Blog Chain: Hey Y'all!

"Why's I's seen you a'round these here parts b'fore now, haven'ts I? Been, wha? A blog chain ago? No matta. Come on ands pulls yourself up a chair. You go on, sit back and reeeee-lax. This here lil ol' blog is goin' to chitty-chat about thangs you might reckon find in-ter-resten. Ya, I's used a big long city-slicka werd. IN-TER-RESTEN."

Okay, Cole was the one who came up with this round's blog fun.... which is...

...any hobbies, tips, or techniques for staying positive and productive?

Hmm, well one of the hobbies I have to keep positive and productive is to just have fun with the story ideas in the old noggin. I'm never one with a lack of imagination. And a simple line jotted down at random, such as the one in the intro, could lead to all sorts of groovy possibilities. There really is nothing like just having fun with a line of dialog, even more so, if I go changing the dialect.

"As I's should say, we's have a rip-snorten fines time at it!"

I'm a big supporter for not taking the provincial route of writing. Not every bit of dialog has to be gramma-tastick! AP-styling! I play around with it, perhaps giving a character a different nature, nationality or simple slang to their words. And the one I'm good at the most is some grand ol' fashion redneck hillbilly - for which, I am one. Because you can't get a last name like "Hickman" without having a bit of "hick" in your makeup.

So that's about it. See what keeps Cole positive and productive. And make suren you's all go on and visit young whippersnapper Eric for some good ol' fashion fun.

Blog Chain: Love is a battlefield...

Blog chain day is here! While I'm downtown at my appointment today, I haven't forgotten to make this post. The talented Kat has this round's say, which is...

How do you feel about love scenes? As a reader, are you put off by the gratuitous? As a writer, do you shy away from spelling out the down-and-dirty? Or do you write until your computer lights a cigarette?

It depends what you categorize as a true love scene? What I mean to say is, what can be gratuitous to one person might not make eyelashes blink for another. We all have our different levels of perspective. While some people can cringe at the sight of blood in a scary movie, you'll have those people yawning and commenting over how they can see the tube that's pumping out the fake blood. The same thing goes for love scenes. What one person sees as a love scene might have another person see as a sex scene. It can be quite a battlefield on how much detail a writer might put in their story featuring a love scene.

Anyway, I've digressed into a philosophical moment. Sufficed to say, I have written more mentions of sex/love than actually written the textbook medical process/natural behavior/the groovy move step-by-step motions of it. The novel "Our Perfect Thorn"... two characters hinted at it before moving on to the next scene  in the morning. The novel "The Stone Man"... two characters reminisce about it before moving onto a different topic. The novel "Olive Frame"... two characters experience mild foreplay, extremely mild, before heading to the bedroom as the door closes in front of the reader.

Only one story I've written (so far) has a love/sex scene in it. And the scene was important merely to get the two characters together in the same place. For me, I enjoy subtle written scenes with an actual plot. If the love/sex act is just stuck into the story just to have THAT scene, it sticks out like a sore penis... er, I mean sore thumb. Bear in mind, however, that I'm not referring to romance or erotic fiction. My genre is mystery/suspense/thriller. So love scenes in this category must have an ulterior motive than just the characters getting their sha-bang-bang going on.

Eric mentioned this on Kat's post on who would be the first person to post a written scene. I'm not one to shy away from posting scenes from my novels, especially WIP or just off-hand story ideas still brewing in my noggin that I might one day make into a novel. So here's a snippet (this story actually came from a post I did about two years ago on my other blog), with the title, tentatively named, "The Tragedy of Paul Gruyna." Don't worry, it's not all out raunchy, or even a little bit raunchy. I tried to make the actual event taking place as subtle as possible, which is perfect for the current scene.
Monique climbed on top of Jeff’s naked body, ignoring the strong odor of spilled Bacardi rum when he had stumbled into the drunk couple by the bar exit. She slid over his sweating waist, then she slid down onto him, filling herself with his hardness. Her motions sent shivers through his body, his back arching at each pleasurable rub, his eyes squeezing tight at every moan uttered from his gasping lips.

Monique’s lips remained closed. Silent. She felt nothing from this, although her body did tremble as much as Jeff’s did. Rage. It overcame her as Monique’s eyes threw a glare at the man underneath her before her sight focused on the liquor bottle on the dresser. Less than half-full with his backwash as he had waited for Monique to pretty herself in the bathroom, the bottle felt comfortable in her grasp as she lifted it up. A crash sounded above Jeff’s moans as she broke open the glass bottle against the headboard. A gurgling scream filled the tiny apartment as she placed the jagged edge against his throat.

Monique knew exactly where to cut. She had seen the bleeding patient wheeled into the emergency room. A gunshot to the throat severing the jugular vein, was what the paramedics had explained to the rushing doctors. Her hand pressed into Jeff’s chest, feeling the lub-dub of his beating heart as it slowed. Lub-dub . . . lub . . . dub . . . the movement reminded her of the beeps that the heart-monitor machine made in the patient’s room as Monique cried when the doctor turned off the life support. Nothing more they could do for her sister who had lost too much blood caused by the gun belonging to Jeff. Nothing more Monique could do for this man who bled to death on this bed. Jeff’s death was a foregone conclusion like the passing of her sister.

In fascination, Monique watched the blood rolling down both sides of his neck. It started to cover over the black mark on his skin. Jeff’s brother had inked the tattoo at the parlor shop his family owned. His brother had created a circle with the first letter of Jeff’s name at the center. J.

No. P.

Monique leaned in close as she pushed away the sticky strands of his hair. A circle with a letter P confronted her eyes: P standing for Paul. Jeff’s brother. His identical twin.

She had killed the wrong one.
And now, I'll send you over to Cole's place who made a post about this. And make sure to visit Eric to see his take on this blog chain question.

Blog Chain: Sometimes it's NOT the Story!

Another blog chain time has arrived! I had skipped a few due to my little unexpected bundle of joy - Jaquline Ann. But I'm rearing to get back into the chain gang. This round's question comes from Sarah who asks...

What has been the most unexpected part of your writing journey up to this point? What has happened that you could never have expected? Has it been a help or a hindrance?

The most unexpected part came when I started querying that first novel and researching information regarding that first novel. And I found the same thing being said. "Put away that first novel because it will almost always not be the best you could possibly write."

And that was a bummer. We put so much time, energy and excitement into that first novel that we HOPE SO DESPERATELY it will be the lucky break to get into the publishing world. Then I started receiving the dreaded "agent form letter into oblivion" that could bring anyone's spirits down. But I kept on sending, hoping against hope just to get a nibble of a request -- partial or otherwise -- even if they decided to pass on my project. Because at least a nibble would quiet the inner demons pestering my mind with saying I'm not a good enough writer... that I should just give up... put away that writing pen/computer and do something else.

Then I received an honest note from an agent regarding my first novel. It had nothing to do with the writing. It had to do with the market trend. I can still remember his exact words: "I already have books similar to yours that aren't selling well. What I'm more interested in are..."

And that made me realize... sure, it's okay to place that first book aside --hide it under the bed, in the closet or back in the dresser drawer. Start on the next story after you learned from your mistakes, learned new techniques to try out, and truly perfected your craft with time. But never give up on that first book. Because it might not be the story holding it back, but the market. And since the market is always changing (who of us aren't getting a little tired of the whole vampire-Twilight affair), one day that story could get its time in the spotlight despite it being THAT FIRST DREADED NOVEL!!

You might become unexpectedly surprised.

Read what Cole posted before me. And stop by to see what great answer Eric will have up at his place tomorrow.