Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sharing Poetic Discoveries for an Easter Sunday

I’d planned at some point to share my favorite springtime poem, e.e. cummings “In Just Spring.”  discovered during my teen angst years and oft repeated when I felt nostalgic. In the process of looking for the exact phrasing I came across a  lovely reading by Cummings, which gave an entirely new meaning to the words.

As I enjoyed the rendition, my eye was caught by a suggested You Tube off on one side, also an e.e. cummings poem: “I carry your heart with me (i carry it in)”  Of course I was curious, of course I checked it out. Absolutely of course I had to share, since it is superbly  romantic.  

It is read here by Mark Coleman, a new name for me, but a voice I can’t forget.  And the words of this delight:

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in)

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
***
If that doesn’t inspire me to write many wonderful and romantic words today, I don’t know what will.
The link from cummings name leads to a brief bio and information about his writing habits…more proof (as if we needed it) that a good work ethic, combined with an amazing talent, helps create writing we won’t soon forget.

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It’s not all about the talent #MFRWorg #WANA

Kristen’s very timely blog today started out about the kind of presence an author shows the world. And she went on to explain the building blocks of creating that successful author presence.  Successful Author Presence—Do You Have It?.

As much as I admire raw talent, and the ability to put words together in a fashion I enjoy reading, I’ve come to realize the key open the door to success as an author is in the box labeled work ethic.  We might mock those who have written blockbuster books but the huge fact is they DID write them, and when the first book was done they wrote another one.  They might have a high pressure full time job, ten children and a ranch to run, but they still sat their rear in a chair, put their fingers on the keyboard and wrote.

In the process of building their author presence they studied marketing as well as craft, and learned as so many professional people do, to help themselves by helping others.  So they checked out groups of like minded writers joined some, and stayed with the groups that delivered on their promises since that’s the mindset of these successful writers.

My work ethic needs some polishing up. I’m working at writing every day and blogging more frequently.  And I’m sifting

Racing toward success

Racing toward success

through the blogs I follow and groups I’ve joined to decide which ones are a benefit, which ones are a liability. Because the bottom line is not all sunshine and roses and unicorn poop. It’s words on the page of a published book. More to the point, it’s GOOD words on the page of a SUCCESSFUL published book.

I’ve searched through the dust storm of distractions for the best way to proceed. My greatest support and inspiration has come from Kristen’s blogs, and Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW)What have you found works best for you in the journey to author success?

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Jenny Hansen’s Wonderful 17 Links

Jenny saved me from having to copy in all these great links, and DEFINITELY watch the Star Wars Cantina

Jenny Hansen's Blog

I don’t know if it’s a burst of creativity from the arrival of Spring or what, but the blogosphere is on fire this month! I’ve seen all kinds of magic. So, of course, I had to share it with y’all for Techie Tuesday. 🙂

Writing Magic

If you don’t have time to read anything else, take time for this beautifully written post from T.J. Brown, who fulfilled a book contract and fought cancer at the same time. It’s amazing!

The second favorite writing post that I’ve read this month: A Letter from David Mamet to the Writers of “The Unit.”

My favorite line? “ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING  ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.” That’s fabulous stuff right there.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling – I heart this post!

Margaret Atwood’s 10 Rules of Writing by Brain Pickings

Christine Ashworth put this link to…

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Peeking At My Killer My Love

My Killer My Love, a story of ultimate sacrifice

My Killer My Love, a story of ultimate sacrifice

For other great excerpts, check out Sneak Peek Sunday

***

Again that smile decorated his face, this time tinged with an exasperation she could see without her glasses. He shook his head, and the auburn curls fell around his shoulders with more grace than her own silvery-blond hair ever managed.

“It means much more than that, but you do not seem prepared to listen at this time.”

He fell silent, standing very still by the fireplace. It was as though he sought to become one with the ancient stone and wood. Telling herself she was definitely hallucinating, she faded into sleep.

Once the woman slept, he moved more freely. With the stealthy tread of a stalking wolf, he searched the darkening rooms, letting his senses hunt for a specific location. He settled in a corner window seat, bathed by the moonlight inching its way toward her bed. Many puzzles existed here, and he knew he was not yet prepared to face them. He breathed deeply, then more slowly, his body becoming motionless. The atmosphere around him thickened, a silent wind lifting his hair away from his face then dying abruptly. After a long moment of hushed tension, he emitted a sound of exasperation. The answers had never come to him easily before, why should now be any different?

