My Ghost Story

In just a few short weeks, the third book in the Cemetery Tours series, After Death, will be available on Amazon and Kindle (and Nook shortly thereafter).  I can’t wait.  This is a book I’ve been working on for over a year.  I knew what I wanted for it, but for some reason, it took TWO rewrites to get it to where I wanted it to be.  It would have been easy to simple finish the first version and publish it, but I would not have been happy with it.  There was no real plot.  My characters and especially my readers deserve better than that.  So I started over from scratch.

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Two days after the release, I will also be speaking to a small group about me and about my books.  I’ve got to tell y’all, I’m not that great at talking about my books, but I’m even worse at talking about myself.  I’m just really not that interesting.  I have interesting stories.  But me as a person?  Kind of boring.

I’ve been trying my best to come up with ideas for my presentation.  I will certainly include a synopsis of the first book as well as a little bit about the next two.  But you know, the question I get asked most often is, “So what inspired you to write a ghost story?”

I know I’ve answered this question multiple times on my blog, but those posts are lost in the binary infinity that is the internet.

My love for ghost stories began at a young age.  I grew up in a house that celebrated Halloween the way most people celebrate Christmas.  My whole family just loves it.  Ghosts, witches, vampires, zombies, I could never get enough.  My mother and I were (and still are) particularly fond of all the ghost-hunting and unexplained mystery documentaries that aired around All Hallows Eve.  I remember learning about notorious haunting grounds, such as the Del Coronado Hotel.  I knew then that I wanted to have a ghost experience of my own.

It never occurred to me to actually write a ghost story until 2010, when I suffered a very sudden and unexpected loss in my family.  Long story short, I was devastated.  I’d never hurt like that before.  I actually felt my heart breaking.  I turned to my faith in God to help see me through.  But I also turned to the paranormal.

I became obsessed in proving to myself that life did continue on after death.  I visited libraries and bookstores seeking rock solid testimonies of psychics, mediums, religious figures, and those who’ve endured Near Death Experiences.  I scoured Scripture for passages that referred to death and life eternal.  Perhaps most importantly, I began tuning into ghost hunting shows, particularly one called Ghost Adventures.

It was during that time that I began writing a story about a guy who could see ghosts and a girl who was haunted by a spirit of a loved one.  It was a mess.  Of course, I never really intended to publish it.  It was just a story that I began writing to make myself feel better.

It didn’t really become something more until I was over at my friends’ apartment one night watching Criminal Minds.  Now, I’m a huge fangirl.  You all know this about me.  That night, I was introduced to Dr. Spencer Reid portrayed by Matthew Gray Gubler and let me tell you, it was love at first sight.  Crazy?  Perhaps.  But I knew then and there that I’d found the inspiration for my main character.  He just looks like the kind of guy who would see ghosts and who would be an adorable mess trying to figure it all out.

Shortly thereafter, I realized my story was missing one key element: An enthusiastic ghost hunter.  Cue Ghost Adventures and the creation of Luke Rainer.

After that, the story naturally fell into place.  I knew going in that there would be at least two books in the series.  That soon turned to three.  Now the plan is five.  Both books are already planned out and I can’t wait to write them.  I can’t tell you a lot, but I can tell you that the fourth book is going to be set in Scotland.  It’s going to be so much fun to write I can’t even tell you.  Hopefully it will be just as much fun to read, if not more so!

Until then, I hope you enjoy After Death. And if you haven’t read the first two, I hope you’ll enjoy them as well!  Preferably before you read the third.  But you know, there’s no law that says you have to read a book series in order.  Just do me a favor and don’t tell me if you do.

Love you all!  Talk to you soon!

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Sorting Characters

Alright, this post is definitely more work-related that my last one full of trees and whimsy.

Every once in a while, whenever my sister and I are feeling particularly nostalgic for our days at Hogwarts, we make a list of all our favorite fictional characters and sort them into one of the four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw (the best!), or Slytherin.  As I was driving around the other day, I thought, “Hey… I should sort MY characters!”

I consulted my sister on the matter, since she’s an even bigger Potterhead than I am (and yes, I do admit that).  Taking her opinions into consideration, this is the Sorting Selection that I’ve come up with.  Enjoy.

