Tag Archives: Books

Time Stand Still

“Freeze this moment a little bit longer. Make each impression a little bit stronger.” ~ Rush

I love to travel and any place I visit is open game as a story setting. I often take photos to remember the details of a place and to jog my memory of the sensory bits that add realism to a description.

This first photo was taken from Notre Dame in Paris.  In case you’re wondering, the buses and trailers were part of a production set for the TV series Highlander with Adrian Paul. Looking at this, I remember how incredibly cold it was.  The wind blew along the river with a ferocity that cut through my coat and several layers of sweaters. The water smelled pas frais as it swirled in eddys along the wall.

The images and memories formed a basis for the setting of WIRED which begins and ends in Paris.  The final scene takes place on the bridge in the distance.  There are also scenes that take you into the catacombs underneath the city and introduces another side of Paris usually not mentioned in the tour guides.  For those locations, I relied on research and discovered there’s a French Police unit that patrols the underground keeping peace and deterring criminal behavior. Photos become valuable tools for writing and enhances your ability to convey mood and let the setting take on its own character role.

The second photo is a church yard in England, but my memory is faulty on the exact location.  I’m thinking it may be in Suffolk. I do recall the church was well over 1,000 years old and was marred by medieval graffiti on the ancient floor tiles.  This will be in the follow-up novel to WIRED which has the working title Persistence of Time.

Now that the digital age is upon us, I snap photos constantly with my phone, trying to capture fleeting moments and emotions I can use later.

I also freeze bits of time by being completely present in the moment and noting everything around me. Each time I’ve done this, I’ve been able to later recall details that would have likely gone unnoticed… such as Ray Davies changing his wrist watch mid concert in 1983 or a woman in a black sweater doing yoga in Russell Square while a breeze blew spray from the fountain across the stone walk (2007).

By adding realism and sensory detail, your readers will be able to escape into your writing. Photos help me make time stand still long enough to share it with you.

13 Titles – An Incomplete List of Books I Love

The Monster at the End of this Book13

I don’t think I could count how many books I’ve read over the years, but some stand out in my memory for various reasons.  Instead of telling you what’s special about each, I’ll let you enjoy them for yourself. 

The Professor’s House Willa Cather
Through the Looking Glass Lewis Carroll
Walden Henry David Thoreau
A Wizard of Earthsea Ursula K. Le Guin
Lost Michael Robotham
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson
A Parchment of Leaves Silas House
Books A through V Sue Grafton
Far and Away; A Prize Every Time Neil Peart
Outlander Diana Gabaldon
The Monster at the end of this Book Jon Stone & Michael Smollin
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak
Where the Sidewalk Ends Shel Silverstein

Menage a Blog-Day 1

Menage a Blog is finally here and kicks off with three page-turning fantasy & paranormal novels by authors who are upcoming powerhouses in these genres.

The official tour headquarters has a complete list of authors and tour stops. Remember, your comment on each author’s site enters you into their site drawing for prizes as well as the Tour drawing for a new Kindle.

Here’s today’s line up:

Carolyn Mccray  “7 Folds of Winter” 

Amber Scott  “Soul Search” 

Deena Remiel  “Brethren Beginnings Vol. 1”

Have a great time blog hopping, but don’t forget to head back to WRITING AFTER DARK on Wednesday, my tour date,  and leave a comment. It gets you an entry into a drawing for a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

Happy reading;)

Hoarding Time

It was a dark and stormy night.

It was a dark and stormy night...

It’s inky and wet outside, the pink and steel-blue sunset is hours gone and stacks of clean laundry abound, awaiting the wee faeries that will arrive after midnight to fold and distribute the crumpled mass to the appropriate dressers and closets. Yes, my imagination is running wild. It must be after dark, and I must be writing.

In a busy house with responsibilities and a full-time job awaiting me in 8 hours, all I can think about is writing. Found moments are like diamonds wrapped in chocolate. An hour in the morning or a few extra minutes after everyone is asleep is priceless. I can write without worry, edit endlessly, and firmly plant my feet on a forward path in regard to my writing goals.

I’ve become a collector of sorts, I hoard found moments. I learned years ago, that unless you put your goals on your daily “To Do” list, they just won’t happen. I make lunch dates with myself to write. One favorite nook is the General Aviation Terminal at the airport. I am not kidding. It has a small cafe, a great view of the runway, sleek private planes and is nearly silent. If I have writers block, I can look out at the small jets with red carpets and expensively outfitted passengers and imagine a fresh scene for my story. Actually, any place that’s quiet and serves coffee works for me. All it takes is one or two lunch dates a week to add significant word count or give the push for a final copy-edit.

At night, I sit with my daughter as she falls asleep and in addition to having the bonus snuggle time, I use my iPad to write, research and catch up on Twitter. Then when I manage to head off to bed, I set my alarm for 5:30am. Sometimes I get up. Sometimes it’s my snooze button. Even 20 or 30 foggy minutes of writing keeps me motivated.

I use my drive time to construct scenes and play out plot turns until I know which one I’ll write down….once I find the moment. I watch people all around me, piecing together an imaginary back story and wonder if any of the revelations might work for my characters.

So often writers say they can’t find time to write. All things are possible. You may have to plan it, schedule it, take a vacation day to claim it, but the time is always there. As writers, we are sometimes too creative in what we let get in the way.

Years ago, in my broadcast days, a co-worker with several small girls and a budding music career gave me candid parenting advice. (Note-I was not married at the time nor had children.) She told me to “Just go in the bathroom, lock the door and turn on the fan. No one will ever ask to come in or when you’re coming out.”

Writing is hard, but for some reason we keep going at it like an addiction. The more we write, the more we MUST write. The more we write, the better we write. The more we write, the easier it becomes and then all those moments build up to a finished manuscript. That is worth the extra effort and persistence.

I’m sure you have your tricks to reclaiming time. I’d love to learn from you.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Lessons Learned from Dr. Seuss

This past week marked the 107th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka. Dr. Seuss. My daughter celebrated with a canned tuna food drive at her school and immersing herself in all things Seuss. She’s just five and becoming a great little reader. Each night, her homework involves reading and then writing about the story. Thursday night she curled up in her favorite armchair with Green Eggs and Ham and read aloud while I prepped dinner. Every so often she would pause and yell, “I’m stuck on a word!” I’m not sure why she had to yell since I was only a few feet away, but……

Here’s where she got stuck: “I do not like them here or there. I do not like them….”

I said, “Is the word spelled a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e?” Her head popped up over the back of the chair, eyes wide. “How did you know!” My all-knowing Mother power shot up 2 notches.

How many of you heard “anywhere” in your head with that line? Aside from being fantastical tales of imagination with catchy rhythms, his stories stay with us forever.

Image Courtesy of http://www.highsmith.com

We have a collection of favorite Dr. Seuss books and a wonderful neighborhood library to supply the rest. As I look at the iconic images on the covers, I am reminded of the lessons we learn from Dr. Seuss:

Green Eggs and Ham: Persistence (Sam) and Open Mindedness (The character never named)

The Cat in the Hat: Responsibility

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet: Self Esteem

Horton Hears A Who: Compassion

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!: I think this one is self-explanatory and a wonderful book to read whenever you feel stuck. If you’re a writer, you should probably read it weekly.

I really could go on and on, but that would delay you from contemplating the lessons taught in your favorite Dr. Seuss book.

Just remember….

“Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So… get on your way!”


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