakthroughs

I've been working on a super secret project. I've kept it (mostly) to myself because it is out there. Way far out in left field out there, and it might suck. I'll admit it. Right now it is a tangled web of really beautiful individual silken strands. It also might contain some bug carcasses and other yuckies. This is what first drafts are for, I've heard.

My writing partner and I met today to talk about some pieces we've been working on and also to discuss Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I'm not going to get into the play by play of the book...I will only say that it was awesome, inspiring and depressing, and so authentic that I couldn't put it down. My WP said that it "spoke to her" and I felt the same. In fact, the book--or Ms. Lamott-- whispered in my ear while I was driving my daughter to karate. I'd been struggling with my tangled mess to the point that the bug carcass I referred to earlier might have been me. I was totally stuck. My character was this blank, unidimensional victim, and even if all the tragedy and her journey were heart-wrenching and pretty, I was pretty sure no one would give a shit. There I said it. This is what happens when you have little ones and hold in all your swear words all day. You write naughty novels and swear in your blog. Back to my car revelation. I just knew. The answer came flying out of some dark space inside of me where it had been secretly fermenting into something fizzy and delicious like kombucha. And I had it.

I had my solution. I could see that with one big twist of a single strand everything fell into place. But I was afraid. I'll admit it. The twist was big. It was painful and even a little bit controversial. But it had to be done. When I got home, the words flew onto the page. They came in that cathartic purging way. Still I wasn't sure. Then I got an email from my WP. She sent me a short piece she'd just written about a character who goes through the same experience I had just written. Now, I am a deep believer in signs. Not surprisingly, one of my favorite books is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (also awesome, read it). I think the universe lets us know that we are on the right path. So to me, this wasn't a coincidence.

 Picture by Jonnie Andersen (unaltered)

I like to think it was a sign.
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reading on the Road

 Every time I go away with the family, I delude myself about how much reading and writing time I will have. My kids always require a "cuddle until I fall asleep" approach on the road, and since I am eternally sleep deprived from my late night writing sessions (okay and my binge watching of various series on Netflix), I generally pass out before they do. On family trips, audiobooks are my friend.

Tomorrow, I'm headed out of town to Great Wolf Lodge with my family and this time, I plan to actually read. I'm hoping the waterslides will have a soporific effect on my children, allowing me time to look at actual books instead of worrying about entangling us all in my headphone's wire.

I'll be bringing along: James Scott Bell's Super Structure
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Simply Irresistible (Lucky Harbor #1) by Jill Shalvis

Oh, and my monokini. Never thought I'd be saying that, but there it is. My (cringe) monokini. I can't forget that.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Totally Random Tuesday: 10 Random Facts

This poor blog has been neglected--horribly neglected. Mostly because I've been sick all winter, and I fall asleep while putting my kids to bed every night because of this, so all my other free time has been redirected to taking Nyquil or some other Quil and working on my WIP.

1. My current bookshelf looks something like this.
I'm at the point where two storylines are converging and it's awesome. Loving this book so far.

Case Histories

My writing partner gave me this book after a conversation we had about my WIP. I'm just getting into it and it's awesome. There's something about someone sharing a book they describe as "well-loved" that is such a gift. And it's a physical book, which I love.

2.  I could moonlight as a private investigator.  The other day I solved a mystery in my life that has been troubling me for literally 10 years. I also binge watched a lot of Veronica Mars earlier in 2014.

3. After a particularly bad break-up many moons ago, I decided to join the CIA. This involved me trying to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese. I now have the abilities of my five-year-old after she watched 10 episodes of Ni Hao, Kai Lan.

So obviously, that didn't work out.

4. I don't like conflict. I dropped the English part of my double major in college instead of switching to a minor because the former didn't require my advisor's signature. I'd gotten a bad grade on a paper I'd just written in her Victorian Lit class (I usually did very well) and I was mortified. I couldn't even think about facing her.

5. I love movies most people think suck. Conveniently, so does my husband. Right now, one of my all-time favorites is Decoy Bride.
I'm pretty sure it is rated 1-star on Rotten Tomatoes. Whatever, it is awesome and so are Scottish accents.

6. As a child, I loved reading so much, I would use the dim red light of my clock radio after my parents removed all brighter sources of illumination to facilitate sleep instead of reading. I still will stay up all night to finish a book I am really into. And I'm impatient--sometimes I skim. <cringe>

7. I love the beach. In my dream world, I would live with my family in a cottage on an isolated beach somewhere and dig for clams, write, and have tangled, salty hair every day. There would also be a lot of bonfires, rubber boots, and romance. Basically, a Ralph Lauren ad meets Gift From the Sea. 
Anne Morrow Lindberg's work is genius by the way. Actually, maybe I just want Ralph Lauren's house from long ago.
 Perhaps this is because I worked at a Ralph Lauren outlet store during summers in New Hampshire. As an aside, our code for a shoplifter was "Ralph is in the building".  Good quality clothes, though. I still have pajama pants I bought there nearly 20 years ago, and they are still in comfy perfect condition.

8. I am a highly-sensitive person. I can't stand the feeling of flour on my hands or the feeling of the inside of my Kindle cover. I can't stand big crowds or loud noise.  And I still feel pained when I think about some of the mean things people said to me when I was 15 years old.

9. I am the proud owner of a cuckoo clock. Thank you, Mom!
Something about it just makes me feel happy. 
Feeling happy, yet?

10. For as long as I can remember, Sundays make me feel down. I cope with this by making plans to redecorate our house. I do not follow through on these plans. Curtains are ridiculously overpriced and also I don't really like shopping. But a girl can dream. Right now, I am in the process of mentally converting our suburban North Carolina home into some sort of coastal homestead.

That's all for now. In my next post, I will be talking about my next work in progress. It involves a little revenge plot and is a romance. But first, I've got to finish up the literary fiction piece I am working on.  Don't worry, it is full of love, even though it isn't a romance.  And I think the end is in sight.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

I've had a little trouble keeping up with the blog. Too many projects, too little time--and too many viruses as well. In normal fashion, I have solved this by starting a whole other blog. Bess Kingsley is my pen name for romance. And this blog is my place for all things romantic. I also write other things, and in real life I walk around as someone less glamorous. Maybe my real life is sometimes less romantic, but it is full of stories. So if you want to hear about my other work, or read essays about my crazy personal life, then head over to A Book With a View.  My first post is part of a series I'm writing about how I once dated a con artist. True story.
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