Sunday, October 28, 2018

Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow--Teaser by Connie Vines #CharmedWriters, #BWL, #CharmedConnection #Halloween


Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow
By Connie Vines

 “You and Elvis have done a great job on this house," Meredith said as her older sister led the way downstairs toward the kitchen where the tour began. “Sorry I couldn't get over, until now, but I've been sort of… well, busy."   Slipping her Juicy Couture tortoise-shell framed sunglasses into a bright pink case; Meredith crammed them into her black Coach handbag.  She hoped her sister didn’t ask her to define busy.  Becoming a zombie, and dealing with the entire raised from the dead issue over the past six months, was not a topic easily plunked into casual conversation. 
Pippa waved the comment aside. “I'm glad you like it. We had such fun decorating. Of course, we couldn’t do it all at once, but it's more satisfying putting it together treasure by treasure."
Meredith glanced from Pippa’s impish features and short spiky black hair to the perimeter of the room.  Taking in every detail and nuance of Pippa’s decorating talent, she let her gaze rest on a collection of figurines by fantasy artist Jasmine Beckett-Griffith crouching at the top of the ebony stained cabinets.  A black arch-top fireplace mounted against the wall, flames flowing from a bed of clear river stones, and HOME SWEET HOME embroidered on a sampler with a tiny vine of blood-red roses tangling though out the letters completed the focal point of the room.  
Even though Meredith was on the best relations with her sister, she couldn't help but feel a sharp nip of jealousy.  It hadn’t been so long ago that she’d had her own happy home.  Unfortunately, she’d filed for divorce from Viktor and then there’d been that bizarre little accident where she’d ended up dead, and then undead. 
While Pippa’s two kids, Ethan and Emma, played in the living room, to the accompaniment of 1960s rock-and-roll musical on cable TV, Meredith sat in the kitchen with her sister, fiddling with the end of the tea bag that dangled from the rim of her China cup.
Since her sister was contemplating the contents of a tin filled with Danish cookies, Meredith found herself cataloging the events that led up her ‘accident’.
A charter member of the SoCal Arts Association, she’d been participating in the annual Zombie Walk Festival in Long Beach when it ‘happened’. Crowds always made her uncomfortable, but this particular event was to raise money, so she was obligated to attend.   And, it only went to reason; this year’s participation broke all past records.  
Twelve-thousand gleeful ghouls stormed Long Beach’s renovated Promenade.  The crowd became so large that it spilled out over Pine Avenue for an all-out downtown invasion.  Meredith didn’t recall much about the accident, nor who or what, reanimated her.  She remembered over hearing a security officer informing a pungent-smelling zombie that he couldn’t purchase an alcoholic beverage (apparently, he didn’t match up with his photo ID). Within moments, a shoving match between the two men ensured, quickly escalating into zombie chaos:  shouting, running and chomping. 
Chomping?
At the time, Meredith thought it was all part of the festivities, perhaps a little odd and definitely crazy.  Just like the cornstarch-based zombie-vomit and fake blood, everyone had globed and smeared on themselves; but hey, it was an Arts event. Even after finding herself wedged in the center of the zombie mob, lunging and bumping along until they were in sight of the pier, Meredith wasn’t overly concerned.
In hindsight, perhaps she should have been extremely concerned.  Because the next thing Meredith knew, she was in a zipped body bag, feeling entirely not like herself.
No.  She wasn’t going to dwell on the past.  Again. She’d just keep muddling on with her life and try to focus on the bright spots.
Pippa and her family were a definite bright spot in her life.
 “I wish you would let me help with dinner,” Meredith said, pulling herself back into the present.  “I feel guilty just sitting here doing nothing while you do all the work.”  Being a vegan, Meredith found her transition of zombie-hood, particularly exigent.  Brains, human or otherwise, had never been on her menu—now, protein, in fowl or bovine form was a requirement of her reanimated state.  Difficult though it was, she had to come to terms with the change.  After discovering an underground support group who met monthly in a banquet room of a coffee shop near the I-10, she was thankful she didn’t require human protein like most of the other Zombies.  However, consuming tofu with herbal tea (her lunch before reanimation), she discovered, had unfortunate, and unexpected, side effects.
Pippa, turning from the stove with the pecan pie captured between two oven mitts, shook her head.  “Meri, don’t even think about helping me with the meal.  When Elvis’s mom and dad decided to take a paddleboat cruise up the Mississippi, I thought I wouldn't have anybody but my own offspring to fuss over on Thanksgiving Day.  You just sit there and relax."
 "I really appreciate the invitation," Meredith said, glancing out the window to catch a Monarch butterfly pick its way along a lipstick red hibiscus blossom.  "Cooking turkey for one just isn't my style."
Pippa did a double take at Meredith’s statement, but didn’t comment.  Instead, she said, “You’re welcome to come for Christmas dinner too, you know."
"Thanks Pippa, but Christmas is out.  I have to finish the new book by February so I'm driving up to Forest Falls tomorrow.  I'll be staying there for a month or so."
"Christmas at the cabin," Pippa mused.  "That sounds nice.   Are you sure you want to be up there all by yourself?"
 "I’m not hiding,” Meredith replied.
 "I know.  You’re healing. . .” She left the words: and licking your wounds, unspoken.  “I just don't want you to be lonely." 
"I won't be,” Meredith reassured her.  “I'm taking Gertie with me."
Pippa laughed indulgently and shook her head.  "A hamster doesn't count."
"Don't say that when Gertie’s within ear shot.  She follows me all around the house in her exercise ball.  We’re BFs."
 “Well, I'm glad you could join us for Thanksgiving," Pippa said.
            ***

