Cover Reveal: Fury From Hell

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Fury From Hell is a paranormal thriller about good vs. evil.  Here, the good is in the form of Detective Jennifer Holden, a homicide cop that is haunted by her own personal demons of a murder she committed when she was just a teenager.  The trauma  she suffered at the hands of social agency after agency hardened Jennifer into a staunch atheist making her gun and her bank account the only things she truly believes in.

We meet Detective Holden, shortly before she begins working on her first solo murder case.  The victim is Kyma Barnes who was brutally raped and killed. As Kyma’s soul leaves her body, a demon being called by a coven of dark witches at nearby Prospect Park, is drawn to the dying woman by her death throes.  Fury Abatu offers to avenge Kyma’s death.  The price?  The  dying woman’s soul.  Kyma gives it gladly to ensure the man who killed her pays dearly.

At the crime scene, Jennifer becomes possessed by Fury Abatu.  Hosts usually die a violent death within weeks of the initial possession.  Detective Holden does not know she is possessed…

With her own demise on the line, Jennifer must fight for her life and her very soul – something she’s not sure she even believes in – to rid herself of the dark force surrounding her and her friends.

Can Jennifer be saved from the demon?  Will she be able to find the faith to believe in something greater than herself and her  material things?

Read this first installment of the From Hell series to find out!

*  *  *

Fury From Hell will debut on Tuesday, September 9th, 2014!  It will be available on all e-reader platforms, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your favorite e-book distributors.

For an advance review copy, please leave a comment below.

Guest Post: Write What You . . . Know? ~ Anna Bradley

Today’s guest post is a great segue from my last post about bringing books from the ephemeral ether of our creative minds to the real world in the form of a paperback, or an ebook.

Anna Bradley  is our guest post writer and she’s completed her first romance novel.  Here’s what she’s learned in the journey of bringing her book to fruition.

*  *  *

Anna-Bradley

 

When I sat down to write this my intent was to talk about RWA#14 from a newbie’s perspective. You know, everything from the blank look I gave everyone who asked for my business card to “Have you ever seen such a long line at Starbuck’s?”

I’m still going to write that blog because I know you’re dying to hear about how I went all fan-girl on Eloisa James. But a whole lot of stuff happened before I ever made it to RWA#14, and it only seems fair to start at the beginning.

We all have our own paths to stumble down—our own truths to encounter on our journey to becoming writers. For me, it began with the simple adage: Write What You Know.

Good advice, isn’t it?

Sure it is…if you are writing a memoir, or an autobiography. Or, maybe this advice could work for you if you’re a beekeeper writing a non-fiction treatise about the mating habits of leafcutter bees.

Then, good for you — have at it.

But what if you want to write fiction? What about the creative element? What if you’re pretty sure you know nothing and would rather the world not find out about it?

Now, of course I know things. So do you. We all do. The problem isn’t about not knowing. It’s that we may not want to write about what we do know.

I know about being a mother, and living in the Pacific Northwest, and I know where to get really great Chinese food in Portland. These are all wonderful things to know but I don’t particularly want to write about any of them. But, damn it, I can’t recall the last time I was whisked away to an isolated castle in the Scottish Highlands by a handsome, brooding and potentially mad earl determined to wed me for my fortune. Does that mean I’m not allowed to write about it?

‘Write What You Know’ just didn’t work for me. I needed a new adage.

I started with Write What You Know . . . Nothing About.

Nope. No good; too many possible topics.

Then I tried, Write What You Love.

No, still no good. It has a ring to it but I love being a Mom and I love living in Oregon or, my other favorite I love eating great Chinese food but I still didn’t want to write about any of it.

Write What You Love didn’t get me any closer to getting my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard.

Then I tried: You’re Never Going to Write a Thing, Are You? I discarded it on the grounds that bullying is never the answer.

It was hopeless. I couldn’t conjure a new adage so instead I fell back upon my two favorite pithy sayings:

Writers don’t write because they want to. They write because they have to.

Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about. – Winston Churchill.

They’d echoed in the back of my head for years, but it wasn’t until I put them together that they actually made a difference in the way I perceive myself as a writer. Yes, it took me years to put them together. I’m quick like that.

