Thursday Thoughts

When I get stuck — really really stuck — on my writing, and just can’t find the words I need to keep going on the project I’m trying to focus on, I walk away from it for a few days. Since I’m stuck on a transition in one scene, and my brain won’t let go of another project (that is with a beta reader in a very rough form) enough to work on other scenes, I’ve been procrastinating, doing whatever I can to avoid those other scenes. Well, phooey. I need to get them done. I took an online creative writing class once, and the teacher had an exercise she called “Gallumphing”.
In a nutshell, what it is, is you pick a person, a place, and a thing, and then write something short that includes those things. Since I’m such a fan of prompts (I can’t say no!), this was an awesome idea. I’m not even going to tell you how many stories I’ve written that have started this way. One. It was one.
Aaaaaanyway…
So since I liked it so much, I found an old box (it’s a pretty one, I might add, all polished and shiney and has a tile on top) and filled it with people and places and things. I made a spreadsheet, first, one for each category of noun. And then printed them all out, and cut them out, and dumped them in the box, and gave it a good shake.
I pulled it out tonight.
Person: Personal Trainer
Place: Garden Nursery
Thing: Bed
In trying to keep it short, I’m only going for maybe five sentences to tell the entire story? So here goes!

Sherry answered the knock on her front door and looked at the man. She cringed. Karsen was covered in mud and wore a scowl.
She was afraid to look, but she did anyway. Her eyes went wide. Hiding behind Karsen, Lulu the formerly-yellow lab sat, tongue lolling out one side of her filthy face. Her butt swished on the pavement as fast as her tail whipped back and forth. “What happened?!”
“She got into the flower beds. Then I chased her through the nursery where she proceded to knock over half the plants down one of the aisles with her over-zealous tail. And then I had to pull her out of the swamp. He thrust a rope into Sherry’s hands and crossed his arms.
“Oh, my god, I’m so sorry!” Sherry stared at him in shock. “Whatever the damage is — I’ll pay for it. Just send me the bill.”
Karsen sighed. “It’s really not much. Just a bit of replanting.”
“I’m sorry. Maybe…” Sherry hesitated. Karsen was cute. No. Sexy. Even when he was covered in mud, even when he had dirt under his nails. But she didn’t want him to know. “What if I did something for you? A free session? Or…” She swore to herself at the other suggestion that had nearly slipped from her lips.
Karsen stared at her a moment. “What about dinner?”

And that is how I end up procrastinating. (We’re going to ignore the fact that I wrote way more than five sentences.) Of course, now I want to tell the rest of their story. Like… how they met, and how they turn out. But I’ll put these two on the back burner for some other time. When I don’t already have one story I’m desperate to finish, another I’m in the process of re-writing (from scratch because new plot-lines and arcs and a lot of missing stuff with a lot of repeated stuff), and another that I don’t know where to begin with edits/revisions/etc so it’s with a beta reader.

What I am going to do, also, is put together a new spreadsheet of all those people and places and things and find a way to share it. Then everyone can “Go the the Box”. Until next time!

Sunday Sit-Down: Lynn Miller

It’s that time again! This time, I’m introducing you all to the wonderful Lynn Miller. The Sons of Rebellion, her debut series, tells the story of a family of fallen angels and their struggles balancing a personal and professional life with battling demons.

 

MG: How do you relax?
LM: Haha! I’m a writer, so sitting and doing nothing, is not really a form of relaxation. My mind is always working. I scrapbook when I need my mind to focus on something other than writing or responsibilities. Facebook games are good too. But I must admit, most of the time I’m trying to figure out how to get things from my head onto my screen. I think it’s a writer’s curse, that the idea of being truly relaxed means having your mind wandering all over the place.

MG: What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?
LM: Uhm. Well. It’s labeled Paranormal Romance. Although sometimes it feels like an Urban Fantasy Family Drama with some Romance elements thrown in. The challenge for me is sticking to the Romance while still maintaining the over-all story arc, which is about a family. I have two Urban Fantasies planned, set in the same world. Then I have a military drama which has been in my head for about ten years and an MG/YA boarding school series that I haven’t been able to shake for nearly twenty years. So hopefully I get to work on those, too.

MG: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
LM: Oh, the control definitely. As an indie author, I have given so much thought as to how I want to brand myself. What my cover styling would be? Which editors to work with. These are all things that I can control. On the flipside, I have no idea where to begin. With traditional publishers, while you don’t have much say in these things, the publishers do have a staff of professionals that know what they’re doing. As an indie author, it is so much more than just writing.

