Prologue or Not to Prologue, That is the Question

I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating the question into the ether…

Are prologues out or are they in?

As I’m wrapping up the draft for Book 3 of my Greylyn the Guardian Angel series, I once again find myself asking the same question I asked when I started the series. Do I introduce the character from the very beginning (450 years ago when she awoke in her own grave) as part of a prologue before diving deep into the story which is set in modern times USA (at least in Book 1, Rekindled Prophecy)? Or do I include this aspect of the story as a chapter or eliminate it altogether?

Trouble is, no one agrees. Some people love prologues and epilogues. Others don’t. Some declare that prologues and epilogues are out of fashion in the publishing world. Some say…do your own thing, to hell with current trends. What’s a writer to do?

Seriously, everyone has their own opinion and everyone thinks their opinion is the correct one. BUT, there is no correct answer. So again, I ask…what’s a writer to do?

To utilize an early 90’s (maybe late 80’s song) “Listen to Your Heart”. Think that was by Roxette, but don’t quote me on it. That time period is a little hazy (college days, no other explanation needed).

What I’ve learned in this whole writing process is that each author has to be true to one person, and one person only…themselves. If an author isn’t happy with his/her story, what is the friggin’ point?

Now, some authors write to template, write exactly according to genre or industry standards and beats just in hopes he/she will be published. To some, that is their only goal…to be published. They don’t have to like their own story, and that is a shame.

However, I have struggled with this a bit myself. Who am I writing for? I’d revise my story because someone reviewed it and made a comment that if I really wanted to make it sell, I had to do x, y, and z. Later, I’d read over the changes and go…OH HELL NO! That ain’t right! I can’t tell you how many times I have written, removed, rewritten, removed, ….paragraphs, chapters, and the woefully humble prologues for each book.

This is just my perspective. To each his/her own, but for me I have to be honest to myself and to my story. After all, the characters, the scenes, the plot have been rattling around in my skull for so long that I can’t deny them their chance to shine. If that requires a prologue, then LET THERE BE A PROLOGUE! Maybe the next story won’t need it, but as the sole person responsible for my story…Greylyn the Guardian Angel series will start with a prologue in each book.

So just for giggles, here is a taste of Book 1 “Rekindled Prophecy: Greylyn the Guardian Angel” series — the long-suffering prologue…

Prologue – Reborn

Fermanagh’s Lakelands – Lough Erne

December 31, 1566

 

The sharp scent of cut pine intermingled with a fainter, but pungent earthen odor assailed her nostrils. Her eyes fluttered open. Only darkness.

The air was damp and heavy – oppressive – like a weighted blanket holding her down. Her lungs ached as they struggled for air. Her limbs felt stiff as she tried to sit up. She smacked her head before she was fully upright.

Ouch!

She strained her ears, listening for some sound, any sound. Nothing but her labored breathing and the rapid thudding of her heart.

Where am I?

Shaking, her fist pounded against the wall to her right, just a few inches away. It was wood, thin wood planks. Reaching up, she was unable to extend her arm above her body more than a couple of inches, her hand came in contact with more wooden planks. Splinters pierced her palm and wedged deeply into the tender skin. She yanked her hand back. Cold sweat broke out on her entire body.

Oh, dear Lord! I’m in a coffin!

The realization unleashed a wave of panic. Her mouth gaped open wordlessly, her throat too dry and constricted to scream.

Oh, dear God! No! That’s impossible!

Bitter tears welled up in her eyes. She punched against the wood over her head as fiercely as she could again and again. She wasn’t sure how long she did this. Could have been minutes or hours. Finally, she gave up and slumped in defeat. Little daggers of pain shot through her fists and up her arms, while warm liquid seeped between her fingers.

Calm down. Just settle down and think clearly. There has to be a way out. I cannot be trapped in a coffin. That’s impossible.

Gingerly, her fingers felt around the box, searching for an edge or a possible opening. After a while, she found a small latch in the upper right corner of the box. Furiously, she worked to manipulate the latch, but couldn’t get a hold of it. The substance coating her fingers caused them to slip along the surface.

Her fist punched a hole in the wooden slab above her head. She had no idea she had that kind of strength. Dirt fell into the box and covered her chest and face. Spitting the debris from her lips in an effort to scream, she continued to pound and kick. She beat upon the wood until it finally gave way. More pungent earth poured down on her, filling her nostrils and mouth.

I’m going to choke or suffocate to death.

Holding her breath, she pushed and clawed her way up and out of the tight enclosure. With her eyes screwed shut against the debris filling the coffin, she burrowed through the tightly packed earth by jabbing out with her hands. Her chest burned with the need for air.