I’d be at work, or making dinner, or drinking margaritas at girls’ night and the thought would come from nowhere like a slap to the back of my head. I should write a novel. Then it became, I want to write a novel. And then, I know I can write a novel. Before long it was, I have to write a novel. And – at last – I need to write my novel.

I thought about it every single day. It lurked underneath everything I did. It was ever-present, burrowing deeper with every day that passed like a tick squirming its way under my skin. I need to write my novel. If I don’t write it, the characters who speak in full sentences in my head and the little devils with Jane Austen’s face will continue to stab at me with their sharp, tiny pitchforks.

Writers don’t write because they want to. They write because they have to.

Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.

About a year ago, I sat down and wrote a historical romance novel, A Wicked Way to Win an Earl. I understand what it means to want a little recognition for your hard work but I truly didn’t write my book to make money, or to get famous (good thing, too!). I did it for myself because I knew I could.

And I had an absolute ball doing it even on those days when I tore my hair from my head and filled my recycling bin with balled up pieces of paper. Writing my book is one of the single most personally gratifying things I’ve ever done and that’s the best reason I can think of to do anything.

It wasn’t until I finished the book that I finally stumbled across my new adage:

Write Because You Know!

Write because you think about it every single day. Write because you have to. Because way down deep in some part of you where there is no doubt and no fear and no excuses you know you can and you know it’s what you’re meant to do.

We all have our own paths to stumble down — our own truths to encounter on our journey to become a writer. For me, it all came down to a simple adage:

Write Because You Know.

If I can do it, so can you. Because, sometimes, you just know. You know?

The Journey of Bringing Novels to Life

ideas to fruition

Thinking back to the seeds of my latest novel, Fury From Hell, I smile.  The idea for the novel came to me while I was actively seeking a topic so I could take part in that November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

I was in the City crossing the street on Madison and 43rd Street a late Spring day in 2012.  It was warm and the sun was lowering in the sky so there were shadows to be seen here and there.  There was street construction that day.  A large orange and white chute blocked a lane and a plume of steamy heat curled up to the blue sky dotted with streaks of white clouds.

Watching the smoke curl up, I wondered what if within the steam was a demon that infused itself into unsuspecting women as they walked on cracks on the glasphalt sidewalk.  I giggled at my silliness.  But, something clicked.  I went back to the office and began outlining a novel — the Glasphalt Fury.  Over time, the idea morphed and re-shaped itself many times.

By the time November came around, I had both an awesome experienced NaNoWriMo mentor and a full outline for this paranormal cop thriller.  That month was the very first time in my life where I wrote three times a day — morning, noon and night!  It was a nerve-wracking caffeine-filled 30 days that went by in a blur.  SuperStorm Sandy kind of went by in a blur for me as I was so busy writing (my lights only flickered, they never fully went out).

By December 1st, I thought I had a great manuscript but it needed to be finished.  It was just over 51K words.  But, by this time, I was exhausted!  I just came through a month of no sleep and more coffee ingestion than ever before in my life.  I slept for the first few days and then the holidays were upon us.  By January 3rd, I found out I was pregnant with my third child!  The book had to be put on hold as I processed this new development in my life.

In the Spring of 2013, I found renewed vigor to get the Glasphalt Fury finished and edited.  I was 7 months pregnant and trying to edit while battling fatigue after working my day job.  I finished the edits and began sending off the manuscript to agents and publishers.  Needless to say, it did not go well.  Why?  Because, I rushed my manuscript.  I wanted the birth of my child to coincide with the “birth” of my new novel.

Every thing has its own gestation period and I was trying to incubate the book way to fast for its development cycle!  After 23 rejections, or was it 26??  I felt I had to revisit what I was submitting especially since two of the rejections came back with very useful and helpful critique.

I decided to take a Gotham Writing course to help me figure out what this manuscript was missing.  The course KICKED my butt!  It was tough too realize that I wasn’t a perfect writer!  LOL.

One of the exercises in the course was to write a line of description of the sky above where you were at that moment.  My sentence was 46 words long. 🙂  [One of my classmates beat me — theirs was 76 words long!]

Clearly, I had a problem.

