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Feelin’ Like A Struck Match

 

Me staring at the screen with my good eye.

Me staring at the screen with my good eye. The other one burned out.

The back of my eyeballs hurt.

This is the un-fun part of authorship. The point right before publication, raking through each chapter one mo’ gen, making sure there’s no escaping extra spaces, or errant commas, or misspelled names. Yes, I’ve managed to misspell my own characters’ names in several places.

These are the tasks put upon me by my editing team. This dynamic duo (and thankfully, came as a two-fer) are cleaning through I Blew Up Juarez with katana-like precision. But like respectful editors, they let me have last glance and last say.

So yesterday I spent the better part of twelve hours adding literary putty to fill in cracks in the plot, confirmed changes by chapter, and committed to the spelling of Maclaggan as Maclaggan, not McLaggan, not MaClaggan, no, these fuckers are called Maclaggan!! And to prepare you for your reading engagement, it’s pronounced mack-lag-gun. You British Empire folk can throw in your customary lilt where it’s right for you, I ain’t stoppin’ ya.

I’ve hit Send on the processed file, and now it’s in the hands of The Dynamic Duo. I need to rest my eyeballs, so I’m spending the rest of the day putting together the world’s best stew for tomorrow’s get-together at the demigoddess’s house. I’ll be reading a chapter from the book, not any that are already posted. If you’re attending, awesome, if not, indulge in some escapism, courtesy of yo gurl.

Happy Thursday! It’s Thursday, right??

Entering the You-niverse

Original Post Date June 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM

The author shares a video of her first book reading from I Blew Up Juarez.

What a great time we had at Irene’s last week! No butterflies at all, proud to say. I think it’s the combination of being amongst friends and confidence in my story that made the performance enjoyable. The only problem was standing in heels for longer than ten minutes…oy!

Mil gracias to Irene for allowing me to hijack her Poetry Night and Open Mic Nite. Her next event will be June 26. Come hang out with the coolest people in St. Pete!

Please enjoy me reading Chapter 1 from “I Blew Up Juarez,” my FIRST fiction work. NSFW my friends.

To Read Or Not To Read?

Original Post Date May 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM

The author weighs in on the opinion of reading fiction to qualify to write fiction.

“To be a good fiction writer you have to read fiction.”

Is this true? I’ll offer substance for both arguments.

Don’t Read In Order To Write

Many writers’ blogs warn of the death of the book, but I’m not that apocalyptic. Imagination in and of itself is not dead. Video game and movie plots interpreted from novels have evoked so much curiosity that people are investing in the original medium. For example, this past Monday I took myself on an Artist’s Date to watch Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read this work in 7th grade, and then again in 10th grade, and revisited it a week ago. When I watched Baz’s version, I truly enjoyed the story. But one thing didn’t change since 7th grade: I still can’t stand Daisy Buchanan! During Baz’s interview on The Colbert Report, he mentioned there were more sales of the book leading up to his movie’s release than there were sold collectively when the author was alive.

I’m reading Ian Fleming’s 007 series as my summer book challenge. As Fleming wrote Bond, he considered how the character would appear on screen as well as along his pages. Was he reading a whole bunch of mystery novels and collaborating with other authors in the same genre? Not at all. Fleming was writing in one medium, but considering another medium as he typed his words. This was the beginning of the 1950s, y’all. How could this not be applicable in the Twenty Teens?

Read In Order To Write

From an artistic standpoint, this makes sense. During the development phase of I Blew Up Juarez, I read a myriad of works, fiction and non-fiction, as research and to supplement my story presentation. Of course, avoiding abject plagiarism or mimicking. I am my own artist, and my story is delivered with my creative essence. However, there were specific works that I wanted to experience to support the messages I want to convey in my novel.

From a marketing standpoint, this also makes sense. If you’re writing in a certain genre, you’re gonna want to attract the readership of similarly focused authors. So if I want to promote a book that features a strong female protagonist challenged by supernatural beings, I would look up works in a similar vein and read them to get an idea of how those authors present that type of story.

I contend you don’t have to be a book reader to love a good story, and thanks to the imagination and creativity of the digitally-inclined, a good story can be enjoyed in a multimedia format. Such is my business model. I look forward to releasing I Blew Up Juarez as an e-book and a physical paperback. I absolutely see this work in movie format. My editor thinks it could be a video game. My question is: where are we on action figures? Are they still a thing…?

In America, we call it a “Dumpster”

Original Post Date March 27, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Sometimes, getting through manuscript edits require maximum security style lock down. And heckling from the peanut gallery. We explore how both contributed to last week’s epic revisions.

My intention was to get on that manuscript and address my editor’s notes as soon as I returned from Nashville. However, I lost two days. My body didn’t take the shock of mountain to beach so well. To compensate – maybe, overcompensate? – I decided to throw down graduate school style, pulling all-day and all-nighters until I got through all her notes. I put the coffee pot on, loaded my epic play list, and when into shut-in mode.

Three nights and two days of straight editing and I pulled it out pretty good. Got the easily repairable items out of the way. Sunday afternoon, I got reinforcements. My writing partner came over. Marie wanted to work on her novel, and I needed to bounce scenarios off her. It was a good opportunity for creative synergy. I made sure to shower and brush my teeth, and clear up the disaster area that was my workspace. I didn’t want to frighten her away.

During this phase of editing, I was employing the Read Aloud. Reading what I just wrote or corrected out loud so I can experience the flow of the work. You see, I produced the original draft of this work during my ascetic phase. I didn’t listen to music and didn’t speak unless spoken to for an entire year. Not surprisingly, one of my editor’s critiques was lack of flow, and she instructed me to do the read aloud as I updated the manuscript.

I launched into a read aloud of one section, an event involving a character finding an abandoned vehicle by the waste receptacle. I heard Marie laugh. It wasn’t intended to be comedic, so I read it again, once more ending with the words, “waste receptacle.” My writing partner cackled. I got flustered. “Well, what do you call those big things you put trash in?”

“Uh, in America, we call it a Dumpster.”

Marie’s dead pan delivery of that now obvious correction sent us into a lengthy round of laughter. Another note from the editor I was to address: my vocabulary was too advanced, and in some areas, it was evident I learned to write in English elsewhere. I did. The foundation of my creative writing was constructed during trips to North Sea islands, castles in Cologne, and a week in Paris. I didn’t perfect the English language in Mericuh.

To disturb my writing partner further, I played bluegrass and classic country as we worked. She clutched her notebook with confused uncertainty as I sang word for word along with Waylon Jennings, David Allen Coe, Earl Scruggs and Johnny Cash. Well, Johnny Cash shouldn’t be a surprise. I explained, “I’m using the music to create a Texan mystique.”

She cackled some more.

If Tennessee Williams can represent the voice of the South, perhaps I can represent the voice of the itinerant American? Hmm. Allow me to formulate an appropriate stratagem as I sing, “Momma, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”

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