Sunday, February 27, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Missing, Assumed Dead
En route, she and her rental car run afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem . . . accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when she meets the probate judge, and he tries just a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
There will be over 35 exhibitors, both from the West Island and the greater Montreal Area. Participating will be authors Litsa Kamateros and Lea Schizas with their books: Autism Epidemic: Shaking the System, a helpful nonfiction book and Sarah's Socks: Welcome to my World of Autism, a children's picture book. Both books help to sensitize and make people aware of autism and their symptoms.
The goal is to allow families to explore what resources may be available to them, what to do after receiving a diagnosis and what other therapies may be tried while on a waiting list.
Please refer to the following link for more details and certainly forward to those who may be interested!
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Craig, the main character in the story, has all kinds of relationships, each bringing out a different angle of his personality. The first influence of his life was his mother, a fun-loving woman who brought Craig up to be a pretty regular guy. It appears that Julia was the prop of the family because when she dies, Craig's dad, Charlie, falls apart. The dad allows his life to stagnate. He starts drinking heavily and when he does pay attention to Craig, it's to punch him around. If things had gone on as before, Craig would have been fine, but this new relationship changes him. In order to have some power, Craig takes his anger out on people at school. His life has taken on a different direction. (Most of this takes place back-stage, so to speak, as background to the story).
The peak of Craig's bad behavior is his attempt to cut down the giant tree belonging to his neighbors, the Arks. By this time, he is boiling with anger, grief, and frustration. This deed brings about a change in Craig's relationships. His old friend, Nelson Ark, is now wary of Craig. But even though Nelson has been hurt by Craig, he takes up for him at school. He helps Craig to forge new relationships.
Nelson's dachshund, Siegfried, strangely enough, takes Craig under his paw with a friendship that seems almost uncanny; at least Craig has one friend. I think you can relate to the human/pet relationship--most people can. We love our pets as members of the family. Sometimes it's the only unconditional love a person gets.
Nelson's parents, the owners of the tree, are less concerned about Craig's vandalism than about the fact than he might be taken from his father and put into "the system" where he will spiral further into crime. With the help of a Juvenile Court Judge and a Social Worker, the Arks take Craig into their home. Mrs. Ark becomes a mother substitute, while Mr. Ark remains aloof and mysterious, not quite a father figure, but someone for Craig to look up to.
Craig learns a lot about trees from the forester, Logan Raxter, who comes to work on the wounded tree. Craig is instructed to help Raxter in his attempt to save the tree. But more than a teacher, Raxter's relationship to Craig becomes that of a mentor. It might be harder for you to relate to the human/plant connection, but I'm guessing it's not that hard. One of the greatest rewards I had in writing this book was searching for tree quotes to enhance the meaning of each chapter. As for loving trees, I'm in the company of John Muir, William Wordsworth, All Major Religious Works, Proust, Emerson, Thoreau.
Oh, yes, and there is a little bit of Romantic Relationship between Craig and cute, spunky Carson; this is, after all, middle grade. Kids this age have intense feelings. Rather than being destroyed by circumstances, Craig's life is reshaped by his new relationships.
If you're wondering why the girl is names Carson, I'll tell you. She is named for Rachel Carson. All of the characters are named for environmentalists: Craig for Jean Craighead George, the novelist, and Nelson for Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, to name a few. I'll let you guess who Logan Raxter is named for
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Relationships and how we handle them control how we are perceived by the people around us, if we maintain honest and caring relationships with our family and our co-workers and friends it is a reflection of the person we are. Conversely, if we treat our relationships as a convenience which we only cultivate when it suits our personal needs the world around us will judge us by our actions.
Honouring the relationships we cultivate in our lives is an important duty we should pay attention to every day of our lives. It is equally important to realize when a relationship is dangerous to our own health and well being and recognize the destructive nature of it and end the relationship honestly and openly. The respect and honour with we treat others is a direct reflection of the respect and honour we feel for ourselves.
Relationships are a mirror of our souls and inner self.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Relationships? What are they? The dictionary describes relationships as: The condition or fact of being related; connection or association. Connection by blood or marriage; kinship. A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other.
There are many different kinds of relationships – companionship – rapport – blood relations (family). There are, of course, other kinds of relationships, but these are the most popular.
I’m going to talk about several different kinds of relationships, beginning with parents/children – blood relations - family. I grew up in a large family, the second youngest of six. I had three older brothers and two sisters – one older, one younger. My parents, oldest brother and older sister are gone now, and I still miss them dearly.
We were a close family. Even as adults, we got together often. But back to my youth. I grew up in the 50s. In the summer we went on picnics almost every night when Dad came home from work. Every Sunday, we visited my grandparents. Holidays were special, even when we grew up we got together on Christmas Eve – my brothers and sister and I still do. As adults, my sisters and I took Mom twice a year for an overnighter and shopping trip. Once in the summer to celebrate her birthday and once in December to Christmas shop. We were friends not just mom and sisters. Now don't get me wrong, we had our share of disagreements, arguments and sometimes (when we were much younger) out and out fights. We weren't perfect, afterall. But our parents helped make our childhood memorable.
