Inspiration

Any writer will tell you stories about their inevitable issues with Writer’s Block. Anyone who tells you they’ve never experienced it is either a liar or hasn’t written much. Every writer has had writer’s block. You see it on twitter and facebook – sometimes in long rants that are entertaining in and of themselves and sometimes in two emotion filled words “I’m Blocked!”

Surf social media long enough and you’ll find posts from aggravated authors determined to make words flow but only succeed in watching their cursor blink. Interesting word…cursor.  Makes you want to curse at it while it blinks at  you mockingly.

Blink, blink, blink…You should write something…blink, blink, blink…Anything…blink, blink, blink…People are waiting to hear from you…blink, blink, blink…Are you frustrated yet?

AAARGHH! YES!!!!! 

And while hurling that blinking little bastard across the room might be momentarily gratifying, we would soon bemoan the loss of our most loved appendage. Our laptop. 

Then there would be the separation anxiety while you take it to be fixed, the tears of worry over whether or not the data can be retrieved, the heartbreak and guilt over losing your temper on a beloved friend. You know what I mean right?

Anyone…?

*crickets*

Fine, don’t admit it! You all know exactly what I am talking about. You’re just as attached to your computer of choice as I am.

It’s at that point that most of us take to cyberspace for inspiration or advice. Well-meaning and sympathetic friends offer their sure fire ways of breaking past the block (all the while knowing they are full of crap – if they had a sure fire way of avoiding writers block they wouldn’t know what it feels like). 

Over the past three years I have spent countless hours researching and surfing the net for inspiration for my book. Myths I can twist, little known creatures that haven’t been exploited yet, titbits of information that would unleash a torrent of imagination. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – but I think of the days before the internet, (Yes, I am that old! Not by much though…) and the hours it would have taken me to wade through the library for a fraction of the inspiration that the internet gives me. (For you younger kids this a building filled with books you can borrow to read – the internet in hard copy)  

The days before Photoshop and the resulting imagination starters, no tumbler for moving representations of emotions, no Pinterest, and no library at your fingertips allowing you to research in your pajamas. (Not that I do that…oh who am I kidding, of course I do. So do you) Even news stories can be fodder for the writers imagination. 

So, in answer to my sure fire way to fight writers block…I surf. Sometimes something will trigger a scene in my head that needs to be written. Maybe it gets used, maybe it doesn’t – but at least it gets the words flowing again. Failing that I may start writing from another characters point-of-view. Sometimes it’s just that I’m talking to the wrong character. My biggest weapon against the dreaded block is writing ahead. Sometimes the scene that is screaming to be written is farther along in the story than I have laid out. It nags me so incessantly that if I write it, I can go back to concentrating on the previously blocked section without issue.  

But there are times the cursor blinks at me, taunting me with possibility. Inevitably writer’s block strikes us all.

I keep my purse stocked with notebooks and voice recorders. My phone is packed with notes because it never fails – I am out somewhere completely inconvenient when the block breaks. This of course sets off an whole new level of frustration…which I will leave to rant about another day.  

Lets be Realistic

Realistic and Paranormal fiction are two words that you wouldn’t think would go together. And you may be right. I have already blogged about the wonderful burden that is research, and I will forever be a nit picky writer who is a stickler for the facts. But when I am talking about something being ‘realistic’ I am not necessarily talking about hard scientific facts.

Wait…maybe I am.

Back up the bus to the reason I am writing this rant in the first place.

I recently visited Tempting Reads. One of the book review blogs I follow hoping to find a new piece of fiction that would, not necessarily blow my mind, but at least entertain me for a few hours. Diana blogs regularly, reviewing novels from a variety of sources. But the reason I follow this particular blog is for her absolutely honest reviews of the books she’s given.

This particular day she talked about the plot line of the contemporary romance novel she was given and the points she liked about it as expected. Diana always tries to find the good in the books she reviews. But as usual she was also upfront about the points she wasn’t so fond of. The one point that struck me was the unrealistic nature of the injuries and the healing time of the heroine in her most recent post. According to the book review, (keeping in mind I haven’t actually read the book) the main character had an attempt made on her life that left her comatose in the hospital, only to be released and two days later is in bed doing the horizontal mambo with her love interest. Apparently she had been shot and beaten, very nearly ending her life.