He studied the woman. Even in her sleep, her thoughts spoke to him in unclear muttering, a not unpleasant sensation. He wondered about the part he had been sent to play and knew the ending would not be as originally planned. He could no longer think of her as he had been instructed.

This small, fearful female had given him something he had forgotten existed. She had given him back his laughter. For that alone he would protect her beyond life.

***

My Killer My Love is available at AmazonBlack Opal BooksSmashwords

Happy Reading

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Here’s an Egg-cerpt from Tina Gayle

Tina and I are doing an exchange, so more people can know about Summer’s Growth – 1st Book in the “Family Tree” series. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with some more recipes in time for Easter.

Blurb

Forced by the family spirits to get a life, Mattie Winston has to train her replacement Amber Harrison to be in charge of all the workings of the Winston estate. Reluctant to make changes in her life, Mattie forms a bond with Amber, when strange accidents start happening which threaten their lives and an unknown ghost makes an appearance.

After being rescued by an old flame, Quincy Miller, Mattie faces old wounds of rejection. As the general contractor for Amber’s redecoration project, Mattie is in constant contact with Quincy and realizes she still in love with her childhood sweetheart.

Amber, learning her new role in the family, wants to discover the identity of the ghost who keeps appearing. After several appearances, Gwen, Amber’s distance grandmother, shifts the book into more of Amber’s struggle to find out why her grandmother disappeared two hundred years ago without a trace. In a fight to claim her position in the family, Amber searches for clues to solve the mystery.

Mattie and Amber are both challenged when the family spirits decides Amber shouldn’t be the keeper. Battling for Amber, Mattie realizes she wants a life with Quincy outside the Winston estate.

Amber realized the importance of her new spiritual family, and she works to discover how Gwen died.

Can these two women achieve their goals?

Read the first chapter at Tina Gayle.net    Find at Smashwords or Amazon

TG-FT-Summer'sGrowth-300x450-1Excerpt:

Standing by the bay window in the front room, Mattie watched the car approach. Her new recruit’s arrival had goose bumps popping out on Mattie’s skin, adding to her anxieties.

She wanted to run, but instead glanced at the kindhearted spirit of Opal, her distant grandmother. Dressed in her best early American gown, the many layers of her petticoat swished with a soft hiss when she moved.

“There’s no reason to be nervous. Once you meet Amber, you’ll see she caps the climax,” Opal voiced in a soothing tone. “Your Aunt Rachel is absolutely thrilled to have a descendant from her branch of the family as keeper.”

Looking beyond her at the rest of the room, Mattie searched for the other members of the family council. They always offered her their support when she faced a big decision. Yet, today they were conspicuously absent.

“Don’t worry. The whole family is behind you. We just thought it better if we didn’t all hover.”

Shifting from foot to foot, she wrung her hands together. A simple process of a changing of the guard for them, Amber’s arrival marked the end of the life Mattie loved.

The beautiful spirits around her didn’t understand how cruel humans could be to each other. What if she screwed up and the girl left? Or the girl hated living with a house full of spirits?

Unease pricked at Mattie’s mind. She had no experience in dealing with strangers. All her business associates understood her likes and didn’t force her to attend any social events.

A quick glance out the window, and a car rounded the fountain. She wasn’t prepared to entertain Amber. How could she be? She never invited guests to the estate.

“Now, Pumpkin, there’s no need to worry. It’s time another branch of the family realize what a pain it is to be keeper.” Opal smiled, offering her special form of reassurance. “We’re all here to help with the transition.”

The high notes of Beethoven’s Fifth sprang from the piano. Mattie jumped in surprise at the sudden noise. She whipped around to see Uncle Samuel, the artist of the family, standing next to the piano.

“The game is afoot.” He arched his eyebrows and grinned, then disappeared.

“I’d better leave.” Her aunt patted Mattie’s shoulder. “Just remember, the girl is uneasy too.”

Opal disappeared.

With a deep breath, Mattie turned and gripped the cold metal knob in her hand.

Soon her home would belong to a stranger, and then what would she do?