MG: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
LM: No. If I put my mind to it, I can muster about a thousand words per day, but can only do that for two or three days in succession than I hit a wall for about a month. My aim is to at least write a sentence. Sometimes that builds into a two thousand word marathon. Some days, it’s only that sentence. I am at my most productive when I aim small, and take little chunks out of my day to write a paragraph or two.

MG: What do you love most about the writing process?
LM: You know those conversations you have in the shower, where think of all the things you should’ve said in an argument but just didn’t think of at the time. I love that I can turn those thoughts into real conversations. Play it out, so to speak. It’s good therapy.

*****

Lynn Miller lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her love for storytelling started before she was able read or write but she only found the time to pursue this lifelong passion once she sold her software business. Her magical tales weave the blurred grey between good and evil with love, family and friendship.

When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a cup of coffee and her kindle. She has always enjoyed both Romance and Urban Fantasy, and she writes in the genre that encompasses both: Paranormal Romance.  She’s an outdoorsy city girl – comfortable at a campsite with her family or enjoying cocktails with her girlfriends.

You can follow Lynn on Twitter: Twitter: @lynnmillerfic

Sunday Sit-down: Fanni Sütő

As a romance and New Adult author, February is the month of love. Today, I discuss the love of books with fairy tale re-writer, Fanni Sütő.

MG: Let’s get started! What is the best book you’ve read lately?

FS: I got Wonder and Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda for my birthday, I read both of them very quickly. I started Me Before You yesterday and I can barely break away from it to get some work done, so I think that qualifies as pretty good as well.

MG: I don’t think I’ve ever heard of either of the first two, but definitely the third. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which would it be?

FS: Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. It’s a bit of a cheat because it’s pretty long and probably I would forget some parts of the beginning by the time I get to the end, so I could start again. I love Neil Gaiman’s work in general but the Sandman series is really something which is close to the thing I try to do in my own writing, creating a mythology, depicting a world which is like ours but it is also different and so on.

MG: That is a bit of a cheat, but I’d do the same thing, so we’ll pretend we’re not cheating. Do you read outside your genre?

FS: Sure thing! I read basically everything, it really depends on my mood. I’m not a big fan of crime stories or thrillers but I always try to widen my horizon.

MG: That’s okay, I’ll read those for you. If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose? Why?

FS: The first answer coming to my mind was Harry Potter, so I’ll stick with that. It’s the world of my childhood and knowing myself I’d surely be a little Hermione Granger. I wonder what amazing things I could do with the help of magic.

MG: If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?

FS: Neil Gaiman for sure, I admire his work and I had the luck to hear him live twice and he really came across like the kind of person with whom I could understand myself well. I would also have a go at old Shakespeare just to see what is behind all the mystery and how he was in real life. I’d also like to meet Steven Moffat, the creator behind Sherlock and Dr. Who because I think he did a hell of a job with these series.

MG: Oh, my, Benedict Cumberbatch. *swoon* Those are definitely some interesting and eclectic favorites! Well, that’s all we have time for today, folks! Thanks so much, Fannie, for sitting down today!

*****

fannieFanni Sütő is a writer, poet, dreamer who believes in fairy tales even if they are dark, disenchanted and deconstructed. She writes about everything which comes in her way or goes bump in the night. She has been published in Hungary, the US, the UK and Australia.

She is very happy to do collaborations, art exchanges, cross-art projects, so if you’re interested in such things, please get in touch.

Website:www.inkmapsandmacarons.com

I Can’t Even Anymore… *Thursday Thoughts*

I’m just ridiculously stressed out. Too much happening that hits too close to home (or quite literally in my home and driveway, in 2 cases).

I’ve been pouring myself into my writing lately, which is fine, and trying to stay off social media (not cool! It’s how I connect with you, my followers!). The thing is, there’s been SO MUCH negativity lately, that it’s beginning to eat at me. I’ve been trying to shut it down as much as I can, while still being active on Twitter and Facebook. I have to admit, the best parts of my time on Twitter lately, has been bantering with @authormisty, @mreauow, @authorbkyveli, and @devinharnois. We’ve had gif wars and silly conversations and an occasional rant. Also talk about Yuri on Ice.*

I’ve been much quieter on Facebook, only checking once every few days. I get dragged into the cess-pool of Trump’s idiot self, and I just get angry. And while it’s good to get angry, and step up and do something about it, it’s equally (or possibly even more so) harmful to stay angry. I like being happy. I like laughing. I like having something positive to say.