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Michael SinclarSelf-Imposed Slytherin

Okay, I know this sounds weird.  Hear me out.  Originally, my sister thought I should sort Michael into either Gryffindor or Hufflepuff.  The problem is, I don’t see Michael as particularly brave.  He’s also gone out of his way his entire life to manipulate people into believing he’s something he’s not.  He himself has been hiding from his true nature.  Furthermore, even though I don’t believe he’s dark or troublesome, he definitely sees himself that way.  I think Luke would see him as a Hufflepuff, and Kate would most certainly see him as a Gryffindor, but I think Michael himself views himself as a Slytherin.  Not because he’s particularly ambitious or cunning, but because, frankly, he’s haunted, and he has never seen himself in a positive light.

Kate AveryRavenclaw

I was torn for a while between sorting Kate into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw.  I was leaning toward Gryffindor at first because she’s so outgoing and up for new adventures, but then when my sister said she should be in Ravenclaw I realized that really is where Kate belongs.  She’s very creative, which is a defining trait of Ravenclaws.  She’s also cautious and she definitely tends to over-analyze things.  She’s clever, but thankfully, she’s not snooty about it.  Ravenclaw is definitely the place for Kate.

Luke Rainer: Gryffindor

Again, I debated for a while if Luke was going to be a Gryffindor or a Slytherin.  Although he comes off as ambitious, the truth is, he’s actually not.  He’s just very passionate.  He even admits in the first book that he doesn’t care about success or ratings.  He just wants people to know the truth about the afterlife and the paranormal.  Luke is brave, probably to the point of being reckless, and incredibly loyal to the people he loves.  He most certainly belongs in Gryffindor.

Eugene Brinkley (Brink): Hufflepuff

There’s no way Brink would ever be anything other than a Hufflepuff.  He’s just there for a good time.  He’s funny, he’s light-hearted, he’s easy-going.  He’s alway honest.  He’s a great friend.

Gavin Avery: Gryffindor

Gavin was hard to place.  Originally, my sister and I both thought he might be a Slytherin, but then we kind of realized that he’s not cunning or ambitious in the least.  He, like Brink, is kind of just there for a good time.  Gavin grew up, as Kate puts is, as the “golden boy” of the family.  He never got in trouble, always got good grades, but as he got older, I think he turned into a bit of a rebel.  Gryffindor seems to suit him.

BOY BAND

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Melissa Parker (Mel): Hufflepuff

Mel, to me, has always been a Hufflepuff.  She’s friendly, she’s very go-with-the-flow, she’s innocent, almost to the point of being a little naive, but she’s incredibly loyal to her friends.  She’s not one for picking fights or drama.  She knows who she loves and she tries her best to stand up for them, even though any sort of confrontation I think really goes against her nature.  She’s happy to be behind the scenes.  She’s very much an observer, and she’s also “unafraid of toil.”  Classic Hufflepuff.

Sam MorneauGryffindor

At the very beginning, Sam was one of the members of the band who believed that The Kind of September could make it.  I think he probably believed it more than anyone else, and he was the one really determined to make it happen.  He’s willing to take chances and risk it all, and I think he’s actually quite brave for it.  He’s loud and happy and outgoing, and though he does have a thoughtful side, he’s not really one to think before he leaps.  He just dives into whatever he does, no questions asked.

Josh Cahill: Hufflepuff

Josh is kind of like Brink in the sense that he’s just there to have fun.  He’s always cheerful, he’s sweet and unassuming, he’s goofy and hilarious.  He doesn’t like drama and never goes looking for trouble.  Josh is a most certainly a Hufflepuff.

Joni ForemanSlytherin

Even though she’s not even a member of the band, Joni is definitely the most ambitious of the entire group.  She’s very career and goal-oriented.  It takes a while to get her to open up.  Even her best friend, Mel, admits that she’s not much of a hugger and very rarely shows her soft side.  After having her heart broken at a young age, Joni is very guarded with her emotions, almost to the point of being a little cold and withdrawn.  She’s incredibly smart and all of her friends know that it’s never a good idea getting on her bad side.

Cory Foreman: Gryffindor

Joni’s twin brother Cory is a Gryffindor.  Although he was a good student, he’s not nearly as smart or as ambitious as his sister.  He’s usually very level-headed, but his relationship with Tara Meeks has made him a bit love-crazy.  Infatuation, unfortunately, happens to the best of us.  And Gryffindor Cory Foreman is no exception.

Oliver Berkley: Ravenclaw

Sweet, thoughtful, and a little reserved, The Kind of September’s token Brit is also the group’s only Ravenclaw.  Oliver is mature, introverted, clever, and witty when he wants to be.  He’s also harboring a secret crush, but despite being a member of the hottest boy band on the planet, he’s too shy to tell her.