Long story short, writing this novel was a lesson for me.  This novel is technically my third full-length novel.  I did not complete the 1st one.  The second one had technical difficulties and this third one suffered from baby-brain!  Through it all, I learned a lot!  I know what to do and when I have to allow my MUSE to gestate and let the novel percolate in my subconsciousness — this is a must or else you run the risk of allowing your BRAIN to write instead of your writing muse.  Please never let your brain write!  That is, unless you are writing a fact-based article.

Through this whole long 22-month process, the book went from being titled “Glasphalt Fury” to Fury From Hell.  It was a stand-alone novel and it is now a series following Detectives Jennifer Holden and Betty Feinster as they solve murders on the streets of Brooklyn and battle demons vying for their souls.

Fury From Hell’s theme spins on the age-old conflict — good vs. evil.  Holden is an atheist who has baggage in her childhood that keeps following her around.  That baggage leads to her possession by Fury Abatu and brings Holden to the attention of both the evil denizens of the Hell and the human warriors of good here on Earth — modern-day witches.

This book has not always been fun for me to write but the process has been deeply empowering.  I went from hating this book immensely (because it made me WORK!) to loving it almost as much as I love my now 1-year-old daughter.

To summarize, the journey of bringing a novel from an ephemeral idea to a fully realized book with a cover and blurb is not charted out in a static formula.  No matter how many novels you write the journey for each one will be vastly different.  Each book brings something to the fore in your life that needs your attention now.

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts with me on Twitter and FB these last few months.  I can’t wait to hear more of your stories of how you helped your novels come into being.

Ta-ta for now,

NB

A Day in Pictures

We start in Brooklyn where a PEAR tree, an actual fruit-bearing pear tree does grow in Brooklyn!

Pear Tree Bklyn

Then, we get to our first haunted house way before October…

 

 

 

 

Haunted House

 

We get on the train and head into the City to Times Square.  This shot is looking towards 8th Avenue on 42nd Street.

 

Looking Down 42nd St

 

Looking up 42nd Street towards 6th Avenue…

 

Looking Up 42nd St

The flagship H & M at Times Square. The billboards are HUGE and totally fabulous (so is the model!!)

 

HM Male Shot

I couldn’t resist here’s the next screen from H & M…

HM Female Shot

 

The W.R. Grace Building at 6th Avenue and 43rd Street.  It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

Beige Building

 

A great BBC ad on a phone booth.  A phone booth??! What’s that?!

 

 

 

Great Phone Booth Sign_Intruders BBC

 

The iconic Chrysler Building from several blocks away.

 

Iconic Chrysler Bldg

Fruit stand on the side of the Grace Bldg that sells a “small” mixed fruit bowl that’s over a pound in weight for $3!!  You can’t beat that with a New York stick! #OnlyInNY

 

 

Fruit Stand Line

Want a little Mozart without going to the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center?  Just head over to Grand Central.  You don’t even have to swipe to go in.  This quartet was sitting in the walkway between the  4/5/6 and the breezeway to the Shuttle train.  (They were playing Eine Kleine Nacht Music beautifully!)

Subway Orchestra

Bryant Park B/Q train station in the City…

 

 

Subway2

 

 

 

Subway1

Okay, back in Brooklyn!  Wanna see the sunset? Can’t unless you’re in Prospect Park (okay, so maybe I exaggerate.)  But, here’s a great view from up on high — like the 2nd floor. 🙂

 

 

Sunset In Windows

The End.

Even Writers Need to Take a Walk…

I am counting down the days until my book launches on September 7th, 2014.  I’ve got 26 days left — OMG!!!  So much to do, so little time!  But that’s exactly when you have to take your inner writer panicked child in hand and go for a walk.  Which I did.

And, because I’m in the busy ridiculous heart of the City — Grand Central — I saw some things that made me smile.  I figured I would share them with you all and send peace & writer-ly good vibes to you all.

Ever wonder  what Lady Liberty does in the rain?  I used to.  Not any more…

 

Lady Liberty in the Rain_ 8 13 2014

 

Walking further along 5th Avenue, I found this lovely painting that made me smile.  This would be gorgeous on my living room wall!

 

Peace in the Middle of City_8 12 2014

So because of all of the quirky yet wonderful things I saw on my little office break walk I decided to bring a bit of wild greenery back with me…

 Office Flowers_8 13 2014

Happy Happy Hump Day!!!