Please, oh God, save me! I don’t’ want to die.

Renewed strength rocketed through her body. Furiously she dug upward and kicked against the coffin below to propel her up faster as if swimming in an underground sea, chained to a sinking ship.

Just as hope gave out, fresh, frigid air touched the tips of her fingers as they broke through the surface. Clawing and kicking, the dirt gave way until she was able to latch onto the ground and drag herself all the way up – free from her earthen grave. Icy shards pierced lungs as she gasped for air. Crumbling on the ground, she vomited dirt.

Hunched over, her body convulsing in the final throes of dry-heaving, a faint chuckle caught her attention.

She turned her face towards the sound. At first, everything was blurring. Blinking, grains of dirt caked onto her lashes fell away. More blinking, her eyes brought into focus the gloom of an icy moonless and starless night. Then finally she was able to out the shadow of a tall figure lounging against the side of a large oak tree.

“Well, it’s about time you made it out. I’ve been waiting all night. A few more moments and I would have left without you,” the shadowed man said in a foreign accent. With a subtle bow, he added, “Jasper Moreau at your service, my Milady.” His silhouette separated from the tree and strolled without urgency over to where she lay on the ground. His books were shiny with garish gold buckles, as if he were walking into a palace, not standing in the middle of a dirt field.

Get up and run! Why won’t my body cooperate?

Her ordeal had left her weak. So weak that she could barely lift her head to gaze up at him. The muscles in her neck twitched with the effort. Her mind ordered her legs to jump up and run, but nothing happened. A new wave of panic rocked her body, threatening to overspill in a fresh round of dry-heaving.

Her vision cleared as the stranger came closer. Strikingly tall with broad shoulders, his clothing was fancy. Difficult to make out the details of his finery in the dim light, but the long coattails and shiny buttons and frilly sleeves were a dead giveaway he did not belong here.

She pushed herself up on trembling arms and lifted her head from the ground. “If you knew I was trapped under the ground, why did you not help me?”

“Sorry, Milady,” he said with a slight touch of sarcasm. “I could not assist you. There are no headstones or markers in this quaint little cemetery and there appear to be several fresh grave sites. I simply could not find you in time. I do hope you will accept my sincerest apology.”

Sincerest apology? Was he ridiculing her? However, something in the smoothness of his voice or his nonthreatening stance gave her a sense of calmness – that she had no need to fear this man. Still, how could she be certain?

A tingling sensation washed over her body, as energy flooded back into her limbs. First, she wiggled her toes, then shook out her legs that moments earlier had refused to move. Pulling her legs towards her body, she sat up and took a long look around. After the black of the coffin, even the cloud-filled night sky seemed bright and welcoming. She sat on the edge of a small graveyard between a sheep pasture and a thick forest. In the distance, silhouettes of buildings stood out, with one taller than the rest with a pointed steeple.

The moon peeked out between the dense cloud cover for just a moment, offering enough illumination that she could make out the visage of the stranger. Long jet-black hair pulled into a ponytail. When he reached over to help her up from the ground, she smelled his sweet musky scent and noticed his startling blue eyes set against deep olive skin. His eyes glowed in the darkness. She was taken aback by their intensity. He seemed to peer into her soul. She found herself on her feet without any recollection of standing. When she looked down at his hand on her arm, he released her. The tranquility abruptly ended.

“Madam, I realize you may be distressed about your predicament. Allow me to reassure you that you are now indeed safe. You will never need to fear the grave again.”

How dare he act so nonchalant about this situation? And say such nonsensical things! She rounded on him, her voice rising. “How is that precisely? Someone buried me alive! You did nothing about it. How can you stand there and smugly say that you could not help me?”

His eyes narrowed and a nerve ticked just under his left eye. The look, more than the silence, unnerved her.

This couldn’t possibly get worse.

“Milady, you were not buried alive,” he said. “You were very much dead.”

She was wrong.

Pain, like she had just been punched in the gut, doubled her over. Bile rose in her throat. Her heart skipped a beat, or several. Unable to take in a breath, her hands flew to her throat. Her lungs clamored for air, but her body refused to perform the function of inhaling air.

Breathe. Dammit! Breathe.

Intense emotional pain throbbed behind her eyes, blinding her as she fought to come to terms with his statement.

“You were very much dead.” The statement echoed in her ears.

She collapsed back onto the cold ground. Unable to speak, a low, raspy moan escaped her lips.

