Monday, January 7, 2013

swan song

as a former service blog writer, i have had chances over the years to work with literary agents, but i declined because my goal has never been to be published at any cost. my goal is to write what comes from within, and i did not want to compromise, even if it meant not having an agent take me on as a client. perhaps that can be viewed as stubborn or stupid. but it is what guides me.

when i began this blog, it was with the intention of keeping a literary presence on the internet while i worked at improving my writing. i was burnt out on the service blog, and i was ready to focus on my novels. life can place walls and speed bumps along the way, and i found myself with little inspiration and even less time to devote to writing. there was a lot of frustration as writing is my passion, and yet i seemed to have found myself in an abandoned cul-de-sac. my characters floated in literary limbo, and as much as i tried to complete my novel i could not make any headway.

so i walked away. i figured at some point i would find time, or my characters would nag and tug and force me back to the computer to complete their stories. but the longer i went without writing a single sentence, the more distance grew between me and my creativity. i was at the point of thinking i would never do anything worthwhile in the literary sense, and as much as it pained me, i knew i couldn't force myself to write anything of substance.

but just as life has a way of tossing roadblocks in front of you, it also offers alternate routes. mine came by way of a muse, a physical embodiment of inspiration. from nowhere and everywhere i found my desire to write again, but this time i had no characters or plot lines that begged to have their story told. instead i found within me a place of truth. i found my voice. 

it has been the most inspired period of my writing thus far. everything has changed, from my style and wording to my thought process when it comes to putting pen to paper. my novels, as much as i loved writing them, no longer represent me as a writer. they were very important steps towards where i have found myself, but they are not me. 

i am working towards sharing my voice with the world. i am basking in the light of my muse. i am being true to who i am, and writing from my heart.

- mi

Monday, April 16, 2012

when write is right

"Freedom from the chains of opinion is the starting point of real art."
- Chris Corner

it's not often you get to pick the brain of someone you greatly admire.
being able to ask them about their creative process, what their art means to them, and get a completely personal response is awe inspiring.
so it's no coincidence i am blogging again just a couple days after my email exchange with chris corner of IAMX.

there is so much truth in the above quote. truth i wish i had realized when i was younger and dreamed of being a dancer. truth that is not lost on me now, so many years later and with a new dream.

it's easy to get bogged down and lost in the opinions of others. to change your direction and flow based on the feedback you get, well intentioned or not. i found myself questioning my plot lines and characters after X amount of agent rejections. i began to wonder if i had enough talent to be a published author, or if writing was just meant to be a hobby. i put writing on the back burner to focus on my business.
but still, my creative mind was at work. and i continued to draw inspiration wherever and whenever i could.

there comes a time when you know in your soul what you are meant to do. when you know you can't be confined by opinions and expectations - when you just have to create, in the manner in which you are meant to create.

so, i am giving myself back to the muse.

book review - devil's footsteps by e.e. richardson

my two cent(ence)s - this book was a chore to read. the characters had no depth, the story didn't retain my interest and i would not recommend it to anyone.

wow. pretty brutal of me, huh? but i have to be honest.
and honestly this is one of the most uninterestingly written books i've ever read. if i didn't have a rule about finishing books i begin reading, i would have put it down after three chapters.

the story is of a kid whose older brother disappeared years ago. the kid (i don't even remember the character's name, that's how unremarkable this book is) saw his brother disappear after reciting 'the devil's footsteps' rhyme. apparently this rhyme conjures the devil and he takes away the person who says it while they jump from a series of stepping stones.
this kid is totally interchangeable with two other kids introduced. these kids have one thing in common: apparently they are the only ones in town willing to admit the devil's footsteps are real.

oi, can you tell the complete lack of effort i'm putting into this review? it's because this book was a waste of my time. no kidding.

anyway, some "scary" imagery is introduced in some "did it happen or didn't it?" scenes. blah, blah, blah, i think they conquer the devil but i'm not even sure. i was just happy to have scanned the last few pages before turning my nook off.

