Category Archives: Creative Process

Announcing the May 16th Denton Poets’ Assembly Meeting

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Reblog: Participants – Crack Your Knuckles and Start Your Engines!

Guest post by Sandy Coelho

It’s that time of year when writers and authors take a deep breath, and step up to meet a challenge to join colleagues from across the globe and make a commitment to write a 50,000 word  novel during the month of November.

It may seem daunting but offers the potential for satisfying fulfillment. Sandy Coelho has written an inspiring article that gives all the information you need to get started. Many of the followers of this blog are writers. I encourage you to step up and give it ago!
Now I’ll turn this post over to Sandy 🙂 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Participants – Crack Your Knuckles and Start Your Engines!

NaNoWriMo is a week away. The event hosted by the Office of Letters and Light, is in its 13th year and has grown from 21 original participants to over 250,000 in 2011. The concept behind NaNoWriMo is to get people writing – anything; for 30 straight days. The objective is not quality, it’s quantity. Winners are the participants who reach the 50,000 word finish line. The aim of the OLL is to encourage writers and those who have always thought about writing to put their nose to the grindstone and just get it done!

 

 

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Filed under Books, Creative Process, Guest Host, Publishing, Writing

Interview – Julia Robb, Author of Scalp Mountain

Hi Julia,

Welcome to My Place. I’m eager to hear what you have to say about your writing in general and about your novel, Scalp Mountain.

Would you like to share a synopsis of your novel?

It’s 1876 and Colum McNeal’s immigrant Irish father has sent gunmen to kill him. Colum finds a refuge in a hidden Texas valley and begins ranching, but struggles to stay there: José Ortero, a Jacarilla Apache, seeks revenge for the son Colum unwittingly killed.

At the same time, an old acquaintance, Mason Lohman, obsessively stalks Colum through the border country. Colum has inspired the unthinkable in Lohman. In a time and place where a man’s sexuality must stand unchallenged, Colum has ignited Lohman’s desire.

Other characters include Texas Ranger William Henry, who takes Colum’s part against his father while wrestling with his own demons. Comanches murdered Henry’s family and Henry regrets the revenge he took; and Clementine Weaver, who defies frontier prejudice by adopting an Indian baby. Clementine must also choose between Colum and her husband.

One thing I noticed about Scalp Mountain was the depth of your character development.  Tell us how you chose your main character and describe how you like to present your characters to the readers.

My novels all start the same way; I see images in my mind, but I don’t understand them. I saw Colum standing on a hill in the Davis Mountains, in Texas. When I asked myself what this man was doing, the answers came. Writers see characters through the prism of their own personalities. If my characters have depth, it’s because I want to understand them and I want readers to understand them. Nobody is simple. Personally, I want to understand everybody and spend large amounts of time trying to figure out other people and worrying about them (I know, it’s useless to worry).

When we writers (including you, dear Richard) write books, we are just reproducing our brains. Therefore, readers aren’t really reading printed words on a page, they’re reading other personalities. That’s one of the reasons reading is so thrilling and why it’s so important for writers to accurately reproduce their “voice.”

What is it that best represents your protagonist’s life? (Highlight the characteristics that illustrate your protagonist’s strengths.)

Colum’s mother was murdered and his father rejected him. That kind of trauma usually twists people; it creates drives and motives they don’t necessarily understand. Humans must attempt full consciousness to understand themselves (I know, that’s a tall order). Luckily for Colum, when events unfold, he’s willing to face his actions and try to redeem himself. You can attribute that to inner strength, but I think God is willing to give us grace to deal with life, if we’re willing to accept it.

Scalp Mountain is clearly historical fiction. While this is true, I found much in common with literary fiction. What do you think makes your novel stand out from other historical fiction?

I don’t know, I don’t even know if it does stand out. I just wrote the story in my mind and heart, and wrote my style, whatever that is. I’ve studied literary technique, but that technique is mandatory for all writers, not just historical novelists, or literary novelists.

How does your main character’s profession draw him into suspenseful situations, (murder, for instance?)

It doesn’t. The events in the book all stem from character. Character is destiny. Colum’s father is a vengeful man. Rather than fight it out, Colum runs from his own guilt, motives and feelings. Lohman can’t handle his unrequited desire for Colum and tries to eliminate the problem the only way he knows how; killing him.

Have you considered working on a sequel?

No sequels. I’m working on another historical novel now and that has my attention. Besides, Scalp Mountain doesn’t lend itself to sequels. It’s pretty intense and I could never reproduce the same kind of tension in a sequel.

Tell me something about your writing habits. Is there a special place where you live that you like to go to? Do you like to write at a certain time of day?

This is a problem all writers deal with (unless they have superior self discipline, which I don’t). Between working on publicity, which is an endless job, doing my chores, seeing and talking to friends and family, and making myself stay in the chair, it’s hard. Like all writers, some days I just sit and stare at the computer screen and want to bang my head against the wall. Luckily, the wall is handy, it’s right by my desk.

In an added note, I strongly suspect writers who brag they have unbreakable work habits are exaggerating.

Please provide links to your blog, your book and other places where readers can find your work.