This was impossible. Some cruel, sick joke. Convinced she was caught in the throes of a horrific nightmare, she shook her head violently, shutting her eyes against the world. Her stomach clenched in a fresh bout of convulsions. Judgment Day had come for her.

Distress permeated her being, blocking out everything. She almost forgot about the mysterious man until he spoke again in a calm and soothing tone, a hand rubbed her back. “Please, do not fret. You are certainly not dead now.”

Somehow, that was not reassuring. Sputtering, she forced herself to look up at him. “Then what exactly am I?”

A smile spread over his face, showcasing perfect white teeth. “Think of it as being reborn. This night is your new birthday, if you will. The night you were resurrected into your true being.”

Blinking in disbelief, she was afraid to ask. “Reborn as what? One is either dead or alive? What does that make me?”

The man waved his hands around at the farmland and the dire graveyard. “You are no longer of this world. Earthly cares and weaknesses will no longer afflict you. You, my dear, have transformed into a being of light and truth, a warrior for good.”

A weak giggle escaped her, which evolved into hysterical sobs. The insanity of the situation was too much. She must’ve lost her mind. Either she was unstable, or he was. Perhaps they both were.

Resurrected into heaven on the Day of Judgment? Yes. She very much hoped so. But resurrected back onto Earth while trapped inside her own grave? No, not possible. If that were indeed the case, she was desperate to wake up. “Please, please wake up.”

Rivulets of tears streamed down her dirt-stained face as her thin body convulsed on the ground. Indiscernible mutterings escaped her parched lips. She didn’t even understand what she was saying. Was it a prayer? Or was she just mad?

The stranger had walked over to a farm cart situated at the edge of the cemetery and patted the hay bale next to him as a signal for her to join him.

“Milady, please let me explain. This must all seem bizarre and unnatural to you right now, but I assure you that what I say is true. My intent is to help you, not hurt you.” He waited for her to sit beside him before continuing in a patient tone as if consoling a distraught child. “I should have been more considerate in my statements considering all you have undergone tonight.”

Her mind wanted to scream at him.

You inconsiderate bastard! This isn’t funny.

But no words came out of her mouth.

He peered up at the cloud-covered sky in silence for a few moments. Sitting beside him now, she felt an overwhelming sense of calm. It surprised her, as only moments before she had been in such agony and abject fear.

He broke the silence. “However, we should not tarry too long. It would not be a good idea for the locals to find a dead person up and walking around when they start their daily chores. They might mistake you for a witch or a demon, and then what would we do?” He chuckled softly. She did not find his statements amusing in the least.

That’s what you’re worried about? Someone mistaking me for witch? You just told me that I’m undead. That’s worse.

His words cut through her muddled thoughts. After a brief pause, he added, “Also, I hate to mention this, milady, but you are certainly in need of a good warm bath and new clothes. You look and smell dreadful.”

Really? Am I supposed to care how I look? I’m undead.

However, looking down at her torn rag of a dress, she agreed. He was right. She must look horrendous. A giggle burst out of her. It felt good to laugh.

Jasper smiled with satisfaction. “Now, that’s better. Just rest and quiet your thoughts. All that screaming inside your head is giving me a headache.” As if to make a point, he rubbed the bridge of his nose with long, elegantly manicured fingers.

“How can you hear the screaming inside my head?”

He just smiled, a cockeyed side grin with a glint in his eyes.

“Milady, I am here to escort you to your new … afterlife, as it were.” He stated this as if it were a simple fact, not to be questioned. “You certainly cannot remain here.”

Well, that seems rather obvious. Where exactly am I supposed to go? 

The sky had begun to lighten to a dull gray. With the sunrise just over the hills, the stranger appeared increasingly anxious. “There is a lot to tell you and little time to do so. Please know that I only have your best interests at heart and will accommodate you in any way possible to ease your transition.”

“My transition? To what exactly? I was dead and now I’m not. I’m grateful to be alive, but not sure you are the person qualified to help me. You certainly haven’t so far.”

The entire situation was absurd. A burning sensation rose in her breast. Anger scorched away the thin veil of peace she had felt barely a minute ago.

“Milady…”

“Will you stop calling me that?” unsure why the term bothered her so.

“Well, what shall I call you then?” His voice carried a perturbed taint.

She should know the answer, but she somehow it eluded her. After a few embarrassing moments of trying to recall her name, the truth hit her hard. She simply didn’t know. Dejected, she slumped against the cart. How could she not know her name? Who she was? There was no recollection of anything before waking in the coffin underground.

“Well, Milady, since you dislike the title, perhaps I can utilize your human name. There was no grave marker. Do you recall it?”

