Thursday, June 27, 2019

Escape to A Far Away World

As someone who is constantly looking to read different authors and in many different genres, I always enjoy finding someone new to read and that was what interested me about D. V. Stone, today's guest in My Writing Corner.
D.V. Stone tells us she lives in northern New Jersey and she has two books published independently through
Amazon. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar, is a fantasy romance while Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake, is a mid-grade paranormal.

She says she uses her past experience as an Emergency Medical Technician and owner of a small restaurant in her writing. She combined the two, and during National Novel Writing Month, she developed the Rock House Grill. Rock House, will be the first book in the Impact Series, a contemporary romance soon to be published by Wild Rose Press.

But D. V. says she likes to hit the road and travel too. With her husband Peter, dog, Hali, and cat, Baby, they set out looking for new adventures on the road, traveling in their RV. She will be taking her passion for writing with heron the road, and she says she knows ideas and inspiration are everywhere and she's looking for them.
Her latest book is Felice: Shield Mates of Dar From the shifter nation of Dar, Felice carries a peace accord. A treaty, which will bind her sister to Abelard, Prince of Argatha––a human––and forge an alliance between the kingdoms of Dar and Argatha. Attacked by rogue soldiers on the side of the road, a chain of events is set off that is far reaching.

In an attempt to save her life, Felice places her Shield over Abelard’s head, becoming Shield-Mates. The magic of the Shield gives Abelard not only control over her Panther, but joins her to him intimately, receiving her thoughts, dreams, and feelings. But since he does not have a Shield to give her, instead of a symbiotic balance, he holds all the power.
Responsibility for the dying Emissary lies heavy on Abelard’s shoulders. He is a good soldier, but not, he realizes, a good man. At odds with his father for years he spends his time as the soldier Ayer avoiding the responsibilities of his title and living life on his own terms with no real direction. Felice is the catalyst that brings him purpose.
War comes, but not the one expected.  An invasion from an old enemy thrusts shifters and humans together in a shaky coalition––they must unite, or each may fall.  There are those on both sides who don’t think Darrians and humans should mix.
Amid the treachery and chaos, love begins to grow, but Abelard, and especially Felice, must come to terms with her secret past, if their love is to survive.  Doesn't that sound like a perfect book for reading on your next summer trip? I'm ready to lose myself in the pages reading about the Darrians. If you would like to buy a copy, here is the link on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Felice-Shield-Mates-Dar-D-V-Stone-ebook/dp/B01MYD3IO4
And if you would like to reach D. V., here is her contact information. https://www.dvstoneauthor.com/ 

Thank you D. V. Stone for being my guest today and introducing us to your new world. Any questions or comments for D. V. ?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Visiting Old Places for New Ideas


Let’s face it – as writers we all have our particular favorites – whether it is the subject or genre we are writing or the books we are reading.  We know what we like so we keep returning to the same things over and over.

But sometimes it pays to just get out of your comfort zone and take a chance and end up trying a
different route or try visiting a new place where you have never been before.

That’s how I ended up on a dirt road in the middle of a cow pasture on a sunny summer afternoon. Nothing around me but the cows…. Oh, and hundreds of campers getting ready to spend a few days listening to music, studying nature and relaxing.   I was actually delivering my niece to her mother, but it was a spectacle I never expected to be part of when I set out. We were going to take her to a certain exit off the highway and her mother would meet us there. 

That didn’t happen and we had to travel several miles over gravel roads just to get to the pasture where we had to drive on over open land toward a community of tents with plenty of dust rising in the distance.  This wasn’t something I would have chosen to do, but my niece was counting on me so off we went, bumping over the open range of grass clumps and trying to dodge the occasional cactus patch.  I could see campers up ahead, setting up their own plumes of dust so we knew were headed in the right direction.

We made delivery, after meeting interesting campers along the way. Some had come from Kansas, some from Iowa, some even from Nebraska just for the privilege of camping out in this pasture and commune with nature. 