As Meredith surveyed the beautifully decorated dinner table, irony struck right her right between the eyes.  A lot had happened in the six months or so (being reanimated unexpectedly), and then there were all the hidden expenses.  Body moisturizers, specialty make-up loaded with anti-decay properties, hydrating beverages, bimonthly injections—to keep the virus semi-dormant so that she didn’t partake in some zombie flash-mob; or worst, (morph into a Hannibal Lector type wearing red stilettos, roaming the suburbs).  While she still had a lot to be thankful for, it was difficult adjusting to the major changes in her life.
Her career, however, was something Meredith gave her stamp of approval.  After seven years as a struggling advertising/blog writer, she’d finally gotten her big break!  Not only was The Isis Factor published but also was a huge success!
 There were book signings, press parties, interviews, and even an e-Book launching cruise.  Not bad, for a girl who worked her way through college waiting tables and writing nonfiction articles on spec.
The Luxor Papers, published a few months later, had been an even greater success.  Who would have ever thought that Meredith Misso, author of quirky short stories and nonfiction articles, would've found her niche in the Steampunk market (Steampunk: Victorian science fiction/fantasy—circa 1850 to pre-World War I, often set in London, England)?
“I really wish you'd reconsider and spend Christmas with us,” Pippa said later.  As she and Meredith took turns rinsing the dishes and loading the dishwasher. “I like the thought of you all alone in that cabin during the holidays.”
Meredith smiled, touched by her sister’s concern.  Same-old Pippa. It was reassuring that one part of her life hadn’t changed.  “Don't worry about me,” Meredith told her, readjusting her thick plastic gloves. “I'll be just fine.  Being alone is what every writer hopes for—a writer’s mantra, in fact.  Without interruptions, I can finish the book and maybe even started the next one.”
“Glad to see you’ve lost none of your ambition,” Pippa remarked, fitting a casserole dish on the top rack of the dishwasher.  I can't even imagine wanting to work right up until Christmas.”
Meredith shrugged, feigning indifference.  "It's just a day like any other," she said.
"Have you thought about calling Viktor?"

Book Trailer to Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow!!


Remember to Visit me on FB at author connie vines
and at the Charmed Connection for free giveaways

Have a Spooktacular Halloween Everyone!
Connie




Saturday, September 22, 2018

I Do I Encourage Reading? #Round Robin #CharmedWriters #GemsintheAttic

How do I encourage reading?

This month's topic is very timely in today's digital world.  Paperback, hard bound, eBook, audio book?  The choices, as well as the genres, seem endless.