And I have seen plenty of positive. While I’m seeing protests and people fighting back, I see them standing up and showing the world who we really are.

Anyway, I know I rambled a lot on here, and I’m tired of all the negativity, so let’s do something together, and let’s all say something positive. Let’s all be a little light, shining like a beacon in a stormy night to guide a lost ship home. Let’s all be the harbor — be that place of safety that welcomes the lost and wounded and scared with open arms and warm blankets and hot cocoa. Be the smile, the hug, the compliment, that makes someone’s day.

So… my positive thing: My house is a mess and I don’t care (though a bit less messy would be nice). Because it means we have a roof over our heads, and a place we call home.

*Back to that Yuri on Ice thing. Seriously, it’s my feel-good piece right now. I love Yuri and Viktor, and I just want to squishy cuddle them both. And it’s anime. It’s in Japanese. It’s subtitled. And I don’t care. THEY MAKE ME SMILE. It’s that simple. Which reminds me… I need to go watch an episode. Curious? Here’s the link! (There are 12 episodes.)

And because I’ve needed them a lot lately…

Yuri Hug.gif

Thursday Thoughts

I know it’s hard to wrap your head around the rules of writing, even as you gain knowledge and experience. Grasping the basics is where you start – you learn the language, the words, the structure, the punctuation, grammar and spelling. You learn the meaning of how and why and when and where.

There are a lot of blogs out there, spouting off to never do this and never do that and then there’s that thing that you should always do. And if you deviate from any of those rules, you’re wrong, and it’s not right, and your story sucks.

As a general rule, and not a hard rule that must be adhered to at all costs or else, when you find these blogs and bits of advice, chuck them out the window. It’s pretty much all some newbie writer who was told to cut back on the use of adverbs and to find stronger wording to make the story better who took the advice to mean, “cut them all, they’re evil and have no place in your writing!”

If that’s the way the phrasing of a rule makes you feel, FIND NEW ADVICE. I know one author who is adamnt about cutting “it”. Do you have any idea how awkward it is to read that stuff?! It’s horrible! Another harks on “to be” in all it’s forms – is, was, were, are… . And another yet who viciously slashed out all my adverbs. I don’t use many. I run my work through ProWritingAid to find my over-used words. I typically have more over-used words to get rid of than I do adverbs.

Here’s the thing, people. Words are our tools. No one word is any better than any other word until it’s the right word for the word image you’re trying to convey, until it’s the word that paints the picture you want your readers to see.

When I have a character who ‘said quietly’, it’s because he spoke the words – you can hear the depth and texture and timbre of his voice – and did so in a quiet fashion that is not whispering. There is a difference between ‘said quietly’ and ‘whispered’. It is a deliberate choice.

What if I were to describe a sunrise? I have a character who lives on a mountain and watches them every day. Do I need to describe them every time she pauses at her overlook? No. I don’t. “It was a sunrise like any other, even if the day felt different.” I can use “was”. Because it was. It was too hot to handle. It was a dark and stormy night. I know the point here is to make it stronger with phrases like, “the the dark night raged on outside her windows, electric blue currents flashing and booming all at once.” But here’s the other thing. Sometimes, brevity is the point.

I shouldn’t have to describe my MC’s voice every time he speaks quietly in his lady’s ear – I should be able to say, “he said quietly” and be done with it. We all know what it sounds like, and we can move on to the more important details, like what he was doing with his hands, or how he was moving about the room, or the way he held himself.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a minimalist, and tend to only drop details in as needed, but still. Use the words as needed. Know why you’re using it, and how it affects the sentence you’ve attached it to. Know what the sentence says and what it means. Be deliberate. Every word is a tool. Use it properly. Don’t ever not use them because someone else said not to. Would you give up your favorite food just because someone who is passing themselves off as an expert told you to? No (or at least you shouldn’t anyway). You’d do your research (or ignore them completely) and think it over, and make a decision from there. I don’t know about you, but I’m not giving up bacon just because someone said it’s bad for you. (It is, and I should, but bacon.)

How do you know if you’re using it properly? That’s where reader-reaction beta reads and critiques come in. They’ll tell you whether your word-choice is doing what you wanted it to do or not.