Now I am no medical expert, but as a reader this would completely turn me off. I am all for creative license and the power of the pen, but for the love of Shakespeare people! If you are writing a contemporary work of fiction can we please stick to a realistic time frame for a human to heal? Even in fantasy or paranormal realms this kind of speed healing has to be explained. Vampires heal instantly, werewolves and shifters have accelerated healing, potions speed healing or extend life etc. etc. My point is, everything has an explanation.

The devil is in the details and I would hope that if I ever made an error in judgment this glaring, my editor and friend would bash me over the head with a copy of War and Peace.

Call it a quirk or a character flaw but as a reader, I like to have an explanation for something so unbelievable.

Andromeda Rising

Andromeda Rising - Book CoverI should have been paying attention. Growing up on the run from religious fanatics gave me more than a few good reasons to be careful, but I was just too tired to be as vigilant as I should have been.  My mind was occupied with my latest case—a missing nine year old girl. I was usually good at my job, but sometimes I needed a little extra help from magick. I always managed to track down a cheating spouse or the occasional runaway, but now it seemed more children were missing from the streets of Seattle and nothing I did worked.

A cat jumped on my shoulder and jerked me from my exhaustion induced stupor.  I spun into a defensive crouch only to see the cat had landed on the sidewalk behind me.

Time seemed to stop for a moment when the cat spoke.

RUN!

My name is Jocelyn Matthews and if I live through tonight, I’ll tell you all about my life as a witch.

 Section Break Triqueta

For the past ten years, Jocelyn has been living as a closet witch in Seattle. When the Inquisitors that have been after her from the time she was nine finally manage to find her, Jocelyn is thrust into a world she never guessed existed. From talking cats to dark elves, she’ll have to do something she’s never done before: trust someone other than herself. If she wants to find the children that have been going missing all over the city, she’ll have to open her eyes to the bigger picture and find her place, not only for her safety but for the city as well.

Jocelyn Matthews

Jocelyn 6

Hi! My name is Jocelyn Matthews and I’m a witch. Wow that sounded like an introduction to some support group meeting, didn’t it? Whatever, it’s the truth. Not that everyone knows. I mean I keep a pretty low profile. It’s fairly easy to do living in a big city like Seattle. I’ve lived here for the past eleven years, and it is the most settled I have been my entire life.  For the first seventeen years, I moved around a lot.

Right now you’re thinking, “Sure, she moved a lot. How much house hopping could she really have done?”

Well, let me tell you that most times I didn’t bother to unpack. I have moved every four to six months from the time I was ten until I turned eighteen. That works out to roughly twenty-one times in eight years. I haven’t kept an exact count.

Maybe I should start from the beginning…or is it the middle? My mom died when I was seven, leaving me in the care of a disinterested stepfather. Mom had planned for the unimaginable well in advance, and there was a small trust fund set up for me should anything ever happen to her. Of course once stepfather-of-the-year found out he wasn’t in control of it, and wouldn’t be seeing a dime, he dropped me off with family services and walked away without a backwards look. So at the tender age of seven, I was in the foster system.

At first it wasn’t so bad. The first family I was placed with was nice, if a little…religious. They dragged me to church every Sunday, shoving me into confessional, and signed me up for catechism. I tried to tell them that I wasn’t raised that way, but it only made them more determined.  Not surprisingly, I found I could be quite stubborn, a previously undiscovered character trait. I was deemed a ‘bad fit’ and recycled back into the system. This happened a few more times over the next few years. It seems for some people taking in foster children is “the christian thing to do.”

When I was ten I was placed with a family that I think could have been a forever home for me. They were nice, open-minded, and not into forcibly converting me to any particular religion. There were family dinners and days at the park; the American dream of the white picket fence with two point two children and a dog in the yard. It was great…until that night.

I don’t like to think about that night too much. It was the night I learned that there was evil in the world, and contrary to popular belief…it wasn’t me.

My name is Jocelyn Matthews and if I live long enough, I’ll tell you my story.