Friday, May 22, 2015

Bloom Where You’re Planted by C. Marie Bowen




FEARLESS FRIDAY

Thank you, Brenda, for having me as a guest for “Fearless Friday”. I signed up to be a guest on your blog thinking, ‛I’ve done some pretty brave things’, and I have. I’ve bungee jumped and lived to tell about it. I stood in front of my graduating class and gave the valedictorian speech. I’ve even performed in front of crowds playing an accordion. Those were all scary at the time, but I didn’t wonder later how I managed to accomplish them. Looking back, I had been nervous, yes—but not fearful.



After searching in all the dark corners for the bravest thing I’ve done, I would have to choose the point where I took up the reins of my life and said, “This isn’t working—things need to change.” Walking away from a broken marriage with two kids in tow wasn’t brave, it was self preservation. The fearless part came later. It came when I realized I couldn’t raise my kids on minimum wage and minimum child support. That the only chance I had to become independent would be to move away from family and friends and begin a new life in Texas.



After the move, I cleaned house and cooked to pay room and board while I went to school. But there were other expenses, so I worked part time drafting to make ends meet. Eventually, I graduated with an Associates Degree in Computerized Architectural Drafting and Design (CADD). I found a good job, saved my money, and after four years of sleeping on a friend’s couch, my children and I moved into a home of our own.



I bought a magnet when I first came to Texas that said, “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” I put it on the refrigerator as a reminder that I couldn’t go back. Moving forward was my only option. I’ve been in Texas for twenty years now, and I realize those first four years away from friends and family were the most terrifying and lonely years of my life. Somehow, I moved through them as though I was fearless. One foot in front of another. One day at a time.



Eventually, life took another turn and I found I had the opportunity to chase an old dream – to publish the stories I kept locked in my heart. This latest adventure has just begun, and I hope I can face this challenge as fearlessly as I faced my struggle to bloom in Texas.

Passage - blurb:

After a car accident, Courtney Veau has a “near death” experience, and returns to her past-life in the post-Civil War west. When she wakes in a present-day hospital, Courtney realizes she’s returned to her own hollow existence. Heartbroken, she knows she left behind not only a family she loves, but life with the man who shares her soul, a man she’ll love forever, Merril Shilo.

A carriage accident nearly takes beautiful Nichole Harris’s life, stealing her memories completely. Plagued by amnesia, she is confused by flashes of memory that are out of time with the world around her, and seem to belong to someone else. Only Nichole's own strong emotions remain to guide her—and as others try to take control of her life, she fights a desperate battle to survive. Merril Shilo is someone she should know, and though her memories fail her, she is stunned by her passion for him—and the remembered agony of a broken heart.

Merril Shilo is the love of Courtney’s life—no matter when that life might be. The memories and emotions of her life as ranch heiress Nichole Harris consume Courtney’s mind—and her heart. Courtney soon finds her desire for Merril threatens her sanity, as he beckons from a past she can no longer reach. She would give her life to return to her soul-mate, if she could only find the passage back to him.


Excerpt from Passage:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.

LINKS:

Connect with C. Marie here: Website: www.cmariebowen.com

 







Monday, May 18, 2015

Writing a Book Is Like a Roadtrip

MUSE MONDAY
Starting a new book is like getting ready for a road trip. In the beginning, I'm excited about the destination and don't do much except THINK about where I'm headed and what I'll need along the way. Then I go into my helter-skelter mode. I might pull some clothes out of the closet. Get the oil changed in the car. Print off a few pages of sites to see. Discard some of the clothes and pull out some more. Wash the car. Run to the store for car snacks. Put some of the clothes in the suitcase. But in the end, I get it together and head out the door. The real fun begins.

I'm in the helter-skelter mode for book four of my Love and Murder Series. I made some random notes about plot. The main characters have a file and their back story and character traits are partially filled in. The basic outline formed up one day. Then I jumped back to character files. Chapter one is roughed out. Then the outline got beefed up a little. Research is underway for the setting. And now it's time to actually get on the writing road. It's like an adventure and yes, the real fun begins.