Monday, April 4, 2011


hello blogosphere!
remember mi?
that's cool :)

as i have limited blogging time (trying to do this entry between helping customers in my coffee house and playing with my son) this post will most likely be very short. so, i apologize ahead of time for the lack of recap.

the good news is my business is growing and i'm managing to find a few moments in the morning to work on my novel. having spent so much time away from it, i was forced to become reacquainted with the plot and characters.

time and distance can often be a blessing, let me tell you.
i realized there were structural problems i needed to fix before i could write the climax and actually end the book. it seems i've been revising the first two thirds of this novel for years now. a part of me wants to do whatever it takes to complete it,  just so i have an actual first draft to work with. and as much as i want to write the words "the end" on the last page of my manuscript, i want even more to produce a well-written and well-thought out work of fiction.

so, instead of throwing myself into the unwritten last third of my manuscript, i analyzed each chapter on an individual basis. i've never done this sort of exercise with any of my previous novels, and perhaps that's why i still haven't landed an agent, haha!
suffice it to say, key issues became very obvious and i am happily tightening up my work in those few moments i have in the morning.

now, just the desire to finish the damn thing is motivation enough for me to crack open the laptop and start writing. but amazingly i found a major source of inspiration from the last place i'd expect: youtube.

in fact, it's this artist and this video that fuel me:

i can't explain why this video in particular inspires me. all i can say is i watched it for an hour and a half straight after my first viewing. there is something so engaging and theatrical about both his performance and the music. i was hooked instantly and have gone into almost full IAMX obsession status.
and although there's nothing specific i can pinpoint about this video, there is a definite reason why this artist inspires me. and that is his full dedication to his art.

not only is chris corner an multi-talented musician, he is a genuine craftsman. from the melodies and lyrics born from his ideas, to the recording, mixing and producing of his full-length albums, and ending with his live performances. he is a master from start to finish, present for every beautiful, tortuous, fulfilling and painful part of the process. he has given himself up to the beast, so to speak, and in doing so has also become master.

thank you for the inspiration, chris.
my novel, and the pathway to completing it, now seem within reach.

Monday, September 6, 2010


wow - almost forgot my password!

well, i have been absent for months because i have been too busy to blog.
i've been too busy to read blogs (and believe me i miss seeing what my blogger friends are up to), and too busy to even think about working on my wip.

although happy about my new business venture (the reason i have no time for anything else) i really miss flexing my literary muscles. i'm hoping as things start to settle into a routine i will be able to add my writing back into my schedule.
time will tell.

BUT i do have some rather incredible news to share!

and of course it has to do with a-ha!

that's right - i will be attending their royal albert hall performance in london. AND because mr. write is such an amazing guy (who is quite secure in our love despite my 25 year long obsession with morten harket), i will also be able to see their concert in paris!
so the little blips of spare time i have are devoted to planning our european adventure. i'm excited to take the KidLit on his first trip across the pond and can't wait to let him run around le jardin luxembourg while i snap photos like crazy.

so my blogger buddies, i hope to catch up on all your news soon. you have no idea how much i've missed reading about your experiences.

Friday, July 23, 2010

follow me! or don't!

i've been not so great at updating my blog, i admit.
really, i'm trying to spare you every a-ha related thought that goes through my mind!

fellow blogger neurotic workaholic wrote this post about blogs, followers, and empty compliments.

i follow a fair amount of blogs, and there was a time when i could read all those and comment every time they had a new post. but honestly, it's been really hard lately to do that between the KidLit (and a-ha), thinking about the changes i need to make to my wip (and a-ha), and working on a business venture with mr. write (and a-ha). really, of all the blogs i follow, there are only a handful i regularly check.

i know followers are very important to some bloggers, and that's all fine and good.
but that's not me.
it might have to do with my personality. i'm more of a "take me or leave me" kind of gal. i find it too exhausting to be everything to everyone, so i figure i'll just the best me i can be.

i'm grateful for the readers i have, and i love when they take the time to leave comments.
but my self-esteem is not measured by a box of profile pictures on the side of my blog. my goal has never been to collect followers, or even a "fan base". if it were, i would have continued with my other blog, which although is never updated, still gets hundreds of hits a week. in fact, that blog is just about to have it's millionth hit, and although i'm happy people still get enjoyment out of it, i feel the same way about that blog as i do my current one:
if you want to read it, great! if not, ok.

some bloggers brainstorm on how to get more followers and suggest holding contests and giving out blog awards. if that's what works for you, and it's what you want to do, fantabulous.
but again, that's not me.

