Friday: Hiatus

Sorry to say that the Walk Into the Picture: Castle serial installment will miss today, as I’ve been sick all this week. However, it’ll be back next week (barring all sorts of unforeseen circumstances I refuse to contemplate…)

In the meantime, here are some writing memes I’ve been saving for a “rainy day.”

Writing Meme9

Writing Meme8Writing Meme7

Writing Meme10

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Wednesday Windows: Homey Kitchen

Kitchen Window

What do you see in this? Hear? I can hear the echoes of years of a family growing up in this house, in this kitchen — the hub of the house. I can picture floor mopping — first done by a young mother; taken over by a pre-teen daughter; the mother, now middle-aged; then the daughter, now middle-aged — while her white haired mother sits at the kitchen table watching with an air of baffled interest. I hear the man of the house caroling, “I’m home! What smells so good?” Mom scolding when her gangly teenaged son and his pals raid the freshly filled cookie jar. Can you see the good holiday dishes stacked on the table, waiting to be washed and used in the dining room for Thanksgiving dinner. What about the good silver in a silver chest laid open for inspection? Oh, the stories this kitchen could tell. Just look at it. Just listen. Shhhh…It’s all there, waiting to be discovered.

Monday Motivation: Defining Characters

As a character-driven writer, making sure I know my hero and heroine very well is important to me. I am also a pantser. I go into a new story knowing their names (of course), knowing a bit of their backstory, and their personalities. For example, in Perp Bride, I knew my heroine, Alcie, was a force of nature – a rough-edged woman who would be tough to reckon with and come out the winner. She’s fierce, independent, and very, very loyal. She was also very unapologetic for being herself. Love her or hate her, and she doesn’t care which. Alcie’s hero, Luca, is no less a force to be reckoned with, but he’s quieter about it that she is. He’s a bit more mellow, not hardened around the edges as Alcie, but don’t make the mistake of underestimating him.

Other times, however, I start a story with a situation that I put the characters into, so I need to do a bit more digging to figure out who the hero and heroine are. My bestie, Sherry, pointed me towards a numerology website years and years ago, and I often go there to run character names through, to see what the numerology report says about their personalities. Whether you believe in numerology or not, you can still get excellent insight and ideas about how to full out your characters into fully-realized, living, breathing people. I use What Your Name Means at PaulSadowski.com CLICKITY LINK.

For fun, I’m going to name a character, and run the name through the numerology website linked above, then share the results and pick through it for possible traits I’d like to emphasize in the character. So, I searched Kayla Mariah Hunter. The report is below… (Source)

Your number is: 6

The characteristics of #6 are: Responsibility, protection, nurturing, community, balance, sympathy.

The expression or destiny for #6:
The number 6 Expression provides you a truly outstanding sense of responsibility, love, and balance. The 6 is helpful and ever conscientious, making you quite capable of rectifying and balancing any sort of inharmonious situation. You are a person very much inclined to give help and comfort to those in need. You have a natural penchant for working with the old, the young, the sick, or the underprivileged. Although you may have considerable creative and artistic talents, the chances are that you will devote yourself to an occupation that shows concern for the betterment of the community.

The positive side of the number 6 suggests that you are very loving, friendly, and appreciative of others. You have a depth of understanding that produces much sympathetic, kindness, and generosity. The qualities of the 6 make the finest and most concerned parent and one often deeply involved in domestic activities. Openness and honesty is apparent in your approach to all relationships.

If there is an excess of the number 6 in your makeup, you may exhibit some of the negative traits associated with this number. There may be a tendency for you to be too exacting and demanding of yourself. In this regard, you may at times sacrifice yourself (or your loved ones) for the welfare of others. In some cases, the over zealous 6 has difficulty distinguishing helping from interfering. You may have difficulty expressing your own individuality, because of involvement with responsibilities and causes. Like all with the Expression of the number 6, it’s quite likely that you worry much too much.

What would I take from this for Kayla? Okay. She’s a social worker who works with foster children. Maybe she was herself once a foster child. A foster child with an artistic ability with drawing/painting that was never nurtured, so perhaps she’s taking it on herself to establish some sort of program for foster kids that encourages/teaches/nurtures artistic talents — painting, drawing, playing an instrument, theater…On the negative side (giving her some internal and external conflict), she’s so into what she does, that she doesn’t know where her job ends and she begins. Therefore, with the possible exception of one friend from her fostering days, Kayla has no friends or close people. She has work relationships. And worrying too much is an excellent cross for her to bear – worrying that no foster kids will want to participate in her program, worries she won’t be able to find the appropriate adult teachers/professionals to volunteer time to her program…fear of failure.