She shook her head. Tears built up at the corners of her eyes, blurring her vision again.

“Well, that is most unfortunate…and odd. I have to say I’ve never known a guardian to have amnesia.” The man paused a moment and gave her a strange look, as if he were at a loss for what to do or say based on this news. “Why don’t we pick out a new name befitting your new status as a guardian angel? That will be fun.”

Now she had to have heard that wrong. “Excuse me? My new status as what?”

This was too much. She was now supposed to believe she was some sort of an angel? This must be a bad dream or she was suffering from a terrible affliction of the mind.

As an afterthought, she hazarded a glance over her shoulder. No wings.

“No, no, no! You are not insane! You are not dreaming either.”

How did he know what she was thinking? Did he really hear the screaming inside her head?

Laying a hand on her upper arm, a mysterious calming sensation spread from the point of contact until it filled her entire being. “I do apologize. You want answers. You need answers. You deserve answers. Truly, I understand. But it is starting to get light out now so we must hurry. Our discussion can be held once we are a safe distance from here. However, if you need a name right now, hmmm…”

Looking around, he thrummed his long index finger against his chin. “Well, there’s nothing extraordinary to connect you to this place.” His finger shot up in the air dramatically. “I know. There’s this lovely castle not too far from here. Some friends of mine lived there years ago. The name of the estate always stood out to me as being quite beautiful.”

Emotionally and physically exhausted, she was unsure what to say. At this point, he could call her “Dirt,” for all it mattered.

A broad smile lit up the stranger’ face. It gave her a strange sense of comfort again, as the fluttering in her chest subsided.

“Fantastic! You shall henceforth be named Greylyn,” he pronounced dramatically. “Now, that is settled, off we go…Greylyn.”

In one elegant movement he took her arm in the crook of his own. His touch had a soothing effect as he guided her away from the small cemetery as the horizon glowed with the encroaching dawn.

The sky lightened with a deep amber hue. A rooster crowed off in the distance. Surprisingly, she found comfort in the presence of the stranger whose beauty was now revealed by the morning sunlight.

Just as the giant orb rose over the vast rolling hillside, she had an opportunity to survey her surroundings and her new friend, Jasper. As they walked away from the dreary village cemetery, the white light radiating from the sky illuminated the snow-covered hills a short distance away.

With one hand shoved into a pocket sewn into her dismal-looking gown of rough wool, her fingers found a tiny, round metal object. Touching the item brought a sense of peace. Gazing in awe at the unnatural beauty of the man beside her as the sun’s rays kissed his face, it was almost as if she dared to set eyes on the visage of an angel.

 

 

 

The End…

the end is near

No need to panic. This is not the end of the world. Kim Jong-Un did not drop a nuke on CPAC, much to a certain journalist’s chagrin. Washington DC did not implode with the release of both a Republican Congressional memo and the Democratic Congressional memo essentially saying the same thing (rant for another day about how Congress is the governmental body…there is no Republican Congress and no Democratic Congress, just Congress…but I digress.) There was no catastrophic global event ending civilization. The Olympics are OVER, but even that is not THE END.

No, what I’m talking about is the joy and sorrow of typing out those two tiny words THE END when writing a novel. Now, I may be getting ahead of myself since so for my trilogy, I’ve only been able to type the words TO BE CONTINUED at the end of two books. But dear readers, I am in the home stretch and I can see THE END.

Yes, book 3 of Greylyn the Guardian Angel series is less than 2 chapters from completion. Whereas the story was initially going to be 4 books, I just couldn’t drag out my heroine’s struggle for another 80K words and decided three books was quite enough. Everything in threes, right? Star Wars installments come out in threes (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, & Return of the Jedi – the only ones that truly count). There were three Lord of the Rings. Three initial Indiana Jones movies (and should have stuck with just three, but that’s another rant entirely). All good things seem to come in three’s. So Greylyn will also be a trilogy.

Where was I? Oh, yes. THE END.

Truly I was going to hold off on the celebration blog post about THE END but got a little tipsy with the next step to seeing Greylyn off to the presses. I ordered the book cover! Wish I could reveal it here, but the lovely artist Yvonne Nikolova from Ammonia is working on it as we speak, or more correctly – as I type.

For months I struggled with THE END. Something was amiss, but a bad case of writer’s block and an overbooked family schedule kept me from seeing the light (see above light at the end of the tunnel meme). Just needed some perspective.

