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I have joined a group of Second Wind Publishing authors as we collaborate on an online mystery novel. I am Chapter 5 in the lineup, and that’s what it is: a lineup of characters who each have motive and means to kill.

http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com

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Yeah, I’ve been out of the loop for awhile. Haven’t been anything other than too busy to write. That’s not the thing you wanna be when you are a writer LOL

My latest book is coming out as soon as I finish reading the 2nd proof. I love the cover: it’ s a composite photo that includes an eye. Guess who’s eye? Pops from an old WWII picture when he was coming off a field in Guam.

There’s a treasure hunt starting around 10-26-09 involving 2nd Wind Publishing. Basically, it’s a Blog Hop. My blog will be included. Good luck, have fun, try not to kill anyone.

Before drifting off to sleep one night last month, the idea for a new novel came to me. In my head, I played the first chapter and the beginning of the second chapter like a movie.

 

I was so tired I could not move to turn on the light and write down my thoughts. No matter, I thought, I will remember everything and put it to paper in the morning. This is so interesting and new, how could I forget?

 

Yes, how could I forget? Very, very easily. When I woke the next morning, only fragments of the novel were floating around the bubble of my memory.

 

Did I learn my lesson? Maybe. I thought I would recall, in detail, everything. I was so wrong. It’s funny how your mind can trick you. My sleepy brain was saying, “No, you don’t have to move. I’ll keep it all in here for you. Just go to sleep.”

 

Next time this happens, I hope I can goose myself hard enough to get out of bed. Next time, I won’t listen to a sleepy brain.

 

How do you deal with ideas, solutions, grocery lists, etc.,  you have right before sleep?

 

 

(Originally posted on SecondWindPub on October 25, 2008)

Music is an absolute must when I’m writing. Because I suffer from tinnitus, it’s important to have something to drown out the zillion crickets in my head when I’m trying to think about what I’m penning.

In addition, the mood of the music is critical. The best tempo for my suspense is, of course, heavy metal. There’s something about the deep, primal beat of the drum and the mysterious wail of the bass that feeds the story I’m writing.

 

As with music, tempo is important in storytelling. I try to keep an underlying steady beat throughout the story, with crescendos matching climatic scenes.

 

Dark and heavy with small glimmers of light populate my suspense stories. The music I listen to matches the mood of the scenes: Avenged Sevenfold, Pulse Ultra, Stone Sour, Godsmack, and Papa Roach are some of the more frequent bands I listen to when I want the story to pulsate with sinister tension.

 

When the mood calls for it, I switch gears. If a character becomes lost in a memory of love long gone or a life undone, I myself become reflective. This type of mood change calls for something retro and my pick of the pack would have to be Steve Perry. Other bands that bring back the good old days include Heart, Roxette, Fleetwood Mac, to name just a few

 

For me, there is a close relationship between music and writing. Music tells a story, whereas a story can be told with an underlying beat. The smooth transitions in musical chords mimic smooth transitions in writing.

 

I write stories with music as a driving force that helps me focus. Friends and family do not understand how I can write with the cacophony of noise. I cannot see how I can write without it.

(Originally posted on SecondWindPub on October 25, 2008)

 

The highest compliments I received when I wrote my first story were from several readers who assumed I was a man.

 

I am not a man. I am a woman. There. Now the cat is out of the bag. < – meow – >

 

I love stories about war and battle. Fighting and swords and guns, oh my. Long-range missiles and hand-to-hand combat, violence and destruction – all will put me in the mood to write. My best friend firmly believes I was a soldier in a past life or two. But, that’s another story (pun intended).

 

Part of this love for battle developed during my formative years. For better or worse, as a later-in-life surprise baby my father spent more time with me than he had with my older siblings. He and I spent many comfortable hours in front of the television watching his favorite movies and shows: war and crime.

 

As a youngster, I still watched the requisite cartoons and children’s shows, but the impact of sharing violent shows with my father had a profound effect on my psyche. Since my father had served as a Marine in WWII, many of the movies we watched were about combat.

 

Even now, given the choice between an action adventure and a chick flick, I’ll usually go with the suspense (unless the chick flick has a lot of action . . . no, not that type of action, the other type).

 

My father told stories to me as I grew older, tales of fighting in the Pacific Theater on islands against enemies in close quarters. He reminisced about his experiences as a gunnery sergeant and the shipboard guns he controlled. He spoke of the horrors of war.

 

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I had a somewhat normal upbringing (things didn’t get really crazy until I became a teenager). My mother tempered my father’s horrific stories with a softer side of death: she spoke (and still speaks) of car accidents, collapsing bridges, and the deaths of friends and relatives.

 

No, my father’s name was not Gomez and my mother’s name was not Morticia. Our house was not gloomy; in fact, it was super modern for its time. We didn’t converse with dead relatives nor did we have freakish cousins visit (well, not too freakish).

 

But, we did deal with reality. Typical topics of conversations around the dinner table would include life and death, crime and violence, all with the evening news as a backdrop.

 

Now that I think about, my family was rather fixated with the more brutal side of life.

 

The influences in my early years, and other experiences throughout my life, are what shape my writing. Action and suspense come naturally to me, as do battles and war. Being able to write through the perspective of a man is not that difficult; after all, men are remarkably human, too.