Scalp M0untain on Amazon

http://www.scalpmountain.com

http://scalpmountain.blogspot.com

http://www.venturegalleries.com

Book Cover

Thank you, Julia for stopping by. Do you have anything else you would like to add related to your book or writing that I failed to mention?

No, thanks Rich.

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Filed under Author Interview, Creative Process, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Publishing, Texas, Texas Rangers

Shadows of the Realm Reviews and Thank-Yous

Shadows of the Realm Reviews and Thank-Yous.
A fantasy novel by Dionne Lister

 

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Filed under Creative Process, Fantasy Adventure Novels

Author Interview: Black Loon Lake

by Sandy Coelho

I’m pleased to bring back Sandy Coelho to answer questions about why she wrote, Black Loon Lake. I’m including the book description to help set the context of our conversation.

by SL Coelho

Black Loon Lake, novella cover

 Black Loon Lake Book Description

The novelette Black Loon Lake is rooted in the back-country of British Columbia’s wilderness, where it sets the stage for a tension building, suspenseful read. Three tree planters take advantage of a short break between planting seasons, rest and rejuvenation are on the agenda. What actually happens, no one could have predicted. Engrossing, chilling, and creepy; this vivid, fast paced story is written to entertain.
Tranquil, timeless and treacherous. Those who venture there, are dying to see it!

Welcome back, Sandy. I found Black Loon Lake to be thrilling fiction. Your description of the landscape and the characters within the story gave me a sense of genuine authenticity. While the story is fiction, I’m convinced much of it is based in reality.

  • I believe you’ve mentioned that you and your, family have camped in the British Columbia wilderness which is the setting for the story. Would you like to share some of those experiences?

You’re correct. Before we had our two youngest children, my husband and I spent nearly every weekend from mid-May to mid-September camping at Forestry Reserve sites. Many of these sites are deep in the back country of British Columbia and have zero amenities, but have some of the most spectacular scenery and fishing you can imagine. You must be prepared for every contingency because you are over 2 hours from the nearest town, and there is no cell phone reception. The Conservation officers are strict on rules, what you pack in, you pack out – they take preservation seriously. If you ever have the opportunity to camp like this – it should be tried at least once. It is a serene, beautiful experience.

  • The central characters are tree planters. How did you happen to choose this as background of your characters?

Living in B.C. we’ve come to know a few tree planters. I also researched the profession. It is a difficult way to make money, but their stories have kept us entertained for hours. They are an important part of the green movement and reforestation. If it wasn’t for the hard work of a tree planter – future generations may not have wood to build homes, furniture or know the importance the eco-system plays in the health of our planet. We owe them much IMHO.

  • You feature a Conservation Officer in the story. What has your typical experience with these professionals and do you know what their usual roll is?

I have friends in this diverse profession, I asked questions and conducted research. In a nutshell, they conserve and protect our natural resources, enforce provincial compliance with environmental laws, and are involved in search and rescue. They have a special investigations unit which deals with criminal behavior which may have an environmental impact.

  • Have you had contact with dangerous creatures in the wilderness?

Yes. This province is primarily forest so wildlife encounters are unavoidable. We’ve encountered Bears (Black, Brown) and have seen Grizzlies from a distance; Moose (which can be extremely dangerous), and Cougar not far from our current home. In fact, this morning we had Conservation Officers knock at our door to warn us a large black bear was spotted in our neighbor’s yard earlier in the day. My husband has had a close encounter with a rattlesnake, he just missed stepping on it – he was warned by its rattle. You have to be aware of your surroundings and go out prepared – then you can enjoy the beauty without fear.

  • My purpose with this interview is to draw more readers to your compelling story. Are there other comments you would like to add?

Without giving anything away, I think Black Loon Lake is a relevant, fun read. It’s a novelette so not too big a time commitment. If you enjoy a thrill, pick it up, in fact…download it to your e-device and enjoy it while you’re camping!

Rich, thank you for taking the time to feature my story. You have said you enjoyed it and I hope others will also find it entertaining. I appreciate being here and your support. I’m deeply grateful.

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Filed under Author Interview, Book Review, Books, Creative Process, Thriller

I’m a huge fan of Ansel Adams. You’ve got to check out this incredible post.

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Writerzblox.net’s March 2012 Monthly Newsletter!

Many people tell me they have a story to tell but don’t feel comfortable trying to communicate it. Maybe this by post my friend Belinda Witzenhausen will speak to you.  Here’s Belinda!

WriterzBlox

Welcome to Writerzblox.net’s March 2012 Newsletter! This month we have some tips to improve your writing, as well as book recommendations, a monthly writing prompt, free wallpaper, tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration.

Improve your Writing!

Many people yearn to write but don’t because they believe they won’t be good enough. The only way to become a better writer is to write.  What many new writers don’t realize is that most books you read have been edited and polished to perfection. Most writers make mistakes, have awkward prose and they all have been beginners.  If you want to be a writer, improving your writing skills should be on the top of your list, here are some tips to get you started.

Write!  This seems like an obvious point however; many times, practice is all we need to hone our writing voice.  Try to make it a habit to write daily whether it…

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