Weekly Challenge Piece 1/18/2017

Just to remind everyone what the prompt was…0049 Just a warning, this is REALLY rough. (It’s all over the place, no editing, no anything.) But I have a reason.  I had no clear thought on what this thing was supposed to be about. I had no idea it was going to take me where it did. But I like where it took me. So I’m going to give it my usual treatment, and I’ll show you the steps as it progresses from the jumbled mess that plopped onto the page like a bucket of worms into… whatever it becomes. Certainly easier to read, that’s for sure. Because right now, I basically don’t know who’s speaking except Rubette. All snarking aside, here is…

Returning the Favor

Arms and legs flailing, Tandy tumbled down the hill, coming to a hard stop against the rock wall at the edge of the farmer’s field. Rubette stood atop the hill, her white eyes glaring at her friends.
Some friends they’d turned out to be. They tormented and bullied and tortured anyone they didn’t deem worthy of their little group. Which was anyone. Small children, an old lady walking down the wood-plank walk in front of the local shops. Even the butcher was afraid of Morah, Neline, and Canilo.
She’d been warned as a small child, when her powers were discovered, that she must never use her power for evil, never for revenge. She’d been taught her craft from the first, if only to teach her how to control it.
Grandmother had worked hard to make sure Rubette knew the strength of her power, and establish her physical and mental limits, as well as societal limits. No-one could know about her powers. She mustn’t use them for evil. Strange things happened to those who knew, and bad things happened when the magic was performed for wicked purposes.
It was only a matter of time before the trio picked out a new victim. And Rubette would be there to stop them.
Only minutes later, Morah, Neline and Canilo were picking on Bryvel about the stack of books she habitually carried.
“You are not the friends I bargained for,” Rubette proclaimed.
“What are you talking about?” Neline asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I’ve always had problems fitting in, because of my eyes. So I bargained for friends. I expected good people – people who respected others. People who gave a damn about someone other than themselves. You are not those people. You are not worthy of being my friends.”
“Looks to me,” Morah said, a smug smirk on her lips, “that we have someone new to play with. Wouldn’t you agree?”
Rubette dropped her voice and spread her feet, brought her hands, palms up, to her shoulders. “Bring it, bitches.” She stared at the ground between her feet and took a deep breath as Canilo nd Neline advanced on her.
“If you two know what’s good for you, you won’t take another step.” The threat wasn’t thinly veiled, it wasn’t subtle. But the pair ignored her, just the same.
Rubette filled her lungs and shoved her hands, palms down, by her sides. The earth trembled and heaved and fell away beneath Morah, but her efforts were for naught.
Morah clapped her hands together in front of herself, pointing her flattened hands at Rubette, then flung her hands out to the sides and behind, sending a burst of air at Rubette.
Rubette blocked the blow and scooped her hands together, lifting them up. Still cupped, her hands glided over an imaginary ball, her top hand shoving a tiny purple spark toward Morah. The spark materialized into a bright green ball of fire, hitting Morah square on the chest.
“I knew you’d be trouble from the day we met. You’re nothing but a trickster, little girl.”
Canilo and Neline turned to face their friend, mouths gaping.
“Get Bryvel out of here,” Rubette commanded. Canilo scrambled and grabbed Bryvel, but the small girl broke free of his grasp.
“I stay.” Bryvel shouted back.
“No! Save yourselves!”
“I can help.”
“We all can.” Neline’s voice broke Rubette’s concentration.
Rubette looked to Neline, Canilo, and Bryvel. A charge of electricity surged through her, dropping her to the ground.

