Coffee & Naughty Thoughts

Author Linda Bolton - Writer, Blogger

Month: July 2012

On the Blog Tour this week please welcome Bruce Blake. Our topic this week is our writing process. Bruce describes his. We are all different. If you have time this week check out a few others. 



I spent a number of years working for a restaurant chain. It wan’t a fast food place, so the job actually required a bit of thinking, but not too much. Everything was sorted and set-up, with procedures for opening, closing, cleaning, and of course the recipes for food and drink. Doing it the same way every time assured the result would be the same every time.
My writing process is similar, though I’ll argue it doesn’t taste as good as the baked brie did. I do have a particular way of doing things that I follow, though in the plotter versus pantser debate, I still fall somewhere in the middle.
Here is an overview of how things look.
1. Have an idea. There is no time frame assigned to this one. They just happen sometimes, and other times I sit down for weeks tearing my hair out to get one (I guess that’s only funny if you know I’m bald). We all have ideas but, to paraphrase Neil Gaiman, the difference is as writers, we notice them.
2. Write the idea down. Don’t forget this step–they melt.
3. Think about the idea.
4. Think about the idea.
5. Think about the idea.
6. Write some notes. Do some research. Sketch some characters (I don’t mean draw. Mine all look the same…stick people).
7. Start breaking the expanded, somewhat fleshed out idea into smaller chunks, sometimes known as chapters. I write only a sentence or two about what I expect to happen in each given chapter, and what POV it will be from. Sometimes I get all the way to the end before I move on to #8, but more often, I get half to two-thirds complete.
8. Write. As big a pain in the ass as it can be sometimes, I am a linear writer. I begin at the beginning and end at the ending. I don’t jump around and write my favourite scenes first, or my least favourite. The order you end up reading it in is generally the order I wrote it (though I have been know to shift chapters around after the fact). To me, this helps me keep things cohesive. I want to see it the way the reader will see it.
9. Thinking, note taking, research, character development and outlining continues through the writing process. This is how I fall in the middle in the plotter/pantser thing. I usually know where I’m going to end up, and there are a few brightly coloured handkerchiefs tied to branches here and there to keep me going that direction, but I’m also happy to take a hard left turn and see where that takes me if it seems like a better idea.
10. Write the crap out of that bastard.
11. Let the editing begin. I’ll usually take a couple weeks off from the manuscript before starting to edit, but once I start, I go balls deep. First edit is a read through, partly a proofread, partly looking for cohesion. Second time I pull out my list of Bruce’s bad words. This list includes words I use habitually, passive words, and wishy-washiness (nearly, barely, almost). Third read is for sentence structure. Fourth is for word choices. Lots gets cut through all these run-throughs.
12. Send it to the beat readers. I have a few trusted people, but I’ve also used some who it turned out weren’t sure what a comma was for. Be careful of that.
13. Receive the comments from the readers. I spend a day trying to convince myself that they are not insane and their comments have value. Once I’m back to trusting them, I evaluate and edit again
14. Send it to the editor. While waiting to get it back, it’s important to keep working on something else, otherwise my fingernails end up getting very short.
15. Evaluate the edits, make necessary changes.
16. Let my baby free.
And in case you’re wondering, I write in a coffee shop. My favourite is place called Serious Coffee. The barista starts making my mocha as soon as he sees my car pull into the parking lot. Why would I write somewhere else?
If you are a writer, what does your writing process look like? 
If you are a reader, what did you expect a writer’s process to be?
Biography
Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don’t take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.
Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn’t really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the “u” out of words like “colour” and “neighbour” then he does shovelling (and darn that extra L). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of burlesque diva Miss Rosie Bitts.
Bruce has been writing since grade school, but it wasn’t until five years ago he set his sights on becoming a full-time writer. Since then, his first short story, “Another Man’s Shoes” was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon, another short, “Yardwork”, was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod, and his first Icarus Fell novel, “On Unfaithful Wings”, was published to Kindle in Dec., 2011. The second Icarus Fell novel, “All Who Wander Are Lost”, was released on July 17, 2012, and the first book in the four-part “Khirro’s Journey” epic fantasy is due soon. He has plans for at least three more Icarus novels, several stand-alones, and a possible YA fantasy co-written with his eleven-year-old daughter.
On Unfaithful Wings
I was alive, then I was dead, now I’m stuck somewhere in between.
My name is Icarus Fell. I am a harvester.
The archangel Michael brought me back to collect souls and help them on their way to Heaven–that’s what a harvester does. If I get enough of them before the bad guys do–if I do a good job–I can have my life back. Now people I knew in life are dying, killed by a murderer’s knife, their bodies defiled, and the cops think I’m the killer.
I’m not, but I think I know who is.
But how does a dead man, a man who no longer exists, stop a psycho? I’m not sure, but I’m going to stop him before everyone I know is dead.
I have to stop him before he gets to my son.
Twitter: @bruceablake
Please follow and like:

This week on the blog tour my guest is Ellie Mack. Her topic this week is about living outside the status quo, stepping outside your box, living life butting against the norm. Take a look!