Your Soul Urge number is: 3

A Soul Urge number of 3 means:
With the Soul Urge number 3 your desire in life is personal expression, and generally enjoying life to its fullest. You want to participate in an active social life and enjoy a large circle of friends. You want to be in the limelight, expressing your artistic or intellectual talents. Word skills may be your thing; speaking, writing, acting, singing. In a positive sense, the 3 energy is friendly, outgoing and always very social.

You have a decidedly upbeat attitude that is rarely discouraged; a good mental and emotional balance.

The 3 Soul Urge gives intuitive insight, thus, very high creative and inspirational tendencies. The truly outstanding trait shown by the 3 Soul Urge is that of self-expression, regardless of the field of endeavor.

On the negative side, you may at times become too easygoing and too optimistic, tending to scatter forces and accomplish very little. Often, the excessive 3 energy produces non-stop talkers. Everyone has faults, but the 3 soul urge doesn’t appreciate having these pointed out.

Okay, from this, I’d take that Kayla has the ability to express herself clearly in words, both verbal and written. People are going to be drawn to her cause because she’s got the outgoing personality and charm to engage volunteers. When she gets nervous, she talks non-stop. 

Your Inner Dream number is: 3

An Inner Dream number of 3 means:
You dream of artistic expression; writing, painting, music. You would seek to more freely express your inner feeling and obtain more enjoyment from life. You also dream of being more popular, likable, and appreciated.

From this, I’d take that Kayla wants everything she didn’t have as a foster child – a close-knit family, a large circle of friends. Popularity, not so much, she just wants to be SEEN and appreciated for being Kayla. And accepted, whether she succeeds or fails with her Big Idea.

And now that I know all that about Kayla, I can match her up with a hero who plays (positively and negatively) to her strengths and weaknesses. I can tell you already, he’s one of the professionals she’d like to attract to her program as a volunteer. I’m thinking he’s a musician. He’d be intrigued by her brightness, drawn to her for her dedication to her job, this program, and the kids, but stymied because he can’t get a handle on who she is without all that about her. I might or might not run the hero’s name through the numerology site, but leaning towards not in this instance, as pulling all that I did about Kayla has given me insight to the sort of hero she needs. Now I need a setting, the secondary characters, and a willing Muse! The plot twists will reveal themselves as I write, as well as more information about the characters – quirks, likes and dislikes, etc.

Walk Into the Picture: Castle

castle

Part One

Part Two

“Your missing?” Confused, I looked from the woman to Eirnan, back and forth. “I don’t understand. Am I ill? Hallucinating? Was I in an accident? How can this be happening? What exactly is happening?”

Maida patted my shoulder. “‘Tis crazy you are not, Riley — is it? The O’Hara’s have been cursed for centuries. Legend has it that Eirnan the Black, the original Eirnan, offended the Fairy Queen by refusing her hand in marriage. She opened the time slip. Never have we heard of someone coming to us through it, dear. We usually lose two or three a year to the slip. The first to disappear was the young woman Eirnan the Black married instead of the Fairy Queen. Mary was her name. One afternoon, she went out for a walk and was never seen again. She left two children behind. Her husband, in a fit of grief, declared that all first born sons were to bear his name — Eirnan, and charged all to follow to somehow make his offense right and close the slip.”

“You’re from the future,” Eirnan stated, more for confirmation, I thought, than as a question.

“Yes.”

“Perhaps our people are going to the future.” He drummed his fingers against the top of the well-worn tabletop. I took more notice of my surroundings now, in an attempt to memorize everything so I could remember them when I came out of this — whatever this was.

“Tis late. The light of day would see us all better for a good night’s sleep. I’ll take Riley along with me,” Maida suggested.

Eirnan scowled. “No, Maida. We know nothing of Riley. She will stay with me. ‘Tis my responsibility to see to the clan’s safety.”

“‘Tisn’t proper.” But Maida’s protest fell on deaf ears, or so I assumed for all the attention Eirnan paid her complaint — None. He gave me no time to protest either, for he surged to his feet, pausing only long enough to lift me out of the chair. I resigned myself to being carried against his hip again.