Of course, I grew up, began to date and met my husband – a different kind of relationship – friend, husband, and lover. My husband and I were properly introduced by my cousin and her boyfriend. Nothing earth shattering, and it wasn't love at first sight. In fact I was kind of afraid of him. He looked like a tough kid. You remember the kind, low slung jeans, tee shirt with his sleeve rolled up with a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes stuck inside (think Fonzie from Happy Days). I still can't figure out how they stayed in the shirt sleeve that way. But actually, he was quiet and shy and so very sweet. He had just bought a 1957 chevy convertible. I think I fell in love with the car at first sight. We soon became friends and, of course, eventually fell in love. Ah the joys of dating, going to the drive in, on picnics and parties with friends, movies and walks in parks. Time shared between just the two of us. We got married in November 1962.
Our first child, a daughter, arrived in March,1964. What a thrill. I held this tiny little baby in my arms and love overwhelmed me.I thought my heart would burst. She was ours, an extension of us. A product of our love. A new relationship began - between mother and daughter. I’ll be honest; it’s not always been easy. My oldest daughter is very much like me, and we often butted heads (still do sometimes). In 1965 and 1967 her sisters joined our family. I wouldn’t have believed children could be so different if I hadn’t had these three girls. Not only are they different in looks -blond, brunette, and redhead, they had very different personalities. We share different types of relationships because they’re individual personalities. Yet we share a sisters/mother relationship and often get together to shop or have lunch together, just the three of us.
And then I had my first son in 1969. No one ever told me the feeling for your son would be so different. No, I don’t mean I love him more, but it’s a different than your daughter. His brothers joined our family in 1971 and 1973. Our family was complete. If I thought the girls were different personalities, my sons were just the opposite. Oh, they were each their own person, but not only did they look alike -all blonds- they had a bond between them that the girls didn’t have. They still do. The boys often had me in stitches. I’m not sure what it is, but with just a look they melted my anger. Not good when you're tyring to discipline them. And they still manage to make me laugh when I’m in a bad mood. I told all my daughters and daughters in law –“Every mother should have a son.” It’s truly a different experience, not better, not worse, just different.
I raised my children pretty much like my parents raised me. I say I, because my husband was a truck driver and on the road a lot. That pretty much left the discipline to me. Not that I minded, I was very strict but very protective of them. I could yell or spank, but if my husband did, not only did it break my heart, it made me angry. How dare he yell at my kids?
They’re grown now and married, which brings me to another relationship – mother in law. I love my daughters and sons in law like my own. I treat them like my own. I yell at them, give advice and enjoy their company. I like to think we have a good relationship.
And they had children – a new relationship began- grandparents. If I thought I couldn’t possibly love anyone more than I loved my children – well, I was wrong. The day my first granddaughter was born, I thought I’d burst with love and pride. I felt the same way with each grandchild – I won’t bore you with details of all 14 of their births, but suffice to say when my 14th and final grandchild was born August 30th, the feeling still overwhelmed me. I look at each of these precious gifts from God and feel so blessed.
To top it all off – last year, I was blessed with my first great grandson. I looked at my granddaughter, now a young woman, and remembered the feeling of pride when I saw her the first time. Now here she was with a child of her own, and I couldn’t contain my tears. I’m so thrilled to be a part of his life. I pray I’m around to see all my grandchildren grown with children of their own.
So…what are relationships? They’re many things, each special in their own right. And although there have been many peaks and valleys, I've been very blessed in my relationships. They are truly a gift from God
If you’d like to know more about me check out my website – www.roseannedowell.com
or my blog: http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com
Saturday, February 12, 2011
The earlier we expose them to these two elements the higher probability they will retain them.
As the investigation progresses, they find that they must not only solve the murder, but stop a terrorist plot against earth, and maybe exorcise the demons of their past.
NOW AVAILABLE AT MUSEITUP PUBLISHING
Dark Side of the Moon now available on Kindle
Deren’s safe world disintegrates when his vision foretells his sister’s death by a Domain soldier. Deren can't defend Bennie because of his asthmatic attacks, so he trains her in archery and prepares his people for war against their ancient foe.
As the invasion advances, Bennie's mastery of the bow leads her along unexpected paths. Although she hates killing, she must make hard choices. Her loved ones will die if she doesn't help them.
Will Bennie’s encounter with an enemy prince prove the key to survival? Can Deren overcome his physical weaknesses and the doubts of his own father to lead his people?
With fate and overwhelming force stacked against them, it seems their best efforts will be in vain.