Find Tina Gayle everywhere

Home – www.tinagayle.net

Blog – www.tinagayle.blogspot.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorTinaGayle

Goodread – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1641826.Tina_Gayle

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/tina.gayle

Google + – https://plus.google.com

Linkin – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tina-gayle/11/689/759

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Who’s the Enemy Here? 5 Common Mistakes that Will KILL Your Novel

I’m such a squealy fan of Kristen Lamb, she pulls no punches and her recent blogs have been spot on. Like this one:

5 Common Mistakes that Will KILL Your Novel.

Kristen does have a way of slapping me upside the head when I’m meandering. I don’t have a problem with overall antagonists but have more than once hit the wall with every scene antagonists. In my current WIP, Gabriel has plenty to fight against: the Atrahasis are watching for him to fail at his suspension, he’s going to run into more of the people who got him in trouble in the first place, and he really, really doesn’t like the people he’s working with.  See, lots of conflict, especially with himself.

But Clair of the snarky comments from Sunday’s post so far doesn’t have much wrong with her life.  She’s comfortable with being full figured, people like her, she’s helping out a friend, she loves her job as a college Drama instructor…I think I wrote her just to have a life to lust after.  In my own life, boring isn’t a bad thing but in a book, it’s murder. I’m going to have to come up with conflict for her too. Something more than “Boo Hoo that clerk was mean to me” or “My nail polish is the wrong shade for this dress.”  I do understand about conflict, I’ve just worked very hard to avoid it in my own life. A former boyfriend who dropped her due to her weight just isn’t enough. Obviously she’s not going to trust Gabriel right away but I’m not a fan of bickering relationship stories, and I tend to question women who go off with men they don’t trust for no other reason than a well filled pair of jeans.

Then again…

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Sneaking a Peek at when Gabriel Meets Clair

SET UP:  Gabriel is Mykhael’s half brother. In My Killer My Love he attempted to destroy an ancient sacred area, and was defeated by Kendra and Mykhael. Turns out he was influenced by some very nasty Atrahasis. He’s been given a chance to redeem himself by working among humans until he learns humility. It might be a long, long time. This is the first draft, which is mostly dialogue

“I do not have the strength to touch you without further action, could you please fasten your garment again?”

“You’re stopping?” Her gaze drifted down his front to where he was obviously aroused. “You want me…”

“Until my manly appendage is about to explode.”

“Your what?”

“I saw the phrase in one of your books…you don’t think of it in those words? The others seemed too crude”

“It’s a penis. Or a cock. Or a Mighty Wang of Power. A love handle. Take your pick”

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Write…or DIIIIIIIIIE

Today’s Kristen Lamb post was about not wasting our time with weak writing, though for some of use the need to get words on the page supersedes everything else. Come editing time, that is another matter!

The Clock is Ticking—5 Tips for Tighter, Cleaner Writing.

In the quest to get those words out of my head and on to the page, I checked out Darynda’s Write or Die, which I mentioned in the last blog.  Looked pretty interesting, why not try it? I made sure everything was ready, dogs settled, coffee at my hand, and I sat down to write, with the level set to gentle.  Pretty cool, when I stopped to search for a word, the screen went to pink, then darker pink.  So I threw myself into getting words on the screen, playing out a conversation between Gabe and Clair the first time they talk about why she’s pretending to be her friend.

The phone rings.  I could say I was worried the caller might have a serious issue but the sad fact is I’m still Pavlovian about answering the phone. I’m working on that. She asked if I had a minute, I told her I was writing and she said “this will only take a second.” Now there’s my second mistake, as my brilliant organized friend told me. I should have said I’d call her back, and hung up. Lesson learned.

I was sure I could multi task and work on two conversations at once.  Until my coffee ran out, I went to get more, and didn’t hit keys often enough to make the W or D program happy.  The screen went pink, fuschia, red, then started a beeping alarm, even though I was pounding at keys.  Apparently it had locked up completely and my only recourse…the ONLY way I could SHUT UP that alarm…was to close the program.  Since it had locked up, all my words were gone gone gone.  Nope, not automatically saved.  Gone

Well, it was monumentally bad writing anyway. But I had retaught myself a valuable lesson. Given any sort of time pressure I can write no matter what.  So that evening I set a timer to fifteen minutes, and rewrote that conversation between Gabe and Clair.  Better. Stronger. Maybe not Six Million Dollars worth but certainly 750 words worth. Last night instead of conversation I started a love scene, and worked on it some more this morning. Now that’s a great way to start the day.