“Maida, if you don’t mind taking the food tray up to my rooms?” And with those words, he strode to the massive stone staircase and climbed upwards. Silence reigned behind us. I managed to catch a peek of Maida following at a sedate pace, a studied expression of blandness on her face.

* * * * *

A 5-Star Review for Perp Bride! (Available on Amazon: CLICK!)

Format:Kindle Edition
Raunchy, raw, and ridiculously funny. ***The original review was longer but didn’t take for some reason. I’ll try recreating it.***

This heroine is Stephanie Plum on crack. She’s your best friend who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. She’s a woman with a heart of gold and fists of steel. The book is irreverent and both tender and tough. Alcie has given up her life as she knows it in New York only to take up residence in a town she despises but can’t escape. She shocks some people and endears herself to others. Her niece and nephew adore her, the cop who arrested her 10 years prior is crazy about her, and she shines brightly despite the trials she endures.

If you like romance, snark, and don’t mind characters who speak colorfully, this book is for you. I loved it.”

Wednesday Window: Turning Words Into Pictures, Turning Pictures Into Words

WindowsC

Nature: Being outdoors with the trees, grass, river, flowers, hills…the wide open blue sky. Looks like a spring day, so the air would hold a hint of the summer warmth to come. How many shades of green does Mother Nature know? There’s the dark green of the trees, the brighter green of the ivy growing over the stone house.

Home: A tidy, cozy little cottage built of rocks found around the property. Love of color shows in the turquoise paint on the front door. Love of nature shows in the ivy crawling over the house, in the tended grass, the flowers. Then there’s the stunning setting, overlooking a river, with the hills in the background. I fancy the bed linens smell of fresh air and sunshine, the sweet antique wood furniture sparkles so you can see your reflection. A white sheepdog is curled before the fireplace, taking a morning snooze. Faint on the air, the aroma of breakfast.

Refreshed: Water nearby, so cool, creating such a soothing sound as it flows downstream. A great break from yard work on a hot summer’s day – taking a wade next to the bank. Cold water rushing around your feet, ankles and legs, whisking away the heat created by the physical work.

Renewal: Taken altogether, the three words above – nature, home and refreshed, whomever lives here could find renewal for a busy life that revolves around work, keeping up the home, raising kids. There’s such peace outside this window, if I open it, I bet I could smell the spring flowers perfuming the air.

Monday Motivation: MOTIVATE Your Characters

M – Memories – Give your characters realistic memories, both good and bad, to add to their backstory.

O – Occupation – Clearly, people need to work, unless they’re so wealthy they don’t need to. The type of career you pick for your characters speaks volumes about them.

T – Touchy – People aren’t in perpetual good moods. It’s okay for your characters to show impatience, dislike, or annoyance.

I – Interests – We all have our interests – reading, sports, music, baseball. Round out your characters with their own interests.

V – Variety – Do you find yourself writing the same sorts of characters or situations? Make your characters unique to each         story.

A – Active – Keep your characters active in moving the plot forward in a logical manner.

T – Tantalize – Grab your readers with tantalizing characters they can relate to – make ’em real.

E – Endearing – Enduring characters endear themselves to the reader. Harry Potter, for example. Hermione Granger. Eve Dallas. Stephanie Plum.

* * * * *

Walk Into the Picture: Castle

castle

CLICK HERE to read Part One

The great room of the castle was well-lit by the fire the roared at the far ends of the room, as well as the numerous candles set in sconces upon the stone walls. Tapestries hung between the sconces, depicting hunting scenes, wedding scenes, feasts, and great battles. Straw — rushes? — adorned the floor. To the left, what was clearly the dining area. A large trestle table sat before the fireplace, surrounded by more chairs than I had time to count. The other end of the room, also with a fireplace, looked to be a sitting area, although with the most uncomfortable-looking furniture I’d ever seen in my life.

.”Maida,” Eirnan called as he strode to the table. “Food, Maida. I discovered a foundling out in the weather. She’ll need proper clothing, too.” He used his foot to drag a chair out from the table, then sat me in it with little ceremony or care.