Gluten-Free: Bloggin’, Bakin’ & BTTs

So, it’s about 2 weeks since my birthday cake disaster.  Correction — Gluten-Free — birthday cake disaster.  Remember?  The flapjack masquerading as a cake?

Cut GF Cake

I have yet to have a great slice of gluten free (GF) cake that has hit the proverbial spot.  I’ve been ruminating about this for the past week or so and decided to do something about it.  After a long day of unpacking, sorting and decorating my new-old place I went to my lifesaver — Twitter, of course — and checked #GlutenFree #Baking to see what would pop up.  Several cool looking desserts showed up in that search stream instantaneously.  But, they were pictures only not recipes.  So, after trolling through about 6 pages worth I modified my search to #GlutenFree #Baking #Recipes.  BINGO!  I hit the jackpot.

Recipes abounded along with pics.  I was so in Happy Town.  That is, until I couldn’t find a cake recipe that did not call for 50 bagillion ingredients (some of which sounded esoteric to my non-GF ears; coconut flour anyone??)

After searching for 20 minutes, I finally found a Lemon Mini Cupcake recipe using a ‘box’ cake GF mixture by Arrowhead Mills.  Then, you would add eggs, milk, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to make the vanilla cake citrus-y.  Sounded simple enough and the *lift* in the cupcakes looked amazing — just what I was seeking.  You can check out Lauren Marie’s (@LaurenMarieGF) great recipe here.  Even the lemon glaze was easy to make.  You are to use 10X sugar (confectioner’s sugar), water and lemon zest.  Easy-peasy!

Off to the store I went and came back in ready to bake when I got hooked into a fab conversation with Jorie (@JLovesAStory) about Mac vs. PS and file storage/management.  That convo spun off into food and how we were both vegan, at one point, and how she and her family are currently striving to eat GF.  That lead to my baking a GF cake which I told her I had to get to.  Long story short, I took my laptop into the kitchen and decided to keep the convo going and post pics as I am baking the lemony cupcakes.

The boring stuff I ignored but tweeted when all the ingredients were int he bowl ready to be whipped.  Like this…

GF Lemon Cupcakes_Eggs_8 9 2014

As Jorie and I were tweeting others chimed in because I had questions &/or wanted to make sure that I did it right.  Somehow, in my research prior to going to the store, I stumbled across Melissa Bess Reed (@MelissaBessReed) who has a blog about the GF Lifestyle.  Her blog?  It contains a TON of GF recipes!  So, I looped her into the conversation with Jorie as I’m baking and tweeting with my Best Twitter Tweeps (BTTs).  And wouldn’t you know — other people began fave-ing and RT’ing the pics and the ongoing conversational tweets.  It was a blast!  It was as if Jorie, Melissa and quite a few others were in my kitchen baking with me.

The next pic I tweeted was the batter in the cupcake tins…

GF Lemon Cupcakes_In Pan_8 9 2014

The batter tasted okay not excessively lemony but okay.  I worried at the back of my mind about the chalkiness of the aftertaste of the batter but put it aside.  I knew I couldn’t use the signs from regular baking in GF baking.  I popped them in the 350 degree oven for 16 minutes and went on to make the glaze.

Tweeted this pic of it…

GF_Lemon Cupcake_Glaze_8 9 2014

It tasted plain so I added a few drops of the fresh lemon juice to give the glaze more punch.  I put it aside and washed the dirty dishes.

It was time to take out the cake!  I pulled open the door at 16 minutes and they were — gasp — PALE!  They also had not risen like Lauren Marie’s did!  I was getting bummed.  I immediately tweeted and asked Lauren what I should do.  If I needed to keep them in longer.  She tweeted back and asked a few questions to get a sense of what I was experiencing.  At 22 minutes the cupcakes were still in the oven and I feared they would get rubbery.  So, I took them out pale and all.

GF Lemon Cupcakes 1st Batch_8 9 2014

I asked Lauren what she thought and she said she couldn’t really see them and couldn’t tell.  So, I took the flash off and re-took the pic and re-tweeted them from a different perspective…

GF Lemon Cupcakes_Baked 1st Batch_8 9 2014

I was defeated.  They were not at all like Lauren’s!