Jesse Scott: Slytherin

Jesse is the group’s resident rock-and-roll bad boy, even though he’s not actually very good at it.  He loves animals and is very active in the charities that he supports.  Despite his heart of mostly gold, however, Jesse is still a Slytherin.  You never really know his motives for anything and more often than not, you only see what he wants you to see.  He’s a bit more cunning than he lets on and he values his freedom and independence above anything else, and he very rarely lets anything stand in the way of what he wants.

Rainbow Over Dallas

It’s always a gamble meeting the people you really admire.  They can turn out to be just as amazing as you ever dreamed.  On the flip side, they might end up disappointing you.  Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor and Park and one of my favorite books of all time, Fangirl, was not exactly what I was expecting.

She was even more amazing.

I went in to the reading and signing thinking she would be a neat person.  I love her books.  I follow her on Twitter.  She seemed like an all around awesome person and fellow fangirl.  But actually seeing her in person and meeting her?  Oh my goodness, she is marvelous.

She was all smiles from the moment she appeared, to the reading from My True Love Gave To Me, to the Q&A session, all the way to personally meeting and greeting each and every one of her fans.  She’s genuine and hilarious and sweet and enthusiastic.  She’s everything I want to be, not just as an author, but as a human being.  She’s so real, so personable.  She treated each and every one of her fans like they were the only person in the whole room.  I knew I admired her writing going in, but now I admire her even more as a person.

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Yes, me being me, I gave her a copy of Boy Band.  She was so sweet and she congratulated me and offered to take a picture with it.  I’m telling, y’all, she is so awesome.

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One of the artists who contributed to the special edition was there also!  Her name is Simini Blocker and she is just as delightful!

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Such a wonderful experience meeting these talented and wonderful women!  Thank you both so much!

Characters and Controversy

I don’t remember if it was an article I read or simply a comment on Facebook or Twitter, but someone made the point that just because a character is saying something does not mean that it reflects the views or opinions of the author.

I’ll admit, this is something I’ve worried about.  For example, one of the antagonists in the first book could very will be misinterpreted as some kind of social statement on my part.  I’m here to tell you, it’s not.  I write books to entertain, to tell a story, to create characters.  I am in no way trying to inflict any sort of world views or insult anyone.  I haven’t received any notes or indications that readers believe I am, but it’s something that’s been on my mind recently.

Last night, I was working on my #NaNoWriMo project and one of my characters used the word, “Bimbo.”  I’ve never really given the word very much thought before other than to think it’s kind of funny, which might be an insult to my gender, but whatever.  For the first time, I stopped and thought, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t use that word…”  Then I thought back to that article and reminded myself, “Hey.  You’re not the one using that word.  It’s your character.  You might not use that word, but she totally would.”

Being a writer is weird.  It’s like having a hundred different people inside your head at the same time.  You have to think like all of them in order to create a believable world and story.  The weirdest part, perhaps, is that you’re able to.  You can’t think about how you’d react in a situation.  You have to think about how your character would react.  It’s fun.  It gives you the opportunity to be someone else for a little while.  But it’s still weird.

Characterization Exploration

I’m in the middle of writing the first draft of the third installment of the Cemetery Tours series.  I’ve come to really love these characters.  I’ve been with them for a while now, and they feel like friends to me.  In the past few years, I’ve probably spent more time with them than with my living, breathing friends.

Characters have always been the absolute most important element of any story for me.  If I don’t like the characters, I’m not going to like the book.  It’s that simple.  I read one book last year (I will not mention it because I don’t want to trash another author’s work on my blog) with such horrible, selfish, whiny characters, I could hardly stand it.  None of the characters had any redeeming qualities whatsoever.  If I succeed at nothing else, I want my characters to be likable.  Well, except for the ones that you’re not supposed to like.  They’re actually a LOT of fun to write, but I digress.

As the first book in the series, Cemetery Tours served as sort of an introductory book.  We met the characters, learned their names, the basics.  Between Worlds delved more into developing relationships and adjustments after the events of the first book.

This third book, however, takes place five months after Between Worlds, and the characters have developed a lot since then.  They’ve had more time to get to know each other and I’ve had more time to get to know them as well.  Now, instead of watching them react to certain situations, I’m exploring what exactly makes them that way.

Of my three main characters, Michael, Kate, and Luke, Michael remains the most stubborn.  Kate and Luke are a lot alike in that they’re both happy characters.  They’re both easily amused and easily fascinated.  Michael is more reserved, which stems from a lifetime of trying to remain unnoticed by ghosts and spirits.  Since he met Kate and Luke, he’s become more outgoing, but those twenty-eight years of hiding within himself I think really took a toll, and I think he’s always going to be a little reserved, and that’s okay.  That’s why Kate likes him, and that’s why I like him.