Now, I “see” the end. All the little tendrils of the story over three books coming together. Now I’m sure there will be some things not neatly tied up in a bow for the readers, but I’m fine with that because I want my readers to continue dreaming of the characters and the story long after their eyes see 

So it is with great joy, and a few tears that I tap out the final words in the Greylyn the Guardian Angel series. These characters, this story, have haunted me for decades. Life got in the way and prevented me from putting the words to paper (or to computer screen if we’re being literal) for so long, but Greylyn, Kael, & even Jasper never left me. They screamed and beat against my skull until I could make time for them to come out to play.

Now they have been unleashed, and soon their story will be available for all to read. Or no one to read. If someone picks up my story, I will be thrilled. If no one does, that’s fine too. Because this has never been about bringing Greylyn to the masses. It has been an exorcism of my own demons. A story that had to be told where good and evil must co-exist and even work together, where love breaks the barriers of good and evil for its own sake.

In the words of Supernatural’s Chuck…

It’s a Conspiracy

I tell you…it is indeed a conspiracy. What the true motives are, I cannot fathom. But the truth is out there…

My kids are devoted, dedicated, and driven to…

Drive me nuts!

Today, I need to write. And by “write” I mean “write, edit, write some more, edit…repeat”. I’m on a deadline, and yes, this article wasn’t the one with a deadline so technically, I’m procrastinating from my original deadline of edits for a short story I’m contributing to an anthology. Story is done, just need the edits finished so I can send it to the editorial committee.

My goal was to take care of all that this weekend. Who was I kidding? The kids are out of school on the weekends!!!!!

Now usually my weekends are insane. There are games, matches, swim meets, parties, …. With 5 kids, I’m quite busy. But THIS weekend was supposed to be a smidge different. So I incorrectly thought… Oh, I can get stuff done that didn’t get done during the week due to various reasons (mostly, kids’ doctor appointments, kids’ this, that, and the other – in other words, the usual stay-at-home mom tune).

Two of the five rugrats are at the NC State High School wrestling tournament with Dad. Down to three. The teenager on crutches got a friend to pick him up, so that makes two. Oldest is barricaded into the attic teenager man cave with the Xbox, so that’s down to one. The baby girl.

She’s not a baby anymore (she’s 12), but still knows how to work the baby vibe with a bit of preteen angst thrown in for good measure. Despite being out late with a group of friends for a make-up swim team party (they all missed the original one due to illness so another mom and I felt bad and threw them their own little party), she is… wait for it…

and…

So, evil mom (see Cruella pic above), I’m complaining about being interrupted for the zillionth time from edits that I don’t really want to do instead of making the poor starving creature another meal. Eventually, the kids will make their own food.

Not feeling guilty about it, by the way. Yes, she’s bored. I get it. Been there. Done that. It may shock everyone, but I was once 12 years old too. And I was an only child so I never had brothers or sisters to help entertain me. Her brothers are out of the house (except zombie boy with the Xbox), so I get her angst. I do.

But before you start feeling bad for the little poppet, she does have a friend coming over a little bit later. I planned ahead because I knew I needed today to edit. I’m not totally heartless. She just has to make it through the next hour.

But I digress…the real point was that my kids seem to always know when I have something non-child-related important to do. And they always work to mess with that. Closed office door means nothing. Hell, closed bathroom door means nothing to them either.

I already know how the rest of the day is going to go. It’s been an episode on rerun every weekend that I try to write. Oldest will inevitably need to go somewhere, need money, need more food (seriously how does he eat so much and remain so skinny?). Second oldest will call/text needing me to pick him up from wherever and take him and friend to wherever else or “Can we all just hang out at our house?”. Middle two will be home mid-afternoon with Dad who will be tired from all the driving, but they will be hungry…very, very hungry. And sweet angel-blossom daughter will want me to take her and her friend somewhere or both will open the office door with that face…you know the one. The one that screams, “We Are Bored!” By the time I get even halfway done with edits, it will be uber-late and a tired writer is a crappy editor.

So, dear writer friends…good luck with your writing and editing today. My brain will be with you in spirit, but physically I’ll either be in the kitchen or in the car.

Ciao! I need to find out what is burning downstairs in the kitchen…

 

 

 

 

 

The Perils of Writing a Series

Dear Readers,

Bless your hearts for being so patient with me. The holidays were a chaotic mess and the beginning of 2018 has me doubting my SuperMom abilities, but for you…I will carry on.