GF Lemon Lauren Cupcakes

See the difference???!?  (Arrgh!)

Everyone began jumping in with feedback different from my own.  Jorie thought they looked great.  So did Melissa who further stated that the taste was the most important factor.  They all wanted me to try them.  Mind you, by now the cupcakes had been out of the oven for about 20 minutes.  I tweeted what the inside of the cupcake looked like…

GF Lemon Cupcakes Cut Open 1st Batch_8 9 2014

 

I tasted one and it was okay.  Heavy — but fairly tasty!  Wow.  So it wasn’t as BAD as I had imagined.  I had my mind set on fluffy light cupcakes and was thrown for a loop when I received what came out of my oven.  Everyone encouraged me to glaze them and I did…

GF_Lemon Cupcakes Glazed_8 9 2014

So, while I did not bake the fabulousness that are Lauren Marie’s cupcakes (seen above) I was able to get a better product than I ever have before in the cake line of GF.  I did use a box mix — Betty Crocker GF Vanilla Cake mix.  Maybe next time I will try this from GF scratch and use the coconut flour one of my baking tweep gurus suggested — Oooh!  The coconut flour suggestion came from Kathleen (@katwoman153) who has also had a recent diagnosis of celiac (I found out days before my birthday which is now 3 weeks ago).

I learned so much from the exchanges and want to put some of that info to work immediately and bake some more the GF way!  We were all so pumped after the cupcakes were glazed and cooling down we didn’t want it to end.  I know I quipped in one of our final tweets, “Whose got next on this Twitter GF Baking Class!”  (or something along these lines).  Do you know everyone wanted to do it again??!!

But that is so totally another post!

Here’s a shout-out to some of the others who participated in this first Twitter GF Baking Party: Julie, Prachi, Maria Lucia Bakes, Cook’s Vanilla, The Mixing Bowl — Oh, did I mention that GF Bread bakers in Hong Kong jumped in for this GF Bake Fest??  LOL.  If I missed you please comment below and link back to your blog/website!

In the meantime, peace, love and hairgrease!

Ta-ta for now,

NB

Book Thoughts: Point of No Return by M. Le Mont

point of no return_bk

 

While not my usual reading material, “The Point of No Return” is a gripping story of a relationship gone horribly wrong. Creating a life worth living is a sub-theme of this story. However, in order to get to the better life this story shows the reader in vivid detail how two people’s emotions can dominate and obliterate all that is true, good and moral in the human soul.

The husband, M. LeMont, and his ex-wife, Veronica, go through painful see-saw confrontations that took almost 2 years to come to an end. Do not read this story seeking great punctuation, flawless prose nor the Strunk and White rules of grammar. You will not find that in this tome. What you will find is human, raw, edgy angst that crawls into your soul and sits there until you come to the end of this roller coaster ride of a divorce.

For those who have gone through a divorce, or the break-up of a long-term relationship, will recognize the pathos and recall how lucky you are to have gotten safely to the other side of it.

Warning: This book will bring up strong emotions in the reader due to the graphic, no holds barred, direct telling of this story. As the author says at the beginning of this book ,it is not for the faint of heart.

4 Blogairy Notebooks

Gluten Free Is For Me…

So, I’ve sat with the information that I have been officially diagnosed with celiac sprue disease for a bit over a week now.  While I knew I had an issue with gluten I guess I hoped that the test would come back something other than positive.  And, initially, it did.

On the first trip back to my GI doctor after having drawn 1 million vials of blood, the lab forgot/did not do the main genetic test. <sigh>

On the second trip back, the lab’s results on the genetic test was negative.  With my abnormal transglutaminase test result late last year, the anecdotal information that was consistent with the traditional misdiagnosis of celiac (IBS, belly issues, itchy rash, anemic beyond belief, malnourished diagnosis years ago…) my doctor was baffled as to the negative genetic test.

 

GoingGF

 

I asked for a second lab test done at a different lab and the doctor wanted to see the backup documentation to the genetic test already done.  All of the percentages were not sent to the doctor; just the lab’s assessment and interpretation.  Needless to say, when my doctor saw the actual lab test results and the levels the genetic test was NOT negative.  It was clearly positive therefore celiac sprue cannot be ruled out.

