What Does Childhood Taste Like?

What Does Childhood Taste Like?

Way back in the days of yesteryear when big hair bands ruled the rock scene, and stirrup pants, legwarmers and neon jelly bracelets were a popular part of women’s fashion, I was browsing in my local Newscenter and happened upon a creativity workbook called “What Does Childhood Taste Like?”  The title intrigued me and, when the author, Jack Maguire, promised “mental workouts that will stretch, bend, and energize the way you think, respond, dream and create,” I knew I couldn’t leave without purchasing it. Three decades later, I still pull out that book and engage in an exercise or two.

I know many writers (including myself) who have tricks and rituals they employ for stimulating their muse. As silly as it sounds, I keep a dozen polished stones strewn under my computer screen that I fiddle with when I’m stuck on a sentence. Remember rock tumblers? There’s something about a rainbow of smooth, colorful stones that resonates with my creative side. Other times, I play an instrumental CD in the background (usually lilting flutes, strings or piano) and, still other times, my muse requires complete silence. I’ve come to recognize what she needs when she needs it, and react accordingly. When I do, and we’re in sync, good things happen. There are, however, occasions when I degenerate into a hissy fit because a particular scene or story isn’t flowing. During those times, I picture my muse as a pouting prima donna who needs to be coaxed. Thankfully, those moments are fairly rare.

Like me, my muse has a fondness for the past – – old photos, fond memories and long-ago dreams conjured from summer afternoons when childhood tasted like bubblegum, smelled of sweet clover, and felt like the splash of cool pool water on sun-warmed skin.  

Looking back, I realize much about my writing life has remained the same. I’m still crafting stories, characters and worlds. I still poke around in that old workbook, and I still love recalling the tastes, sights, scents and feel of childhood. My muse has matured with me, my partner through the journey, but there’s a part of me (undoubtedly, of all writers) that never grew up. It thrives on make-believe and what-if possibilities. The only way to appease that part is to create worlds and characters who populate them. The same as I did in childhood.  :-)

 So . . . I ask you . . . what DOES childhood taste like?  Even if you’re not a writer, take a moment to associate an abstract idea and share your comment.  If you prefer, you can choose to answer what does childhood sound like? Smell like? Feel like? The idea is to close your eyes, forget the present, and recall the magic you felt as a child. What made you happy?  What made you smile or gave you the shivers?

I’m toying with the idea of posting a similar exercise each Monday or Tuesday for those interested in giving it a try.  Even non-writers can benefit from mental stimulation, creative thinking and, heck – – some out-of-the-box fun!

Six Sentence Sunday 3/25/12

The moon was almost completely hidden when Arianna walked outside, the cloud cover blotting what few stars remained. Rain lingered on the air, carrying the promise of a brewing storm. The wind scattered the hair around her face and sent the long tails of Caleb’s coat flapping back from his legs.

“I don’t like the weather,” he muttered to Wyn. He offered Arianna his hand and guided her down the steps. She smiled, unable to remember when a man had last shown her such elegant courtesy.

Moving Full Steam Ahead

So, here I am, neglecting my blog, and realizing it’s been a while since I posted. Ugh!  I can’t let that continue.  But . . . just so you know I haven’t been goofing off and leading a life of leisure (ha!) much has been happening at my end.

My publisher, Lyrical Press, contacted me with a targeted release date for Weathering Rock. We’re now looking at October of this year.  That may seem like a stretch if you’re unfamiliar with the publishing world, but I was shocked by the quick turnaround.  I hadn’t expected the book to be released until winter of 2013.  Naturally, I’m excited by the earlier date. October happens to be one of my three favorite months. With attention on jack-o-lanterns and things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, what better time to release a novel with a werewolf hero?  All of that aside, the early release date has meant putting my nose to the grindstone. Er . . . actually, my fingers to the keyboard.

First up was filling out essential paperwork for Lyrical. All of the business stuff you’d expect, but some other tantalizing forms too. Those included my suggestions for cover art (no promise on that one but Lyrical has great cover designers) and my idea of a back cover blurb and tag line. Completing those left me with a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge all of this is moving full steam ahead.

Next came something called pre-edits – – another polishing of my manuscript, which I needed to have completed and returned by Monday, March 26th.  I finished that up a little earlier today and sent it to Lyrical. That’s the over-achiever in me. I like to work ahead of deadlines as much as possible.

I’m working on plotting book II (no title yet) and cleaning up another completed manuscript called “Myth and Magic.” No werewolves in that one but plenty of ties to myth. And magic. :)

Tomorrow, I’m starting something new with the blog I hope to continue with each Sunday. Hopefully, I won’t screw it up!

I’m going to be taking part in something called “Six Sentence Sunday.”  The idea is that each Sunday, I will be posting six sentences (and six sentences only) of something I’m working on. Numerous writers participate in this, adding six sentences to their blog each Sunday. It gives you a little snippet of where our creative minds are at the moment.

Right now, mine is wrapped around Caleb DeCardian, Arianna Hart and Weathering Rock. Assuming I do everything correctly, tomorrow by 9:00 a.m. six sentences from Weathering Rock will appear on my blog.  I like the idea (learned from another writer in one of my author workshops) and hope to continue with it each Sunday.

I hope you’ll like it too!  Happy weekend!

Putting the Week (and Writing) in Perspective

It’s Monday.  Ugh, right?  Personally, it takes me a good day to roll out of weekend-thinking-mode and wrap my head around the idea there is an entire work week sprawled out in front of me.  As a new author I have to pay the bills. That means putting in 37.5 hours weekly at something that produces income.  It’s not that I don’t like what I do – – I enjoy my work – – it’s just that I’d rather be building worlds, creating characters or plotting the downfall of my latest villain.  Mondays get a bad rap, but I’m sure it has fans. It’s all a matter of perspective.

The same holds true with writing – – how to approach a scene, craft setting, select the POV character.  Two people never look at the same set of circumstances the same way, but you know what’s cool about writing?  You get to be multiple people and embrace their individual perspectives – heroine, hero, villain, and everyone in between. It’s a playground of make-believe for grownups. Even on an uggy Monday I still like to conjure creative thoughts and pull the puppet strings.  A writer’s brain never shuts off!

With that said, what’s your favorite day of the week?

Too Cool For Words

But I’ll use some anyway – – Wow!  Woo-hoo! Life is good!  eBooks rock!

You get the idea.   

I’m a happy camper today.  Why?  The future looks promising for Weathering Rock.  I’ve been offered a contract with an e-publisher and am jazzed by the prospect of sharing the story in the digital marketplace. The end result (actual publication) is still many months in the future, but that doesn’t detract from the glow. I know life is going to get very busy for me (er, busier than it already is!) as I work with the publisher in polishing Weathering Rock, but I’m looking forward to it. This is a new chapter in my life, and an exciting one!

So yeah, I’m going to do some celebrating, pop open a bottle of wine or champagne and let the reality sink in. Then I’m going to get busy and embrace life as an author.  There really is a pot of dreams at the end of the rainbow. Cheers, friends!

rainbow

One Summer Evening . . .