A Maverick

By Ellie Mack

I hate it when people start off giving me a definition. However, to convey my thoughts I’m going to give you a definition. (Boo, hiss!) The definition of a maverick is a person that takes chances, one who departs from the accepted normal course. 

Garth Brooks sang it well! (Nathan Fillion’s butt! tee hee!) James Garner portrayed it, as did Mel Gibson. Someone who goes against the grain, takes the road less traveled, a free-thinker.
Some refer to us as: bohemian, dissenters, extremists, nonconformists, radical, rebels, revolutionaries, and entrepreneurs. We pave our own way, make our own paths. We stretch the rules, bend them to our whims, we color outside the lines. We are often perceived as a threat to those who are happy with status quo. Status Quo blows!
Traditionalists don’t like mavericks. We disrupt their universe. They build their little box and we mess it up. They tidy it up, we rearrange their furniture. We are the free radicals of society. Most of society likes to be told what to do when to do it and how often to do it. Whatever the “it” may be, workers are expected to do and not think. Thinking has been discouraged in our society.
NO, I’m serious it has. From a minimum wage job of flipping burgers, to the factory worker on an assembly line to the lab technician that has a set routine, a formula that they follow. The mindless dance steps of their daily job require little brain power. The general masses fit into this group. I’m not knocking it, or criticizing anyone who is content with a set routine. Some people thrive on normalcy, and routine. Every one of them mindless job zombies, not to be confused with Rob Zombie.
A maverick however dies a slow tortuous death in such an environment. Writing a technical manual for the targeting division of the defense department was dull and tedious. I found the addition of a tense relationship between two of my soldiers and their object of their affection, a female officer, added a certain dramatic element. The love triangle added a dimension to the manual unprecedented. Apparently I was the only one that the dullness of the government document bothered. I was told to remove it, and was sent to a procedures class, followed by a sensitivity course. DARN!
I worked in an environment with engineers, scientists, geodesists, and other cartographers. They follow the dance steps; it’s just a different dance than the factory workers at an auto plant. I don’t line dance; you know that country thing they do? Everyone does the same steps at the same time on the same beat. The Cupid Shuffle is OK at a wedding. The Electric Slide is a mandatory tradition. Beyond that I’m an eighties gal and I dance freestyle.
The masterful choreography of daily routine across the globe makes the cogs work. I get that. But, it’s the free thinkers that come up with ingenious and witty inventions. Writing is one outlet for my creativity. I have others as well. My plan is to have multiple streams of income, not one linear model of time exchanged for money.
Creative’s look at the world differently. They aren’t rose colored glasses, that’s a term deigned from the traditionalists we irritate. I have gold-rimmed glasses with a leopard print inside the frames, little bling blings on the side, and transition lenses that turn black as I step outside. Yeah, that’s right I’m bad! They rock! They ought to, I paid a small fortune for them. Glasses or contacts help correct your vision. The creative’s lenses gives crystal clear clarity that the general population never sees.
Think in terms of pearls: A grain of sand is an irritant to the oyster. It secretes a substance to get rid of the irritant. Years go by while the secretion continues, making the irritant larger and larger inside the oyster. Then one day some one or some thing cracks open the oyster and eats it. A beautiful pearl has formed. Yeah, I may be an irritant now, but by darn one day I’m going to be a pearl of great value!
The life of a maverick is risky. The pay is inconsistent, and there are no benefits in the beginning. It’s appealing to many to get the 9 to 5 job that offers the company car and the health care package. The safe path isn’t as secure as it once was. The days of retiring from a company with the gold watch are behind us. Company loyalty means nothing – it’s not personal, it’s just business. There are no guarantees.
It’s not called starving artists for nothing! It’s often feast or famine. In addition, the critics come out of the woodwork because we are going against the grain. They criticize because we don’t play by their rules. They are afraid to step outside the box, while a maverick fears the confinement of the box. Cut them some slack, they just don’t get us!
I got the mental picture many years ago, of the scene from Metropolis by Fritz Lang, from 1927, where the men lumbered en masse into the factory. This is the status quo. It’s a mind-numbing, dream killing, monotonous grind. There is more to life than existing.
Dan Miller sums it up like this: “We can transform our work by seeing it as the primary application of our purpose rather than a necessary and practical evil.” By changing the perspective of how we view work, a J-O-B becomes a meaningful expression of who we are.
It’s not a life for everyone; it takes a certain bent to be an entrepreneur. Writing is one expression of entrepreneurship. Eventually entrepreneurs’ can hit it big. I’m one witty invention, one creative idea away from financial success. In the meantime, I have bills to pay and work the J-O-B while I pursue my dreams of publication like a second job. Traditionalists think I don’t work, but I work a traditional job, am a mother (translate: chauffeur, maid, housekeeper, laundress, teacher, warden, chef, etc), and I am a writer. Trust me, the traditional job takes the least brain power, or effort.
Perspective is the difference from feeling downtrodden and the uplifting of spirits. It helps us re-order our priorities, and unravel our own destinies. Opportunities abound all around us, it’s the free thinkers that can see them and make something of them.
Are you where you thought you’d be at this stage of your life? Are you suffering death by a thousand cuts in a status quo job? Are you content with the status quo or do feel the need to paddle upstream? Do you have a sense of accomplishment or a sense of purpose in your life? If you want different results, say five years from now, what are you willing to change to obtain the results you want?
If you can’t be happy with what you’re doing, maybe you should be doing something else. Life is too short to waste it being unfulfilled and merely existing. Whatever your dreams are – go for it!
Write on my friends, write on!
Ellie Mack lives in a small town near St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BS in geography/cartography. She has worked for Department of Defense, county government, as a substitute teacher, and various other jobs.  Her hobbies include reading, bicycling, playing Tombraider, and Dance games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and Zumba. Between being a mother to two teenage girls, a wife, homemaker, and a mortgage loan officer, Ellie writes paranormal romances.
Ellie’s first erotica piece is appearing on http://storytimetrysts.blogspot.com/

