Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Writing Process by Connie Vines

The Writing Process

I was tagged in a recent Blog Hop by a fellow board member of the
GothRom Chapter of Romance Writers, and I'd though I'd share the the topic: The Writing Process with everyone visiting "Dishin' It Out' today.

1. What am I working on right now?

I work on multiple projects at once.  Is this a good thing?  Probably not—but I do it anyway.  I’m finishing up the last Act in my novella, Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow and finishing my anthology: Gumbo Ya Ya (for who like romance Cajun). And I’m outlining Rand, Book 3 in my Rodeo Romance Series.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I write in multiple genres and each of genres have a different “tone and focus”—in other words, a different ‘voice’.  My YA novel, Whisper upon the Water (Dream Award Winner, Nat’l Book Award nominee), is told in the 1st person.  The novel is complex; not only a coming-of-age but a transformation of society as a whole (Tay is Apache, Nde). My heroine begins as a girl on the verge of womanhood, a member of her band, speaking her native tongue. She is kidnapped, held hostage, and escapes. Taken to a Native American boarding school, she learns a new language, skills, and encounters prejudice but also kindness.  Later, she must make a very difficult choice.  Her decision will impact her life, as well as the lives of others.  The novel is written for YA level and is reading selection for the G.A.T.E. program in numerous SoCal schools, but the subject matter is not light, however, it is historical accurate.

In my Rodeo Romance Series: Lynx, Book 1, is a contemporary western romance and set in Montana and Texas. This book is lively.  Rachel is spirited and Lynx is hot and sexy—but both have had hardships in life.  My secondary characters add elements of comedy and unexpected plot twists. (Winner of the Award of Excellence, Finalist: H.O.L.T. Medallion, Orange Rose and Rocky Mt. Gold).  Brede, Book 2, is a western romantic suspense, set in New Mexico (99 cents this month on Amazon).  Since the novel is romantic suspense, I do not wish create a spoiler in this blog.  I will say everyone one loves old Caldwell, the ornery old cook, and his cohorts.  Brede is strong-willed and caring; Amberlynn is beautiful and in mortal danger.  Rand, Book 3, is told in the 1st person: ChickLit meets the Wild West and goes Hollywood. Lights, Camera, and a boot-full of Action! I am having, fun, fun with this novel!

My stories are different, because I am different.  My stories take place in places I have lived, or where I have vacationed. I know my subject matter--my father rodeoed while in high school; I have been involved in Native America culture and education programs; my husband is a Louisiana country boy; and, finally, I live in SoCal—of course I have met several Hollywood television stars (and facilitated workshops), actors are often spotted at local SoCal tourist spots, and preform in local theater.

3. Why do I write what I do?

The story calls to me, it is really that simple.  I have a feeling of time and place.  Then I begin hearing snatches of dialogue (like when you are sitting in a coffee shop and you over hear snippets of conversation).  The story invades my life (well it does, just ask my husband).  At the moment, I’m listening to Zydeco music and I have gumbo in my crockpot.  He’s complaining (only half kiddingly) that I brought bayou weather to our house (92 degrees, 50% humidity with full cloud cover and rain at 3 PM).  I am compelled to complete the story.  Native American culture says, “The story comes to the Story Teller to bring it to life.”  And this is what I, as are all writers, tellers of stories.

The French Quarter, New Orleans
4. How does my writing process work?

For short stories, novellas and anthologies, I utilize the basic W-plot with extra twists and pivotal points.  When I am writing a novel, or a novel series, I plot in acts and work with three chapters at a time (1-3, 4-6, etc.).  With the exception of short stories, I compile detailed backgrounds, motivation, and personality traits. I also conduct interviews, research, and immerse myself in the ‘culture/environment I am creating.  It is then I begin the first draft of my novel.  This will change as my characters begin to take over the book.  Any writer will agree with me, under no circumstances can you force you characters to act against his/her will.  You can, however, place huge obstacles in the way and see what happens.

Hollywood, CA

Is my first draft perfect? No.  Is my third draft publishable? It’s probably close.  At this point in the writing process, I have writer friend (usually Geeta Kakade) read my novel. She will give her opinion and suggestions—which I may, or may not follow.  Writing, after all, is subjective—as is a reader’s preference for one novel over another.

To read the first chapter teasers or to purchase one (or all ) of my novels please follow this link:

Remember to watch my book trailers!

Thank you for stopping by.