Last night, I tried to imagine what Michael what be like, what he might have done, if he didn’t have the ghosts.  I realized I feel a little sorry for him, because being surrounded by the spirits and trying at all costs to avoid them and not draw attention to himself really inhibited him from developing a real sense of self.  Unlike Kate and Luke, who have real interests that they discovered by themselves, Michael’s entire character evolved from a desire to be something he’s not.  He didn’t have time for self discovery because he was too obsessed with self denial, if that makes any sense at all.  That’s why I’m glad he has Kate, Brink, and even Luke.  I think they really bring out the best in him.

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Friendly Reminder that you only have ONE WEEK LEFT to enter my GoodReads Giveaway! Win signed copies of BOTH Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds just in time for Halloween!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/109579-between-worlds

New Story, New Characters

I’ve mentioned before that I currently have two WIPs or Works in Progress.  One is the third installment of the Cemetery Tours series.  This work includes familiar characters, ones that I know and love and are still evolving and growing, mystery, twists and turns (some of which have surprised even me), and of course, ghosts.  I love writing ghost stories.  Even when we were little, my sister would ask me to make up scary stories for her.  We were twisted little kids.

I am loving that I get to continue the story of Michael, Kate, Luke, and everyone’s favorite, Brink, and I really love the new ghosts and the new adventures.

However, as much as I love Cemetery Tours, I have to say the new story/series I’m working on is so much fun.  A whole new setting (one that is really, really awesome and I kind of wish I lived there), brand new characters, and no dead people.  Again, I love my ghost stories, but I’m also loving how this new story is so much more light-hearted and not nearly as dark.  Not that Cemetery Tours is all that dark.  Still, there is the whole matter of death and loss and whatnot.  You won’t find much of that in this new series.

The new book is also more YA than Cemetery Tours and in 1st person instead of 3rd person.  In some ways, that presents new challenges, but in other ways, it’s a lot easier.  It’s more like dialogue, which has always been my favorite part of writing any story.

At this point, I’m farther along in this new book than I am in CT3.  I’m not going to lie, it’s been difficult writing two books at once, and it’s crossed my mind more than once that maybe I should focus wholeheartedly, 100% on just one of them.  But I’m enjoying writing both, and I’m making progress, so I think I’m just going to keep after it and see where it leads me.  I’ve been operating under the assumption that I’ll publish CT3 before this new one… but you never know!

On that note, keep writing and keep reading, everyone!

Ultimate Book Tag!

I’ll be honest.  I love these surveys.  I think they’re so much fun.  This one, I found on Callum McLaughlin’s blog: http://callummclaughlin.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/ultimate-book-tag/ 

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?
Nope.  Though I’ve got to be honest, I rarely read in the car.  I like to listen to music and watch the world outside the window.  

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
That’s a tough one.  The one that has always stood out to me, however, is Madeleine L’Engle.  I remember the first time I read A Ring of Endless Light, she simply had me captivated.  Her writing, her thoughts, were just so incredibly beautiful.  This quote, in particular, has stayed with me for years:

If I’m confused, or upset, or angry, if I can go out and look at the stars I’ll almost always get back to a sense of proportion. It’s not that they make me feel insignificant; it’s the very opposite; they make me feel that everything matters, be it ever so small, and that there’s meaning to life even when it seems most meaningless.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
Is this even a question?  Harry Potter! 

1) Harry Potter is real magic.  It’s not just a story.  JK Rowling created an entire world, a society, a culture.  It’s intricate and brilliant and colorful and simply alive.

2) Harry Potter got me through the toughest time in my life.  I even wrote a whole blog post about it. https://jackiesmith114.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/i-believe-in-dragons/

3) Characters are always my favorite parts of any book and Harry Potter’s characters are all truly exquisite.  I wish several of them were my best friends.  Sadly, very few of my very favorite characters actually survived the series.  

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is it in (besides books…)?
I don’t have a book bag, per se, but when I need to carry a book with me, I use my giant orca purse.  It’s a bag with a lot of pretty embroidered killer whales and dolphins on it.  It also carries my phone, wallet, planner, and notebook.  