That caller? She’s kept right on talking. Now THAT’s focus.

I have several recipes to share, would you rather see the butter cookies or the spicy eggplant pizza? It’s ALL good

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Welcome to What Time is it Anyway Season

I have a very dear friend with a killer work schedule who revels in Daylight Savings Time since it means she’ll get to see the sun at least once a day. Since I do love her, when we talk I try to be cheerful about time changes. It’s not as if I’m tied to a clock myself these days.  Getting UP relates to getting the dogs out more than any specific time constraint.  Though I gotta tell you, Salukis are far less likely to listen to excuses!

Come PLAY with us...this was in 2010,sadly nowhere near this much snow now

Come PLAY with us…this was in 2010,sadly nowhere near this much snow now



Doesn’t help that the day started out dark and next thing you know these white flakes started to float out of the sky.  Snow’s great if you get enough to help the water table but I’m afraid this is only going to be enough to restrict outside activity and not enough to help out the drought.  Sigh.  But it is pretty and South Mountain looks wonderful with a shawl of snow.

At the LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) meeting yesterday we got to listen to Clifton Chadwick read excerpts from fabulously written books while Sara Hanberry Baker led us in some introspective and sometimes wild discussion.  I’d love to link to their blogs but neither seems to have one.  However LERA does! If you haven’t checked out our fabulous chapter, take a few seconds when you can.  We have a superior blog (wow, proud much?)

Belonging to LERA is inspiring, especially when Darynda Jones and Robin Perini make it to the meeting.  Name dropping anyone?  We have over 50% published so there’s a lot of names to drop, which I’ll be doing in the next few blogs, especially when these wildly successful ladies share their secrets.  From Darynda we learned about Write or Die, a no nonsense writing prompt that sounds worse than a spouse nagging.  I’ve downloaded, and will let you know what happened.

Since I had such a large group of taste testers I tried out a lwo carb peanut butter pie recipe I’d been playing with. I was told not to change a thing.  Cool!

LOW CARB PEANUT BUTTER PIE, CHOCOLATE CRUST

First the crust, standard Almond Flour. I found quite a few and will probably be trying others, especially the one with cream cheese

1 and 1/2 cups almond meal or almond flour; 3 tablespoons melted butter; 1/2 cup or so cocoa powder…not hot chocolate mix, this is just ground cocoa…I get mine from Trader Joes’s; Artificial sweetener equal to 3 tablespoons sugar-used very little sweetener, maybe 2 Tbsp of a sugar alcohol sweetener, like Erythritol.

Preparation:
Heat oven to 350 F. Melt the butter (if the pie pan is microwave safe, melt the butter in it) and mix the ingredients up in the pan and pat into place with your fingertips.  Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown. After 8 minutes, check every minute or so, because once it starts to brown it goes quickly.

The filling, really simple:

One 8 oz block of cream cheese; One cup natural peanut butter (that’s just ground peanuts, again from Trader Joe’s);
One cup heavy cream; 1/4 cup sweetener (if sweeteners bother you, then about 1/2 cup sugar, I’d suggest one of the

The full sized pie was scarfed up, fortunately I made an extra for a friend.

The full sized pie was scarfed up, fortunately I made an extra for a friend.

yummy raw sugars).  This was pulled together from various recipes.  I tossed the cream cheese, PB, and sweetener in one bowl and blended; put the heavy cream in another bowl and whipped it into submission. Then fold them together.  In the future I’ll look at various directions more carefully and add the sweetener to the cream.  It still came out yummy.

Now, I’ve yet to find a sweetener that doesn’t leave a burny after taste in my mouth and I’m thinking for something decadent like this I might use some good raw sugar instead.  Debating, but if I slide from Low Carb to Paleo, which allows a bit more in the vegetable department, artificial ingredients are not on the menu.

I have a line on some local organic vegetables and my mouth is saying “bacon is great but I could really go for some more veggies please!”  I’ll let you know how that works out.

In the meantime, enjoy Daylight Savings Time, hug your loved ones no matter how many legs they have, and keep writing.

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