Please follow and like:

My next guest on the blog tour is Doug Simpson. What inspires him? Take a peek!


Dacque LaRose, Just an Average Nice Guy
I was born and raised in Canton, Ohio, and after receiving my teacher qualifications, I returned to my home town to begin my career as a high school teacher. A teacher friend was nice enough to introduce me to his lovely sister Beverly, and a year later we were married. We were blessed with three adorable and bright children who now all have flourishing careers all around the world. It was a wonderful life.
I retired from teaching at sixty and Bev and I were thoroughly enjoying retirement and the empty nest. Unfortunately, bliss was short-lived. Within a few months, Bev was diagnosed with colon cancer and after a valiant struggle, her soul returned home six months later.
Lost. Alone in a big old empty house. There is no training for that! Fortunately, I was by nature, philosophical. I would miss Bev until my dying breath, but I was determined to make the best of things as they were.
The next big hurdle I needed to leap over quickly drew down upon me. Bev’s birthday was a little more than a month after her passing. I had made a habit of always surprising her with something special on her birthdays, but what was I supposed to do this year on our special day?
I purchased a dozen red roses, her favorite, and placed them on the kitchen counter in Beverly’s favorite vase. While I was accumulating favorites, I retrieved my favorite photo of Beverly from my nightstand in our bedroom, and placed it beside the vase filled with red roses. Nice memorial arrangement, I thought to myself.
Before I retired that evening, I said a loving prayer to Beverly as I stood before this private memorial, and turned to the refrigerator to retrieve a drink. Staring at me, from the top right corner of the refrigerator freezer door, was ‘our’ magnet, the one that I had purchased for her decades earlier, and which had morphed into ‘our’ saying: You Light Up My Life.
I hesitated a long moment, then removed the magnet from the door and placed it on the counter in front of the roses and photo of Beverly. Might as well gather all of the favorites, I reasoned.
In the morning, I noticed that the magnet was not on the counter where I was pretty sure I had left it the night before. Immediately checking the door of the freezer I realized it was still in its usual home in the top right-hand corner. I was almost certain that I had moved the magnet before retiring the night before, but managed to half convince myself that I must have simply considered doing it without actually moving it to the counter.
That evening, before retiring, I specifically moved ‘our’ magnet from the freezer door to the counter. In the morning it was once again back in its home on the freezer door.  For a solid week, I shifted the magnet to the counter before retiring, and found it back on the refrigerator in the morning. The roses, by then, had outlived their due date, and I dismantled my private memorial to Beverly, convinced that she definitely did not want me messing around with her magnet.
A few nights later, I woke up in the dark to the sound of snoring, apparently from Beverly’s side of the bed. No one else was in the house. Beverly snored occasionally, specifically when she lay in one particular position on her pillow. I cautiously reached my arm over to touch her. No one was there, but the snoring stopped. Snoring incidents occurred three or four times within a week or so. I knew I heard the snoring from Beverly’s side of the bed, but no one could ever be detected and the snoring ceased as soon as I reached over to touch her.