although i tend to follow blogs by unpublished writers, i wouldn't exactly consider myself a part of their community. not because i don't think they are a great group of people, just that where i update sporadically, they update regularly.
where i go on and on about my favorite band, they have themed posts dealing with the writing craft.
where i only use vague and cryptic terms when discussing my wip, they go into great detail.

i've made genuine friends on blogger. friends i couldn't have met if my time had been spent trying to accumulate more followers.
in a nutshell: i blog for the love of it, and i am happy to take this ride with all of you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

life imitating art (or at least a first effort novel)

i'll start off by saying i've done absolutely no work on my novel.
i know i should, and i'm sure i will, but right now i have quite a full plate.

of course, there is always time for a-ha!

for the moment i am decidedly anti-twitter, but that doesn't stop me from checking up on my favorite norwegian men. it was quite a pleasant surprise to see them uploading pictures from the set of their video shoot. i was, like many other fans, incredibly pleased to learn their last single would indeed have a video to accompany it.
but then they uploaded the end of day/video shoot wrap picture. 

and i was totally blindsided.

i can only guess what these three men were feeling as they embraced each other. 
the image alone was enough to bring tears to my eyes. 
and imagining the waves of emotions they must have been feeling as they shared a last hug on their final video shoot kept the tears flowing.

so what does this have to do with my first novel? 
nothing, i thought. until my friend pointed out i was pretty much acting the same way as a character in the manuscript:

Remember your best friend that lived and breathed for a certain musician or band? Rio does, but the friend is her mother and the band is from the 80's. LAST TIME LA LUNA is the story of Rio Luna's attempt to live her life in the present and escape her mother's unrelenting obsession with the past. Rio (named after the hit song by Duran Duran) is convinced Momma's fanatical behavior has permanently branded "MISFIT" upon her forehead. Having grown up without knowing her father, or experiencing life as a "normal" teenager, she spends her days wishing Momma would get with the times.   
When realizing Momma enjoys living in the past more than she enjoys existing in the present, Rio at last begins to take responsibility for her own happiness, but just as she starts to blossom, Momma spirals into a deep depression after waking up from her 80's induced haze to find the world has passed her by. Frightened by the empty shell of a woman before her, Rio does everything she can to get her Duran Duran obsessed mother back, stumbling across her long lost father in the process. His sudden appearance bewilders Rio and causes Momma to instantly regress to 1984 and her teenage romance. As Rio's and Momma's individual needs clash head on, both mother and daughter are forced to face past and present together. Rio's shame and resentment towards Momma melt into empathy and support and she finds her life filled with more than she ever wished for.

now it wasn't exactly flattering to hear i was mirroring the same obsessive behaviour of one of my characters. in fact, as i wrote the novel it was my intent to show Momma as selfish and immature. imagine the great fun i had realizing i'd pretty much prophesied my own emotional state.

the truth is, i've always wished i were a teenager in the 80s. and i wrote the Momma character through my own personality filter. so her reaction to her favorite band losing two original members, and my reaction to a-ha disbanding are almost identical. when i wrote the novel i had no idea i would actually live some of it. yes, it was cathartic when i wrote it, but i had no clue how close to home it would actually hit.

i guess i can be pleased i managed to write something so realistic. and if i really do have the ability to predict the future, i can breathe easy since Momma's story does indeed have a happy ending.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

rah, rah ,rah!

i'd love to tell you the reason i've been absent from the blogosphere is because i've been cracking away at my manuscript - furiously flying through my revisions so i can start the climactic ending of my novel.
that would be a big fat lie.

i KNOW i'm supposed to be working on my opening chapters and making my work more cohesive and polished.
i KNOW i have to actually complete the darn thing if i'm ever going to submit it.
and i KNOW i should dedicate the small amount of free time i have to my writing.

i am heavily distracted. and of course you already know by who:

so, color me obsessed.
but can you blame me? they will only exist as a band for six more months.
i think that well entitles me to listen to their cds, watch their videos, swoon over photos, fantasize about...erm, uh, you know what i mean.