***Now the Supernatural theme, “Carry on my Wayward Son, is floating around my head. This is good. I can use it for inspiration as the Winchester brothers are certainly inspirational.***

When I first envisioned Greylyn the Guardian Angel, it was a series, very episodic like a television show. I imagined my heroine as a cross between kickass Buffy the Vampire Slayer & the ultimate guardian angel Jonathan Smith from Highway To Heaven (if you’re not familiar with the series, check out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086730/). 

Supernatural started with the brothers facing off against various & sundry monsters every week. Greylyn could have a different guardian angel case every week, right?

So I started writing Greylyn episodes. Image may contain: 1 personAnd I researched the urban fantasy & paranormal romance genres and found episodes are not quite what the readers are yearning for. However, the readers do love one thing…a good series. Anywhere from 3 to 6 books in a series seemed popular. No more and no less.

In response, I went back to the drawing board. Cut the episodes and get to the meat of the story…Greylyn’s quest to save innocents from a specific evil (not just a new one every book) & the sexy dark guardian, Kael. Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

What I ended up with was a trilogy. Okay, originally it was 4 books, but I cut and cut until there were three. If Star Wars can work in trilogies, so can I.

Now I have 2 1/2 books complete. Was about to wrap the final scene of the third book, but something was amiss. I needed time & distance to see that I was lacking. Now I haven’t had time to implement the changes (but that’s a blog for another day).

Trouble is…when I started to query literary agents and publishers, I had the one complete book. Or at least I thought it was complete at the time. It’d been through countless edits, critiques, and reviews. It was READY!!!!! So that’s what I queried. But now that book 3 has me languishing in the wind, I know that book 1 needs some revisions to make it all connect.

It’s not that Book 1 wasn’t really ready. It was complete and nicely polished. But because this is a series, the books have to connect all the dots throughout.

Final analysis: I pre-queried. Honest mistake. Sometimes there is no way to know what you are going to write until you write it. If the books are in a series, a tidbit in book 3 has to mesh with the truth of the story and characters established in book 1.

Some writers plan out every word they write. Perhaps series aren’t a problem for them. For me…I plot in my head, write down what I have and then let my fingers do the walking & talking. Sometimes they go off the beaten (plotted and planned) path. But I know in my heart that my typing fingers will not lead me the wrong way. The most efficient way to write? Probably not. But it’s how I roll.

So series can be a pain in the tush to write. Readers love them though. And sometimes the story is just too big for one novel.

My take away from this experience, my lesson learned…do not try to query or independently publish a series without every book in the series complete and ready to go. If an agent or publisher had snatched up book 1 already, I’d be in quite the pickle now and constrained by the truths as they were presented in book 1, which would mar book 3 and the ultimate ending for my readers. That would’ve been a shame.

After this experience, I swore off writing a series again, but…never say never. There are a few (okay, a lot) of story ideas floating around in my noggin ripe for series potential.

My advice for other writers…if you’re going to write a series, either plot every aspect out and force yourself to stick with the plan; or wait until the series is written before ever querying or self-publishing. Your readers will thank you.

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Miscellaneous Rantings of a Busy Woman/Writer

Dear Readers,

I hope you are still out there. My sincerest and deepest apologies for neglecting you these last couple of months. Sometimes everyday life catches up with you and all else, all your good intentions, all your dreams for launching a successful career/hobby/anything go straight out the window. What seemed like a couple weeks of craziness over the holidays turned into couple months of non-stop activity. Mostly family obligations…having five children, it’s not unusual for things to get out of hand or be hit with something out of the blue.

Maybe there needs to be a specialized time management course for moms still trying to hang on to some semblance of a life and pursue their own hopes and dreams. Would love to teach it, but I need to learn it first.

And that brings me to my thoughts for today…they are all over the place. I could make myself nuts with the multiple To Do Lists in my noggin, but today is a day for therapy, not stress. Today…I’m completely unfiltered. My comments are 100% off-the-cuff. Whatever insanity my fingertips taps out on my pc that show up on this page…hey, it’s Miscellaneous Whatever Day!

So what’s on my brain today, unrelated to my writing, unrelated to the short story I’m working on for another anthology, unrelated to somehow getting my oldest son into college (and finding a way to pay for it), unrelated to my children’s school stuff and sports schedules, and all that day to day stuff that has been crowding every second of every day and clouding my brain…

Let’s see what’s behind the curtain.

Had a last minute rescheduling of my son’s basketball game, so I sat down on my bed with my pc in my lap and the tv on. Unproductive, I know. But it got me to thinking.