One evening, not too long after the last snoring incident, I was reading a book in the living room. For whatever reason, I looked up from the book and saw the spirit of Beverly sitting across the room in her favorite chair, smiling at me. She looked as she had when she was thirty, very beautiful and healthy. In my state of shock, I could not speak a word, but Beverly’s spirit spoke softly to me. “You must stop grieving and get on with your life. I am fine. There is no more pain.” Beverly’s spirit then faded away.
A couple of years earlier, while accompanying Beverly on one of her Saturday morning yard-sale excursions, I had picked up a book about Edgar Cayce, the legendary American mystic from Virginia Beach, so I had some knowledge concerning the theory of survival of the soul and spirit after the death of the body, and reincarnation of souls. I quickly retrieved the book, titled There Is A River, written by Thomas Sugrue.
A further, careful re-reading of the book, along with additional research, convinced me that I had not been hallucinating at all when the magnet persistently moved from the counter to the fridge, nor when I heard Beverly’s snoring in bed beside me, nor when her spirit visited with and spoke to me in our living room.
Jumping ahead, I sold our home in Canton and joined the snowbird migration south, settling in the small city of Anywhere. I later discovered a local group called the Reincarnation Enlightenment Group and eventually uncovered a dozen of my past lifetimes. As my knowledge of souls and life on the other side increased, another phenomenon began to occur. It took a while to accept it, but I realized that I was receiving communications from the other side, sometimes through voices and other times during dreams. It turned out that I was apparently receiving messages from God to do good deeds, sent through one of His messengers.
My new career suddenly commenced. I was enlisted as one of God’s Good Samaritans. Some how, I’m still not sure how, Canadian writer, Doug Simpson, heard about my good deeds and started writing books about me. Me? Can you believe it? His first novel, titled Soul Awakening, released in October of 2011, recounts how I was lead by the Powers-That-Be to two total strangers, in separate incidents, and we eventually discovered that we had shared previous lifetimes together. His second novel, Soul Rescue, is the story of how a dream communication I received led me to a children’s hospital in Anywhere where I was to rescue some earth-bound souls of children who had died there years earlier but had not managed to make the normal cross-over to the other side. Soul Rescue should be out in the fall of 2012. A third novel, a murder mystery titled Soul Mind, has been completed as a first draft and is scheduled for release in the fall of 2013. It describes a totally different adventure, where the spirit and soul of a murdered acquaintance enlists my assistance in solving his murder.
I never knew retirement could be so much fun!
Dacque LaRose
© Doug Simpson 2012
Doug Simpson is a retired high school teacher who has turned his talents to writing. His first novel, a spiritual mystery titled Soul Awakening, was published in the United States in October of 2011, by Book Locker. Check it out at http://booklocker.com/books/5754.html. It is available in print and eBook format through most book stores around the world. His magazine and website articles have been published in 2010 to 2012 in Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. His articles can be accessed through his website at http://dousimp.mnsi.net

Please follow and like:

I’d like to introduce you to my next Blog Guest  – Joseph Eastwood.  