The voice seemed distant at first, creeping closer as the hazy edges of a black-out broke away like fog on a misty morning.
“Rube-Rubette? Come on, wake up,” Canilo said. He patted her cheek, and she swatted his hand away.
“I’m not dead,” she said, sitting up with Neline’s help. “Why not?”
“Bryvel deflected it, but not completely.” Canilo shrugged. “She’s getting slow in her old age.”
Rubette glanced at the girl. “She’s eighteen.”
“More like two-hundred-and-forty. You’ve much to learn. And I’ve much I can teach you, young Bramor.”
“I’m fine on my own. You should have left. I could have dealt with her.” Rubette looked around. “Where are we?”
“At the catalyst.”
Rubette’s heart stopped. “No! No-no-no-no-no! I can’t go back! I haven’t–!”
“We’re not going back. We’ve all been banished.” Bryvel stood from her spot in the corner of the cave and brought water.
“No, I’m not banished. I’m on assignment.”
“Rube,” Neline said, opening her mouth and closing it again. “I don’t know how to tell you this, but…”
“You’re on Netori.” Canilo didn’t mince his words. “You’ve been banished.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t show my powers, I didn’t do them for evil, I…”
“What did you do?” Neline asked.
“My father sent me.”
“Who is your father?” Bryvel asked.
Rubette looked at the girl–woman. “Jandor Eilen. He’s–”
Bryvel’s jaw dropped. “Kinsor Eilan’s great-great-great grandson,” she said, her voice soft with awe.
Rubette snorted out a laugh. “I’m not royalty. It’s a common enough name these days. After Kinsor fell, two hundred years ago, everyone was trying to claim heir to the throne. How do you not…?” Rubette looked to Neline and Canilo.
“We’ve been here longer than Bryvel.” Canilo sat back against the cave wall and studied everyone.
There was too much to comprehend, and no time to do it. “What’s going on here?”
“Time moves at a different speed here.”
“It doesn’t move at all.”
“Why did you get sent?”
“We are enemies of Kinsor.”
“There isn’t even a rumor that Kinsor banished anyone.”
“There wouldn’t be, would there?”
“I heard he was a braggart.”
“He wouldn’t brag of banishing his parents,” Neline said, glancing at Canilo.
“Or his sister,” Bryvel added.
“What?” Rubette asked. The idea that she could potentially be royalty blew her mind. There was no reason.
“The catalyst keepers… they… they found you. Didn’t they?” Canilo questioned.
“No. A knight. Ronak. He saw me fighting off a nan-nan.”
“Ronak is still alive?” Bryvel asked, her eyes misty.
“Stoic and serious and hard as nails. He’s taken over. He’s the one who sent me here.”
“Did–” Bryvel stopped herself, her hand over her heart. Her eyes filled with tears and her breath caught. “Did he mention me?”
“He mentioned someone named Crystella-something. Sorry, it wasn’t you.”
“Crystella Lumelle.”
“He said no-one else knew that name. How did you?”
“I am she. What did he say?”
“He spoke of the moon and the stars where the pulse of her heart held steady and true.”
Rubette snorted another laugh, but came up short. Ronak had mentioned a marking Crystella had.
Looking up, their eyes locked. Bryvel reached over and untied the lacing securing her leather arm-guard in place.
“Did he send a message?”
“He only said that one day, their hearts would be united again, for eternity.”
Bryvel worked the arm-band off. “How long we’ve been apart, aching to be together once more.”
Ronak had also said that Crystelle Lumelle held the key. “Wait. I didn’t tell you everything.”
“What else is there?”
“You hold the key.”
“I’ve always had his heart. I know this.”
“No. I think he meant a key. Actual or metaphorical, I couldn’t tell you, but… so where is it? What’s the key?”
Bryvel fell silent while she contemplated her existence the past two-hundred-and-twelve years. “There is only one thing I can think of.”
“What’s that?”
“Morah. She is the keeper on this side. She’s been here for an eternity. Never aging, never changing. She gets angrier by the day.”
“So… we dispatch her and take over.”
“Wait!” Bryvel stood abruptly and stalked to the mouth of the cave.
“Crystella, no!” Canilo exclaimed, jumping up and going after her. “The lunnits! They’ll get you!”
Rubette shuddered at the thought of lunnits. Filthy, foul-smelling creatures that only came out at night. No-one knew what exactly they looked like. But they were deadly, just the same.
“One-two-three-four-five–” Bryvel’s counting was cut short by a loud shriek and a commotion outside the cave. A black bolt of electricity flashed, followed by an echoing boom that rattled the cave, sending loose rock tumbling down on Neline and Rubette. “There you are, my little triller.” A moment later, Bryvel and Canilo returned, a small creature wiggling in Bryvel’s arms.
The little black dragon rolled over and opened his mouth in an immense yawn. A bright pink flame shot from his nose when he sneezed. He jumped to the ground and shook himself off. Something hung around his neck, the metal catching the light of the fire they’d lit as night fell.
Bryvel stooped before the pink dragon. “Zareth, my pet. I need this, now.”
He wiggeled again, and rolled onto his back, then wiggled some more until Bryvel rubbed his tummy. He sneezed again, and Bryvel giggled.
“Does this mean,” Rubette asked, crouching down next to Bryvel, “that we’re out to get revenge?”
Bryvel took the key from around Zareth’s neck and stood. She held her hand out to Rubette. “No; I don’t like to call it ‘revenge.’ ‘Returning the favor’ sounds… nicer.” Bryvel held the key up in the light and studied it. “Morah is the gatekeeper.