i know once the year is out, and my favorite group has disbanded, i will no longer be acting like an infatuated preteen. strange as it may sound, it's been fun to experience all this again as an adult in control of her life as opposed to the girl who felt helpless and had to turn to music as her only source of comfort. in a way it feels like i get to fully enjoy their music for what it is, instead of drawing from it what i needed.

i can't say for sure i'd be feeling this flood of emotions so strongly if i weren't in the middle of writing a YA novel. but, knowing me, i can't say for sure i wouldn't, either.

mr. write has been a dream about all this.
he's tolerated my love for a-ha for as long as he's known me. in fact, one of the first times he and i snuggled i dreamily informed him, "you smell like my a-ha book" so it's not like he didn't know what he was getting into when we started dating.
he was even genuinely happy for me when i scored tickets to their sold out concert in london.

yup - you read that right!

of course, this doesn't necessarily mean i'll actually be able to make it over the pond to see them, but at least i have tickets to their (very special and once in a lifetime) show at the RAH.

so, now that there is a glimmer of hope i might be able to see my band perform one last time, i REALLY need to get back on track with my novel. 
but who am i kidding? there's a ton of youtube videos calling my name right now.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i done been tagged!

dawn, one of my favorite bloggers of all time, has tagged me with "seven things i love about being a writer".

here goes:

1) it makes me feel like i'm a very productive person!
whether i've written a hundred words, or twenty pages, i walk away from my computer feeling like i've accomplished something.

2) i get to be in charge.
ok, ok, usually my characters dictate what needs to be written, but for the most part i'm in control. there are no orders or directives from other people and no one looking over my shoulder and telling me how i should write what i want to write.

3) i get to do lots of time wasting web-searching, so long as i call it research.
i'm one of those people who always has 3 or more tabs on my internet browser, which i switch back and forth from continually. sometimes i'll only manage half a sentence before i'm compelled to check out the awkward family photos site. i'm not ADD by any means, though you'd bet money i was by my behaviour in front of the computer screen.

4) i've met some amazing people on my journey to be published.
if i wasn't a writer, i would not be reading 70% of the blogs i follow. and i would not have had the extreme pleasure to become friends with some of these bloggers.

5) it helps mi be less "me-centric".
alright, motherhood has done this more than anything, BUT having crit partners and beta readers forces me to look at someone else's perspective and opinions. it gets me out of my own head (as fabulous a hangout it is) and allows me to look at my work more objectively.

6) it makes my morning cuppa taste better!
i've been a tea drinker for most my life because i absolutely love the stuff. but nothing has made my first cup of the day taste better than sitting in front of my computer reading over what i'd written the day before.

7) it...completes me
believe it or not, for years i fought the writing bug. for a very personal reason, i never wanted to live under that label. but i finally succumbed because i had to. it's who i am, and what i do, and it feels incredibly wonderful to live it.

thanks again, dawn, for tagging me!
and everyone reading - consider yourself tagged!

Friday, June 25, 2010

a source of f(r)iction

i do a lot of research when i write my novels.
a lot.

if i say a certain band was on the cover of a certain magazine in june of 1992 - well, they were.
if i write about a small wine bar within walking distance of the spanish steps - well, it's there.
if i have a wiccan coven use dandelion leaf in a protection spell - well, it's because they do.

do i do this because i fear a reader might be fact checking me?
no - because i'm sure readers have plenty more important things to do than googling to see if i did my homework. i do it because i believe it brings credibility and authenticity to my manuscripts.
"but, don't you write fiction?" you might ask.
yes. yes i do.
but i don't write fantasy (well, ok, there was this one time a few years ago but i haven't tried it since - i swear!).

now, i'm not saying all writers should or have to do this. and not all readers care about authenticity.
but this one does and it drives me up a wall when things just don't add up, or when they are completely false. luckily most the authors i read are very good about their facts, or making it seem like their fiction is factual.

but occasionally i will read a passage that will include something so glaringly untrue that it pulls me right out of the story. often it is just a few words or a short sentence - a phrase so inconsequential that my reaction might seem disproportionate. but even if i'm the screwy one without the ability to ignore these "truth smudges", i can't help but think less of the author. ESPECIALLY when these untruths have no real bearing on the plot and could have easily been corrected by just doing a simple internet search.

in my book (har har) that's just laziness.
and insulting to those who spend their money and time reading the words you put to paper.