So, days before my birthday it was confirmed that my various nutty symptoms including losing my sense of smell were all associated and related to having celiac disease.

 

KeepCalmEatGF

 

I am so not the picture of celiac disease.  First off, I am of Caribbean-American (read: Black) descent.  Celiac sprue is prevalent in Mediterranean and Celtic cultures.  So, now a deep search into my heredity is warranted.

Right now, I have no words.  This is not a life-threatening condition but it is considered an autoimmune issue so my children must get tested.  Until I know for sure, regular birthday cakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, biscuits and the like will not even be introduced to her.  I’d love to be able to say that in the 13 months since I’ve been gluten-free I learned how to make a tasty loaf of bread in my Breville bread maker.  And, that I can make a killer gluten-free cheesecake — I can’t.  I’ve been too scared and unsure of which flours to use and in what precise proportions.

Gluten-free baking is different from any other type of baking I’ve ever done.  And here’s the true rub — I owned and ran my own bakery for about 8 years.  Yup.  I’m a TOTAL gluten head.  Dunkin’ Donuts was my favorite place in the whole wide world, second only to every delicious smelling bakery I’ve ever passed.  I used to eat dessert at every meal.  When I was a vegan I made VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN RIBS from scratch!  I LOVED wheat/gluten.  I made the bestest fluffy biscuits using my Grandmother’s recipe.

So, now that I have to leave that stuff alone…what do I do?  I just gave away my cake decorating paraphernalia just yesterday.  Why ice cakes when I can’t bake them?

I’m sure that this is some sort of grieving process/withdrawal reaction but it feels very final.  I guess things will start looking up when I can make a tasty gluten-free cake that does not look like my sad  lavender flower birthday cake.

 

Cut GF Cake

8 Things I’ve Learned About Writing a Novel

Currently, my work in progress novel is just over 90,o00 words.  I’ve been working on it in fits and starts since November 2012.  Since that time, I found out I was pregnant, gave birth to my daughter, had a child graduate HS, helped said child go off to China for a summer, get another child to gymnastics camp, work a regular day job throughout it all since baby was 2 1/2 months old, and — oh, yeah figure out a gluten free diet.

So, I’ve been a bit busy as all of us are.  However, in the 19 months that have passed since I began my supernatural thriller novel, I have learned a few things that I did not expect to learn from the novel writing process.  I thought writing was setting down the story in a straight-forward outline which is plotted out beat-for-beat so all one must do is write the flesh and flash and slip it onto the bones you’ve already laid down.  Yeaaah…right.

Here is what novel writing is REALLY all about.

 

NovelistsAtWork

 

1. Writing a novel takes love.  Yes, you read that right.  When you are going to sit down and be friends with a piece of work for the next umpteen months/days/years you BETTER love it.  What does that mean?  It means you must be loyal to your novel.  Think about it often.  Dream about it.  And, of course, write it out fully.

 

oneDayNovelist

2. Writing a novel does not mean you must finish the novel you began.  [What?!]  Yes, this sounds like an oxymoron.  Literally speaking, it is.  However, as any writer can tell you — it’s not.  I wrote a short story that eventually turned itself into a novel.  It was called “Opening Up”.  After some months passed after I wrote it, it became clear to me that the novel I wrote was NOT the novel it was supposed to be.  The main character of this novel was the wrong POC for this book.  The true main character is a character that came to the fore about 1/3 of the way into the book.  Therefore, I have to totally re-write this novel from the new perspective.

3. Writing a novel is a learning process.  You are not necessarily learning about the characters, the setting of the story, or working on the sound of the speech patterns of your characters.  You are learning about yourself, the writer, who will be stepping into the background and allowing the characters to speak, act, dance and generally entertain the writer — who in turn entertains the reader.  Therefore…

4. Writing a novel CAN take a lot of time depending upon how stubborn the writer is!  If the writer does not allow himself/herself the luxury of being an ’empty’ vessel for the story to come and fill them up it may take a long time for the story to wind its way through the synapses and sinews of the writer’s mind and body to come into being.  In fact, if the writer is truly stubborn the story may never see the light of day.