Weekly Prompt…?

Okay, so I said I’d write a prompt for this week, and share it here, and I have failed. SO… I’ll have something posted by midnight, and also, I’ll put up a new one. I’m working out the bugs as we go, so instead of giving the deadline of Wednesdays, I think I’m going to go with Tuesdays or Fridays? Which do you think? If I post the prompt weekly, I could do the propmt suggestion on, say, Tuesday instead of Wednesday? Would that work? And then have it due on Friday? Or suggest it on Friday, and have it done on the following Tuesday? Oh, I like that idea. Let’s go with that. I share the prompt on Friday, and post it on Tuesday. That gives me enough time to write it, but not enough time to forget about it. PS: I forgot about it because I was sucked into making words for Nerdgasm – which is up a full 11K this year, and then last night, I had a scene that suddenly struck me as… off, so I spent all night and into the wee hours of the morning fixing it. And then finished fixing it this morning.

So, okay, I’ll post the next prompt on Friday… or did one get scheduled for today? I’ll double check. Next prompt will be posted on Friday, and I’ll have mine posted on Tuesday. There. And I’ll write something up quick for last week’s prompt. Be back in a bit, y’all!

Sunday Sit-Down: Bren Kyveli

It rhymes with “sky deli”. I normally post on Sundays, but yesterday was a versy special day to me, and one that I old near and dear. I couldn’t let the light of one post over-shadow the other, so Ms. Kyveli was gracious enough to have her interview today instead of the typical Sunday. With that in mind, let’s have a seat with Bren, and see what she has to say about being an author!

 

MG 02.jpg I always like to ask – do you read much, and who are your favorite authors?
bk.jpg I read all the time, usually two or three books at a time. James Rollins is my favorite; in fact, I’m such a fan girl, I can’t even bring myself to reply to his tweets. But I pretty much read everything across all genres–well, except sci-fi and fantasy. I enjoy watching them, but don’t have the patience reading them.

MG 02.jpg Personally, with sci-fi and fantasy, I find the covers too busy to get past, so I never even bother to pick them up. Tell me – is being a writer a gift or a curse?
bk.jpg Both. It’s a gift because not many people can perform the magic of taking their imagination and putting it in the hands of others in a tangible form. And really, that’t exactly what writing is – magic. It’s cathartic, therapeutic, it fills the holes in one’s soul. But it’s also a curse because like any good magic, it’s very addicting. If I don’t write for a few days, I get antsy and irritable and a bit depressed. Then I’m almost compelled to write regardless of life’s obligations. So writing is definitely both a gift and a curse.

MG 02.jpg I know the feeling of it being both curse and gift. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
bk.jpg I do. I still have it, actually.
I was always in the mindset that I hate writing, even though I’ve always kept a journal, talkint to myself and working out emotional issues. But real writing was something you had to do for college; it was nothing but regurgitating shit that a dozen other people with initials after their names already wrote a dozen other times.
But a few years ago, my hubs was on yet another deployment, I had a 5 month old kid with not a drop of kid experience under my belt (seriously, my own kid was the first diaper I changed in my whole 28 years), no physical family support – they were all at least a couple thousand miles away, and I was on a string of about five shitty books in a row.
Suddenly, the journal entry changed. It wasn’t me bitching to myself. Characters started emerging, and they were the ones dealing wtiht he loneliness, the isolation, the maddening horniness, the stress of being a new mom… all of it.
That night, I couldn’t write in the journal fast enough; I wrote until there we tears pouring from my eyes and I was laughin maniacally at the same time. If anyone saw me that night, I would’ve been locked in the psych ward. I wrote and wrote until I fell asleep on my journal, and slept the two hours before dawn when the kiddo woke me up.
The next day, I felt like a whole new person, like I really could take on the world. I felt like me again.
So I read the story and was completely surprised to see a story like that came from my fingers. My mom convinced me to type it up and submit it somewhere, so I did. Drummed up my courage, typed it up, edited it to the best my little novice mind could, and put it on the internet.
Literally almost threw up when I hit the submit button.
But within a day, I got feedback saying things like, “Wow! This can’t be the first thing you’ve ever written, this was amazing,” and “I could see everything and feel every one of her emotions, I couldn’t stop reading, even though I was crying my eyes out,” and “Miss Kyveli, I teach college creative writing classes, and this was better than some of my advanced students’ work.”
I was hooked from then on. Not on the praise, but on the way writing gave me a way to expel stress and all the negative energy roiling inside.