Connie Vines

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Yuk---Colonoscopy Time by Ginger Simpson

Colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine camera.gif (rectum and colon). He or she uses a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to look at the colon. A colonoscopyhelps find ulcerscolon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected (biopsy) and abnormal growths can be taken out. Colonoscopy can also be used as a screening test to check for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum (polyps).
The colonoscope is a thin, flexible tube that ranges from 48 in. (125 cm)to 72 in. (183 cm) long. A small video camera is attached to the colonoscope so that your doctor can take pictures or video of the large intestine (colon). The colonoscope can be used to look at the whole colon and the lower part of the small intestine. A test called sigmoidoscopy shows only the rectum and the lower part of the colon.
Before this test, you will need to clean out your colon (colon prep). Colon prep takes 1 to 2 days, depending on which type of prep your doctor recommends. Some preps may be taken the evening before the test. For many people, the prep is worse than the test. The bowel prep may be uncomfortable, and you may feel hungry on the clear liquid diet. Plan to stay home during your prep time since you will need to use the bathroom often. The colon prep causes loose, frequent stools anddiarrhea so that your colon will be empty for the test. If you need to drink a special solution as part of your prep, be sure to have clear fruit juices or soft drinks to drink after the prep because the solution may have a salty or unpleasant taste.

The preceding medical information has been copied from:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cat Bondage :)


Many writers have cats. I’m one of them. Still, sometimes, I wish I'd never gotten hooked on the  furry little tyrants when they do things like stand in front of the monitor (butt in your face), or lie on the keyboard, or step on it--unfailingly when you have 5 windows open and are in the middle of filling out some life-and-death form. Or they decide to recline on your forearms while you are typing.
(There's worse pictures, but I spared us.)
These boss-you-around-stories are the ones that people who love cats most enjoy telling. They are also the ones that make those who aren’t under the spell of Felis Sylvestris Catus wonder if we’ve lost our collective minds.

Supplication to the Goddess

You are the Great Cat, the avenger of the gods, the judge of words ,the sovereign and governor of the Holy Circle; You are indeed
The Great Cat!

Sometimes as I stand, holding the door watching metaphoric dollar bills fly out into February, I believe this is truly how the cat sees himself. I mean, what could I do that is more important than hold the door for my tiger cat, while he makes up his mind about whether he was, after all, mistaken in his burning desire to go out and harass the winged visitors of the birdfeeder? 

It's still cold and icy out there, even after ten whole minutes inside this boring house... 

Boot in the rear, you think? Well, you could do that, but just as in human relationships, treating a cat with disrespect will only lower you in his estimation. What goes around comes around. The return message will be clear, often written in poop. Back in the '60's, I knew a person who thought he could ignore cleaning the cat box. His cat, of course, soon registered his opinion by pooping upon his most precious possession—an expensive set of headphones, left on the sofa where the “owner” reclined for hours engrossed by the latest rock’n’roll.  Now, that was a perfectly symmetrical revenge.


All of us who share sleeping quarters with felines know that while they can be great cuddlers, they can also be disturbing, mostly because they are sticklers for routine. We’ve all slept beyond the cat-appointed time—only to be awakened by claws gently scraping along our face—or, delicately along our eyelids—or, maybe, worst of all—a single claw hooked inside a nostril, an ever-increasing pressure applied in some feline version of the death by a thousand cuts—to speed our sluggish getting up. 

A friend shared yet another story about this same long-ago Siamese -- probably the bossiest of all breeds -- who would noisily climb the door molding in her bedroom and then slowly slide down, creating a sound like chalk on a blackboard, while she lay, pillow over her head, desperately trying to collect a few more seconds of shut eye. This alarm clock behavior is prevalent Saturday/Sunday when cat owning working stiffs are trying to sleep in. In fact, for most of my own 9-5, the cat--using one of the above methods--would awaken me exactly two minutes before the dream-shattering beeping could begin. Maybe they just hated that sound as much as I did.

To end, I'll just say that all of my historical novels have feline characters. With such a lifestyle, How could they not?


~~Juliet Waldron

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Snippets with Ginger Simpson #sundaysnips

This week I'm sharing a little more of my WIP, Sarah's Soul, which I hope to finish this month.  I hope you enjoy it, but remember this is the first, unedited draft:

While she waited for Daniel, she wandered down the hallway..“Mr. Crane?”  Sarah stood in the doorway of her supervisor’s office.  Uneasiness trembled in her voice.
“Yes.”  He turned, brows raised.
“I-I’d like to reconsider my earlier decision if you don’t mind.”
“About taking time off?”  His mouth pulled into a frown.
“Yes.  I’d like to get away for a while, and I’m considering a trip to another country.”
“Another country?”  His voice climbed an octave.  “How long would you be gone?”  He dropped a file onto his desk and crossed his arms across his bulging stomach.
Sarah squared her shoulders. “Since you mentioned hiring someone to fill in for me, I’d like to request a month away.”
The sun shining through the window behind him cast what looked like a halo around his head.  Sarah almost laughed since he was anything but angelic.  “What do you think,” she asked, feigning bravery she didn’t feel.  The man had an intimidating presence—always did.
He cleared his throat and adjusted his tie. “I suppose if you need time off, you need time off.  I’ll put in a call and arrange a temporary person.  When do you plan to leave?”
“At once...i-if that’s okay.  I received another threat here at work today, and I’d really like to just disappear for a while.  I don’t plan to let anyone know my destination, so if you don’t mind, I’m not even going to tell you.”
He stiffened.  “Surely you don’t suspect me?
Sarah shook her head.  “Oh, it's not that, sir.  Not at all, but I figure the fewer people who know my whereabouts, the better.”
Mr. Crane cleared his throat again.  “Well, then enjoy your time away, and I hope the police find whoever is behind all your woes.  I’m sure I’ll get someone in to read while you’re gone.  If not right away, I’ll still have Marie.”  He stared into space and massaged his chin. “Hmmm, maybe I’ll have an assistant editor step into your place.  That would save me some money”
“Right.”  Poor Marie.  She certainly wouldn't be happy to learn she was the sole senior editor, but given the circumstances, she’d understand.  Plus, she knew how cheap the boss was when it came to running the business.
  Sarah wanted to scream at him, but forced kindness to surface.  “Thank you, Mr. Crane. I’ll apprise you of any progress made, and I’ll see you in a month.”

Sarah slunk out of the office before her boss had a chance to reconsider his moment of niceness.  She glanced at her wristwatch—quitting time. Marie must surely be wondering where Sarah was.

Watch for the completed novel coming from Books We Love and appearing on my Amazon page.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Murder Most Shocking - A Novel Murder

The superintendent, a frown winkling his jowls, unlocked the apartment and then moved aside as Michelle batted away the yellow crime scene tape. Before she had a chance to step inside, fingers bit into her shoulder. She jerked around and turned an icy stare on the small-statured man “What…?” 
“Yeah….” Tony stepped forward and peered down his nose. “Keep your hands to yourself, Bernie.” 
Deeper ruts furrowed the super’s already craggy brow. His flushed cheeks puffed out with a mock smile. “Sorry, but I need to know how much longer you cops plan to be poking around here? Every day this apartment goes without a tenant, I lose money.” 
“Really?” Michelle’s mouth gaped. “That’s your biggest worry? A young woman in the prime of her life was murdered in your building, and all you can think about is money?” She 
shook her head and pointed down the corridor. “Get out of my sight before I order the whole place locked down until we find out exactly what happened.” 
The plump, ugly little man scurried away without another word. 
“Can you really do that?” Tony’s brow arched. 
“Do what?” She stepped inside, Tony following close behind. 
“Shut down the entire building?” 
She smiled over her shoulder. “Probably not, but he doesn’t know that.” 
Tony laughed. “Well, you sure scared the crap out of him. Did you see how fast he moved?” 
“Yeah.” She sighed. “I wish it was that easy to take care of all pests.” She paused for a moment and then cocked her head toward her partner. “Bernie?” 
“Yeah, his name is Bernard Goldman.” 
Michelle moved to the bed, noting the indention in the pillow upon which the victim had breathed her last breath. Haunting visions of the woman’s face while struggling with her attacker crept into Shell’s head. How the poor woman’s neck veins bulged as her very last gasp of air was denied her—the twisted agony shadowed the sky blue eyes that once sparkled. A shudder crept along Michelle’s spine. Why was the message delivered to her so incomplete? Why show her what was happening as the crime unfolded and never give details of how the information was supposed to help her save anyone if she couldn’t get there beforehand? All her visions did were taunt her and point out how helpless she really was. 
“What are you staring at?” Tony nudged her, while pulling on his gloves. 
“Just thinking. If the guys didn’t find any prints or clues to the murderer, we’re going to have to rely on asking lots of questions and delving into the victim’s background. Who had a grudge against her? Who hated her enough to kill her? Who did she trust enough to let inside?” 
Michelle bent and examined the linens but still glove free, allowed only her gaze to wander the crumpled sheets and blanket. Visually, nary a stray hair or stain gave any promise of gathering the perp’s DNA. Of course, if there had been anything worth checking, the CSI guys would have found it. 
She straightened, tamping back the longing to make the bed—wanting to hide the obvious and make the world right again—to deny what really happened. She may have failed to prevent Cara’s murder, but standing there, looking at the very spot where the dead woman heaved her last breath, Michelle vowed to find the person responsible and make them pay. 
“Hey, Meesh.” Tony appeared from the bathroom, tugging off his blue plastic gloves. “I can’t find anything. There’s only the usual stuff in the medicine chest. Evidently, she took pride in her appearance. I found tons of hair care products, skin creams and make-up, but nothing out of the ordinary not even a prescription drug.” 

Shell wandered the room not bothering the gaping bureau drawers the police already rifled through or daring venture into the closets they’d searched. The small desk beneath the window displayed a dusty outline of where a laptop had been, and the drawer handles and edges around the oaken surface still bore the powder left from fingerprinting. Atop a stack of papers lay a recently dated paycheck. Drawn on a corporate name she didn’t recognize, the only thing she made out from the scribbled signature was someone’s first name and last initial: “C”. 

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