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Capture My Mind: Excellent Books Paint Character. #IWSG #AmWriting

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are, Christine Rains , Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!

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Words are beautiful.

When put together just right, they build a painting in my mind and I’ve always been in love with these word paintings. They show me different worlds where I can see, feel, and smell everything as if I were standing on that boat, sandy beach, rocky mountain or whatever world unfolds. And recently I was drawn to a really great book at a local library because of the excellent title and captivating cover. I didn’t even bother to read the book jacket. I was so convinced it would keep me going from the first perfect sentence to the end.

Later that night, I opened the book. The first sentence read just the way I love them. The first scene drew me right in and it was fun and different. The dialogue was great. The characters really set off my mind. But then, page-by-page, I kept yearning for something … just a glimpse of the face, the eyes, the hair, or even a messy shirt or a fun pair of shoes. I kept going. It might have been 90 pages in when I finally realized the nationality of the main character. My interest was falling apart by then no matter the high caliber of dialogue or the action writing. My painting was a landscape of a pirate ship on the waters, but the captain at the wheel had no face, no height, no fun mustache or a cool costume. My magnificent painting had a glaring white blank blob of canvas. It didn’t feel right.

This month, the IWSG question asked me to reflect on my pet peeve in reading, writing, or editing. I know. I’m bringing up a controversial topic. I’ve read opinions on both sides where some readers and editors prefer no detail. They might think the imagination should create the look. I say, it’s your world you’ve written for me to believe. I want more. I want to see the face in your head the way it should be. I think humans in general, even animals, stop and ponder a reflection in the water, or a mirror. I think we all have self-reflective moments about matching our look with our mood or where we are going from time to time. As I read, I want to see all of these things. That’s the difference for me whether I am drawn in full force, or feel casually nonchalant about a book.

One last thought:

IWSG Post 21: The Human Flicker of Doubt

 

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner.

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!

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  • I really wish I never screwed up.
  • I really wish my every last word and sentence I typed was exactly right on.
    • No typos. No forgotten punctuation, and every word flowed smoothly with purpose.
  • Why can’t my first draft be perfect? It’s perfect in my thoughts, right?
  • And why can’t I act the way I really want to act?

Every time I finish something I write, I want to believe inside it’s really great. After all, stories are alive inside of us, and why can’t we get it out perfectly the way we really want and mean to do the first time?

I just told my kids the other day no one is perfect, and we must forgive and admit we screw up and say sorry. Emotion is a tricky thing though, and in answer to this month’s IWSG question, “Did you ever say ‘I quit?’ If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?”

My answer is never on purpose. My philosophy is to try and to keep trying until the sport, the class, the project is over. Reflect. Think about what works and what didn’t. Ask others to help. But the honest heart felt thought should be, if you loved it, if you liked it, then I encourage continued steps. True, at one point in high school I walked away from writing. I think my own emotional chaos erupted and my thoughts shifted to graduation, college, and how to prepare myself for the real world. I walked away from me then, too, and always felt something was missing.

But I’m back, and I wake up every day with stories and words in my head. I can’t always write every day, but I know I will try as hard as I can the next time, the next day because there is always a next day.

Victoria Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic, made a video about writing and how difficult it is to finish something and submit it to the world to analyze and decide whether it’s fit to print or not. Waiting is the worse step and a very emotional piece in anything we do. We practice. We perform. Then we wait for the evaluation. Yes, my head goes back and forth with whether my stories are good enough. One day I say, ‘of course it is.’ The next day, I find human doubt poking at me, and I say, ‘what were you thinking?’ According to Victoria Schwab though, writers never stop. The best way to get through human doubt is to create something new, and keep writing.

Question: Do you have words of advice you follow? What keeps your own fire burning past the doubt?

 

IWSG POST 20: Weird Writing Research and Book Launch #IWSG #MysteriesOfDeathAndLife

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are Michelle Wallace, Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan , Liesbet @ Roaming About and Feather Stone

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!

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Research has always been my foundation for writing. I’ve loved history. As a kid, my mom gave us the best gift, a real set of hardcover Encyclopedias. I loved staring at those glossy pages. At the time, the dog section was my favorite. I pulled the “D” Encyclopedia out every night and dreamed about my own perfect dog. At the time it was a Pomeranian. Now, I’m more of a short-haired dog fan.

 

This month’s IWSG post asks me to think of the weirdest/coolest thing I’ve ever written for a story. In honor of the new release, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, I’ll pick old farm equipment. And here’s what I incorporated into my own story “The Wheat Witch,” set in the middle of Kansas in the year 1989.

After interviewing my father about farm life in Kansas, I came up with this list of equipment my main character Ethan had to clean up and use:

  • International 560 Diesel Tractor. 1963. Pull Combine.

    photo credit: Pixabay

  • Disc Plow (4) and Harrow
  • Tiller for weeds
  • Planter
  • Sprayers
  • Old Farm Truck with bed (Ford)
  • A broken down shed.

