Changing the Topic…

Someone asked me how my novel was coming. You know, the novel I’ve been working on for like 4 years. The one that I resolve to finish EVERY New Year’s. So I swiftly changed the subject to avoid having to talk about it.

But then I went and checked on it. If word documents could collect dust, this one would be inches deep. So I theoretically blew the dust and cobwebs away, and stared at my novel. It’s finished. I mean… there’s an end, but it’s not finished, you know? I need to read it 400 more times. And change a word here and there. And then pack it away again for another year.

So last time I had worked on it, I changed it from third person to first person, but when I opened up the file this time, I saw that it was third person (apparently, I had abandoned the first person revision about 1/3 of the way through). I know it’s a tough change to make, but I really think it would be better in first person. How do you decide point of view for your story? I know there are books out there on the subject, but they have never been much of a help to me, because for me, it comes down to “feel”. It “feels” better as a first person story.

For example, I HATED that the twilight books were written in first person. It rubbed me the wrong way from the opening lines. I don’t know why, but it really did. But some stories need to be more personal, and I think that’s where first person comes in. How do you decide?

Favorite Poems

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite poet, since I imitate (or try to) his rhyme-scheme so much. Here are snippets of my favorites of Poe’s poems, as well as other favorites:

From Annabel Lee:

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

From The Bells:

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

The Bells is one of my favorites because he captures the echo and, yes, tintinnabulation of the bells so well. I love it.

As a proud graduate of Rutgers University, I’d be remiss to not include Joyce Kilmer’s Trees poem, (which I really do like):

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
And I’ve always liked Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman. Here’s a piece of it:
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
And finally, one non-rhyming poem, which is actually a soliloquy, but which has always stirred my heart, from James Joyce’s novel Ulysses:
and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
Favorite poems? Poets? I’m always on the lookout!

Books, A Love Letter

I love to cradle books in my arms, and to feel the flurry of pages brush against my fingertips.

I love the soft bend of a well-worn spine, like laugh lines or gray hairs at the temple. It’s a love that’s endured time.

I love lining the books up on my shelves in whatever way I’ve decided to organize them this time.

I love coming across a line I’d missed the hundred previous times.

I love to flip through pages and pages to find the hidden gems I vaguely remember from last time.

I love the smell of the pages and the worn covers.

I love finding a favorite book with a new design, and judging which cover I like best.

I love coming to a section that’s too suspenseful for me, and flipping ahead to read a line or two, to make sure I can take it.

I love twists and surprises. I love well-planned revenge. I love good guys winning. I love unrequited crushes. I love last laughs.

I love poetic metaphors and rarely used words. I love nouns as verbs, and adjectives that add depth. I love plots I can see and taste and feel. I love people I’ll miss when I close the pages.

I love reading and writing.

I love books.

The Nineties Called And They Want Their ____ Back…

Winner (by default) of the last giveaway is my couponing friend Lori, who I sent the free coupon to, even though she didn’t comment on the blog. I’ll quit the giveaways and if you want a coupon for a free download, just make a comment stating so, and I’ll gladly send you one via email! I’m serious — I’d love for anyone to read my stories.

In honor of all things high school, I’m posting some pictures of me from when I was in high school.

Insert “The 90s called and they want their (blank) back” joke here. Oh, no seriously – comment a joke if you can finish that. That would be funny.

Enjoy!

                     

The Best Revenge You’ve Ever Had — Win a FREE download!

“Sophie!” she squealed and the kids around us jumped. That’ll teach them to eavesdrop.

“What?”

“Your passport picture is so super-duper cute!” She grabbed my passport out of my hand. It was not cute, believe me. She pulled out her own picture.

“Mine is so terrible,” she moaned. She put them side-by-side so I could see her photo. I’ve seen less seductive expressions on Victoria’s Secret models.

“Oh my gosh, everyone look at how cute Sophie’s picture is and how awful mine is!” She passed them around the bus.

I sighed and looked at my watch: only seven hours and fifty-eight minutes to go.

From “Truly Glorious,” the sophomore year story in my collection of short stories: High School Stories

It’s giveaway #2 on my blog today! The winner of the first giveaway is CB Wentworth! I’ll email you the coupon code for a free download from my yahoo email address. Enjoy!

High school and bullies go together like principals and detention. In the second story in High School Stories, Sophie ends up having to spend an entire weekend with her nemesis, Charity, while they room together on the band trip. Charity seems intent on trying to make Sophie’s weekend as bad as possible. First, she stole Sophie’s boyfriend, now they’re rooming together, and it seems like Charity is ready to go after the two friends that Sophie makes on the trip!

Have you ever had to deal with a bully? What’s your best revenge story? Subscribe to my blog and share the story below to enter for a chance to win a free download of High School Stories! You can share your story even if you already won a download — don’t worry, I”ll keep track. Winner will be announced in 48(ish) hours.

High School Stories – eBook Giveaway #1

My new ebook, High School Stories, is up and available for download at Smashwords!

Regular price is $3.99 and for the month of July, it’s on sale for 50% OFF with the coupon code: SSW50.

BUT WAIT!

There’s more…

You can win a FREE download just by subscribing to my blog & commenting below! Here’s the fine print: I’ll post four giveaways (this one is number 1) and ask a question. Respond to the question in comments and subscribe to my blog. After 48 hours of posting the giveaway blog, I’ll put the names of the eligible commenters in a hat and pull out 1 winner per blog entry (so four winners in all will receive a free download of my collection of short stories). I’ll email that person the coupon code for the FREE download. If you have questions, please raise them in comments, because you’re probably not the only person with questions. Remember, this is my first giveaway, so I’m kind of winging it here. There’s nothing scientific about it… at all.

The first short story in the collection is called Nosepicker, and is about a freshman named Theo who is desperate to change the reputation that has, uh, stuck with him all these years. You see, he has a bad habit of getting caught with his finger up his nose. It’s embarrassing and even more so since he’s not really doing what everything thinks he’s doing.

What about you? Do you have any embarrassing memories from high school? Anything that still makes you slightly cringe, years later? Share your favorite blush-worthy high school memory in comments, and you’ll be entered to win a free download of High School Stories, which starts out with Nosepicker (and find out what happens to Theo!). Enjoy! I’ll post the next giveaway in 48(ish) hours and announce the winner from this blog post!

One more thing: until the end of July, you can download my other ebook, Poetic Pause: A Book of Poems for FREE with the coupon code: SSWSF.

Judging a Book By Its Cover

One of my favorite things to do in a bookstore is to walk around the fiction section (especially the young adult section) and gaze at the covers. I love to imagine what “my” covers would look like. I like to imagine this while I’m writing the stories, too. I look for what I like in a cover – fonts, images, style, empty spaces. Each little nuance conveys some emotion, don’t you think?

What do you like in book covers? What do you imagine for a cover for your own story? What catches your eye when you’re browsing in a bookstore?

I’m so excited to unveil the cover of my next ebook (hopefully to appear next week sometime on smashwords). The cover was done by a graphic design student named Savannah Holder, who I got to know through some other work she did for the charity: water fundraiser I held with some friends. Savannah’s design captures everything I wanted for my collection of short stories, and I think it’ll be quite the eye-catcher! Here’s the cover of my next ebook, a collection of four short stories that will be called High School Stories: