One Liner…Or: the inspiration I get From Work

I know I haven’t posted in a while guys. I am very sorry about that! I keep thinking I’ll get everything scheduled out and be able to be on here more often but…we all know my ability to stick to organization is a bit iffy. However! All hope is not lost!

Today I wanted to talk to you for just a second about the types of inspiration I get at work. See, I am a music teacher for pre-k – 12th grade students. My children’s and Middle Grade stories are fueled through real life experiences and little character quirks of my ever day existence. However, I don’t usually get a lot of inspiration out of my 7th-12th graders. Every once in a while that does change…last week, for example, we were doing a group project in the Jr. High class. When it came time to perform, a couple of groups either didn’t have anything done OR were very obviously only carried by one or two lead girls. I don’t say this to be sexist, it is fact: The boys just didn’t want to do the work and expected their girl folk to carry them. So later that evening I texted this line to myself:

The problem with hiding behind the girls’ skirts so that you don’t have to do the work is that those skirts keep getting shorter, and you do not.

I know it isn’t much, but sometimes the smallest line can start off the greatest story. Maybe this will be that line! Or maybe it will sit here, lonely in its italics. I guess only time will tell.

 

Author Interview – Alli Marshall

Welcome to this week’s fabulous rendition of Author Interview Friday! I am proud to bring to you the insight of Alli Marshall, the author of How to Talk to Rock Stars. 

rockstars frontrockstars rear

  1. Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

I think I realized I actually could be a writer when I went to Goodard College for my MFA. I don’t believe that everyone who wants to write needs to get an MFA, but for me that focus cemented the idea. That, and paying back                                                                                                        the student loan!

2) What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

I write literary fiction that’s often inspired by real-life events and personal narrative. I kind of wish I wrote pithy mysteries, but that’s not what comes out when I write. I imagine it’s kind of like being a songwriter — you might want to be an Etta James but if, at the end of the day, you’re actually a Zooey Deschanel, you have to work with what you’ve got.

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

I love literary fiction, some memoir, and the occasional mystery.

3) Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

I’m sort of fickle. I love a character until I discover a new one who I love even more. I recently read “The Paris Wife” and loved the voice of Hadley. Theo Decker from “The Goldfinch” stayed with me — I still think of him sometimes!

Among my own characters, I think my favorite is Tobias Bridge, a musician from my novel, “How to Talk to Rockstars.” He’s very in-the-moment and alive — kind of over-the-top but he has a good heart and a great sense of style. I’ve wished more than once that I could hang out with him in real life.

     4) There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

I’d certainly consider it. I think that if that opportunity ever presented itself I’d follow in the footsteps of one of my favorite authors, Ron Rash, and be very hands-off about it. I don’t think I’d try to control the screenplay or view the film as an extension of the book. The two are usually very different projects.

         5) How do you handle writer’s block?

I’m a writer and editor for my day job, so I really don’t get writer’s block. Some days the ideas are better than other days, but I can always write something. The same is kind of true for working on fiction — I can’t always write a lot, and sometimes I get stuck on what should happen next or if the story is even working at all. But there are always other ideas to work on, essays to write, little sketches and, if nothing else, my journal to turn to.

I think that may be the key…always have more than one thing going on at a time!

 6) What inspires you?

Great books, antique stores, vintage clothing shops, travel, rainy days, old movies, small beach towns, weathered barns, skeleton keys, and pretty much any song by Gregory Alan Isakov.

I love this list! I want to do a very retro “RIGHT ON!” for you. 

 7) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?

I’ve never had anyone make the face! But I live in a very artistic town where everyone is involved in some kind of creative pursuit. If I was, say, an investment banker in my free time, people might give me a strange look.

I would look at anyone strangely if they told me they were an investment banker! 

8) Finally, tell us where to go to find you:

Web: http://alli-marshall.com

Facebook: http://facebooks.com/allimarshallauthor

Twitter/Instagram: @alli_marshall

Publisher: http://logosophiabooks.com

Distributor: http://www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9780981575780/how-to-talk-to-rockstars.aspx

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Rockstars-Alli-Marshall/dp/0981575781/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440534006&sr=1-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-talk-to-rockstars-alli-marshall/1121534517?ean=9780981575780

My favorite local bookstore, Malaprop’s: http://www.malaprops.com/book/9780981575780

Thank you Alli! We appreciate you taking the time out to talk with us today.

Remember, if you want to be featured in your own interview, let me know! I might just be able to make that happen…Happy weekend All!

Author Interview – Jean Lamb

Welcome everyone to another week of Friday Interviews! This week we welcome life-long author, Jean Lamb. Thank you for stopping by Jean.

Jean Lamb

Let’s get right to the questions!

  • What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?

I write under the name of Jean Lamb, which is the name I usually go by. It’s not a pseudonym, though I have multiple series planned in multiple genres, so I may well use pseudonyms when I begin those. For instance, I have a Western saga series planned called The Western Wheel, which will cover the events in Sabado, Kansas, over a period of 60 years (each book is five years apart and it begins in 1850).

  • Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

I wrote really bad stories as a child, and what is worse, sent some of them out. I suspect the editors suspected my age, and were fairly gentle. I even made up a truly bad musical in junior high that I somehow inveigled the other kids in the neighborhood to participate in (no singing, just running around with occasional swordfights, punctuated by Plot Expositions).

  • What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

Right now I write in fantasy and romance. My next book, Phoenix in Shadow, is a combination of both. It’s not strictly a romantic fantasy, but a fantasy with a romance. I also have SF, historical mystery, and western saga books planned to write.

Due to release sometime in January 2016

Due to release sometime in January 2016

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

I grew up on SF and fantasy, as well as sneak-reading my mom’s James Bond books (how I learned where Vladivostok was when in sixth grade, and why I didn’t tell the teacher how I’d learned it). Now I read a lot more SF, fantasy, mystery, historical, biographies, nonfiction (including some WWII books. Ok, I read everything).

That sounds like quite the eclectic list! I applaud you for it!

  • Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

The one that I wrote—Ravin Gambrell. He shows that there is life and courage after a devastating personal loss of house, family, and face. He also shows that there should be a limit to revenge. Eventually.

deadmanshand

The one I didn’t write—Professor Severus Snape. My husband is a chemistry teacher, you see, and I hear about what some of the students and what they get up to. He shows that love is everlasting even for the not-so-beautiful people, and that a person can do the right thing even when everyone else hates you.

I agree that Snape is amazing, and one of my top 5 characters from the series as well! He was played perfectly in the movies, in my opinion anyway.

 

  • There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

Oh, yes—but only if I was part of the process. Many things can change, as long as the spirit of the story remains. This is weird, but I obsess over my last line; if I know my last line, then the rest of the book eventually lines up, even though I wander around a lot. The movie would have to make enough sense for that last line to work.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

Morning pages. Even if you spend them whining, the process makes you sit down and write something. I disagree with Julia Cameron that they have to be handwritten, however. I can type forever, but handwriting bothers my wrist a great deal and I become nearly illegible. Typed morning pages allow me to salvage anything interesting for actual works in progress.

Of course, I try not to play Bejeweled until I have some writing done. I don’t have Candy Crush on my phone, either—as a recovering Tetris addict, I know what timesuckers those cute little games can be.

I am a game addict as well, so I try really REALLY hard not to ….oh look, someone sent me a request.

  • What inspires you?

Music! I have a variety of synesthesia where sound creates physical sensation/texture, which makes it easy for me to choreograph almost any kind of music. Even though my joints are not as limber as they use to be, getting up and dancing gets my blood flowing and my thoughts moving.

Art! Beauty of any kind moves me; whether it’s landscape in the beautiful Klamath Basin where I live, or the panoramic forests on my screensaver, or even the blossoms on the geranium hanging outside, color and light help me to live.

Love! A strong marriage of over 40 years and two children make me feel connected to others, as well as many friends who live here or on the Internet. I know the rhythms of love, both when they work and when they go wrong. And I know that supporting them, and asking for their support, helps make my life complete.

  • How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?

I cheerfully point out what I write, where they can find my work, and mention that they can read the first three chapters for free before buying. I really hope I have hooked them by then. I still have a day job, though that will end at the end of this year. When I have the time I need, my motto will be “2k a day before I play”.

 A Brilliant Marriage

  • Finally, tell us where to go to find you

My books are on Amazon, of course, just look for Jean Lamb. I have one book on B&N, though alas it has not sold very well there. I have the gmail address jeanlambwriter@gmail.com, which I am very bad about checking, and I am also on Facebook.

hatchling finished

Thank you for sharing your awesome answers with us today Jean! Good luck with your books, and the 2k motto 😉

Remember, if you are someone in the business of books (even if you aren’t an author) and would like to be included in an interview just let me know! I look forward to hearing from you all. Come back soon!

Writer’s Quote Wednesday ~ Inspirationally

If you would like to participate in these wonderfully inspiring Wednesday posts, please go right ahead! Check out Silver Threading  HERE for the inspiration post every week (and all of the rules etc.) then post your own! Remember to title it “Writer’s Quote Wednesday” so we can find you!

Over that past few weeks I have shared with you some of my favorite quotes over creativity, consistency, confidence, and just writing in general. This week I want to look at something that Silver Threading is also touching on this week (I’m following the prompt…AHA!) and that is Inspiration.

There are so many things that can inspire us on a daily basis that it took me a while to be able to decide that I could even tackle this topic. The world of inspiration is so versatile, personal, and vast that each one of us could have some hidden inspiration point no one is even aware of. In fact, I HOPE we do!

That being said, here are a few things that inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Alice in Wonderland is one of my all time favorite books. The absurdity melds with creativity, imagination, and just plain ol’ life to create a beautiful and relevant piece of art to be drunk by our minds , hearts, and imaginations. I always come away feeling inspired whether I’ve read the book(s), read an adaptation, or watched one of the many adaptations (movies, serial productions, the old Disney through the looking glass show, it doesn’t matter!).