But just like that road trip when I'll buy more snacks along the way, maybe change the route a time or two, the story will require extra research or acquire new twists as I reach the destination: the end.


Book One: The Art of Love and Murder
available everywhere in print or eBook






Book Two: Southwest of Love and Murder/available everywhere in print or eBook



Book Three: A Legacy of Love and Murder
On my editors desk

Book Four: helter-skelter mode

Book Five: in THINK mode

Monday, May 11, 2015

TIPS FOR THE NON-PLOTTER by Mary Gillgannon



MUSE MONDAY
Please join me in welcoming Mary Gillgannon to Discover Yourself. It's always fun to read how an author works! 
I am what I call an “into the mist” writer. I don’t really plot, but come up with an opening, characters or story idea and start writing. I do it this way not by choice, but because if I try to plot out my story, the creative part of my brain refuses to cooperate.
My theory is that in order to write, the two sides of my brain have to work together. The creative side comes up with story, but the rational/organized side then has to find the words and structure to describe it. It’s as if my consciousness has to jump back and forth between the two sides in order to write.
Over time, I’ve learned some things that facilitate this process. The first one is that basic physical activity increases this connection between the two sides of my brain. If I’m totally stuck and get up from the computer and do something—make tea, use the bathroom, walk downstairs—any one of those very mundane activities seems to unlock something and make the words flow.
Along with walking comes driving, another activity where part of my brain is engaged. While the rational part of my brain is calculating distance and speed and helping me make the decisions of when to pass and when to slow down, another part of my brain is making creative connections and furthering my story.
I’ve also discovered that dreaming and daydreaming both represent a state where the creative part of my brain works best. I’m not a morning person. I’m basically dysfunctional until about 10 a.m. And yet, I can get up in the wee hours and write. It works because the dream state you experience while sleeping is related to the state where the creative part of the brain is most accessible. I’ve learned that if I get stuck in a story, if I think about the story while I’m trying to fall asleep and when I first awake, my unconscious will often tell me where to take it.
The third thing that seems to help me is simply telling someone about my plot. It has to be live and in the moment. And it has to be an oral description/explanation. But something about the physical act of verbalizing my story seems to free the creative half of my brain. Again, the physical process apparently fires the neurons I use to create the story.
For me, the process of writing is mysterious and magical. And incredibly messy and wasteful. For my few books, I probably wrote an extra 30,000 words for every 100,000 that ended up in the finished book. I’ve gotten better over the years. I don’t get quite as off track as I used to. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m headed down a blind alley and stop and figure out where my plot needs to go. My muse is stubborn and independent, but she will listen to reason occasionally.
But the true test of my getting better at this is whether I can manage a mystery plot. My current work in progress has a murder, and there may be more deaths. (I don’t know yet. Which probably seems odd, but it’s true. I won’t know until my characters find another dead body.) When writing a mystery, everything has to make sense and tie together at the end, and yet keep the reader guessing throughout the book. You have to set up the clues and also throw in some red herrings to misdirect and confuse. This is real plotting and it takes more logic than instinct and intuition, which is how my romances evolve. But I’m determined to master this. Because someday I’d like to write a real mystery. And that’s a bit daunting when you don’t plot.

Blurb and buy links for Wicked Wager:
When hardened gamester Marcus Revington wins Horngate Manor in a card game, he is delighted to finally own property. Even discovering he must marry the heiress of the estate doesn’t deter him. The heiress, Penny Montgomery, is happy with her life raising horses at Horngate and has no desire to wed anyone. When she learns about her guardian’s Wicked Wager, she schemes to convince Marcus she’s unsuitable as a wife so he’ll forget his plan to marry her. Who will win this battle of wits and wills? Or will they both discover the name of the game is love?