Sleepless in Seattle was on. A romantic classic that sends my hubby to the playroom with the kids to play Super Mario Brothers on his ancient Nintendo NES every time. The movie was towards the end, and I started wondering. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the movie went on a few more minutes and we got to listen in on what had to be the most awkward conversation in the world as Tom Hank’s Sam and Meg Ryan’s (oops, forgot the character name – Annie…that’s it!) sat down to get to know each other.

Tom: So what’s a gorgeous babe like you do stalking a widower and his son on the other side of the country?

Meg: Well, actually, I was engaged. Just broke up with the poor bloke a few minutes ago as we were having Valentine’s Day dinner and sipping champagne after picking out china patterns at Tiffany’s. 

Tom: Wait! You did what?

Later in the conversation Meg tries to explain that SHE didn’t send the letter to him that Jonah (his son) fixated on. It was her bestie, so she’s not really the stalker.

Tom’s eyebrows furrow. He pays the check, takes Jonah by the hand, and runs out.

Just a few more minutes of screen time would’ve been delicious, don’t you think? How many other movies would you just love to have 5-10  more minutes? No need for a sequel, because those are entirely pointless and overrated, and overdone in Hollywood (as Furious 7 plays on my tv now). Just a precious few minutes to give the audience insight into supposed Happily Ever After (HEA). That’s why I love books with epilogues. You get the “What Happened Next?” moment. Some movies should definitely have epilogues. 

So what else is lurking inside my little brain today? While we’re on the topic of movies…does Hollywood have ANY NEW IDEAS???? Seriously…Furious 7 is on (see above). The only movies being created seem to be sequels, prequels, remakes of classics movies and old television shows (bad remakes), remakes of movies that should never be made in the first place, and endless superheros with more Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) than acting.

I beg you, Hollywood…take a chance and go with an original idea for once in like forever.

Seriously, I haven’t been to the movie theater since Serenity (movie basically serving as the epic epilogue for the television show FireFly). The only reason Furious 7 is on my tv screen right now is because it’s Sunday afternoon and nothing is on television; and I like to have some background noise when I’m not in complete writer’s trance and the words are flowing.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to glance up and ogle Vin Diesel, The Rock, Jason Statham, and Paul Walker (RIP). Hollywood, please give me a reason to fork out the megabucks and go to the theater.

Anyone else disturbed by commercials with cannibalistic food? I no longer purchase Cinnamon Toast Crunch or PopTarts because of their commercials.

And DO NOT get me started on the bears and toilet paper commercials. The company did not need to “go there”.

Another issue I have with commercials…it’s always the dufus guy with the smart, hot woman who knows it all. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in feminism and all, but the man-bashing (overtly and otherwise) needs to tone it down a bit. Sad thing is, some guys probably don’t even notice or care that they are being made fun of non-stop in television and movies.

Mostly though, commercials have amazingly obnoxious people in them. Does this actually sell products? 

Don’t even get me started on Flo and the amazingly even more annoying sidekick, or the former Verizon, now Sprint, guy (and the new Verizon guy), …this list can go on forever.

And that’s the most political I promise to ever go with this blog. Yes, I could use this little platform to preach and screech to the world, but no one wants that. It’s also the reason I stopped watching Hollywood self-congratulatory award shows. My use for watching television and movies is to be entertained, not lectured regardless of the topic. Also, couldn’t they spend more time and effort making entertainment rather than patting themselves on the back. Entertainment industry, try entertaining again.

Wow! Did not intend this to be a whine session about Hollywood. Let’s try another topic…

Moms & Dads: Anyone else miss the days where kids could just play a sport for fun? When did it become necessary for a child to specialize in a sport and receive year-round training from the age of three or four? It’s a mega business here in North Carolina, and I imagine we’re not the oddball state in that. I’m just as guilty. If my kid likes a sport and shows some aptitude at it, I’ll fork out the dough and time for training, practices, games, travel, whatever. The minute they no longer enjoy it though…we are done! If they want to casually play a sport, even better. Loving the fact that my oldest returned to recreational basketball his senior year of high school. Why? It’s just one more item to tack onto the calendar. Because he’s just having FUN! And isn’t FUN what it is all about?

Anyone still hanging in there with me?

So there’s nothing earth-shattering in my blog today or any day, but this was an especially free of context, free of rules, free of anything remotely important in the overall scheme of things. Just a rant, because sometimes we just need to push out all the garbage in our brains in order to reset our minds. Today, I could’ve focused on the short story that is lacking its ending, regardless of the looming deadline. I could’ve focused on the mountain of laundry piling up in the washroom. I could’ve researched independent author publishing aids and learned how to market my books. But I didn’t.