His friends ranged themselves behind him, taking up serious stances. I’ll admit, hard as it is seeing I’m a 21st century empowered woman, that I was quite intimidated. “I don’t mean to be any trouble,” I offered, confused at what exactly Eirnan expected from me. From the way he held himself now, along with his howling for service, I figured him to be the lord of the manor, as it were, and quite at ease with his authority.

“Where are you from, Riley MacCormack? What brings you here?” Eirnan waved his hand in a vague circle, near his head.

“I went out for a walk.” True enough. When fabricating, keep as close to the truth as possible. I mean, I wasn’t about to tell him I thought I’d somehow slipped through time. I had no idea what century this was, but it looked Medieval. Possibly earlier.

“At night? Without an escort? Ya think me daft then?”

“I think nothing of the sort, since I’ve never met you before. I couldn’t say if you’re daft or not, seeing as I know nothing about you.” Who knew how long I’d be here. I couldn’t afford to alienate this man.

He drew out a chair next to mine, sitting heavily. “Ya think I don’t know there’s a time slip on my cliff? I’ll repeat myself once, and not again. Where are you from?”

Well. that certainly put a different face on the subject, didn’t it? “The year 2015, from a country called the United States of America. It’s across the Atlantic Ocean. When am I here?”

“1294. Visiting my home in your own time, were you?”

“Yes.” Having never time-traveled before, I didn’t know what the rules were. Surely there were rules, right? I couldn’t tell him his home lay in ruins. I just couldn’t.

He stared hard at me. Silence reigned until a woman came in through a door I hadn’t noticed before. She carried a tray piled high with food-laden dishware. “A visitor, ya say? Needing proper clothing? Have you found a way through, then to collect our missing?”

* * * * * *

Angie

It’s your typical mid-week day here on Planet Earth when the aliens arrive. There’s nothing remarkable, nothing out of the ordinary, that would presage the arrival of the alien UFOs that park over all the big cities of the world, including, of course, New York City. Everyone knows that when the aliens arrive, they’ll head to Manhattan. It’s probably a law. And predictably, the aliens turn out to be evil invaders, intent on the Earth’s destruction. Because, are there any other kind of aliens?

Meet Angie Gibson, our plucky heroine who harbors a guilty a love for alien invasion and/or disaster movies. The sillier the movie, the better. She conveniently finds her best friend, Lacey Bevins, as they flee the Manhattan office building where they work, and together, they join forces with Hale and Nelson when Angie inconveniently breaks her ankle during the stampeding exodus from Lower Manhattan. Together the foursome, against all logic, flee Lower Manhattan for Upper Manhattan, hiding in odd places, rescue some abandoned children, and race towards their salvation, the George Washington Bridge. Oh. And they fight some aliens. Oh, oh! And have desperate sex, because who wouldn’t when the world is being destroyed by evil, invading aliens and you don’t know if you’ll live to see tomorrow?

Join Angie, Hale, Lacey and Nelson for a silly adventure that couldn’t possibly happen in real life.

Right?

I mean, this really couldn’t happen in real life.

Purchase your copy of this fun, 5-Star read on AMAZON today!

Wednesday Window: Some Calm

WindowsA I’ve embarked on a mission to find more peace and calm in my life – to become more centered. How can you not look out this “window” I made and not find serenity and peace in the stunning sky? In the nature so up close and personal you feel like you could reach out and touch it?

So much goes on in daily life that can rob us of our peace, calm and serenity. And that can and does impact everything we do, whether we express our creativity through writing, photography, painting, drawing, cooking, other crafts…LIFE. Kids. School. Health issues. Spouses. Home improvement projects. Chickens. Pigs. Turkeys. Dogs. Cats. Current events. Gas prices. Weather – too hot, too cold, to wet, not wet enough. Daylight Savings Time. Etc. Etc…all the details that swirl together in our lives to make life easier, more difficult, more pleasant, less pleasant – all things that can rob us of our peace, calm, serenity. Conspiring to increase our joy in life if we’re lucky. It’s striking a balance and an ability to weather the storms that I’m after.

Here are a few things I’ve pinned onto my new Pinterest board, Spirituality.

Micro-Meditation

And to apply to my writing…

Genius

Balance. Peace. Calm. Serenity. JOY.