My day job is in education.  I began presenting stories to children during library story-time.  Later, I was a guest presenter during an English or Social Studies class.,  I have also taught writing workshops for young authors.

I believe it is more challenging now because of all the distractions.  Reading is not a passive activity, for me, this is one of the most difficult realities for children to accept.  For an introvert, reading is an accepted norm; for the extrovert, it seems foreign.  I believe the reader has helped because it resembles a game.


For my YA evaders, I add activities at the end if each of my stories, video trailers, and often contests and giveaways.

The same is true for my adult readers.  Sampler chapters, flash fiction, and coming attractions on my website and social media to offer a teaser to encourage reading.

Being a a reader, I present what I enjoy to my readership.  Sensory details, recipes, a detailed setting,s, multi-dementia characters, and unexpected twists and turns..  I hope I create characters and settings that are memorable and encourage readers to search for another good story after reading
THE END.

Please stop ad see what all of the authors have to say about this subject by clicking on the links listed below.


Happy Reading,

Connie Vines


Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea

Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1ly

Anne de Gruchy https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/

A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/

Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com

Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog

Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/

Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com




Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Why did I Begin to Write? By Connie Vines #Round Robin #08/18/2018

This month’s topic sent me down memory lane.

Yes, like most novelists, I penned stories at a young age, had the ferreting instincts of a seasoned reporter, and possessed a quirky way of looking at life (my writer’s voice).  I know it annoyed my family, friends, and teachers.  However, when anyone needed unbiased information, or a detailed replay of an event which had taken place in the long-ago-past, I was, and I still am, the go-to person.

As I’ve written before, I grew up in a nomadic, career naval family.  Attending an average of three schools per year, made me an observer of people.  So, it was only natural for me to have the building blocks for future fictional characters stored away in my subconscious. Knowing the life of a reporter was not a career for me (calls at 3:00 AM to drive to who-knows-where and see who-knows-what), I decided to write for magazines and other publications instead.

When my children were young, I wrote for Jr. Medical Detective, Humpty Dumpty Magazine, religious publications, and I had a column featuring writing-tips.

I joined Romance Writers of America when a close friend of mine (Thank you, Shirlee), suggested I attend a meeting in Orange County where her sister was co-president of the chapter.  This was during the ‘golden-age’ of romance writing.  I attended talks, workshops and screen writing classes—wonderful training grounds for genre fiction.

This is what brought me into the world of writing a 55.000 + word novel. 

I still write short-stories and novellas, but the challenge of plotting a novel is something I enjoy.  The opening hook, character motivation, plot-twists are exciting, even though the mental energy often results in sleepless nights. Still, the characters continue to speak to me.  I am compelled to tell the story.

My first romance, under a pen-name, was published by Kensington Publishing under the Precious Gems imprint. We, Precious Gems, have kept in touch over the years.
We also have a blog titled, “Gems in the Attic” that we each contribute to (my blog is the 1st Monday of each month).  Currently, nine of us have an eBook sampler titled “Love, Forever” downloadable for FREE.



https://www.amazon.com/Connie-Vines/e/B004C7W6PE
https://books2read.com/ap/n720JR/Connie-Vines


Please visit the other members of our Round Robin Blog and read what each one has to share!


Happy Reading!
Connie

Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1ke
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
--

Thursday, August 2, 2018

New Release: Romance Sampler: Love, Forever


Free Download!








This sampler collection of romance first chapters by established, award-winning, and bestselling romance authors is guaranteed to whet your happily-ever-after appetite and send you running back to Amazon to download the full novels to your hearts' content! This eclectic mix of sweet to steamy reads has you traveling from the past to the future, with historical, time travel, paranormal, contemporary, western, and futuristic romance beginnings. And we hope you will not stop at the beginning--and that you download and enjoy every one! 

Here is a sneak peek at the stories in Love, Forever: 

HEAT LIGHTNING (Book 1, Outlaw Ridge, Texas) by Joan Reeves 
Contemporary Romance. Amnesia stole her memory--her life! What Tessa doesn't remember may be the death of her. 

BREDE, (Rodeo Romance, Book 2) by Connie Vines 
Romantic Suspense. Trouble is something hard-edged rancher, Brede Kristensen, knows all about. A widower with a rambunctious young daughter, a ranch to run and an ornery cook who has just runoff, Brede doesn't need another problem. Yet in the midst of a violent storm, he finds an injured woman with no memory of her past--or the man who tried to kill her! 

FINDING MERCY (Return to Welcome #1) by Bonnie Edwards 
Contemporary Romance. Mercy Talbot left Welcome on a high, but she's returned a broke failure. She's messed up her career, love, and family ties. Now, she's found love and a new family. When her career is reborn, will she leave the man and child who've opened their hearts to her? 

TIME AND AGAIN by Nancy Fraser 
Time Travel/Romantic Suspense. Will Kate and Matt's accidental trip to the future bring them back together? Or, tear them even farther apart? 

THE GINGERBREAD HEART by Liz Flaherty 
Sweet Romance. Widowed Cass Logan has done her time as a caregiver. But when her boss, mystery-writer Eli Welcome, needs surgery, Cass is faced with following her heart...or walking away. 

ALL OF MY HEART by Sophie Jacobs, Book 1, A Harbor Falls Romance 
Contemporary Romance. Happy-go-lucky Suzie Hart has a perfect life and a secret. All goes well in her small town world until that secret rides up to her doorstep on a badass Harley and tosses her not-so-perfect world into some kind of big, bad tumble. 

KENTUCKY BLUE BLOODS by Jan Scarbrough 
Contemporary Romance. It's up to Reggie to save what's left of her family homestead and her proud Kentucky heritage. But when Parker shows up to collect his horses, all bets are off. Reggie's never been a gambler and Parker despises losing. But when Kentucky blue blood tangles with British blue blood, are they willing to take a gamble on love? 

ANORA'S PRIDE by Kathleen Lawless 
Western Historical romance. Anora King didn't plan to pretend she was married, but her new neighbors in Boulder Springs jumped to that conclusion. Jesse Quantrill is shocked to find himself lusting after a married woman. And wouldn't a romance between them be the town's biggest scandal ever? 

TWO DAYS UNTIL MIDNIGHT by Lynn Crandall 
Paranormal romance. A bird-shifter. A reclusive billionaire. A project that brings them together. A deadly curse that threatens to separate them forever. 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SEXY KIND by Karen Kelley 
Romantic Comedy. Mala didn't plan to crash land on Earth. She only wanted to sneak in for a few days and maybe find a man--a real one, but she encounters more than she bargained for with the town sheriff. 

NIGHT KISS by Maddie James 
Time Travel/Paranormal Romance. Claire Winslow vacations on an East Coast barrier island, content with her life and her potential future--until the illusion of a man walking the misty shore haunts her. Then one kiss--a beautiful, soulful, stolen kiss in the night--and her life changes forever.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

How Do You Handle Violence/ Danger in a Story? By Connie Vines #RR #07/21/18


How do you handle/use violence, or any type of danger, in your stories?

Rhobin thank you, once again, for this month’s Round Robin topic.


The definition of Violence (dictionary.com)
  • ·         swift and intense force:
  • ·         the violence of a storm.
  • ·         rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment: to die by violence.
  • ·         an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws: to take over a government by violence.

The definition of Danger (dictionary.com)
  • ·         liability or exposure to harm or injury; risk; peril.
  • ·         an instance or cause of peril; menace.
  • ·         Obsolete. power; jurisdiction; domain.

Since I view reading in a way to relax, to solve a mystery, or learn what motivates people/humanity/etc., I am always selective in how, to what degree, I insert danger/or any degree of violence into my stories.

I am more inclined to have suspenseful elements in a story.  However, in a historical novel, including YA, there is a certain amount of violence which was part of life during any given time period.  I do not go into graphic detail but I can’t erase or change historical facts.  In my current release, Tanayia—Whisper upon the Water, set in 1880s Indian Territory, my heroine’s band is murdered and she in the only survivor (historical fact).  She is taken hostage and escapes (historical fact) only to be taken to a Native American Boarding School.  

My heroine is resourceful and a survivor.  My readers travel with her.  They clear for her; cry for her; and learn from her.  In the epilogue, Tanayia receives her hard-won happy-ending.

I strive to given my hero and heroines an upbeat ending, or at the very least, hope for a brighter future.

Please stop by and see what the other member of this month’s members of Round Robin have to say:
Connie

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1i2




Saturday, June 23, 2018

Why I compelled to Write by Connie Vines #RR 06/23/2018

This month’s topic: Why do you write or feel compelled to write even through the difficult parts?

Thank you, Robin, for this compelling topic!

Before I sat down at the keyboard, I conducted research (via on line studies) on why writes say they write. 

15% stated it was for expression while 13% stated she/he was driven.  2% (tied) wrote for fame or to entertain. 8% of Writers Write because of their imagination.

So where do I fall in this survey?  My first impulse was to state I was driven to write.  However, that is not entirely accurate.  Once I have determined the plot, characterization, completed my research and begin the story, I am driven to write.  My motivation is split between Imagination and to Help Others.

Imagination because I have whole worlds going on inside my head.  I want to share these stories with readers.  I’ve been living inside by head since I was a child.  Introverted and shy, my childhood was nomadic because of my father military career.  The norm (until high school) was to change school 3 times per academic year.  Long-term friendships were not possible, so I read, wrote, and fortunately, had miniature poodle for a pet.

I Write to Help Others.  My characters defy the odds, my YA/Tween heroines/heroes are not the popular kids, but they are spunky survivors.  My adult characters have strong personalities, are compassionate and no matter the hardship—they give my readers hope, direction in life, and belief in better future.

I write to entertain and to be a positive influence. 

My current release Tanayia – Whisper upon the Water, deals with a topic similar to what is splashed across today’s Internet, Television, and the cover of Time Magazine.

Native American children removed from families and housed in boarding schools. 

Told in the 1st person, the reviews repeatedly state to story is: ‘raw and real”.

My story is not political.  I find it interesting that the topic is timely and still relevant in today’s America.

Tanayia is a Nde/Apache girl living in the 1880s.  This is a story I was compelled to write. 

Stop by and see what the other wonderful writers in today’s Round Robin Blog Hop have to say!

https://books2read.com/u/mVZLor


Happy Reading,
Connie Vines

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1gQ
Marie Laval http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Aimee) A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Gluten-Free Writing by Connie Vines #gluten-free, #Celiac Disease

Perhaps a more accurate title of today’s blog post would be a Gluten-Free Writer.

More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It's estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or Celiac disease are never diagnosed.

It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Could you be one of them?

Could I be one of them?

I had been on thyroid replacement for most of my adult life.  And, gluten intolerance, is a possibility. 

A co-worker has celiac disease.  One day I was complaining about joint pain, especially in my left shoulder.  She asked my if I been checked for gluten-intolerance.

I enjoy baking for my family—especially gingerbread cookies, cakes, and the like.  I had just purchased two specialty rolling-pins; one cut-out Disney characters and castles, the second mid-evil dragons.  I saw my baking activities going up in smoke!

Clicking on the Mayo Clinic website I read:

1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation.

2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as 'chicken skin' on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.

3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.

4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.

5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.

6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.

7. Migraine headaches.

8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.

9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.

10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

Except for: 6, 8, and 10, I was looking like poster-person for the condition.

I know I could have a larger problem (aside from having to forage for gluten-free products and prepare 2-types of meals each day).  However, having listened to my co-worker’s challenges while trying to stay gluten-free and raise her family, I knew this was going to require a time-consuming adjustment.

How to test for gluten intolerance?

I was advised the single best way to determine if you have an issue with gluten is to do an elimination diet and take it out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. The longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better

Since I was almost-certain I was dealing with an intolerance, (confirmed by my doctor) I started with the elimination of gluten from my daily diet.  Did I feel better? Yes.  Did I notice immediately when I cheated?  Yes.  Though I didn’t realize I had consumed gluten many times.

How can you not know?  Bread is bread.  Wheat is. . .well, wheat is in almost every processed food you toss into your grocery cart.

Gluten is in soy-sauce. In soy-sauce? 

My co-worker sent me over to the mini-Walmart for a gluten-free version.  Surprisingly, this mini-Walmart has a well-stocked selection of gluten-free foods! Reasonably priced, too.
I did drive over to Sprouts for bullion-cubes (gluten is an ingredient in most soups).

1. Lifestyle change:  Not only am I watching for soy (thyroid condition)  I must check for obvious ingredients signaling gluten.

o Wheat
o Barley
o Rye
o Malt
o Brewer’s yeast
o Oats (unless specifically labeled gluten-free)

Link to recipes to make your life less-challenging (for meal-prep anyway).   https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/label-reading/#kJSa4rYdT3zg0VQl.99

If you have a sweet-tooth, Sugar Babies and the small size Hershey Chocolate and Almond Joy bars are gluten-free. 

Gum and vitamins are another story. . .

I must report that I am feeling significantly better as I progress on my gluten-free journey. 

Please feel free to share any recipes, shopping hints in the comments section.

Happy Reading!

Connie 

For more information visit these links.  Always contact your physician/medical provider if you before embarking on any diet plan.

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.

Ask-the-Dietitian

Janelle Smith, MS, RD,specializes in gastrointestinal symptom management through appropriate nutrition and food choices, helping you adapt to living on a gluten-free diet.

Read more at https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/what-is-gluten/#3JD7gzUDkKatu1P1.99





Saturday, April 21, 2018

How do you establish a story? What is your most unusual story? by Connie Vines #Round Robin

 How do you establish a story?  What is your most unusual story?

Thank you Rhobin for this month’s Round Robin Topic.

I, like most of the writers I know, are involved in workshops, plotting groups, and or online classes.  Many of these are workshops sponsored by my local Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers, (past and present) are excellent in content and easy of application.

Christopher Vogler’s workshop “The Writer’s Journey” was a 2-day event which was designed for screen writers.  While I have ghost-written a screenplay, which was adapted for the small screen oversees, this is not main focus.  I have, however, applied what I leaned in this workshop to plot/outline my novels, novellas and expanded the W-plotting guide for my short-stories and anthologies.

And, of course, no writer’s library would be complete without out a physical copy and video version of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.  His work goes into detail about the art of storytelling and why we, as humans are hardwired accept and expect the ‘myth’.

Having be active in The International Chapter of Romances Writers, I taught online classes on character development and plotting.  I, as I’ve blogged about in the past, plot my stores in 3-chapter clusters due to story flow, pivotal-points, dark-moment, etc.  Revisions are simpler for me this way because I can to insure my story’s pacing remain even.

After my basic story is plotted, my character sketched out and motivation defined, I need to add depth to my character and strength my conflict.  I fine the series of writer’s reference books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, of Writers Helping Writers fame, a must-have reference.  However, I also rely on ‘unconventional’ conflict generation.  Astrological signs are great form of conflict.  (Remember I have always worked odd-jobs—some jobs more ‘odd’ than others, to support my writing habit.)  One of my ‘temp’ assignments was for a local (and semi-well known) astrologer.  I already had knowledge of astrology but he explained charting/predictions/ and conflict due to…well, you get the general idea.  I have found this immensely helpful when my characters come from a similar background which can make ‘conflict’ a stretch.

I applied astrology (though it is never an element in the novel itself) to “Lynx” Rodeo Romance, Book 1 (BWL Publishing, Inc. print and e-book).  Rachel is an Aquarius and Lynx is a Leo.  Opposites in the Zodiac, but like all opposites there is attraction/conflict/ and a heart-felt story line.
If a reader is looking for the ‘astrological elements of my character development’ she will find them.

What is my most unusual story?

Meaning: not habitually or commonly occurring or done.
synonyms:  uncommon, abnormal, atypical, unexpected, surprising, unfamiliar, different;
remarkable or interesting because different from or better than others.

All of my stories fall under this umbrella.  My current release “Tanayia—Whisper upon the Water” is a historical YA novel with a Native American heroine and a setting in a boarding school in the 1880s.  The story reads like a young girls’ diary but is written in the 1st person, narrative.

My novella series, would be truly ‘unusual’ because my 1st heroine is a Zombie.  The second novella is titled “Bell, Book, & Gargoyle”.

Thank you for following my blog today.
Please stop by next month, too.

Connie

For more takes on the month’s topic visit:




Saturday, March 24, 2018

Where So My Stories Come From? by Connie Vines #Round Robin







Where do my ideas for stories come from? 



I first have a sense of time and place.  My family and I were attending a rodeo in North Platte, Nebraska when I had a hint of a story.  It was a few days later I began hearing dialog when were where having breakfast in a country cafe.

This is where the story, "Lynx" about a rodeo cowboy and small town waitress/college student began.

My current release, "Tanayia--Whisper upon the Water," book 1, began when I was a board member for the Title IX Indian Education Program.
I was helping one of the students as she prepared  to dance in a local powwow.  It was I fingered the bead-work on her jingle-dress, that I knew I was going to write a historical novel from a young girl's pov.  

Are these stories a apart of me?  To a degree.  
  
Native American culture teaches that a Story finds the Story Teller.  It is the Story Teller's duty to give the story life.

I believe this is true.

Because I am the filter, then many of my personal beliefs, emotions filter through.  However, the story I tell is the character's story--not mine alone.

I believe my stories find me because of my I have a strong sense of duty, honor, of kindness, and the humor and joy I find in life.

My stories seem to always have a core social issue and a happy ending.

Thank you for stopping by today.


















Please stop by all of the members of our Round Robin Blog participants to see what tales they each have to share.

Happy Reading,

Connie

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Writing Process by Connie Vines

Flash Back

The Writing Process

1.      What am I working on right now?
I work on multiple projects at once.  Is this a good thing?  Probably not—but rebel that I am, I do it anyway.  I’m finishing up the Second Act in my novella, Bell, Book, and Gargoyle and I’m three quarters through my anthology: Gumbo Ya Ya (an anthology for woman who like romance Cajun). While all this is going on, Rand, Book 3 in my Rodeo Romance Series in bumping around in my head. And Book 4, Crystal Thunder, in my Rodeo Romance Series is being plotted in my Dramatica Pro a thought at a time.

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 also 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.  Kidnapped, held hostage, and manages to escape. Taken to a Native American boarding school, Tay learns a new language, skills, and encounters prejudice but also experiences kindness.  Later, she must make a very difficult choice.  Her decision will influence 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, and was selected as a “Teen Read” at libraries at the time of its release.  My novel is being read by 7th grade students at an IB school this trimester, and student feedback is great!

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 contests).  Brede, Book 2, is a western romantic suspense, set in New Mexico.  Since the novel is romantic suspense, I do not wish create a spoiler in this blog post.  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 straight to Hollywood. Lights, Camera, and a boot-full of Action! I am having, fun, fun with this novel!
Crystal Thunder, Book 4, has a more serious tone and is set in the Dakotas.

My stories are diverse, because, like most of us my life experiences are unique.

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 in Texas. I grew up in a career military family and my childhood was nomadic.  I have been involved in Native America culture and educational programs. My husband is a Louisiana country boy.  I now live in SoCal—where, of course, I have met Hollywood television stars and facilitated workshops.

3.     Why do I write what I do?
The story calls to me, it is 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).  Today, I’m listening to Zydeco music and I have gumbo in my crockpot.  I am compelled to complete the story.  Native American culture says, “The story comes to the Storyteller.  The Storyteller must bring it to life.” 

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.

Is my first draft perfect? No.  Is my third draft publishable? It’s probably close.  At this point in the writing process, if I have any bumpy spots, I’ll have writer friend look over those pages. She will give her opinion and suggestions—that I may, or may not follow (though I always give the input careful consideration).  Writing, after all, is subjective—as is a reader’s preference for one novel over another. 

To read the first chapter teasers of my novels please follow this link:  http://www.amazon.com/Connie-Vines/e/B004C7W6PE  


My Book Trailer to Brede, Rodeo Romance Book 2




Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have stop by next week at Dishin’ It Out out to read my next blog post.


Happy Reading,

Connie Vines




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