5. Do you smell your books?
Oh yes.  

6. Books with or without little illustrations?
I haven’t read a book with illustrations in a while (unless Harry Potter counts with the little pictures at the beginning of every chapter), but I don’t mind them.  In fact, I like seeing what the author or illustrator had in mind.  It’s always interesting to see others’ interpretations.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
Every Nicholas Sparks book ever.  I love them all.  I read each one the day it comes out.  However, in the end, they all kind of end up being the same book.  Except The Guardian.  That is one heck of a good book! 

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
I started wearing glasses when I was in first grade.  I didn’t mind really, except that I really, really wanted to be a Disney Princess and none of them wore glasses.  So I went through all of my big Disney picture books and drew glasses on all the princesses.  

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?
Either Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard or a book of Episcopal Haikus.  Yeah, I’m that kind of person. 

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?
Either The Complete Works of William Shakespeare or The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.  

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
Now that you mention it…

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12. When did you get into reading?
I can’t remember a time I wasn’t into reading.  My mom was reading to me from the day I was born.  

13. What is your favorite classic book?
This is going to sound nerdy, but I really love Beowulf.

14. In school was your best subject Language Arts/English?
Yep.  That and Biology.  I really love animals and nature.  

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated…what would you do?
I would act like I loved it and then sell it to Half-Price Books.  

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to
Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
I recently discovered the Inescapable series by indie author Amy A. Bartol and I’m kind of loving it.  However, it’s probably more similar to Twilight than it is to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.

17. What is your favorite word?
Ergo.  I love it so much.  

18. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
I prefer fangirl. Or Ravenclaw.

19. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
I actually haven’t read many Fairy books (unless Midsummer Night’s Dream counts) so I guess I’ll have to go with Vampires. 

20. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Angels.  Because I secretly wish I had wings.  

21. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
Spirits.  Because Cemetery Tours.  

22. Zombies or Vampires? Why?
Depends what I’m in the mood for.  If I’m in the mood to be scared then ZOMBIES.  If I’m in the mood for dark, supernatural romance (or Twilight), then vampires.

23. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
Forbidden love. If a girl is going to have two hot guys fighting over her, she’d better be pretty darn awesome.  

24. AND FINALLY: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
Oh gosh… I read both and I enjoy both.  Again, it depends!  If I’m sick or in a particularly girly mood, I’m going to choose romance.  Usually, however, I do prefer a bit of action.  

To whoever has read this… I tag you!  Only if you want to, that is.  I hate internet peer pressure.

Texas Stereotypes

A lot of my friends are Texans who have moved to other states.  They all love their new homes, but they know that there is a part of them that will always be Texan.

Sort of along those same lines, I’ve been thinking a lot about characterization.  Characters and dialogue are my absolute favorite part of writing both new and old stories.  I love figuring out what motivates them, what they value, who and what the like or dislike, what irritates them.  Characters, people in general, are interesting!  Something that I’ve always found particularly fascinating is the way that other people perceive each other.

Southerners and Texans are often stereotyped as horse-riding, beer-swigging, gun-toting rednecks.  I guess in some parts, that’s not entirely inaccurate.  Other times, Texans and Southerners are portrayed with thick, and I do mean THICK Southern drawls and politically insensitive and religious to the point of ignorance.  Again, I’m sure there are people like that out there, but every accent I’ve ever heard has been extremely exaggerated.

That being said, I’ve decided to list out a few typical Texas/Southern stereotypes to see how well I conform to the standards.  These are in no particular order and I won’t list every stereotype in the book, but it’s something I thought would be kind of fun.

Texas Stereotypes

“Y’all” – Yes, I definitely use “y’all.” I probably say “y’all” more than I say my own name. Even my characters say “y’all.”

Sweet Tea – Most Texans really do love their iced tea, but I’ve never been a tea drinker. I like water.

Perpetual Tan Lines – True.  Always true.

Horses – I have friends who ride horses, but I’ve only ridden a horse once in my life. As it turns out, I’m actually allergic to horses.

Bluebell Ice Cream – Best. Ice. Cream. Ever.

Bluebonnets – Like most Texans, I am obsessed with bluebonnets. My parents have the stereotypical picture of me in a field of bluebonnets as a kid.

Barbecue – Love.

Cowboy Boots – They’re not expensive or fancy, but I love mine!

Dr. Pepper – I don’t like soft drinks.

Guns – I’ve never shot a gun in my life. I do want to go to a shooting range sometime though.

Political Beliefs – Oh, I’d rather not go too far into my beliefs. I don’t want to start any sort of heated discussion. Let’s just say I am moderate, non-confrontational, and I believe in equality.

Beer – I like the taste of beer, but I do not like the carbonation.