Monday Motivation: How to Form a Writing Habit

The time change has thrown me for a loop, plus a sick kid (who will be out of school Monday and Tuesday)…plus too much to do, not enough time to do it — thanks, Santa, for not giving me that clone I asked for last Christmas. I wanted today’s post to be brilliantly inspiring, original, fascinating. However, since my brain is refusing to function on a creative level, I went on a search for motivational images to share. Lazy way out, but some days are like that. That said, I really liked these graphics I found and I hope you do too. All graphics are sourced with the URL where I found them so ya’ll can take a moment to go visit those sites. 🙂

One last bit of inspiration/motivation…whatever you’d like to call it. You’re welcome!

Friday: Walk Into the Picture: Castle

I could hear the echoes of a very active community around the ruins as I strolled towards the skeleton of the castle on the hill. Tall, arching windows framed the vivid blue of a sky dotted with fluffy white clouds. Darker clouds approached from the horizon – a storm coming in from the sea. The wind whipped through the scrubby bushes and grass, whistling through the narrow cracks between the castle’s stone walls.

The scent of a campfire came to me on the next gust of wind. I’d had the sense to bring a sweater, but it wasn’t nearly enough protection from the nip the wind carried from the bay. I turned to the water, fascinated by the white-capped, rolling waves. The beach was way below where I stood, with no good or easy way down. Another blast of the wind left me shivering.

“Are ya daft, lass? Come closer to the fire.”

I whirled around so fast I nearly lost my footing and toppled over the edge of the cliff I stood upon. Someone’s hard arm caught me around my waist, hauling me away from danger. “Put me down,” I ordered when my feet left the ground.

“Not likely. You haven’t the sense to come in out of the wind or the ability to dress yourself properly.”

The deep male voice made me shiver as much as the cold wind had. I hadn’t gotten a good look at him as he held me against his hip, facing away from him. He strode towards the large bonfire that blazed on the flat plain at the foot of the castle hill. Darkness had settled, confusing me as it had been mid-afternoon. What had happened here? Where had this man come from? I’d been here all alone.

“I caught me a wee sprite,” my rescuer-slash-captor announced to the three men who stood around the fire in various poses.

Laughter greeted the announcement. “I didn’t know it was wee sprite season,” one of the men joked. All gathered in a loose semi-circle around me, unabashed about staring at me.

“Never seen her before. Are ya sure she’s a she? She’s wearing trousers, and her hair is shorter than mine. Maybe you caught yourself a wee lad.”

More laughter. I ground my teeth together. “Have you never seen a woman this far from civilization?” I demanded.

“And what’s all this if it’s not civilization?” My rescuer set me on my feet. “Hmmm? D’ya have a name?”

“Riley MacCormack,”

“She has two surnames? I still think you caught a lad, Eirnan.”

Eirnan, huh? He rested heavy hands on my shoulders, keeping me near him. I decided I’d fallen asleep back in my hotel room, and that this was a very detailed dream. How else could I explain the sudden change in time of day? Or that the castle loomed over me, whole and inhabited?

“Are ya warm yet, Riley MacCormack?” His low rumble brought goosebumps to my skin, made my knees vibrate as his voice caressed my name. He didn’t await my answer, but lifted me off my feet again to rest against his hip. I bounced a bit as he strode up the hill to the castle. His three friends followed, subdued now in their teasing. Something significant had happened, but I had no idea what. #indie

To be Continued Next Friday…

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For more timey-wimey-time travel and spookiness: Spooked: A Halloween Duet. Available on Kindle HERE.

2 stories for the price of 1. these are perfect for the season but will keep you laughing any time. I dare you to read one and not want to read the other right away. perfect for an early evening of reading before bed. Hamby once again gives us romance and humor and a dash of spookiness. 5 Sar Review by Kathi Harris

Haunted: Alisanne Sommers is haunted in more ways than one. However, it’s not so much the ghosts of the dead who haunt her as it’s one living, breathing, breath-taking man. Remy Beauvais. He stole her heart years ago and never gave it back. Alisanne finds more than possible love rekindled when she returns home to New Orleans following her father’s death. Her lifelong fascination with the Misty Lady legend looms large around them, bringing danger and intrigue. Question is, is the Misty Lady and her legend true, and will it keep Alisanne and Remy apart?

In the Fog: A haunted lighthouse located on a supposedly haunted point in Maryland. Two people drawn out of their own time into the past where they are stuck until they accomplish whatever task they’d been tapped to fulfill. Once completed, will Tabitha and Grady ever see each other again? What’s going on in the fog of October?