A scene in my story involves the repair of an old tractor. I relied heavily on YouTube to get the visuals going in my mind.

photo: pixabay

Here’s the Youtube video I watched to get the background on troubleshooting a tractor that isn’t starting up right.

The picture to the right is just for fun. It’s Ethan’s man car, his only prized possession, a 69′ Mustang. My dad told me he and his family were only allowed to buy ford vehicles since the ford dealer went to his family’s church. The church was the pillar of the community and tying into the community was pivotal.

Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life

Today is the day! Thank you to everyone who made this book such an incredible success, from the talented authors, the judges, those folks taking part in the blog tour this month, the IWSG, and Dancing Lemur Press, LLC. Friday I’ll post the list of blog tour stops. 🙂

Print
eBook

Question? What’s your strangest item you had to research in school, life or writing?

Thank you and have a lovely day 🙂

“What happens afterwards, when the heroics are over?” Interview with Author Olga Godim

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To inspire hope and courage, I dedicate Monday posts through the months of March and April to authors and professionals on the subject of heroes, historically defined, and also the transformation in today’s society. I like to think of this term as the Everyday Hero. Here today, I have fellow author Olga Godim, answering three questions on the hero topic. Her answers inspire me.

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The Interview

[Erika] What is your definition of hero (historically or in today’s world)?

[Olga Godim] Heroes come in two varieties: public and private. A public hero is the one people know about. He performed an act of courage in the service of others. The first responders on site on 9/11 – firefighters and the police – trying to save as many lives as they could, come to mind, or a soldier risking his life to get a comrade out of a danger zone. They are the people songs and novels are written about. They are the ones everyone interviews. But what happens afterwards, when the heroics are over, the songs forgotten, and life goes on? Sometimes it leaves those heroes behind because of their injuries or their non-conformity. Of course, they are remembered on anniversary dates, but on all the other days of the year, they are just neighbors, family, regular guys and gals. Sometimes they are even not very nice, because heroic deeds require certain personality traits that are seldom in demand in peaceful life.

The private heroes are trickier. A woman afflicted with a deadly disease but still trying to live her life with dignity and kindness is a hero nobody knows about. No songs, no interviews, but her website and blog are uplifting and have many followers. She is always generous with praise and support of others and she seldom complains. Nobody outside her family knows how much every step, every typed post cost her. I bow to this kind of heroism with deepest admiration, much more so than to the public type. It takes so much courage not to become bitter, not to succumb to the ravages of pain, to go on despite those trials day after day, with no hope of ever getting better and no public recognition. This is heroism of the highest order. And before you ask, yes, I have a specific person in mind, one of my online friends, but I won’t embarrass her by pointing a finger.

[Erika] How does your hero fit the definition?

[Olga Godim] The protagonist of my anthology story, Captain Bulat, doesn’t fit any definition of a hero. She isn’t one. She is a regular person, doing a job she was hired to do, mainly to get paid, like all of us. She is a Finder in a fantasy world, and someone hired her to find a lost hero, Captain Bulat. He was a valiant war hero whose heroic deeds warranted a statue, but he disappeared 25 years ago, before she was born, just after the war ended. Now, my heroine is searching for him, and she needs courage and compassion to deal with a heap of problems arising during her search. It seems not everybody wants the lost Captain Bulat to be found.

[Erika] Why did he or she fall? Did they find their way back?

[Olga Godim] When I decided to write a story for this anthology, I took its theme literally. For me, lost and fallen are not synonymous. My hero is lost, not fallen: nobody knows where he is. Searching for him is the gist of my story.

Anthology Story: “Captain Bulat”

When one of the most powerful men in the city hires the young Finder Altenay to find Captain Bulat, a hero of the last war, she is stumped. The war ended and the hero disappeared 25 years ago, before she was born. How can she find the lost hero now, after all these years, when her Finder’s magic keeps floundering? How can she stay alive, when some unknown persons don’t want her to succeed?

About Olga Godim

Olga is a writer and journalist from Vancouver, Canada. Both her children, a son and a daughter, have already flown the nest. To sustain her nurturing instincts, she now collects toy monkeys. She has over 300 monkey figurines in her collection. As a journalist, Olga writes personal profiles of the local artists, actors, and musicians. As a fiction writer, she prefers fantasy. In the past few years, her fantasy and magic realism short stories have been published in multiple internet and print magazines. Her book SQUIRREL OF MAGIC is a collection of urban fantasy short stories. Her novels EAGLE EN GARDE and ALMOST ADEPT are parts of her ongoing sword-and-sorcery fantasy series.  In 2015, EAGLE EN GARDE won EPIC eBook Award in the Fantasy category.

 

How to Find Olga Godim?

Website and Blog | GoodReads | Wattpad | Twitter

 

Questions: Ever searched for something frantically and never found it until the moment passed, you no longer needed it and it appeared? Who’s your private hero?

Thank you for stopping in today. My Everyday Hero interview didn’t pan out this week as my attempts to contact this individual didn’t get through in time. Hopefully, my interview idea for next week comes through. And Olga, I loved your post and your definitions on Hero.