5. Writing a novel is formulaic — not in the sense of one thing follows this thing that follows another thing.  Not, not a linear formula.  Writing a novel is akin to allowing the formula to happen to you.  Here is the magic novel writing formula —

 

WRITER + MUSE + PATIENCE + RELAXING + RESEARCH + MEDITATION = NOVEL

6. Writing a novel is cathartic.

7. Writing a novel breaks down barriers in one’s mind and allows the writer to break free of inner obstacles [in life].  By overcoming challenges in writing, the writer frees up mental/head space for the work-in-progress novel.

KeepCalmWriteNovels

8. Writing a novel is good for your skin.  With all of the time the writer has while waiting for the muse to elaborate on certain scenes/characters &/or, the mood for a chapter, the writer will have plenty of time for facials — either homemade ones, or at the spa! [Okay, so maybe I just wanted a spa trip, okay??!!?  Thank you, Spa Castle!]

In the end, when you’ve written the last word and hit the save icon, you know you’ve made a great accomplishment.  You are in the company of great minds throughout time who have gone through a similar journey and have come out with the unique product of imaginative wordplay.

Congratulations Writer!!!!! 

Know that you are supremely #AWESOME!

Book Thoughts ~ Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go

I’m in the middle of reading Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff.  I thought it was going to be a quick informative read.  It was a book recommendation from my Gotham Writing course instructor, Michael Davis.

Trust the Process_bk cov

 

The course was 11 weeks in length; plenty of time to get the work done and develop some new short stories.  However, it didn’t quite tick along that way.  I became stuck in the “Voice” module.  I began to receive feedback that made me question what my content message was and how/why I was portraying people and situations in my stories the way I had.  It was a very challenging few weeks in which I questioned everything I have ever written; it was a total writing existentialist crisis.  Who am I as a writer?

I realized after many weeks of contemplation that I wrote things to ‘please’ people — my mentors, my friends, my writing instructors.  I also catered to the idea that writing what  was “good and popular” was not selling my writer’s soul.  It was simply a fiscally responsible thing to do…

Hence, Michael’s recommendation for me to read the McNiff book.  Michael shared 3 books with me but the last one, this McNiff book, caught my attention.  Something about Trusting and Letting Go two concepts a staunch New Yorker does not pander to easily.

However passages like this one stopped me in my virtual thought tracks.

 In my work with people I consistently find that the most provocative and useful stimulus for reframing is the declaration that what disturbs you the most may have the most to offer in your creative expression.  We can tap into the power of our discontents and use them as sources of transformation.  In my perverse way, I look for the greatest weaknesses in my life, in another person’s life, or the culture of an organization, with the belief that these areas are most receptive to creative alchemization.  There is a power of reversal in extreme conditions that does not exist within the stable center. ~ Shaun  McNiff

Take what most disturbs you about a person, place or thing and use it as the motivating force, the impetus for a new project.  The idea was astounding to me.  I buried things I didn’t want to deal with in positivity (You’ll-see-it-when-you-believe-it type stuff).  Yet, I still felt stymied and not as creative and productive as I felt I could be.

Creative practice requires the ability to change perspectives on a situation.  People who are stuck, or blocked, are locked into points of view.  They keep hammering away at the same tired themes or useless patterns. ~ Shaun McNiff

Thank you, Shaun!  Psychology 101, right?  Maybe, but this just didn’t occur to me.

When we use our disturbances as materials of expression we see that everything in life is fuel for the creative process.  Creativity puts toxins to good use.

This is like homeopathy for the writer’s soul!  Take a little bit of the thing that can kill your writing spirit and put a little bit of it in your writer’s cup and sip on it as your Muse spins a tale based upon the dastardly deeds of said discontents.  Before you know it, you have a brand new project in front of you and you wonder how it came about.  It came about because you let go of things that are no longer needed, necessary or even wanted any longer.  Habit keeps us tied to past negative behaviors.

McNiff is trying to get the reader to see that divorcing oneself from the habit will produce changed results.

While I’m only at 43% of the book my perspectives have changed.  My WIP, the supernatural thriller, is being wholly re-worked.  Re-slanting, re-vising, re-thinking and definitely re-framing is what this book needed because I needed it.

Signing out,

The NoteBook Blogairy