Needless to say I  was out of my comfort zone.  But as I sat and talked with all of them and listened to their stories (which I will tell at another time) I realized we all get too used to sitting in our little offices as writers, working with words instead of people. Libraries can be like second homes to me, and I’ve never found one I didn’t like. There’s something calming about all those books around and I always find it easy to sit down and write. 

Coffee shops are familiar places for me to visit. No matter where I go in my city, I know I can find that familiar Starbuck’s logo and I know what I will order and I can sit at a table that is as familiar as one 40 mile away. I’m comfortable there.

But sometimes we need to go to other places and we need to visit other places. Sitting for a while with some of the campers in that grassy cow pasture, I realized I might have driven out of my comfort zone, and maybe I need to  do that with my writing too.  I might normally write romance, or suspense, but wouldn’t it be fun to try writing a fantasy world set out in a desert like that cow pasture where everyone was talking a different language. Or perhaps set it on a different planet or in a different time era.   I got to thinking about the stories that could be written about the covered wagons that once crossed these plains carrying the pioneers who would later settle the land and raise their cattle and sheep.  Some would try to farm the land.

No matter who, the stories would be fascinating, and after sitting there for a while I started to get inspired by the idea of writing a western instead of just my city romances and mystery novels. Why not try a new genre?  Or for that matter, return to an old genre. I've written romances set in just such a lonely area and it took me back to when I was writing that book. I'm also working on a new story now, set in just such a location.  

Sometimes we need to drive into a foreign place or even back into the past and make ourselves uncomfortable in order to get new ideas. 

Yes, I was pleased when I got away from the pasture and that my car didn’t have four flat tires and just needed a wash, but I had several new new ideas for stories and I also took away a valuable lesson as a writer.  Straying out of our comfort zones can expand not only our horizons but stimulate our imagination and help to come up with new story ideas.  And that is what is really important... not whether I get dust all over my car. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Finding New Joy in Old Haunts


Don’t we all have our favorite places we love to visit over and over again?  Those places where we get a chance to rejuvenate our souls so we can continue along life’s journey? For some people it might even be your home or a room or chair in your home. Maybe some people might prefer to visit new places. As a writer I am always looking for places where I know I can get new inspiration for my next book.

But sometimes it is fun to go back to those old places, the locations where you first came up with a story idea and it blossomed from there into a wonderful story. I know for me, the city of Vancouver, B.C. has always been a special location. I love walking along the sea wall and listening to the water lapping at the shore and the cry of the sea gulls overhead. I’ve often told about getting the idea for my romantic suspense book, Deadly Messages from a walk along the seawall. But there is more than a peaceful feeling involved. I know I appalled a reader when I told her I didn’t just get energized from that walk, I also started thinking about all the places a killer might stash a body or what might happen if two sisters became separated and one was never seen again. Ah, the joys of plotting a mystery!

Since then I’ve set my books in many different places, from the mountains of Colorado, to sunny Southern California.  But there is still the lure of the Northwest and a recent visit had me thinking again of one of my favorite “story” places—Redfern Manor—the spooky gothic house in my book, Shadows from the Past. In that book, a wounded TV anchorman is writing a book about a young actress who once lived at Redfern and he moves there to get more of a feel of who she was. I loved writing that story and while the mystery of the murder was solved, I realized I wasn’t finished with Redfern. I wanted to go back.

And so I made the decision to do it. Just like Mack Warren who was so obsessed with the house, I will be returning and revisiting Redfern Manor. I’ve just started working on it, but like all good things, sometimes we just want more. We want to go back and re-visit those places that brought us spiritual joy. And with Redfern Manor making its debut on audio last month, I had more than one good reason to celebrate the joy of the location. 
Recently I spent a few days back in the Northwest and, as usual, it captured me in a whole new way. The cities of Seattle and Vancouver have changed greatly since the days I lived there or visited so often, but the charm remained, whether it be walking along the Seattle waterfront or going for a drive around Stanley Park in the late afternoon when the sun was setting. 
New ideas for stories began forming, and I got out my pencil and started writing in the notebook I always carry with me.  Never lose sight of your writing past or being able to write down your thoughts and ideas. Even if it is tapping them into your phone or taking a picture of a place you love, keeping those places near and dear to your heart and your memory can have positive effects on your writing. 