NOW AVAILABLE AT MUSEITUP PUBLISHING
Crimson Dream also available on Kindle
There is nothing so true as change is inevitable. Rumours of a new engine capable of thrusting a ship greater distances in a fraction of the time a crewkin ship takes, threatens Markham Company’s business. There is only one thing left to do—get rid of the evidence, the last survivor, and anyone else who threatens discovery.
NOW AVAILABLE AT MUSEITUP PUBLISHING
Crewkin also available on Kindle
In high school there was a Sadie Hawkins Day dance and I wanted to go. So I had a crush on this really gorgeous guy who sat behind me and barely talked to me. But if anyone really knows me, you would know I am pretty brave. I walked up to this guy, his name was David, and I asked him to the dance. I remember my palms were sweating and I’m sure I stumbled over my words a lot. It didn’t’ matter, because he totally turned me down with actually no excuse at all. I was heartbroken and never asked out another boy. I felt ugly and stupid and wondered if any boy would ever want me. I never went to the dance either.:)
In my young adult novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, Carolyn, the main character has a giant crush on Brad, who is a junior in high school, the quarterback of the football team, and Jennifer Taylor’s boyfriend. Jennifer has been bullying Carolyn all through middle school so at first Carolyn doesn’t feel so bad having a crush on her boyfriend. When Carolyn is around Brad it feels so right, but she feels guilty after awhile. What is a girl to do about this? If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor will be published in September. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Even mean ol' me writes the occasional love scene or has people in love (PIL). See, PIL are far more common in our world than people who are assassins for hire. Love, Actually is closer to the real world than The Expendables.
That puts me in a spot. I love the explosions. I think Jane Austen's books could have used an explosion or two, or perhaps a gun battle across France while Mr. Darcy fought the French to win Lizzie's love.
In my military SF novel coming up early next year, Road to Hell (insert shameless plug music here), I have explosions. Quite a few. Yet, I could also not make an entire docking port of people where none were PIL.
Because love makes the explosions even more fun!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
A man calls his daughter and they talk for an hour about how bad his son (her brother) is behaving, things going on at the son's job, and what they think about how the son is raising his kids.
A woman dreads visits from her mother because her mother will look all over the house to find fault with her housekeeping, then spend the rest of the visit giving helpful "advice" about how she's spoiling her new baby. The woman has argued with her mother about that negativity, but the mother then sobs that she's only trying to help and will sulk for a week.
If you're a writer, you're going to encounter all these situations. More to the point, you're going to have to create them from whole cloth.
I'm here to tell you that if you don't understand the basics of relationship dynamics, you cannot write fiction. In fiction, character is where the rubber meets the road. And character expresses itself in relationships.
The first instance is something called a push-back reaction. Everyone does it. Why? Because we're comfortable with our loved ones just as they are. And therefore when a loved one makes a change, even a good change such as going back to college or beginning a diet and exercise program, we unconsciously make it harder for them to continue that path because we don't want the relationship to change.
The second instance is called triangulating, where two people have a relationship at the expense of a third. It keeps everyone's feelings carefully tamed but prevents any actual growth, and of course it prevents a genuine relationship between the two conspirators and the person on the third point of the triangle.
The third instance doesn't necessarily have a name, but those two clearly need to have a discussion. The problem is, whenever they fight, they fight in a way that reinforces the negative dynamic rather than addressing the actual problem (that the woman is ready for adult autonomy and her mother doesn't want to let go.)
A writer needs to become fluent in relationships. This isn't optional. The same way a writer needs to learn to manage dialogue, setting, punctuation and complex sentence structure, a writer also needs to become fluent in boundaries, push-back reactions, triangulating, and how to have an effective argument (although a lot of your story will probably have arguments of the ineffective, status-quo-reinforcing kind.)
Read self-help books. Read books about motherless daughters (Hope Edelman), about raising adopted children, about setting boundaries in relationships (Townsend and Cloud). Browse your used book store and pick up What Color Is Your Parachute even if you're not going to look for a job for ten years. Read books about basic psychology (M. Scott Peck) and dealing with sociopaths (Martha Stout). Read, read, read.
But start with these two by Harriet Lerner, which is where the above examples come from. Even if you don't write these specific dynamics, knowing how they operate can only improve your fiction.
