Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tag, You're It! #Tag you're it Blog Hop

First of all, thanks to Jeff Adkins for tagging me so I could participate in this introductory bog hop! And I have to congratulate him on officially launching the venue to showcase one particular piece of his many talents, graphic design.

So welcome to the world JP ADKINS DESIGNS!Seriously, you should check out his work! It's fantastic!

I'm just going to jump in and tackle the questions he tagged me with, and hope no one is too bored by my answers. If you read something here that sparks a question, don't be shy. Feel free to ask. I love sharing things I've experienced or learned. I hope you'll share with me as well . . .

Here we go:

      1.) What are you working on right now?

At the moment several things, each in a different stage of development.  The recent loss of a lovely woman in the publishing industry left her partner--another incredible individual--deciding she couldn't carry on with the business alone. But using the same care and integrity they published with, they made sure everyone had an immediate revision of rights on stories published with them. I intend to expand each one, and submit one or two the other publishers, while self-pubbing the others.

Currently however, I’m concentrating on a series based on some ‘gifts’ I received while doing paranormal research. (Yes, I’m a serious ghost hunter who works with a TAPS associated paranormal investigation group, as well as a paranormal writer!  I’m very fortunate to be invited to unusual places and events, and experience them in ways most individuals rarely do.) That gift? It was genuine Voodoo blessing dolls, one for each day of the week, each with unique meaning and intent! I’m working hard to make the projected October release date for BLACK DOLL, book one of the Silent Doll Series a reality! Based in New Orleans, a city steeped in the metaphysical, each book in the series begins with the anonymous delivery of a Voodoo doll.

I also have a non-fiction reference book near completion that I’m excited about! Titled OF A PARANORMAL PERSUASION: Using Fact to Create a Believable Paranormal World it contains working information about ghost hunting. The types of hauntings, indications of a haunting, ghost hunting equipment from infrared camera systems, digital cameras, EVP’s (Electronic Voice Projections) and the recorders used to effectively capture them, to ELF (Extra Low Frequency) light and sound units and how they’re used on site, plus debunking methods (because serious ghost hunters are first and foremost debunkers!).  Debunking includes explanations of paradoilia and audio matrixing, and how they possibly play into suspected hauntings. Another section has factual information on Werewolves in cultures around the globe (bet you thought only vampires were world-wide, didn’t you? lol) -- as well as North American Shapeshifters and a brief look at Native American Ritual. It covers Voodoo as it pertains to New Orleans, Voodoo ritual items, and takes a different look at Marie Leveau. The Wiccan section describes the different types of witches, wiccan tools, grimoirs and spellbooks, dress and circles, alphabet and redes. My hope is it will offer a comprehensive compilation for authors to find those details that make their stories real for their readers by offering them insight and better understanding.

  2.) How does it differ from other works in its genre?

Well, huh. How to answer that? Apart from loving to implement the unusual and that 'what if' element, I think it differs due to believable detail from hands-on, personal experience. Of sharing enough about paranormal subject matter to make the reader go, “Wow! I never knew that!” or “OMG! I never thought about it like that before. That could actually be possible or true!”

But the way I know I'm finally on track is when a beta reader says, “I never saw that coming!” followed by a quick “I have GOT to read the rest of that! How soon can you send it to me?”

            3.) Why do you write what you do? 

I can’t help laughing with this question! I blame ---um, I mean credit certain members of my family for my interest in story-telling. As far as the paranormal part? I’m from Scots-Irish stock, and trace my lineage back to Clan MacLain of Loch Buie, Scotland. I’ll tell you there’s a standing stone circle on Clan property, that our family runs long on Solitary Hereditarys, with a few members who can literally ease a fever by touch or talk the fire out of a burn--- 
then allow you to draw your own conclusions.

1              4.) How does your writing process work?

It’s the trigger that gets me first. At times a story comes to me complete. I thank my muse with copious offerings of chocolate when that happens.

Other times it’s a thought, a dream, a piece of overheard conversation, even a question from someone that makes me think Boy, would that make a great story. Could that make a great story? Where’s my tablet to jot down research questions to make sure it’s solid. For those times it turns into copious offerings of chocolate to tempt my stubborn muse to show herself to help make things interesting and cohesive. Either way, Hershey and Godiva love me. Probably should buy stock in both to recoup at least part of the expenditure. Okay, okay! We’re being honest here and I already admitted to being Irish. Sometimes I twist the top off a bottle of Canadian Mist. Just whiskey, no water; mixing them only ruins them both. Three fingers straight into a stubby glass. Ice cubes tend to get tossed back at you.

My overall writing process is to first write down the high points of the idea that caused the spark so I don’t forget them. Then I think about what type of character/characters would best tell the tale. Then I think about the story itself. Let it steep in my mind so plot points bubble up. To give potential problems and those fanged plot monkeys that always leap out at you a chance to surface and be dealt with early. I examine my story and characters critically from every angle, even absurd ones. Study my possible story for structural flaws, then address them.  Finally, I try to write it so that it lives and breathes and slips into the heart, imagination, and emotions.

And that’s just the rough draft. Then come the fifteen re-writes and editing sessions where the real work lies!

Readers are intelligent, and aren’t afraid to call you out on something. Try to gloss over something rather than deal with it, and get ready for them to let you know about it. I like my characters to have a few flaws--just like the rest of us humans out here. A person ceases to make mistakes only when they’re dead, and that’s because they simply don’t have opportunity to make mistakes any longer.  I try to ensure even my worst villain has some redeeming grace, because no one is totally good, and no one is totally bad.

Sometimes things work out, sometimes the Word file ends up pushed to the background when things don't mesh as well as they should the first time out. Or admittedly, something newer and shinier catches my attention for a while.

But each of these stories demands to be told, and it's part and parcel of why I love to write!

Thank you for taking time from your busy day to visit with me. I appreciate the good company! I have some really pretty 'book thongs' looking for new homes. Two will go to random commentors as another way of saying thank you!

Good writing, everyone!

(Hmmm. I'm tentatively tagging Rita Bay, Jamie Farrell, and Paula Hardin! I know these ladies have so much to share about their publishing journeys! I'll get their links up by the end of the day)