Saturday, March 23, 2013

Is It Real or Just a Dream, an Excerpt from Finding My Escape

I've posted the prologue, now here's another taste of Finding My Escape.  I want to give a shout out to Tammie Clark Gibbs for hosting today's excerpt page.  And fans of the book don't have long to wait for not one, but TWO sequels which I hope to have ready this year.  Look for My Way Out this summer.

My nose itched.  Well, it wasn’t exactly an itch, more of a tickle.
“Leave me alone Matt, I’m trying to sleep.”
I brushed my hand across my face.  If Matt didn’t leave me alone, I was going to clobber him.
The tickling continued.
“Matt, I’m warning you!”
I felt the tickle again, which had now become more than just a little irritating.
“That’s it!”  I sat up and looked around.
I was definitely not in my room any more.
It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the brightness of the sun, but my other senses were exploding with sensation.  The combination of salt with something floral assaulted my nose.  Simultaneously, my ears were filled with a familiar roar.  The ocean?  My eyes finally caught up with the rest of me, and my breath came out in a rush.  Josh!
“Hello, beautiful.  About time you woke up.”  Josh leaned back against a rock, a white flower in his hand.
“Were you tickling me with that flower?”
“You’re lucky you stopped when you did.  I thought you were someone else.”
“Speaking of which,” he began, “should I be jealous of this ‘Matt’ guy?” His eyes sparkled as if he had some private joke.  He didn’t really seem jealous.
“For your information, Matt is a friend.  A good-but-annoying friend.  Tickling my nose while I try to sleep would be just like him.  You, however, are either just a dream or a figment of my imagination, anyway, so why should it matter?”  I shrugged and looked out at the ocean.  I plastered a pout on my face which I hoped screamed Hayden Panetierre.
“Ouch.  You really know how to hurt a guy.  And after I brought you to one of my favorite places, too," said Josh, holding the flower out as a peace offering.  I pretended to ignore it.
“Okay, so where are we, anyway?” I asked as I took in my surroundings.
Josh leaned over to brush a strand of hair off my face, his hand lingered on my cheek for a second.
“Hmm, so beautiful,” his eyes bore into mine, “but I digress.”  He spread his arms wide.  “This is paradise, or at least the nearest thing to it in this place.  It’s a replica of one of the smaller, less known of the Hawaiian Islands.  Welcome to my world.”
I looked around, and it was amazingly, achingly beautiful.  The water was the clearest blue I’d ever seen, not like some of the Gulf beaches I’d been to.  Part of the beach was shaded by draping palms.  To the left of the beach area was a steep cliff and to the right what appeared to be giant lava rocks.
How could a dream be this vivid?  Maybe there was something to this other world stuff after all.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Best Book on Writing? 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love

As a mom, wife, business owner, and what was that other one again?...oh yes, writer, I am constantly looking for ways to be more efficient at whatever role I'm working on at the moment.  Since I decided to become a novelist some three years ago, I've read countless books on the structure of writing, how to write with proper grammar, bird by bird, whatever, but I didn't come across anything that really helped me write more efficiently until I came across Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love (hereafter referred to as 2k to 10k in order to keep me from going bonkers recopying the title over and over).  And to be honest, I didn't stumble across it, it was recommended by my cousin and fellow author, Russell Elledge.

This book was absolutely one of those 'I could have had a V-8' moments for me.  At the time I read 2k to 10k, I was 30,000 words into the sequel to Finding My Escape.  And I'd been about 30,000 words into the sequel of Finding My Escape for almost a year.  I just could not bring myself to finish the book.  After reading 2k to 10k I realized why:  I hated what I was writing.  I was bored with it, and after letting my sister read a few chapters, I learned that what I was basically doing was regurgitating book one.  I loved writing the first book because it was exciting and interesting.  Writing it a second time?  Not so much. 

So I chucked the draft.  All (well almost all) 30,000 words and, following the plan in 2k to 10k, wrote a detailed outline for the new book, taking the story in an entirely new and exciting direction.  Here's the really exciting part.  Are you ready for this?  I wrote over 12,000 words in one week.  And this particular week I picked up a new business client, had double my normal business meetings, took my fifteen year-old to get her learner's permit (and to practice driving, which I managed to do without having a heart attack), participated in a Pinterest Pinning Party (to be blogged about later this week), and had two events at church.  I'm exhausted just writing about it.

Did I mention you can have this little gem for only 99 cents?  Yes, the book is short, but let's face it, with time a factor, I'd rather have a short, succinct book packed with valuable information than read a how-to book that is 300 pages that I'm going to have a hard time getting around to read.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Thinking of trying a new look....

I've been playing around with a lot of fun things lately, including Pinterest so I thought it was probably time I revive the blog and possibly go for a new look.  I'm still learning, so I'm sure it will take some time to get this looking as professional as I'd like, but here it is.
I'm starting with a new picture.  That's actually me on the glass overlook of the Sears Tower.  (Yes, I know it's not the Sears Tower anymore, but the actual name escapes me at the moment.)

So what look do you think works best for a blog?  Simple, elegant? 

I welcome your input!