Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where books come from

I've had people ask me, "Where do you get your ideas for your books?" I'd usually just tell them 'they come to me out of the blue'.

Then, today an old theme became a new idea. How? You may ask. I had to drive the twenty miles to the bigger town nearby to pay my electric bill. No, that's not it. On the way there I was listening to the radio (not it either) and realized somewhere along the way that I wasn't hearing the songs I normally sing along with. My mind was off in the land of werewolves and legends that go 'bump' in the Cherokee night.

Some time ago my older brother became extremely interested in our ancestral Cherokee heritage. I, on the other hand, have always been interested, especially living in Oklahoma with its' rich Indian background, just never really took steps to learn more. I am aware that UoT (University of Tulsa) offers classes to learn the Cherokee language, and my oldest daughter (while we lived in California) almost went there for just that reason. 

Well, lately I've become more interested in my heritage. Mostly since I've become a writer, and since moving back to my red dirt home state. What does this have to do with supernatural creatures, you ask? We have werewolves here in Oklahoma, of course!

Really? Naw. Unless you peek inside some weird Okie writer's head that is. I live out in the country and love being serenaded by the woeful sound of the coyote's songs. Eerily beautiful when it's all still and silent (or three in the morning!). But that's not exactly where I got the idea for my first werewolf story. It came from my affinity to wolves. I took one of those "What animal are you?" quizzes and even it came back with 'wolf'. I'm sure most have heard that Indians have affinities with animals whether it be eagle, opossum, bear, or wolf. What this means basically is (at least for me) we 'feel' the animal we're close to in our spirit. We understand the animal like we understand no other. For instance, I love horses. My favorite creature is the horse. But, I 'feel' an internal bond to the wolf. 

Okay- I said weird Okie from the beginning. But seriously- it's true.

Even as a child I had dreams of wolves, but didn't understand why until I opened my inner eye and accepted them. My dreams actually scared the living daylight outta me. Until the last time I had the recurring dream about vicious wolves attacking me, that is.

Why was that time different? 
Well, for one it came to me for the first time as an adult. I wasn't 'a writer' yet at the time, and it still scared me to dream of the salivating beasts trying to get to me to, I could only imagine, do God knows what to me! It was also the first time one of them came close when it broke a window beside me. Lastly, it was the first time-ever- that I felt protected.

Protected with a wolf breaking windows around me? Yes.
I can't tell you why (not because I don't know, but because I have plans for that particular dream scene).

So- when you start to ask "Where do books come from?", think about your dreams. Even the Twilight saga began as a dream for Stephanie Meyers, and look where it took her!

So until next time- sweet dreams-- or NOT!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well- for better, or worse- it's done. I sent my contest entry to the cp work-over shop twice and made a few minor changes. About an hour ago I sent it in! Time to panic for a few minutes and then forget it since it'll be months before I hear anything.

In the mean time, I have a completed manuscript to get finished editing, and a synopsis to write so I can send Healing Whispers (formerly Tobi & Tanner) off into the world of... somewhere to hopefully get it published. I'm seriously thinking agent queries this time.

Until next time- Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What a lovely day. The sun is shining, birds are chirping. Sounds and feels like spring! Hard to believe we're supposed to get bad weather in the next few days.

So I thought I'd blog a little on something I basically have no experience, nor real knowledge of (yet).

Contests and pitfalls.

This week I will finally be breaking down, biting the bullet, and entering my very first. It's called SOON TO BE PUBLISHED and is for 'members only' of my local rwa chapter- the Outlaws, OKRWA. I have to believe in the name of this contest. 'soon to be' because it is my fondest and most desired dream to be a published author. To find my place among the ranks of all those glorious people who have already made that trophy step and succeeded. And the only way to accomplish this, is to put yourself out there. Throw your baby to the wolves and let come what may.

Last year I entered into an editor/agent pitch for the first time. I felt it went well. I received a request from the agent for a partial of the story I had pitched. It felt good on the heels of a rejection on another story that took nearly two years to get. I'd found myself in a writing block of self doubt that almost made me lose out on that fabu opportunity. And- in the end, in a way, that one rejection still kicked my butt. Why? Because, even though I'd gotten a request from that wonderful agent- I never sent my pages in. I chickened out. I felt, in the end, that my story was not good enough yet. So what happened? I put the story aside and haven't looked at it since, and have never finished it completely.

I guess (for me) you have to do that sometimes because it seemed to symbolize something I didn't want to acknowledge- failure.
Oh, I know I'm not... a failure, but I felt like it right then and passed on the chance to find out for sure if my 'baby' was good enough to put out there. I didn't write another for almost a year in fact. I thought about it, considered, with word page open, starting another, but in the end- I took what I feel now, looking back, a necessary break. I read books, blogs on the craft and refilled my dried up creative well.

What happened this time? I sat and wrote a complete manuscript in six weeks! Now, the thought of getting it edited and polished for submission is staring me in the face. Those long, torturous months of waiting... And I feel myself balking. I can feel the crows of doubt flapping their wings around me, telling me it won't fly, it'll get rejected so why bother? I refused to enter any contests with it even. My self imposed deadline to submit it is January 1, 2010. Will I make it?


In the mean time, I'm entering another one in a contest to bolster my waning confidence. I can't tell you how excited I am! Maybe because it's a local contest I feel safer. Like telling an embarrassing story with just close family around. It's a comfort zone. So, the real challenge will be if it wins and I take it to the next level. Will I have the guts and gumption to enter in in the Golden Heart (GH) contest next year? A world wide and REALLY OUT THERE contest?


Baby steps. I am entering a whole new realm of writing for me. I will force myself to get my work out there to be criticized and judged because, otherwise, how will I know if I'm good or bad (both fixable aspects), or just wasting everyone's time? I won't.

So- I enter a contest. For better or worse- I love the story I'm entering and have confidence in these two love struck characters that we will at least place in the contest. And, when this contest is over (it'll be a few months), I'll post an excerpt of my entry here for all to read and enjoy (and judge) if you want to!

Until then- happy contesting!