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Determine Your Own Writing Methods

This week as I worked on a class I am teaching for Savvy Authors, I got to thinking about the right way to be an author versus the wrong way. Since I seem to have a problem with doing things right at times, I decided I needed to do a blog on the WRONG way to be a successful writer. I know I've made a lot of mistakes and I often feel like I'm three steps behind what I need to do next. Then I realized many people do blogs on the right way or the best way to work on writing. But I always seem to start out with the best of intentions and end up going the wrong way.

For instance, my frequent co-author Sue Viders and I just finished a new book on villains. (it will soon be available on Amazon.com)  I enjoy writing with Sue because she is the organized sort or person and always seems to keep me focused on what I should be doing. Sue is always certain to watch for deadlines and try to get things finished ahead of time.  I work right up to the deadline.

You would think that someone who spent 35 years worrying about deadlines would still be very worried every time one is approaching. After all, my deadlines were not the sort one could afford to miss and they were deadly, often hourly deadlines. As a TV news producer, I had a firm deadline for starting a newscast, had to keep it on-time for a half hour or an hour or-- at one point-- for two hours five times a week. There was no option to be late. A story that wasn't finished during that hour did not get on the air. When I was producing a late newscast, I was told that since the Jay Leno show was in the studio next door, my program was being cut off whether I was finished or not. (and it's not like the show was actually live at 11:35pm. It had taped hours earlier and it was simply that the network was switching it on whether my program was wrapped up or not).

Writing fiction is a different animal. I have deadlines, but they are NOT minute to minute. Finishing a story five minutes late is not going to matter. But deadlines are still a serious matter. Getting the story to an editor who is expecting it or finishing a project right on time can still make all the difference. Deadlines NEED to be met.

My point is that as fiction writers we often don't set our own deadlines, but we still need to meet them. Our editors are expecting to receive edits by a certain time. They expect to get our stories on time or they might not have the opportunity to give the stories the attention they need.  We need to be mindful of our editors as well.

How do you work at meeting deadlines?  Do they frighten you to the point you get everything finished right on time? Or do you work so that you are finished early? For some people that can work very well.  For others it can be a problem because if they get done early, they find themselves tweaking or changing or fixing things to the point that they lose their spontaneity.

The key is to figure out how you do your best writing. Is it done when you have all the time in the world to be creative? Or do you need to keep working on it until you get it just right?  Or do you find you do your best work when you are under the pressure of a deadline because you know that final look may result in less dramatic work because that tweaking makes you question too much.

Look over your writing. When is it at its best? The too-edited work? Or the ideas that seem to flow at the last minute.  Knowing your best writing style can make a lot of difference.  For me, I try to give myself a deadline of a certain word count on certain days because I know that deadline will make me work extra hard that day and with the clock as my reminder, I work toward that end.  

Setting deadlines on a daily basis can be a good thing for a writer. For those of us who enjoy deadlines, it can work better.  Just like having a right way to write and a wrong way to write, we are all different in our approaches and the best way to get your writing done is to figure out your own style. It can be the very carefully plotted or planned way that my writing co-author, Sue, approaches things, or it can be more free flowing but with a deadline.  Only you can determine what works best for you. Trying to force yourself to fit into a mold will only make your writing suffer.  Learn your method and then try to be the best in that area.

For some it may be a regular deadline. For others, it could be working in a certain area or even getting out of the office and writing somewhere else. In addition to that little clock, I also keep a notebook with me wherever I go in case I get an idea or suddenly a scene hits me.  I've written scenes while waiting in a doctor's office, while sitting outside the school to pick up the kids or taking myself to lunch for a writing/working lunch.

Chose your successful writing method and then put it into action!