Jane Lebak is the author of The Guardian (Thomas Nelson, 1994), Seven Archangels: Annihilation (Double-Edged Publishing, 2008) and The Boys Upstairs (MuseItUp, 2010). At Seven Angels, Four Kids, One Family, she blogs about what happens when a distracted daydreamer and a gamer geek attempt to raise four children.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
It's not just applicable to new relationships, either. While we can (and I bet many of us have!) 'google' names from our past and see what they're up to these days, these social networking sites have made it possible for us to go another step beyond 'just looking' and allow us to actually rekindle old friendships. At one time, you'd have thought the whole world had nothing better to do than revisit its schooldays, with what seemed like thousands of us arranging school reunions right, left and centre. Of course, there were many different kinds of relationships in the school playground, weren't there? It could run the whole gamut from our Best Female Friends, to first kisses behind the bike sheds with the captain of the school football team! How many of those relationships would we genuinely want to re-kindle? I've lost count of the number of short stories I've read based on the whole idea of 'Friends Reunited,' not to say non-fiction articles on 'What Happened When I Re-United With XYZ,' and sure, many of them had happy outcomes, but just as many had somewhat mixed results.
Lets' face it, it sometimes seems that anyone and everyone's out there to be found in Google-Land - if they want to be. So little remains private. You can open your Facebook page and find yourself right in the middle of other people's conversations, as well as your own. Sometimes this delving into our past relationships, maybe with a pair of rose-coloured glasses wedged firmly on the bridges of our noses, hasn't always led to happiness. For me, and I know I'm not alone in this, the thought of a school reunion would be the equivalent of a jaunt into Dante's third circle of hell - no, thank you! Many of us see no point in resurrecting relationships that we left behind many years ago. We may remember past friends or girlfriends and boyfriends fondly, but have chosen not to know them now. Perhaps what's past is best left in the past, and simply put down to experience. While there will always be that special place in the heart for a person and the time we had with them, we leave it behind and we move on. Life's like that. Trust in your decision.
A number of years ago, a friend of mine was living and working in a city far away from her home, and during her time there, had a summer-long romance with a truly lovely guy. They were both madly busy people - she was building up a career CV and knew she'd be returning to her home city when summer was over, and the guy she'd met was in a similar situation, about to travel abroad with work. At the end of the summer, rather than trying to keep their relationship alive despite long distances between them and the extra pressures of their busy careers, they decided to do the mature thing, to end the relationship with no regrets and no long goodbyes. Each of them thought it was for the best. Put it down to experience, and just remember the good times.
My friend's career really took off. She travelled the world, met all kinds of amazing people and had some extraordinary experiences. But she never forgot the guy she'd met that summer, always holding that special place in the heart just for him. She was the kind never to look back, never to regret, and what amazed me more than anything, she never gave in to the temptation to 'google' him and see what had happened to him. They'd made the agreement to move on, and she honoured that.
The one day, something astonishing happened. She was in London, a lunchtime meeting with some business colleagues in a busy city-centre hotel, when she had that funny feeling you get when you know someone's looking at you. She turned around - and there he was at another table in the same hotel restaurant, the same guy she'd spent a wonderful summer with. Neither of them lived in London, but were both just visiting. The odds of them meeting again like that must have been a million to one, and yet, it happened. Despite the way technology has shrunk the world, they way it seems you can find anyone, any time, anywhere, it was fate, or life, or the power of love that pulled them back together and they've never looked back. Ten years and two children down the line, they've never looked back!
I loved that story, and it inspired my own version, Edinburgh Fog, which I set in a favourite bar of mine in my old home city. Names were changed to protect the innocent, of course! But it's basically the story of my friend and the love of her life, and the way they'd kept that special place in the heart for each other.
Life's like that. Trust in it. What's meant to be, will be. There are always places in the heart for the real loves of your life, and no amount of googling will ever change that.
Finally - I'd planned to end this post with one of the best songs about lost relationships, Thin Lizzy's Still In Love With You, then I heard the sad news that one of their former guitarists, the legendary Gary Moore, died this morning. It seems only right to share his version of that wonderful song with you. Enjoy.
Edinburgh Fog will released by Muse It Up in September 2011. CLICK HERE to find out more.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Meet Jess from THE KILLER VALENTINE BALL by C.A. Verstraete.
Valentine's Day is the ultimate of relationship days. At least if you believe all the Hallmark commercials. So what happens when it's V-Day, and you're alone?
For Jess, it becomes a day of compromise: she'll go out with her mother's friend's son as a favor; she figures it beats staying home by herself. What can she say? She's a sap when it comes to all that mushy hearts and flowers stuff. Still... a blind date, on V-Day? Yikes! Can you say loser?
Ever have one of those days when you wish you'd listened to your gut? Jess must've felt that way when she walked into the hall where The Killer Valentine Ball is being held. It's a weird little party... The lights seem to be playing tricks on her eyes...
I guess that's the premise of my short "light horror" eBook, playing on that funny feeling you get when you know you should've made a different choice, and the things that play out as a result.
But in the end, Jess is vindicated. Kind of. That's the fun of writing horror. It doesn't have to be all blood and guts. It can be a little ghoulish—with a funny, odd little twist. Call it horror with a smile! So I had some fun with Jess... but you have to read it to see!
* Read an excerpt and get details at the MuseItUp Publishing bookstore