Book Excerpts

Hello Friends and Happy Saturday!

This post is short and sweet but I couldn’t help but share my excitement with you all.  Here are a couple of excerpts from my work in progress (I’m getting closer to picking a title.)  I’m putting the finishing touches to my manuscript and next month I’ll be working with an editor.  Lots of great updates are coming up, so make sure to subscribe and be the first one to know about giveaways and more!

XOXOX,

Tamara

never fadecradling me like a child waking up from a nightmare he rested ihis chin on my head.Her words replayed in my head. She_s pathetic. She_s nothing. My vision twisted with red circles, a sickening smell piercing my lungs. Their voices echoed and the crow screeched warnThe forest watched me through the massive glass window, a green and brown wall of nature basking in my swimming. I took it all in, completely in awe of such raw beauty. (1)

 

Writing & Dreaming in My Favorite Place

I don’t know about you, but it takes one holiday and my entire schedule is thrown off. I had a great Easter with family and friends, but between cooking a holiday meal, cleaning the house, and recuperating from all that, my editing fell a little behind. I try not to worry about those things because although I’m a writer, I’m also a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend…and so many other titles! That means that life happens, which is something to cherish and enjoy.

That said, I’m back on track with my book. I am almost done with the first round of editing and lots of things are happening in the background to bring this book to life. I’m enjoying the process and I can’t wait to share with you all the exiting news coming ahead.

 

Where Inspiration Takes Place.

This week I want to share with you some pictures of my writing area.  

Tucked in a corner of my bedroom is my writing desk. Here’s where my book is written and edited. It’s not a big area or a sophisticated place, but there’s plenty of natural light and personal knick-knacks that serve as inspiration.  This writing corner is cozy and relaxing. There’s nothing better than sitting at my desk with a hot cup of coffee and seeing my dreams coming true.  The white Ikea desk is small enough to keep it cozy but it’s functional and organized.  My file folders have several secrets hidden inside: Art inspiration, Novel Ideas, Character Lists, Workshop Notes, and yes, even Dumbbell Exercises (in case I get the inspiration to work out!)

Surround Yourself With Love.

There’s my “I Love Mom” mug that serves as a pen holder. It’s precious to me because my daughter painted it when she was 5.  Having this on my desk reminds me that I have people to inspire.  I want my kids to see that following your dreams takes hard work and dedication, but it is doable.  I like having inexpensive things surrounding me, even if in reality they’re priceless.  Nothing inspires you to work harder when you have things reminding you how loved and cherished you are.

We’re All Mad Here.

The Alice In Wonderland mug suits my writing personality and journey. It reminds me “We’re all Mad Here.”  You need to be a little mad to follow your dreams.  If you worry about being “normal”, “walking the straight line”, or simply blending in because it’s the safest thing to do, you won’t achieve your dreams.  It’s the quirky and whimsical attitude that pushes you to break the mold and think outside the box.

Dreams & Schemes.

 

On the bookshelf I have my Dreams & Schemes book where all my writing goals are housed. I scan through these pages when I need a reminder of why I do what I do.  Why is it important to have a Dreams & Schemes book?  Because it gives your dreams a voice.  Seeing your inner desires written on paper not only helps you identify them in more detail, but it allows you to put together a plan to achieve those goals.  Writing down your dreams validates them and makes their presence a reality.

 

Your First (Creative) Love.

The little Sailor Moon figurine reminds me what first fueled my imagination as a child. I fell in love with Anime at the age of five and to this day I cherish the rich imagination it created inside me.  Sailor Moon opened a brand new world to me.  One filled with magic, romance, self love, friendship, but most importantly it showed me there are no boundaries to imagination.  You can become who you want and create stories that don’t have to fit the mold.  This little cutie symbolizes my childhood, when everything was possible and the world was wide open to me.  I love thinking back to the little girl I was.  It’s like rediscovering a part of me that will never let me down and that will always inspire me to make my dreams come true.

What about you?  Where do you write, work, or dream?  Is there a special place that inspires you?  I’d love to read about it.  Share it with me!

 

Psychic Vampires: Why Write About Them?

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After recently sharing my book synopsis, I was asked why I decided to write a novel about psychic vampires. That is a very good question! To answer that question, however, I should probably touch on psychic vampirism.

The idea of psychic vampires was first introduced to me when working with a fellow writer. Immediately it put my writing cogs into motion. When I decided to write a young adult fiction story that revolved around psychic vampirism, I plunged into some research. The exploration of this topic brought me down different venues—some informative and enlightening, while others downright creepy.

Some explanations taught about the general energy exchange between human beings. This included the process of feeding off other people’s emotions and life energy, not neglecting the angle of those people being fed upon. Other studies explored psychic vampirism as a complex belief, enriched with caste systems, different types of energy feeding, and a strong connection with one’s past lives. The topic also touched on darker matter, which I chose not to pursue, only focusing on concepts that weren’t spoiled and thwarted by negative or evil intentions.

Despite the contrasting explanations for psychic vampirism, it is solidly wrapped around one simple notion:

The exchange of energy is constant and real, a natural process that occurs between people and their environment. Life energy has been called different names, such as Prana or Chi. Fundamentally, it is the force generated within and through life, which connects to the world around us.

While writing my story I realized that we all play a part in energy feeding, in one way or another. Most importantly, we all experience being fed upon, whether we realize it or not. Many times people and the external circumstances they create in our lives  drain or impact our energy level. I’m talking about the emotional and psychological hold that people have over us—if we let them. Their attachment, whether it’s based on good or bad intentions, have specific consequences that affect our life force.

Because I believe that our energy is strongly connected to everyone and everything around us, I look at psychic vampirism as a strong comparison to the process of life energy. I have witnessed the strong attachment of people’s tendrils. These coils attached to me and consumed my precious energy in different ways: co-dependency, guilt, pessimism, and even mental abuse. This energy exchange—or worse yet this energy plunder—throws us off balance, giving us the common feelings of stress, confusion, anger, and anxiety.

My novel focuses on psychic vampirism and weaves a story around it. Hera, my main character, is a teen that not only deals with a dysfunctional life, but is also connected to psychic vampirism in a special way. Her life force is completely off balance and her weakness hides the power she holds inside.

My story reveals that you have the power to harvest your energy—or to destroy it. In my story this message is hidden through vampires, prophecies, and love stories, intertwining magic and spirituality in a quest to draw strength from the darkest of places.

—-What do you think about energy feeding and life force?  Have you ever been energy drained by someone?

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The Journey of Writing a Book

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It’s been a while since I’ve updated on my book process.  There is a reason for that.  I really didn’t want to.  Call it superstition, or downright silliness, but I thought that blogging about my book before publishing it would bring it bad luck.   When you write a book, you become attached to it.  Your book becomes your baby, and in a way it is.  You nurtured it inside of you for many months (or years), then you painfully gave birth to it. And there it is.  A shiny, brand new story, full of innocence and timid beginnings.  Inside there are thousands of words that are still rough, naive, uneducated.  Your task to is to raise your book, giving it the substance and love needed to grow it into a well rounded, acceptable manuscript.  You expect it to become part of society, to bring some value to it, or to simply brighten someone’s day.  What you don’t want is to put it out there prematurely. It’s a big scary world, right? Your mama (or papa) bear instincts kick in, urging you to keep it hidden and safe until you know it’s ready to be viewed by the world.

But here’s the thing: this book is not my baby, really.  I did pour my heart and soul into it.  I do cherish it and wish to protect it, but it goes beyond that.  It is only a small part of who I am, and what I am is a writer.  That means that my responsibility isn’t just to my book.  It is to share my journey with others, those who are also writing and need inspiration and support. Or to share it with people who want to become writers and are deathly afraid of the process.  Like me, they may be navigating uncertain waters, trying to find their style, create decent characters, and fall in love with the process.

This is why I decided it’s time to share my first novel update.  It is vulnerable, raw, but also beautifully real.

My novel is untitled, although I do have a few ideas in mind.  Last month I finished my first draft, from start to end.  For the first time in my life,  I was able to complete a book. Mainly this is because I forced myself to outline.  I HATE outlining.  I’m more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of writer, but guess what?  That never helped me finish writing any book.  Outlining was tedious but it kept me structured enough to follow an idea from start to end.

Now the real fun begins.  I’m currently in the first round of the editing process.  It’s where I’m catching mistakes, plot holes, character deficiencies, and even changing some of my story.  I was afraid of this process, especially after completing the stubborn phase of writing the first draft.  But I realize it really isn’t that bad.  In fact, editing is when the real shaping takes place.  I’m no longer pressured to “finish” the book.  My job is to mold it and fix it, not create it a new.  What a relief!

Here are some tips I can share with you if you’re in the early stages of writing your own book.  This is where I’m at in my own writing journey.

  • OUTLINE.  Yeah, it’s tedious and annoying, but do it.  It will give you a structured way to write your story, even if that outline is a bit clumsy.
  • JUST WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT.  Don’t overthink it.  Expect it to be complete trash.  Yes, poke fun at it and even dislike it.    Who cares if your grammar is horrid right now.  And maybe Aunt Brunilda falling in love with the mail man is a stupid idea.  Just write it anyway.  Finishing the first draft of my book took several years.  In fairness I did change my story quite a bit, but really it took so much time because I wanted to get it just right.  Big mistake.  A first draft is laying down the foundation of a story.  It isn’t meant to be perfect, or even coherent.
  • TAKE A WEEK OFF.  Once your first draft is done…celebrate! Yes, it’s still crap and no, you haven’t published it yet.  Still, you did it! You wrote a book.  You ARE an author.   Take a week off before moving on to the next process.  This will give you time to relish the pure joy of completing a book.  Tell all of your friends, share it on social media, bake yourself a cake…anything that celebrates this accomplishment.  You’ve earned it!
  • PRINT YOUR FIRST DRAFT.  You’re finally ready to begin the editing process–the first round of it.  There will be several of them, trust me.  Printing your novel instead of reading it on the computer offers a new prospective.  It actually feels more like a book and it’s like looking at a new story instead of the one sitting on your screen for the past months.
  • SET UP AN EDITING GOAL. Do you want to start with plot holes, grammatical mistakes, or both?  I suggest picking the most important thing.  For me is to read the story and analyze it carefully.  Does it make sense?  Do my characters fall flat or are they interesting?  Am I describing too much or too little?  Are my chapters dragging on?  Does each chapter move the story forward?  I will deal with the grammar last because to me that will be the easiest fix.

And finally, I will take the overwhelming step to share my book’s synopsys.

An anxiety disorder and a dysfunctional family are more than Hera can handle.  But when she’s abducted from her home one night and taken to a secret forest house, she has bigger problems to face.

Hera is weak, uncomfortable in her own skin, and constantly living in fear.   When Aethen enters her life with the shocking revelation of psychic vampires and a prophecy claiming she’s a High Priestess, she believes she’s lost her mind. 

Trapped in the middle of a war between psychic and blood vampires, where finding her true self is far more frightening than the battle raging ahead, she must find strength and love in the most unlikely place.

A story that intertwines psychic and blood vampires, magic, and the search for strength amid the ashes of loss and self-doubt.

—Have you been writing a book?  Share your progress!  Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to receive more updates on my book writing journey!

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 2-The Dreaded Outline

 

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Those who have followed my writing journey for a while know my extreme LOATHING for story outlines. Yes, they’re incredibly helpful, but my brain just isn’t wired to write following an outline. That’s good because it lets me write what inspires me in the moment without restraints. It can be liberating, inspiring, and less rigid.

But it’s also bad. Very, very bad.

There’s nothing worse than aimlessly writing half of your novel just to stop and think “okay, now what? I haven’t planned anything past this point.” Now, it doesn’t mean you’ve wasted a year writing a novel that just won’t go anywhere. A writer will always find a way to push through and continue with his story. Still, this process will waste a lot of time and energy. And let’s be real…wasted time just isn’t ideal when participating in NaNoWriMo.

Some of you may be thinking, “I didn’t outline! Will I suck at NaNoWriMo 2016? It’s already Day 2!”

 You’ll be happy to know that even if you didn’t outline you can still remain on track this year. Many writers think that outlining is an important step taken prior to writing a novel. Sure, that would be best, but as we all know life isn’t always ideal, and neither is the writing process. I will reveal something about outlining that not only makes the whole process of generating one less tedious, but actually worked in creating my very first outline—ever!

The truth about outlines is that [read more here…]

Kicking Off NaNoWriMo Prep Season

 

CNW_ParticipantSeptember is upon us and I’d like to take a moment to reach out to my fellow writers. Like me, you may be anxiously waiting for November, so that you can begin another NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) challenge. But you may not be aware that September kicks off the NaNoWriMo Prep Season, a time when writers prepare for the upcoming word marathon.

The first few years I participated in NaNoWriMo, I did not plan very much at all. In fact, I simply waited for November 1st and then put everything together in my head—and on paper. I had to sort out through ideas, research, character building, scene breakdowns, and more. It was exhausting and definitely not productive. The entire goal of NaNoWriMo is to dedicate thirty days to writing—just writing! For this reason, preparing for November is imperative.

In his Writer’s Digest guest post, author Kevin Kaiser reminds us that NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing the next great American Novel, but simply to complete the challenge.

Kevin says, “Once you have a skeleton framework, start. Act. Write. Don’t get preparation paralysis. The only way to write a novel is one word at a time. The only way to write each of those words, however unsatisfactory they might be, is to write them. Books don’t write themselves.”

I need a great amount of resources to feel inspired to write. I find it hard to relax and let the words roll, as the impulse to outline, brainstorm ideas, and research are an instrumental part of my writing. For this reason, the couple of months before November should be reserved for those who like me need a little groundwork before the big …[Continue reading here]

Untapped Potential: Finding Your Talent

iStock_92171083_XLARGE.jpgI’m a firm believer that each of us is born with a particular talent. Many of us walk around with untapped potential, but I think it’s still there, hiding somewhere inside of us. For a long time I used to think that it was a treacherous journey to discover our true talent.  What a miracle it’d be to find out what we were meant to do and what our passion really was.

Then I realized it’s not as complicated as I thought.

Throughout my life I’ve experienced several ups and down, and each event has blatantly showed me my talent. It might’ve not presented itself with immense clarity, but it manifested in different forms each time.  The message was always the same: Tamara, use your imagination. Be creative. Go back to writing. Just create. And each time I followed that advice, I healed a painful experience, created opportunities, learned something new, met new people, or discovered a new part of myself.

If you think hard enough, I bet you’ll find a recurring theme in your life. It may be something that helped you through a situation time and time again. Something small and mundane, such as [Read More Here]

The Queen of Hearts

My love for writing has always been accompanied by a passion for drawing. While writing has always come easily to me, I definitely have to work harder at any type of artwork and often end up abandoning any art project I take on.

Like this one.

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Ah, yes, I had high hopes for Miss Queen of Hearts. In my head, she had it going on. Deep, soulful stare; quirky clothes; and of course amazing details that accompanied the whole ‘off with their heads’ theme. But sadly, what turned up on the canvas was a bit (ok, a lot) downgraded than my expectations. My lack of knowledge in using the right paint, shading, layering, and proportion, turns most of my projects into something a little kid would make. Still, ‘my girl’, as I call her, sat in the art room of our old house for months, staring at me with those beady eyes, an accusatory stare every time I walked in the room. Are you going to finish me? she asked, maybe hoping that I could embellish the poor excuse of a canvas I’d given her as a home. Yes, yes, I would think. I’ll get to it one of these days.

But I never did.

And then we sold our home and prepared to move. She ended up in a trash bag destined to be picked up by the garbage man the next morning. Meanwhile, I boxed up everything else in the art room. My endless supply of oil paints, stencils, brushes, stamps, and everything I could use to make another Queen of Hearts. Maybe the next one who would sit proudly in my next art room. As I taped all the boxes, my eyes fell on the plastic bag, a hint of sadness stabbing my heart. She was in there. The girl who was nothing like I wanted her to be, but that seemed cute and quirky and childish in so many ways.

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So I fished her out of the bag and put her at the bottom of another box, telling myself I’d figure out what to do with her once we moved. And when she showed up again, weeks later, while opening many moving boxes. [Continue Reading Here…]

Author Update

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I’ve meant to write an update blog for a while now. My absence from blogging has developed a nagging voice telling me ‘This is not good. You’re a writer. How can you call yourself a serious writer if you’re not slamming out a blog a week?’

Usually this type of guilt stricken thought would turn me frantic, my gears rearing up again in hopes to make up for lost time. That’s what it comes down to, after all. Whether you’re a writer or anyone trying to find their path in life, time is the one thing that will steal your joy. It tells you that in order to succeed you have to work harder, utilize every minute, and maximize your exposure at any given moment of the day. I agreed with this theory for a long time but for me things are different now. Maybe it’s the way life has been throwing me curve balls, or how certain dreams are coming to an end, but my perspective has changed.

My writing journey has mutated into a life journey. I used to think that finding my way as a writer meant fulfilling my life. Now I realize that finding my way in life means fulfilling my writing journey. 

 Although writing has been and always will be an essential part of who I am, I’m still growing. This process shapes and molds my writing into what it needs to be, and not the other way around. I’ve taken the past year to find myself, to heal parts of my life that need desperate attention. I’ve decided to take head on those pesky thieves that steal my joy, that determine what type of woman I am, that build up walls around me so that I can be contained. To find yourself starts with healing first. I am in the process and although hard and heartbreaking, and sometimes an overwhelmingly slow progression, I am thankful for the trial and tribulations. They thicken my skin, grant me experience, and finally begin to break down those walls.  [Read More Here…]

Theories That Build Your Character’s Personality

Art by D. Christopher
Art by D. Christopher

I vividly remember sitting in my high school science class and listening to the teacher talk about nature vs. nurture. The topic fascinated me because it suggested that even if you were stuck with some pretty rotten genes, you could still have a shot at bettering your predisposed make-up. As we already know, our DNA dictates many of our inherit characteristics. I look at my children and although different, they each carry a familiar quality that points back to us parents. One of them has my husband’s attention to detail; the other procrastination tendencies—compliments of me.

But while swimming in the inescapable gene pool, we’re bound to assimilate with the type of waters we bathe in. A few tidal waves can turn us leery of leaving the shore, or the plunge into a pristine river overlooked by a majestic waterfall can enlighten us into more tranquil beings.

I strongly believe that nurture, the way we are fostered by our environment, circumstances and people we meet, has a vital influence on the kind of individuals we turn out to be.   It is the abstract attributes that mostly affect the way we think and behave. Heredity is an attributing factor, but there are many variables which mold us into the people we become. This theory affects my writing in several ways. When crafting my characters I first determine the type of environment they’ve been exposed to. I use that as a starting point to lead me into their psyche. To do so, I ask these questions:

  • Who was the biggest influence in the character’s life? Is this person still around? If so, what do their encounters look like?
  • How does the character relate to his surroundings? Does he love his job? Why does he hate living with his mother? Does he really want to be with his girlfriend or is the relationship one of convenience?
  • What pivotal moment(s) shaped his inner beliefs, theories or opinions?

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Once I’ve answered these basic questions, I start to get an idea of what my character feels like and what he hopes for, which in turn mold his entire personality. In order to weave this personality it’s important to envision my character as a multidimensional being. That means I need to look into his soul, read his heart, and understand the look in his eyes. I need to become the character and draw from my own life experience to recollect encounters that shaped me into the person I am today. […READ MORE]