MG 02.jpg Wow. That’s incredible! Now that we’ve learned how you got started writing, tell me a bit about your process – how do you brainstorm story ideas?
bk.jpg I’m a plantster, so I make a list of all the things I want in the story, write down what type of ending I want – happily ever after/happy for now/cliffhanger/question/etc. Then after that, I let my Muses just kind of take over.

MG 02.jpg Oh, the muses. They’re a special lot. But they get us to the end, often despite their crazy antics. Speaking of the end, do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
bk.jpg From what I’ve seen from other indie authors, and even big name authors, it’s simply flood your social media feed with chatter about the struggles of this vice or the difficulties of that character, then once it’s ready for the world, just keep reminding people about it. People have short memories, and even shorter attention spans.

MG 02.jpg Phew! Good to know that’s about what I do already! Thanks, again, to the amazing Bren Kyveli! That’s all the time we have for this week, but stay tuned for more author interviews in the weeks to come!

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Bren Kyveli is a stay at home mom of a spirited three year old little girl and a couple of rescued mutts. She’s been happily married to her highschool sweetheart since 2005. She’s had a deep love for the written word since she was a toddler; reading everything she could get her hands on and always writing in fancy journals with pretty pens. Bren writes contemporary Romance, Erotica and drama in the hours left at the end of the day when her house has gone to sleep.

You can find additional stories and poems at thepolkadotcoffeecup.com (https://thepolkadotcoffeecup.com), or follow her on Twitter at @AuthorBKyveli (https://twitter.com/AuthorBKyveli) and if you’re really brave you can check out her Muses at work on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/brenkyveli30)

All in the Name of Romance

I know I normally have an author interview on the first and third Sunday of each month, and I promise, I won’t let you down, I’ve got an interview scheduled for tomorrow – I just couldn’t let one post over-shadow the other.

Today is a very special day. You see, seventy-two years ago, something magical happened.

On a California Naval base, by the power vested in the base chaplain, and witnessed by two close friends, my paternal grandparents were wed. Grandma wore a pale yellow skirt-suit and had a corsage of white carnations, while Grandpa wore his dress uniform.

There is little more romantic, in my mind because it’s part of my story, than my grandparents’ story. I don’t remember all of the details, but I do know that despite their differences, they made it work. For 65 years, they made it work. And they did it without raising their voices, without blow-out fights where someone came back, begging for forgiveness with an epic apology.

I have, in part, modeled the relationship my current MCs, Judy and Max, have on my grandparents because it was simple, sweet, and refreshing. It’s not to say that there weren’t stressors for my grandparents – Grandpa was in the Navy, they moved a lot the first few years, and they had four boys. Four. Yet their marriage survived for 65 amazing years.

And I never once heard them raise their voices with me and my brother – and we fought a lot, it could have easily happened – or with each other. In fact, I don’t even recall hearing them disagree on anything.

They never argued over religion, despite Grandpa being Lutheran and Grandma being Catholic. The thing is… it’s not that they never disagreed  – they did, and plenty. They talked about it like rational adults are supposed to do. They discussed their points and listened to each other.

And through it all, they were perfect for, and to, and with, each other. I miss them most this time of year – Grandma passed away on 1/7/2010, the day after my son was born, and Grandpa on 11/2/2010 – but in my children, I see traces of each of them, and in that, I have comfort. My daughter was given Grandma’s quirky little half-smile and generous personality, and my son has Grandpa’s eyebrow-lift and incredible ability to give bone-crushing, breath-stopping hugs. The hugs you never want to end, that you hold on to for just another second longer.

So here’s to the couple who always had a hug, and always wanted to hold on, for just one more second. I’m glad you’re still together, and when my time comes (hopefully not for a good long while yet), I’ll see you on the other side.

I love you, I miss you, and we’ll see each other again.