Exactly!

I love using word play and this character is always mixing things up for me. The movies are great, the characters are snappy, and Jack Sparrow is a wonderful play on hero/anti-hero/comic ideas!

Whimsy, Fantasy, and Tea…sign me up!

Darn Tootin!

This always makes me feel like I need to push myself so I’m not one of those people who wind up needing limits! How sad would it be to cage yourself in like that? Push the limits and break through them!.

This always reminds me to keep dreaming, keep writing, keep noting down my inspirations. Because, really, what else am I going to do with my time?

This always reminds me to keep dreaming, keep writing, keep noting down my inspirations. Because, really, what else am I going to do with my time?

Finally, I want to leave you with some words from the ever Inspirational Zooey Deschanel who is ever adorkable and inspires people of both genders to stay open, honest, and nerdy. Zoey D.

I hope that this post has helped your “Hump” day be inspired! Have a wonderful rest of the week everyone!

5 Things I’ve learned about Writing

Being a writer has always been part of who I am. I don’t really remember a time in which I did not create different characters and scenarios…whether or not I wrote them down. Over all of that time (29 years, give or take my infancy and toddler years, in which I’m sure I made all sorts of fabulous stories that no one could understand) I have learned five things about writing.

 

 

(original picture courtesy of http://forthesomedaybook.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/sermon-sapling-epiphany-8a-in-the-palm-of-gods-hand/)

 

1)      The more you write, the more you CAN write! Keep it up…there is no excuse for not doing what you love to do.

2)      The more you ignore the myth of ‘your muse’ and trudge through without him/her, the more they are likely to visit you. Mythological beings are rather testy about being left out of the equation 😉

3)      Inspiration is really just something that lies waiting in your subconscious, or soul (whichever seems more true/poetic to your life), looking for a trigger and an opening. Much like the ‘muse’ inspiration happens more the more you trudge on without it.

4)      Writing may often be a one woman/man, lonely gig, but I am never truly alone with my work. Ideas, characters, and those people whom I bug with ideas at 3 am are always there to keep me company…whether they like it or not!

5)      No matter how useless you feel spelling and punctuation are, it can mean life or death for some characters, and more so for your complete work. So tread lightly and edit with a fine tooth comb.

Link

Weedy Sea Dragons

Weedy Sea Dragons

A good friend of mine shared this link with me earlier as an almost joking way to ‘find my muse’ for the Stone Dragon Saga stories. Well, the joke is on her because these little guys are AWESOME! I am not only inspired, I am excited AND there’s an Owl cam I can check out later on tonight!

This is a great site to look at many types of videos, live camera feeds, snapshots, etc. Take a look, show the kids, pass it on to a teacher who may need some science/social studies clips.

Have fun, crack a smile, saw ‘aww’, and share the joy! Have a Blessed Day!

When Inspiration Hits:

 

You sit down in your favorite spot, hot tea, pen, and pad at the ready, or with fingers poised over a waiting keyboard, AAAANNNNDDD…Nothing.  An hour passes, you’ve refilled your drink twice, had a snack, checked your three different email accounts, and written the same sentence fourteen and a half times.  Giving up, you decide that it isn’t going to happen today and wander off with disappointment. Later, as you change the baby’s dirty diaper or are elbow deep in soapy water, BA-BAM! Inspirations hits with vengeance and the entire novel/article/blog/etc. blossoms in your mind as well planned as an English garden; but wait, no pen and paper can be found.  NOW WHAT???!?!?!?  

 

Frustrated and frazzled you race to finish the task at hand in order to get back to writing before this amazing clarity fades. Alas! By the time you get there you are once again back to re-writing that same sentence.

So, are you supposed to just jump and run from the room, leaving a naked and confused tot or a sink full of soapy shards in your wake?  Probably not. My suggestion, then, is a simple one. Hire a stenographer to follow you around, waiting for inspiration to hit. Since you have to pay them whether or not that stroke of genius strikes, make sure to get detailed lists for groceries, birthday and Christmas presents, and anything else you might want to have listed out for convenience!

 

Or, you can do what I did; become addicted to colored pens and journals, make a habit of carrying paper and pen EVERYWHERE, keep a notepad and pen in each room, carry a recorder for those times when you can’t write it out (like when driving, apparently jotting down ideas while driving is frowned upon, who knew?), and then STILL get struck by your muse while in the only place and/or time where you don’t even have your cell phone available to sneak a quick shorthand text to yourself.

So, unless you have an eidetic memory, or the ability to ignore everyone and everything while repeating the story to yourself frantically as you hurriedly drop the world and scribble it out on napkins, you are now right back to that same exact sentence yet again.  The good news is that by now, that is one DOOZY of a sentence and maybe, just maybe, that sentence can help you to coax back out that splash of inspiration you stumbled into earlier.

 

Until next time, Have a Blessed Day and may your words, much like your inspiration, flow freely.