Country Music – Love it.  I have an entire playlist dedicated entirely to Country Music.  One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to was Roger Creager.  We ate barbecue and sat on a blanket under the stars and couples all around were two-stepping.  Super stereotypical and awesome.

Rednecks – I am definitely not a redneck. My idea of “roughing it” is a comfy cabin in the woods with indoor plumbing and air-conditioning.

Line Dancing – I think it’s impossible to live here and not know how to line dance.

Snow Shuts Everything Down – We don’t refer to one inch of ice as Snowmageddon or Icepocalypse for nothing. The only time I tried driving on ice, I totaled my car.

Tubing – One of the funnest things ever.

Cowboy Hat – I wore mine to DisneyWorld.

God – Yes.

Conclusion – If I was a character in a story, I think I’d be a stereotype.

Characters, Quirks, and Eccentricities

This afternoon, I indulged in one of my favorite snacks ever – trail mix.  My favorite includes M&M’s, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, raisins, and peanuts.  Naturally, I love the chocolate, the peanut butter, and I actually really love the raisins, but peanuts?  I can tolerate a few to round out the delicate balance of flavor, but I could never eat them alone, or stand more than about three per handful.  Aside from the fact that they make peanut butter, I really don’t like anything about peanuts.  I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the taste, and I especially don’t like the texture.  They feel sort of soft, almost chalky, and yet they’re solid.  They’re just… weird.

Oddly enough, my admittedly peculiar contempt for peanuts got me thinking about personality traits, which of course, got me thinking about characterization in stories.  Characters are what make a story for me.  If I don’t like or connect with the characters, good luck getting me to finish reading your book.  If I don’t like characters that I’ve written, I will scrap the entire book and start over.  I got about nine chapters into one of my works that is currently in progress, realized I didn’t care if any of my characters died or not, and so I went back to the beginning.

Even though they don’t always turn out the way I think they will, crafting new characters is my absolute favorite thing about writing.  I love personalities, I love dialogue, and I love relationships.  I also love giving them quirks and eccentricities, kind of like my disdain for peanuts.  In Cemetery Tours, Kate has her germ-phobia and obsession with television, Michael has a dry, almost cynical sense of humor, Luke has a ridiculous fashion sense, and Brink… well… Brink is just a walking talking explosion of all things 1990s and plaid.  I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter who I talk to, Brink is EVERYONE’s favorite character!  I can understand that, though.

In my experience, side characters are often the ones that end up stealing the show and I think it’s because, I hate to say it, a lot of times, they’re more interesting than the main characters.  They are somewhat more realistic with their quirks and distinct personalities.  I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather hang out with Fred and George Weasley than Harry Potter.  Or I would, you know, if JK Rowling hadn’t KILLED Fred!

In my mind, he’s not really dead.  George somehow managed to come up with a way to bring him back to life.  Shh!

That being said, I’m about to head out to a poker night.  I don’t play poker, but my friends are going to be there, so I figured I’d go and hang out for a while.

Have a great night, all!

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A Writers Life For Me

This last week has been super busy, but last night, I finally found some time to get back to writing.  I have three novels in the works and an idea for one more that I am really excited about.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I am something of a commitment-phobe.  It is really hard for me to just pick one story to work on and stick with it.  Alas, that is how the creative mind works.

I do need to get serious about prioritizing my time, however.  I really want to be able to release my next book, hopefully as early as next spring.  I am fairly confident I will be able to accomplish this.  I’m just not sure which one it’s going to be yet.  As of right now, I’m pretty sure it will be the sequel to Cemetery Tours, since that’s the one I worked on last night and it’s also the one that’s been in my head the longest.  My writer friend also thinks it would be a good idea to release it instead of starting a brand new series.  He’s really smart, so I’ll probably end up taking his advice.

I realized last night that one of my very favorite things about writing is that you can have everything planned out in your head about the way your story is going to go and about what’s going to happen, and yet your characters can still end up surprising you.  I think a lot of people are under the false impression that the author is in total control of what happens in the story.  It’s so far from true.  The characters that we create have to act as we wrote them to act, not how we want them to act.  For example, last night, I discovered a whole new serious side to one of my characters that I really didn’t know existed until I wrote this one particular scene.  That might sound a little crazy, but it’s true.  You can never predict just how a scene or a character is going to play out.

Aside from that, I’m really just waiting for September 17!  I’m going around and passing out my little post cards with all the information on it, hoping to get the word out a little more.  I also bought the first of several prizes for the release party that I’m hosting!  I really can’t wait.  I think it will be a blast!