There were a million things I could’ve done today, but I needed to just “be”. Let the nonsensical stuff infiltrate my brain and run around, crashing through all the more important or pertinent tidbits demanding my attention at all times. Of course, glancing up from my pc to the vision of Jason Statham and Vin Diesel battling it out doesn’t hurt either. Yes, I know…the sequel rant above biting me in the butt now, but the movie really is only good for one thing…ogling the guys.

Thanks for sticking with me through this maze of incoherent ramblings. Sometimes a writer finds he/she can no longer write what’s needed, what’s wanted. Some call it writer’s block. And that is a correct term, but sometimes one simply needs to let the chaos fly in order to reset the brain for another, hopefully productive week. My days may seem mundane to some as a stay-at-home mom, but I love all the chaos it entails. I love trying to inject my own creativity into my routine by aspiring to be a writer in addition to SuperMom.

Some have compared a woman’s brain to the internet with thousands of browser windows open at once. 

That is 100% accurate and more so for moms. Sometimes, to get back to SuperWoman or SuperMom status, we need to clear out the junk and just be silly. Today, was that day for me.

I sincerely thank you for tolerating my ramblings today. My promise to you, my dear readers, is to re-commit to writing more informative, more entertaining articles for you in the future. And, if there’s a topic you’d like me to touch upon, please email me or leave a comment here. The only way this blog makes any sense is for me to address what my readers want/need to read about. So I’m here at your pleasure.

Sincerely,

KC (the C stands for Chaos)

 

 

First publication under my own name…

Doing the happy dance here! Why, you ask. Because there is finally a book cover with my own name on it (along with some of the most fabulous romance authors out there today).

For a few years, after leaving corporate America to raise my kids, I wrote as a ghost writer. Mostly cozy mysteries, one romance, and an urban crime novel for an ex-rapper who never paid me…but I digress. It was wonderful to write again, but somewhat disappointing to do all that work, get paid pennies (if at all), and have someone else slap their name on the cover.

Now all that is over. On November 24, 2017 the latest edition of The Bowman’s Inn anthology was released to the public. And, for the first time ever, my name (not some pseudo pasted on the cover by a client) was included on a book cover. Yep, that’s me! Second name on the top!

The Bowman’s Inn is a fantastic collection of romance stories all surrounding a quaint inn/restaurant/pub with a most exotic and unusual bartender. Valentine, aka Cupid, serves up non-alcoholic cocktails to inspire true love soulmates to connect.

All the authors put their own spin, but everything connects back to Cupid and his lady love and owner of The Bowman’s Inn, Mandy.

This edition of The Bowman’s Inn includes romantic tales of true love and the sometimes painful process to find and keep it.

Please check out the book, link to Amazon is above. And please, if you purchase it, write a review. Authors live and die by reviews, or lack thereof.

Thanks to the lovely ladies  with The Bowman’s Inn for allowing me to contribute to this amazing anthology. Check out their other novels, and previous editions of The Bowman’s Inn.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=The+Bowman%27s+Collective&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=The+Bowman%27s+Collective&sort=relevancerank)

Authors:

Roxanna Haley

https://www.amazon.com/Roxanna-Haley/e/B00XZC10BS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_4?qid=1511979782&sr=1-4

D.L. Hungerford

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_6?ie=UTF8&text=D.+L.+Hungerford&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=D.+L.+Hungerford&sort=relevancerank

RA Winter

https://www.amazon.com/By-RA-Winter/e/B00PMF26SC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

E.D. Vaughn

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_3?ie=UTF8&text=E.D.+Vaughn&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=E.D.+Vaughn&sort=relevancerank

 

 

Bowman’s Inn Book Cover Release

book cover

I am SO EXCITED for the book cover reveal for the latest in the Bowman’s Inn anthology series! Why am I so excited?

  1. The Bowman’s Inn has a fantastic group of authors contributing their own romance short stories that I LOVE to read. Seriously, these ladies rock the romance writing!
  2. These lovely authors took a chance on a newbie author…ME! Yes, that is my name on the cover alongside the incredible Roxanna Haley, DL Hungerford, RA Winter, and ED Vaughn. ***happy dancing here***
  3. To be included in an anthology with such powerhouse romance writers is thrilling and humbling. I can’t thank them enough for allowing me into their world of Cupid-inspired cocktail drinks and colorful characters.
  4. After being a ghostwriter for so long, it’s AMAZING to finally see my own name on a book cover.

So, friends, be on the lookout real soon for the book release. It’ll be a wild and wonderful celebration!

And if you haven’t already, check out the previous editions of the Bowman’s Inn anthology series.