This week on the TTC Virtual Blog tour we were all asked to write blog posts on what inspired or kicked off the current book, and I’m glad to say that I know exactly how Lumen started and at what point the idea just BOOMED!
Over on my blog (www.josepheastwood.com) around two years ago when I was 17, I started writing mini-series; 300 words a post, a little bit like flash fiction but they continued on from the previous post. This is the first one: http://www.josepheastwood.com/2010/08/mini-series-1-shifter-boy.html and if you’ve read the prologue to Lumen you’ll see that it’s very similar to this… it’s also why I wanted to leave the prologue in the novel as I like to look back and think, yeah, I know where all of this started! And it’s a great feeling to see that.
So Lumen actually wasn’t planned as a novel at all, in fact, I don’t even thinking it was called Lumen until I picked up a Latin dictionary and saw the word and was like “oooh, I’ll have that!”. Let’s rewind from that and go back to when Lumen was just a mini-series back in 2010! And I didn’t start writing Lumen until May/June 2011, making that almost a whole year before I wrote the novel in 28 days!
I like astrology and things like that, and just thinking about it makes me go all tingly and want to grit my teeth from all the ideas that are pouring in… however, I did one better and I used all those ideas and pushed them into the series which I now called the Blood Luminary series and it consists 4 novels and 2 novellas. Now, every time I think about writing something for it I get all excited and I just want to tell the story so much as it’s a story that I would love to read… which at the end of the day is what all writers are doing, right? They’re writing the story that they want to read.
I’m not really sure what else to say that inspired me to write Lumen, but if you go and look at the short mini-series that I posted at the top of this post you might understand, and like I said, you might see where the prologue came from. I hope you’re looking forward to the release… NOT LONG NOW! 



Joseph Eastwood is the eldest of five siblings. He lives and grew up in Lancaster, England, where he also attends the University of Cumbria, studying English Literature and Creative Writing.

He has always had a giant creative connection in his life, from drawing and writing to having an eclectic taste in music and reading a wide range of books, which he hopes reflects in his own writing. He also loves watching sci-fi, supernatural and fantasy based TV shows and films. Among some of his favourites are Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. As well as those he loves dramas, like The Good Wife and Desperate Housewives.

Joseph is either busy doing edits and writing or trying to get some university work done. He lives for creativity, striving to be different and thinking up new hoops for his characters to jump through.

Links




Please follow and like:

Welcome to my blog tour guest, Kristina Jackson. This week we are trying flash fiction. Here’s her picture and this is the story it brought to mind. Welcome Kristina! 
Oh so high – by Kristina Jackson
Oh so high those Geese go flying by, air under their wings. They fly over snow-capped mountains where Yeti’s roam and onwards to forest so dark and deep.  Here the peek, those dragons that lurk within the trees. Onwards yet again, over lakes so blue and clear, watching as the fish swim here.  Yet no rest for these wings yet, they are not at their journeys end.
Heading now over villages clustered against the roads. Where people scuttle looking like ants. Their wings grow heavier and weariness they carry. Not long now, no need to tarry. They push onwards with their remaining strength. They can see the green area where they must land.
Spiral down they go and relief as their feet touch the ground. Tired wings are folded on their backs and grass is in their beaks. Yet it as well they can’t read, as the sign says, no parking on the grass.
Bio
“One day you will write your own book, just let your heart guide you.”
Those were the immortalised words of my teacher in the 5th Year of Primary School; I was 8 at the time. I’d just had a short story published in the school magazine, and won a prize of a book for my privilege. I knew I had wanted to write since I could write sentences. 28 years later I am realising that dream.
I am Kristina Jackson. I am in my mid thirties, wife, mother of two, owner of one dog and slave to two cats. One of my cats, Bono, is my writing companion. He is often found sharing my lap with my laptop or partially draped over the keyboard if I am using the laptop on the desk.
I suffer from a condition called POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) I have become disabled by it, but as physical doors have shut the mental ones opened. Now I have so many ideas, and the ideas are throwing out so many characters who are each threatening to run away with my remaining sanity.
It is anybody’s guess where this will now lead.
Book Blurb
Moira thinks she has everything she wants The job, the house, the clothes but why is she still so unhappy?

Her world falls apart when she witnesses a terrible crime. Running away she comes across a psychic fair and a spur-of-the-moment decision to have a tarot card reading changes everything. The reading helps her see what she should do. When she quits her job, sells her home and moves to Wales, friends and family start to believe she is losing her sanity.

Can learning to read Tarot cards, help Moira learn more about herself and guide her to a happier future? Will the cards also be able to help her with her unwanted poltergeist guest or more disturbingly the handsome neighbour

Social media
Twitter @KJ_author
Publishing website – www.littleacornspublishing.com
Tweet – Can #tarotcards help a woman to find her path. #ghosts #hauntedhouse #paranormal#romance ow.ly/b7sJd @KJ_author
Selling links
Please follow and like:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)